Every Monday until the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, EW is celebrating a great success story from independent film’s most prestigious showcase. Last week, we revisited Lee Daniel’s Precious. Today, we look back at Frozen River, the 2008 movie that made Hollywood take notice of Melissa Leo.
Leo had been acting for more than 20 years when Frozen River came to Sundance, and most people knew her best for her five seasons as Detective Kay Howard on TV’s Homicide: Life on the Street. In 21 Grams, she’d proven she could act with anyone, but she wasn’t considered for many leading movie roles until Frozen River. In Courtney Hunt’s upstate–New York drama, Leo played a desperate but fierce mother whose lofty ambition of making the down-payment for a double-wide trailer-home leads her to pair up with Native American (Misty Upham) from the local reservation to smuggle people into the country from Canada. READ FULL STORY