To be young and starring at Sundance
Two actresses -- one's an 'Intern,' one plays a virgin -- take on Park City
January 24, 2000
Web posted at: 6:03 p.m. EST (2303 GMT)
By Jamie Allen
CNN Interactive Senior Writer
PARK CITY, Utah (CNN) -- This is the first time Dominique Swain has been to
the Sundance Film Festival. Her movie, "Intern," is screening in the
American Spectrum section of the event.
But the actress says she's not going to get worked up over what people think
of the film, an independent romantic comedy set in the shark-infested waters
of Manhattan's fashion scene. She's just here to have fun.
"I'm on vacation here. I'm not here to learn anything. Anything I pick up is
just lint," Swain says, laughing.
Sundance has become a sort of rite of passage for young actors and actresses
like Swain. It's the perfect setting for them -- spending days promoting their
films and telling their life stories to the hordes of journalists that converge
here each year while finding time to hit the slopes.
"I went snowboarding yesterday morning," she says during an interview Monday morning at the Yarrow Resort in Park City. "I'm not a good
snowboarder. I'm just getting the hang of it, and I went with my friend --
it was his first day. By the end of the day, he was beating me down the
mountain. I guess everyone learns at their own pace, but I just hate to
think my pace is slower than anybody else's."
'She is unbelievable'
Swain's career pace is considerably faster than most others. She's
the one who, at age 15, won the title role of "Lolita" in Adrian
Lyne's 1997 remake of the controversial Vladimir Nabokov novel. And she
avoided the fate of Sue Lyon , the actress who starred in the 1962 version directed by Stanley Kubrick. Lyon followed the high-profile role with a string of forgettable films.
Swain, now 19, has several movies coming out this year, including
"Mary Jane's Last Dance" and "Happy Campers." "Intern," also starring Kathy
Griffin, Billy Porter and Ben Pullen, is still in need of a distributor.
Swain plays the title role, a 23-year-old fashion
magazine intern who deals with the witches running the show while remaining true to
herself and falling in love.
"She is unbelievable," says the film's director, Michael Lange. "First of
all, working with her is great. She was always on time, she knew her lines,
"The element that she added wasn't really on the page," Lange says. "It was
the theme that to me is the most powerful, which is her positiveness, her
honesty that comes through. She's the one who did that, brought that to the
'It was terrifying'
Another actress getting high marks for her two films -- one at Sundance and
one at Slamdance -- is Lauren Ambrose. The 21-year-old stars in the campy
"Psycho Beach Party," a Park City at Midnight entry at Sundance, and the coming-of-age
In "Psycho Beach Party" -- a parody of '50s horror films, '60s beach-blanket
flicks and '70s thrashers -- she plays Chicklet, a 16-year-old girl who's
never been kissed and suffers from multiple personalities, including a sexually adventurous woman and a black clerk. It's based on a play by famed New York theater figure Charles Busch, who also stars in the movie -- in drag -- as a female police captain investigating a series of murders.
Ambrose hadn't seen the film until it screened at Sundance on Saturday
"Try seeing yourself switching ... from S&M dominatrix to
black checkout girl to Chicklet, and in front of tired people at midnight
for the very first time ... at Sundance!" she says. "It was terrifying."
She says she loved her role in the film.
"It was opportunity to play and fly and do this big comedy that I've never
really done and play these different roles that I've had in me for a long
time," says Ambrose. "It was a dream for me.
"This is definitely showing something that a lot of actors don't get to show
-- wacky comedy stuff. Also, who's ever seen a movie like this?" she says.
Ambrose hasn't had time to ski or snowboard yet. For her, Sundance has been
a blur of interviews, which will pick up again when "Swimming" screens at
the end of the week at Slamdance. "I'm really tired," she admits.
Swain, meantime, plans more snowboarding: "I'm having a grand old time," she says.
Sundance reveals 2000 lineup
December 3, 1999
On screen in Austin: Your future as a filmmaker
October 13, 1999
Review: 'Blair Witch' not
just a walk in the woods
July 22, 1999
2000 Sundance Film Festival
Slamdance Film Festival
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