The Sundance Film Festival has a tradition of secret screenings, where the audience is treated to a previously unannounced, but notable, movie. This year’s surprise is Eddie the Eagle, which stars Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service), Hugh Jackman, and Christopher Walken, among others, and screened Tuesday night.
Directed by Dexter Fletcher (Sunshine on Leith), the film is an extremely appropriate movie to be screening in Park City, given the town’s rep as a center for winter sports. In it, Egerton plays real-life Brit Michael ‘Eddie’ Edwards, who attempted to represent the U.K. in ski-jumping at the 1988 winter Olympics, despite having a positively dangerous lack of previous experience when it came to flying off vertiginous slopes at high velocity.
“I think it’s one of those wonderful things that come together,” Dexter told EW, prior to the screening, of his film’s appearance at Sundance. “We didn’t have as much snow as we wanted when we made the movie — and here of course there’s tons of the stuff. But it just seems like a really good fit, in these wonderful mountains with all this snow and skiing.”
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“It’s a perfect place to premiere,” agreed Jackman, who plays Edwards’ coach in the film. “To be in this sort of environment, where there are jumps and people hanging out in the snow. Add some mulled wine and some fire pits and it would be perfect.”
Although Edwards is unfamiliar to most Americans, his exploits made him a bona fide pop culture phenomenon in the U.K. According to Jackman, he was also well-known in the actor’s home country. “He was a bit of a folk hero in Australia,” explained the X-Men star. “He totally embodies that Aussie sense of ‘Just have a go.’ But even I had no idea how much there was to it and what was at stake for him. The real Eddie had this great way of masking the real-life danger with this almost clownish, comical exterior. Really, it’s a very inspirational, uplifting kind of story. You realize he’s an everyman who’s just dreaming big.”
Eddie the Eagle is released Feb. 26. You can see the film’s trailer above.