Indie filmmaker Debra Granik did it once with the 2004 low-budget drama Down to the Bone, which showed what Vera Farmiga could do (she won best actress from the LA Film Critics). This January at Sundance, the director did it again, showcasing Jennifer Lawrence in a star-making role as a smart young teen fighting to save her family from falling off the edge in hard-bitten Ozark country. (The film won both the screenwriting and dramatic grand jury prize.)
Granik digs deep into the soul of her characters and the bleak rural location, mining color and flavor from non-professionals and local musicians. In our interview she talks about the method behind this taut suspense thriller, for which she takes advantage of the genre techniques inherent in Daniel Woodrell's crime novel to pull viewers into a narrative that is as naturalistic and believable as it is engrossing. Roadside Attractions opens the R-rated film on June 11 in L.A. and NY. I bet it's a hit.
Interview and clips are below.