Kidman and Kutcher to thrill Sundance

Films starring a raft of Australian actors and the Steve Jobs biopic starring Ashton Kucher have been announced for the Sundance Film Festival next month.

In the premiere section at the showcase for independent cinema are:

• The French-Australian drama Two Mothers, which is described as a "gripping tale of love, lust and the power of friendships". Directed by Anne Fontaine (Coco Avant Chanel), it stars Naomi Watts and Robin Wright as two lifelong friends who fall in love with each other's sons, played by Xavier Samuel and James Frecheville.

• Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman and Jacki Weaver in Stoker, a family drama-thriller from Korean director Park Chan-wook (Oldboy).

• Also showing at the festival will be Toni Collette in The Way, Way Back, Guy Pearce in Breathe In and Rahda Mitchell in Big Sur.

The festival, which runs in Park City, Utah, from January 17 to 27, will close with jOBS, the Steve Jobs biopic with Ashton Kucher starring as the Apple entrepreneur.

The Sundance festival director, John Cooper told The Hollywood Reporter that Kutcher's performance as the enigmatic Apple co-founder will resonate with viewers.

“Ashton Kutcher's performance I thought was quite remarkable," he said. "It's a very formidable performance and it seemed like he really tried to grasp all the nuances of who Steve Jobs was.”

Directed by Joshua Michael Stern, the biopic also stars Dermot Mulroney, Josh Gad and Matthew Modine.

There will also be keen interest at the festival in a one-off screening of Jane Campion's six-hour TV drama Top of the Lake, produced by Emile Sherman (The King's Speech) and shot in New Zealand earlier this year.

It centres on a pregnant 12-year-old girl who won't say who her child's father is and stars Elisabeth Moss, Holly Hunter, Peter Mullan and David Wenham.

Also expected to attract attention is Lovelace, with Amanda Seyfried playing the 1970s porn star Linda Lovelace of Deep Throat fame.

The festival marks the directing debut of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, whose acting career is on a high after Inception and The Dark Knight Rises. He also stars in Don Jon's Addiction, a film about a selfish modern-day Don Juan, alongside Scarlett Johansson and Julianne Moore.

There is also the third instalment of Richard Linklater's romantic series with Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke. Before Midnight sees their characters Jesse and Celine in Greece almost two decades after they met on a train bound for Vienna in Before Sunrise.

The story Kidman and Kutcher to thrill Sundance first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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