There has been a lot of heat going into Sundance that this year's festival could be another buyer's market for mini-majors and indie distributors looking to fill out their 2015 slates. Fox Searchlight already picked up Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig's “Mistress America” and now Lionsgate has surprised by acquiring another premiere title, Jared Hess' “Don Verdean.”
A potential comeback for the man behind “Napoleon Dynamite,” “Verdean” finds Sam Rockwell playing the title character, a biblical archeologist brought on by a small town church pastor to find “faith-promoting” historical items in the Holy Land. He has to get creative when his expedition comes up short. The rest of the cast is rounded out by Jemaine Clment, Amy Ryan, Danny McBride, Leslie Bibb and Will Forte.
Hess' first break was when “Napoleon Dynamite” exploded out of Sundance in 2004. A decade later he returns after one major hit, 2006's “Nacho Libre,” and an unfortunate disaster, 2009's “Gentlemen Broncos.”
“Don Verdean” has its public premiere on Wednesday, Jan. 28. No word on when Lionstate plans on releasing it or whether they distribute it through their partnership with Roadside Attractions.