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Thank You for Little Miss Sunshine

Well the hype was based on something real. A great script, talented (if unproven) directors and a pitch-perfect cast lead by Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear, Steve Carell and Alan Arkin. It's a hugely commercial family comedy. It played like gangbusters at the Eccles Friday night. And it just broke the Sundance record (Miramax paid $10 million for Happy Texas in 1999). The deal went down through the night, closing at 8 AM Saturday. It went to Fox Searchlight, which celebrated Saturday night at the Thank You for Smoking dinner at the North Face Lodge at the top of Deercrest, high above Deer Valley.
Rob Lowe and William H. Macy were there, along with young director Jason Reitman (son of director Ivan Reitman); I sat with Aaron Eckhart, who's unleashed and hilarious in Thank You for Not Smoking. Like Ashley Judd he was discovered at Sundance some nine years ago, with Neil Labute's In the Company of Men. He's looking forward to a possible Cannes unveiling for Brian DePalma's crime thriller Black Dahlia, co-starring Scarlett Johansson, which recreated James Ellroy's L.A. in Bulgaria. Like many good actors he admires the undervalued Cary Grant, who made acting look too easy. Eckhart hopes to do more romantic comedies like the one he's shooting now, a remake of the German cooking comedy Mostly Martha, opposite Catherine Zeta Jones. I'd love to see Eckhart find his own Katharine Hepburn to his Spencer Tracy, a romantic comedic foil with chemistry. Who would that be? Sandra Bullock? Reese Witherspoon? Cameron Diaz? There are so few sexy actresses with great comedy chops, like Diane Keaton or Carole Lombard.


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