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Felicity Jones may have auditioned for a role in the shower and appeared in a film about vibrators, but the overstimulated, provocation-weary moviegoing public can breathe easy-indie cinema's next go-to girl is more Audrey Hepburn than sex-crazed tabloid vixen. The 26-year-old British actress' disarmingly intimate performance in Like Crazy earned her a Special Jury Prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival. The completely improvised film concerns two college students-one British (Jones), one American (Anton Yelchin)-who are madly in love but separated by visa issues. It's the first in a series of high-profile projects that Jones appears in this year: the outsider-makes-good comedy Chalet Girl; Hysteria (that vibrator movie), a romantic comedy, opposite Maggie Gyllenhaal and Hugh Dancy; and Page 8, starring Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz.

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Emerging from the tent that leads to the Eccles Theater, the huddled masses are greeted with a snowstorm that they’d hoped had already passed, but it’s a mercifully short walk to the auditorium. Still, it’s hard not to be nervous about what kind of landscape may await us when we emerge from “Like Crazy,” the new film from Drake Doremus.

Drake Doremus earned praise at least year’s festival for his debut effort, the dark road comedy “Douchebag,” but the writer-director has returned with a very different film. “Like Crazy” stars Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones as a young couple kept apart by an ocean and some visa troubles. For Jones, this year's festival may be her grand coming out party.

As soon as the screening ended, it seems, Jones found herself in a pitched battle for this year’s “it” girl title with “Martha Marcy May Marlene” star Elizabeth Olsen, if the New York and Los Angeles Times are to be believed.

“She actually put together a tape in her apartment where she did the shower scene—she actually got into the shower and shot herself doing the scene and it was magnificent…”
explained Doremus when asked how he’d come to cast the rising young star. “I saw that scene and cast her right away—well, that’s not why…She, yeah, it was fantastic.” 

"Like Crazy" is a powerful and beautifully told love story, that’s smart enough not to offer any easy answers or pat solutions. Throughout, Doremus does a nice job of conveying a great deal of emotion and action without a great deal of dialogue, thanks to some fine editing and a beautiful score by Dustin O’Halloran. The film’s shorthand allows for a far greater arc than you might normally get from an 89-minute film.

One of the film’s other strengths is the dialogue, which has a naturalistic feel to it, the product of hours and hours of workshopping.
 
“The movie is mostly improvised from a 50-page outline that Ben (York Jones) and I wrote together. It was a lot like ‘Douchebag,’ where we get really specific in the outline and then these wonderful actors bring it to life. I guided it and rehearsed it a lot and you sort of find the beats of the story. Felicity and Anton especially really trusted me and delved into it and did an amazing job improvising.

“We spent about 10 days, 14 hours a day, just sort of going through the moments, and talking a lot. The key was to just get an idea of it and then, on set, really find it. I didn’t want to find it in rehearsal, so the moment would just be in the zone on set, so we would capture it perfectly. Just trying to find it,” at which point Doremus looks over his shoulder at his two stars—“you guys wanna talk about the process and how mad at me you were?”

The question is met with looks of horror and furiously shaking heads from Jones and Yelchin.

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Long distance relationships are difficult enough to master in real life; it's no wonder Hollywood has had trouble capturing their complexities on the big screen.

Thankfully, a Sundance gem called "Like Crazy," which has quickly become one of the buzziest entries at this year's festival, has just changed all that with a truthful and bittersweet portrayal of managing — and, as often as not, failing to manage — love from afar.

Directed by Drake Doremus, the mostly improvised movie follows a young couple ("Star Trek's" Anton Yelchin, 21 and relative newcomer Felicity Jones, 27, in what deserves to be a breakout role) and their relationship over the course of eight years.

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Felicity Jones prepared for her role in the breakup drama Like Crazy by driving around L.A. listening to an audio recording of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel The Beautiful and the Damned. In the film, the 25-year-old Jones plays a British student who falls for a hunk (played by Anton Yelchin), only to be separated from him when she's banned from the U.S. after overstaying her visa. With Fitzgerald as a template for romance, it's no surprise that U.K.-born Jones describes the making of the film as "quite intense, just like a relationship." The intensity was magnified by the fact that director Drake Doremus demanded that all the dialogue be improvised. "I think the writing skills of actors are sometimes underestimated," Jones says-although having an English degree from the University of Oxford probably didn't hurt. She recently starred in SoulBoy. Set around the Northern Soul music scene that peaked in Northwest England in the mid-'70s, the film has Jones playing a quiet art student who helps the main character achieve his dreams by teaching him to dance in his bedroom. "I'm more of a freestyle dancer," Jones says of her off-camera moves. "I like to do my own thing." This December she will appear as Miranda in Julie Taymor's new adaptation of The Tempest-a production that co-stars Helen Mirren and unlikely Shakespearean Russell Brand. The actress also recently spent some time bulking up to star as a snowboarder in Phil Traill's teenage adventure Chalet Girl. "I had a three-week intensive training course on how to snowboard," she says. "It was a very physical role. But eating whatever I wanted meant it was the best few months of my life."
 


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|01- 02| blake lively
|03| colin morgan
|04 - 13| ed westwick
|14 - 15| ellen page
|16 - 17| felicity jones
|18 - 21| joseph gordon-levitt
|22 - 25 | keira knightley
|26 - 28 | leighton meester
|29 - 32| rupert grint
|33 - 41| the beatles
|42  49| misc{flashbacks of a fool; ron&hermione; ed&felicity}


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|01 - 06 | felicity jones
|07 - 09 | emma watson
|10 - 12 | keira knightley
|13 - 14 | cate blanchett
|15 - 18 | twiggy
|19 - 30 | the beatles
|31 - 38 | ed westwick
|40 - 41 | sam rockwell
|42 - 46 | misc {chuck/blair; ed/felicity; pride & prejudice; le fabuleux destin d'amélie poulain}


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|01 - 03| emma watson
|04 - 05| rupert grint
|06 - 07| rupert/emma
|08 - 11| felicity jones
|12 - 17| ed westwick
|18 - 20| leighton meester
|21 - 25 | blake lively
|27 - 30| george harrison
|31 - 32| jean shrimpton
|33 - 38|  kaká/robinho


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[12] Jane Eyre (2006)
[12] Emma (2009)
[04] Rebecca (1997)
[08] Northanger Abbey (2007)
[04] Peter Pan (1953)
[08] Beauty and the Beasty (1991)
[12] Rita Hayworth
[04] Olivia de Havilland
[08] Audrey Hepburn



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