‘Laggies’ jumps ahead, finds distributor at Sundance

PARK CITY, Utah — Sixteen-year-old Chloe Grace Moretz is one of the younger stars at the Sundance Film Festival, but she’s hardly starry-eyed.

She’s busily promoting Laggies, in which she co-stars with Keira Knightley and Sam Rockwell. The work was sold after a bidding war at the festival to A24 Films for a reported $2 million and will head to theaters on May 9.

“Typical Sundance,” says Moretz, with a slightly bored tone, when asked how it’s going. “I’ve only been to one other Sundance, but every festival feels the same.”.

She was here in 2009 for (500) Days of Summer,in which she played Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s precocious sister.

This time around she plays the teenage daughter of Rockwell. She makes a new friend (Knightley), who is 28, immature, and running away from a marriage proposal and adulthood.

“Sam is one of my favorite actors, so it was really surreal to have him play my dad,” she says. “He plays this jaded lawyer who’s a total jerk. He doesn’t really know how to take care of a 16-year-old girl, but is just hilarious.”.

She speaks of her character with the enthusiasm and verbiage of a teen girl and the perspective of a seasoned actress.

“She’s kind of really confused about who she is,” says Moretz. “Her mom left the family when she was 13, and she’s now kind of a typical divorced kid, thinking ‘I don’t know who I am or what I want to be. My dad doesn’t even care.’ She meets this 28-year-old who’s also going through a crisis and they kind of have this weird coming-of-age story together, which is super random.”.

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Laggies director Lynn Shelton, who has had four films in play at Sundance over the years, has a special fondness for this gathering.

“I live in Seattle and the average person on the street has never heard of the Toronto International Film Festival, but everybody’s heard of Sundance,” she says. “It’s really kind of worked its way into the mainstream cultural consciousness.”.

Lately, the festival has featured a wider array of films and big stars, she says.

“It feels like it sort of runs the gamut. You look down the list of films and their cast and who’s associated with them, and there is a lot of star power. Some of those stars are trying to do something different, more challenging, something that’s not blockbuster- or tentpole-driven.”.

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