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Having five films at Sundance over the course of a career would be impressive. Try five in one year. That’s what Ann Dowd can boast after the 2018 fest wraps, with the Handmaid’s Tale Emmy winner appearing in a quintet of world premieres, all shot in the past 11 months — from horror (Ari Aster’s Hereditary) to crime thriller (Bart Layton’s American Animals) to drama (Silas Howard’s A Kid Like Jake, Christina Choe’s Nancy, Sebastian Silva’s Tyrel).
“I have a wonderful manager and agent, Marsha McManus and Gary Gersh, who were so generous in trying to work the schedules because if that were up to me, I would just — I couldn’t. I couldn’t manage it, shooting in Utah and upstate New York and North Carolina. I don’t even know where I was,” jokes Dowd. “They make it possible.”
Tyrel, which centers on a young man (Mudbound‘s Jason Mitchell) who spirals out of control when he realizes he’s the only black person attending a weekend birthday party at a secluded winter cabin, proved particularly gratifying because it offered an opportunity for Dowd, 61, to work with her then-12-year-old son, Trust Arancio, a newcomer to the screen but one who has spent ample time on sets.
“Sebastian called, and we were having a conversation about what the film was about and what are the dynamics, especially between cultures. Black. White. And I said, ‘You know, I’m very interested because my son is African?American. I have to know the subtleties,’ ” recalls Dowd. “He said, ‘Would he be in the film?’ I almost dropped the phone. The generosity of that — I don’t want to ever leave him home, right?”
Dowd won’t be doing a victory lap down Park City’s Main Street — currently shooting season two of Handmaid’s in Toronto, she’ll get only a two-day “break” to travel to L.A. for the SAG Awards on Jan. 21 (the Hulu drama scored an outstanding cast nom).
“I would love to be there to support them because all five of these films are so deserving,” says Dowd. “Then again, one should have such problems.”
This story first appeared in the Jan. 17 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
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