January 28, 2023


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Magazine Dreams Stance Sundance by Jonathan Majors

2 min read

After weeks of ear-splitting buzz about Jonathan Majors’ Sundance drama “Magazine Dreams,” the dumbbells are out. As a deeply disturbed – yet sympathetic – aspiring bodybuilder, Majors wowed Park City’s Eccles Theater on Friday night, earning a standing ovation.

Writer-director Elijah Bynum narrates Killian Maddox, a steroid-guzzling, socially inept loner who can’t find success in his dream job. He finds less in the way of personal relationships, whether with his roommate and ailing grandfather, a sleazy store clerk (Halley Bennett) who seems open to more than friendship, or even a ransom-offering sex worker (Taylor Paige) who takes her for granted. See the sad past. .

There’s a lot of homoeroticism in Killian’s body obsession and that of other bodybuilders — majors are often seen naked or wearing little more than skimpy underwear.

The star power of the majors may attract buyers, but with films like “Joker” and “Taxi Driver,” the film is a challenging watch. The walkout was a distraction and many audience members were seen staring at the intense moment.

Bynum says he came up with the idea for a character like Killian when he was back at the gym, trying to get back in shape. While there he noticed a bodybuilder whose intensity made other people in the gym conspicuous.

“What a strange way to go through the world, where you are feared and ignored at the same time,” Bynum found himself thinking.

After writing the script for “Magazine Dreams,” Bynum turned to the majors to bring Killian to life. Major, best known for his turns in films like “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” and “Devotion,” focused on tapping into the character’s humanity.

“I’ve seen this guy, you’ve seen this guy, I’ve been this guy,” Majors said during a post-screening Q&A.

Paige, who last wowed Sundance with “Zola,” said the world premiere was the first time she saw the entire film. Holding back tears, she praised Major and Director Bynum for their efforts. A character like Killian, he said, is the result of a “lovelessness” in our culture.

“We have to take care of each other,” Page said. “We’re so fragile and we all walk this fine line of being okay, but we’re not always okay.”

“We cannot look away,” he added. “We have to walk to each other’s houses.”

The premiere of the film got off to a rocky start as volunteers refused to seat badge holders and ticket-buyers inside an empty Eccles Theatre. Instead, indie film executives and agents were told to wait in the snow in an overflow line. The screening started more than 30 minutes late.

“Magazine Dreams” is one of the strongest selling titles at this year’s festival. CAA Media Finance is representing worldwide rights.

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