Our Man At Sundance, Part Two: The Screening
Former Houston Press reporter Steve McVicker is reporting from the Sundance Film Festival:
Well, Sunday's screening of "our" film, I Love You Phillip Morris, came and went last night, with still no official word of having been snapped up by any major distribution company for mucho dollars. However, if the overwhelming positive reaction of the sold-out crowd at the 1,270-seat capacity Eccles Center last night was any indication, an offering will soon be on the table.
In my humble opinion, as the author of the book I Love You Phillip Morris, I was elated with the outcome of the movie. Directors/screenwriter Glen Fecarra and John Requa, were both true to my book, but also put their creative stamp on it. They kept most aspects of the book, but condensed and compressed the material in a true dark screwball comedy, which is also a poignant love story between the two jailhouse lovers, Morris and Steve Russell, who also blossomed as an escape artist.
I won't ruin it for you, but the directors did pound some of the content harder than I did in the book. They also had a pitch-perfect twist of an ending that only someone very familiar with the book would have seen coming. No offense to John or Glenn, but at time it felt like I was watching a Coen Brothers' comedy. More importantly, I completely lost myself in the movie - Jim Carrey really became Steven Russell, and Ewan McGregor was really Phillip Morris. I even forget that much of the writing came straight from my book.
I couldn't be happier or more excited. Has Oprah called for me yet?
Afterwards, during a Q&A with the delighted audience, McGregor said that preparing to play a gay man was no different than his preparation to play any man.
"I was playing somebody in love," said McGregor. "It was beautiful, nice and never awkward."
Carrey added that he enjoyed his role as a man obsessed with Morris -- played by McGregor.
"I mean, who wouldn't enjoy it. Look at the guy. He's beautiful," adding after a slight pause, "but I'm over him now.
Several current and former Houstonians made their way to Park City for the premiere screening. Included in the crowd were Tim and Carolyn Fox and their son, Sam, currently of New York City. Also on hand were Janet and Lisa Meyer, and Donna and Igor Alexander of Houston.
Additionally, my book agent, Peter Steinberg, of the Steinberg Agency, flew in from New York City to be at the screening.
Now it's time to sit back and wait on those offers from the distributor.
Update (from Connelly): The first review is in, and it's a rave.
-- Steve McVicker
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