Every Monday until the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, EW is celebrating a great success story from independent film’s most prestigious showcase. So far, we’ve revisited Lee Daniel’s Precious and Courtney Hunt’s Frozen River. Today, we look back at Adventureland, the 2009 comedy that featured a bunch of indie stars who were on the cusp of movie stardom.
To be fair, Kristen Stewart had just become a huge star when Adventureland pulled into Park City in 2009 — the first Twilight was playing in theaters — but she was still only 18 years old. Jesse Eisenberg was known best for indies like The Squid and the Whale and Rodger Dodger, while Ryan Reynolds’ name — after a decade of solid work — was just beginning to be in the mix for major studio blockbusters.
Together, they signed up with writer/director Greg Mottola, who was coming off the box-office success of Superbad, for this coming-of-age story about a recent college grad who reluctantly takes a summer job in 1987 at the local amusement park. Running the theme park is an odd couple played by Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader, and the EW video interview below from 2009 is a fine time capsule for the actors, whose careers have all skyrocketed in the past four years.
Nearly the entire Adventureland gang will return to Sundance this January. Hader and Wiig play long-lost twins in the drama The Skeleton Twins. Stewart plays a Guantanamo prison guard in Camp X-Ray, Reynolds stars in The Voices, and Eisenberg performs double-duty in The Double.