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A mid-festival update on the hot Sundance films

Jennifer Aniston gets a deal, John Malkovich debuts as a director, and more

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Javier Bardem, John Malkovich, ...
Javier Bardem and John Malkovich: Jeff Vespa/WireImage.com

If this update from Sundance was anything like the festival itself, it would be shot on digital camera, star Tim Blake Nelson and Christina Ricci, and eventually be sold for a cool $3 million (of which the author would get nothing). Here’s a mid-week progress report on Park City’s cinema circus:

MONEY TALK Miramax’s $5 million tab for the Sigourney Weaver comedy ”Tadpole” may have been the priciest pick-up so far. But Harvey and Co.aren’t the only ones throwing their weight around. Sony Pictures Classics shelled out $2 million for ”Love Liza,” featuring Philip Seymour Hoffman as a depressed widower, while Fox Searchlight scooped up the dark Jennifer Aniston-led comedy ”The Good Girl” for $4 million.

‘DANCER’ IN THE DARK Also sparking a bidding war is John Malkovich’s directorial debut ”The Dancer Upstairs,” a taut political thriller starring Javier Bardem (”Before Night Falls”). But the Latin America-set drama seems to have left numerous audience members confused, because of the film’s many dialects and dictions. (Malkovich blamed poor screening-room sound for the discontent.) ”I don’t foresee any problems, ” he says dryly (note: John Malkovich says *everything* dryly). ”It’s a very clear language.”