Like Crazy at Sundance: Greetings From Planet Sundance, Earthlings

I'm a little behind. On sleep, this blog, student loans–you name it! Earlier today, someone mentioned Obama gave his State of the Union address last night. I had no idea, and it reminded me how insular this festival can become. Insular and subjective. I currently reside on Planet Sundance, in the country of Like Crazy. Last night, though, I took a vacation and visited this country called The Woods (in reality, a hilarious satirical film playing here, directed by my old pal Matthew Lessner) and mingled with the natives. It was refreshing and wild. But before I put on my cinematical anthropologist's hat (it's basically a pith helmet, but it helps get me into character), here's how Saturday went down . . .

Photos courtesy of Ben York Jones
Ben York Jones gets ready for the red carpet with a custom made bow tie from his friend, clothing designer Otis James of Nashville.

Saturday morning. Outside, it's a white-out. Snow. Up, down, everywhere. Extremely limited visibility. Inside, it's a mad house. Debate ensues over who gets to stay on our overstuffed guest list and who gets cut. A 1,300-seat house of eager film buffs, critics and filmmakers await the world premiere of Like Crazy. Car doors slam, and we're off! Producer Andrea and I stay behind, tending to a few last-minute things. The plan is we pick up Anton on the way and hit the red carpet. But we didn't plan on balding rental-car tires. . . .The car literally will not go up the inclined, ice-caked driveway.This can't be happening! Clock's ticking. Pedal to the metal. Nothing. Zero traction. It occurs to me . . . “Holy shit, we're going to miss the premiere.” I call a cab. Then, finally, after 20 minutes of panic, adrenalin surging, we somehow summit mount ice-drive! YES! . . . “Can you drive?” Andrea asks. Fifty feet visibility. “Sure!” I say. “We're going to die,” I think.

We don't. Red carpet. Pics. Ticket exchanges. Take your seat . . . the show is about to begin. After the film, the lights came up, revealing a tearful audience. A connection had been made. I began to cry.
Negotiations for the sale of the film began immediately over lunch at Butcher's on Main Street. Cast, crew, family, agents, managers and hovering distributors were the company. Eventually, Drake, Jonathan, Andrea and our legal reps separated from the pack and got down to business.

Jones and his good pal Max Knies.

With the mutual manager of myself and Charlie Bewley (Like Crazy actor and Dimitri in the Twilight franchise) and Max Knies, producer of The Woods (and one of my best friends), a bunch of us excused ourselves to see if we could hustle up some shwag. We get into the Levi's lounge, and we take full advantage of their generosity, loading up on free threads. I run into Like Crazy actress Alex Kingston; we laugh about her latest appearance on Craig Ferguson, when the hilarious host relentlessly badgered the elegant English actress about her sex-toy preferences. It was pretty damn funny. I run into acquaintance and film critic Elvis Mitchell. We talk about what's getting buzz at the fest. Jeans, jacket. We're out.

That night, I see The Devil's Double, directed by Lee Tomahori. This dude is cool–and not just because he's directed Bond films. He's just cool. The film is about the recruitment and escape of Uday Hussein's body double. Unlike your typical tanks-in-the-sand-Middle-East-conflict-gritty-Syriana-type film, this movie plays more like Scarface. Fun and flashy, while somehow maintaining a determined respect for the horrible losses that transpired. Lee and I talk at the after-party. We talk westerns and American crime movies and wonder where the good ones have gone.
It's midnight, and the Like Crazy team continues to negotiate with multiple distributors. Occasional updates from Drake indicate “We're close.” Eventually, I find myself back at the cabin with Gules, Theresa and Bewley. I do my Bewley impersonation to laughs. But conversation keeps coming back to “What do you think is happening with the film?” At 5 a.m., word comes: “Paramount bought the film. Wide theatrical release in the fall. More to come. . . .” The feeling is indescribable. We went off like fireworks. Bang! Then thump–head hits pillow. Sleep. See you in two hours, you talented bastards! WE DID IT!
The next day, I received more e-mails and calls than I ever have in a single day. Exhausted, but basking. Floating on a warm cloud, in awe, grateful and proud. Still there.
The festival goes on! Going to try to update more frequently and catch up to the present. A lot more exciting stuff has happened since the sale. Stay tuned! Thanks for following!

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