Indie Spirit Nominee Krieger Talks The Vicious Kind

by Anne Thompson
December 1, 2009 11:00 AM
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Thompson on Hollywood
Lee Toland Krieger woke up to a big surprise Indie Spirits morning: not only was he nominated for best screenplay for his sophomore feature The Vicious Kind, but his leading man, Adam Scott, grabbed a nomination for best male lead. "It could not have been more unexpected," he said as he fielded calls while trying to meet a script deadline. "The film was off the radar, even on an indie level. It's not like Precious, which was picked up by Lionsgate and is sweeping big fest awards. We're unfortunately out of the loop."

While the low-budget film premiered in the Frontier section at this year's Sundance Film Festival, it was not seen or covered by many, although Variety reviewed it kindly:

"...an unpredictable, off-kilter and scabrously funny piece of work...anchored by Adam Scott's searing performance as an emotionally brutal and brutalized young man...

Partly inspired by exec producer Neil LaBute, for whom both Krieger, 26, and his 72nd Street Productions partner Tim Harms once worked, the film was never going to sell to a major distributor in the current indie climate, Krieger admits. "Even at the writing stage, I didn't want to be part of the Indiewood movement," he says. "I love movies like Little Miss Sunshine and Juno, but I wanted to make a film that was closer to John Cassavetes' Faces or In the Company of Men, that had a transgressive quality."

Thanks to LaBute, ICM helped to package the movie and raise investment coin; the four-hander is about two brothers (Scott and Alex Frost) who return for Thanksgiving with their father (J.K. Simmons), with one girlfriend (Brittany Snow) in tow. Unresolved issues about the death of their mother come into play. The movie played a series of film festivals but not Berlin or Cannes, and did not land any distribution offers that made sense, Krieger says. 72nd Street, which makes shorts and commercials, is self-releasing with the help of some theater bookers and press agent Henry Eshelman. The movie opens at Laemmle's Sunset 5 on December 11. When one P & A investor fell through, they pulled their NY booking, but now Krieger will reconsider that option.

Here are four clips and the trailer:


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More: Awards, Independents, Indie Spirits

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