So far at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, the big winner has been Ryan Reynolds. His "Buried" scored the first big distribution deal of the fest, when Lionsgate snatched up the claustrophobic drama for $3.2 million on Sunday. Set entirely in a coffin and featuring only Reynolds and a cell phone, the film is more than a bit risky both in storytelling and what it may take to market it to audiences.
In both these regards, the actor sees "Buried" fitting in snugly with many of Sundance's other flicks. "This particular festival is a little bit more toned down, a little bit more back to its roots," he told MTV News. "It's kind of exciting to be here. I feel like the whole slate has some pretty risky films."
First-time festival director John Cooper has actively sought to return Sundance to its origins of bold independent voices. In addition to "Buried," buzzy films like "Catfish," "Enter the Void" and "Splice" make clear that the festival is indeed embracing its gritty beginnings.
In "Buried," Reynolds plays a civilian truck driver captured during the war in Iraq and buried alive with only his phone and instructions to come up with $5 million in ransom money before the oxygen in the coffin runs out. This isn't the first time the actor has arrived in Park City with a high-concept film. In 2007, he brought the hallucinatory "The Nines" to Sundance.
"I don't set out to do a movie and say, 'Oh, it's going to end up at Sundance,' " he explained. "But it was a fascinating script. The script was something that was on the Black List in Hollywood for a long time as one of the great unproduced scripts. The problem was nobody knew how to do it. And I get this letter one day from this [director] named Rodrigo Cortés in this sort of broken English and he sends me a 15-page treatise or mission statement on how he would do this movie. The next thing you know, I'm in Barcelona being lowered into a box."
The experience of being the only actor on set and shooting in a foreign country was both liberating and isolating. "It's lonely, and that serves the film," Reynolds said. "I'm shooting in Barcelona and nobody speaks English and I'm feeling very, very alone there. It puts you in an awkward situation because there's always one actor on set that's a dick, so in this case that makes it a little bit odd."
The MTV Movies team is all over the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. Go to Sundance.MTV.com for exclusive clips, reviews, photos and interviews with everyone from Kristen Stewart and Ryan Reynolds to Ben Affleck and James Franco.
Check out everything we've got on "Buried."
For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.com.