Robert Redford Revives Sundances' Rebellious Roots

Ball gowns and tuxedos? Not in Park City. Veteran actor-filmmaker Robert Redford kicked off the 2010 Sundance Film Festival Thursday evening with a short and sweet introduction of one of Sundance's competition entries, "Howl.”

“Getting back to your roots can come off as being fresh and new," Redford told the crowd of more than 1,200 film lovers at Park City’s Eccles Center, calling “Howl” – which is based on Allen Ginsberg’s 1955 poem and the obscenity trial it sparked two years later – "kind of a composite of a lot of what we are."

It’s an indie film, funded in part by Redford's Sundance Institute, but “Howl” features a face that should be familiar to mainstream audiences: James Franco, who starred in the “Spider-Man” series of movies, the stoner comedy “Pineapple Express,” and the Oscar winning film “Milk.” Franco plays the famous poet in “Howl.”

At the film’s premiere, Franco was asked about the shakeup surrounding the Spidey franchise. (Tuesday, Columbia Pictures and Marvel Comics announced that director Sam Raimi and star Tobey Maguire won’t be part of the next “Spider-Man” installment.)

"I don't have a problem with that," Franco told reporters about the change-up. "It worked out well for Batman, and comics themselves have different artists and writers. I think it's perfectly fine."

Good to know Spidey will live long and prosper (it’s OK to mix movie/TV references on this blog.) Back to the ‘dance!

-- Sheila Marikar

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