What Have You Done For Me Lately? Rodriguez to Play Letterman, and Other Sundance Alumni Updates

Mexican American musician Rodriguez, the subject of Searching for Sugarman.

Nate von Zumwalt, Editorial Coordinator

Take one cursory glance at the annals of the Sundance Film Festival and you’ll notice a persistent and invariable trend: first-time directors. The theme is as astounding as it is inspiring. In 2012 alone, 44 of the 112 feature-film selections were crafted by first-time directors, and a handful of others had made their debuts at Sundance in years past. It would all make for quite the family tree, branching and bifurcating into one massive connection of artists with a similar root. But in lieu of that tedious task, we still like to keep an eye on those filmmakers who have shared their genius with Sundance over the years. In light of yesterday’s thrilling news that Rodriguez—the enigmatic Mexican American musician and the subject of the SFF ’12 opening night doc Searching for Sugarman—is set to play The Late Show with David Letterman in August, we’ve decided to check in on some of the more notable Sundance alumni involving themselves in some of the more notable projects of late.  

Sean Durkin
Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011)

Director Sean Durkin grabbed the Directing Award at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival for his chilling cult thriller Martha Marcy May Marlene, which went on to an accolade-filled year. Durkin further validates his penchant for disturbing subject matter with the recent news that he’s slotted to direct a 10-episode television adaptation of The Exorcist. Click here to read more.

Debra Granik
Winter’s Bone (2010); Down to the Bone (2004)

Two-time Sundancer Debra Granik is back on the grind with a slew of projects in motion—you know her for her 2010 Oscar-nominated drama Winter’s Bone and her 2004 Sundance selection Down to the Bone. Currently Granik is dabbling in a bit of everything, from an HBO family drama, to a war doc, and an adaptation of Russell Bank’s novel Rule of the Bone. Seriously, Debra? The ‘bone’ trend is getting a little weird.

Click here for more on Granik’s busy schedule.

Josh Radnor
happythankyoumoreplease (2010), Liberal Arts (2012)

Josh Radnor—or according to Gawker, the “Guy From How I Met Your Mother”—happens to be doing more than just playing Ted Mosby on the popular sitcom. Since winning the 2010 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award for happythankyoumoreplease, Radnor directed the SFF ’12 Official Selection Liberal Arts, and most recently penned the book One Blissful Thing, recounting his transcendent experience ingesting a hallucinogenic plant in the Amazon—perhaps this explains the enduring case of bed head?

Check out a fun interview by Moviefone earlier this year.

Lee Daniels
Precious (2009)

Lee Daniels is the man behind the Oscar-winning drama Precious, a searing portrait of a relentlessly abusive family that virtually swept the Sundance Film Festival Award Ceremony in 2009. His latest film, Paperboy, opened at Cannes last month and was acquired by Millenium Entertainment and is set for an Oct. 5 release. A GQ interview with Daniels about the film’s mixed reception along with some hilarious anecdotes can be found here.

Zal Batmanglij
Sound of My Voice (2012)

Zal Batmanglij kick-started his career with the eerie cult drama Sound of My Voice, which was released by Fox Searchlight this past spring. His next film, The East, also stars his Georgetown University pal Brit Marling, in addition to Alexander Skarsgard, Ellen Page, Julia Ormond, and Patricia Clarkson. Catch up with Zal in Indiewire’s recent sit-down. Click here.

Drake Doremus
Like Crazy (2011)

Drake Doremus’ follow-up to the Grand Jury Prize-winning Like Crazy is in the works, and he’s yet again enlisted the talents of the alluring Felicity Jones, along with Guy Pearce, and Amy Ryan. Following his dry-witted debut feature, Douchebag, Doremus shifted moods with the beautifully heart-wrenching Like Crazy. He appears to be jumping genres once again with his current project, which has been dubbed a ‘romantic thriller.’

There’s more from Indiewire here.

Robert Rodriguez
El Mariachi (1993)

It’ll be a cold day in hell before Charlie Sheen finds his way into the Sundance news section. Well, it seems that day has come with the casting announcement for Robert Rodriguez’s sequel to Machete. Rodriguez and Sheen both confirmed via tweets that the wayward actor would play the President of the United States in Machete Kills, complementing other additions including Sofia Vergara, Amber Heard, and Mel Gibson. Rodriguez’s Sundance lineage is traced back to his first-ever feature film, El Mariachi, which premiered at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival. Read the full story here.

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