Paul Dano’s Sundance Drama ‘For Ellen’ Gets Downbeat First Trailer

Written by on August 14, 2012 

Following his break-out in L.I.E., Paul Dano hit a larger base with The Girl Next Door and Little Miss Sunshine, but the There Will Be Blood actor has mostly been reserved for supporting roles in blockbusters like Knight and Day and Cowboys & Aliens. This year has seen a new side for him though, as he led Being Flynn, Ruby Sparks and now we have the first trailer for his next upcoming feature, For Ellen.

Directed by So Yong Kim, the film premiered to decent reviews at Sundance, mostly praising our lead’s performance. Judging for the trailer it looks a bit too low-key, drab and spare to throw around much other praise, but it’s nice to see Dano a bit unhinged. Napoleon Dynamite‘s Jon Heder also occupies a supporting role, departing his usual self and taking more of a serious turn. Check it out below and look for Dano in two of my most-anticipated upcoming features, Steve McQueen‘s Twelve Years a Slave and Rian Johnson‘s Looper.


Aspiring rock star Joby Taylor (Paul Dano – THERE WILL BE BLOOD, LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE) has wanted nothing more than to “make it,” having flirted with fame but never crossed over into true success. In the midst of a low period in his life, he agrees to sign divorce papers with his estranged wife (Margarita Levieva – “Revenge,” “How To Make It In America”) in order to see money from the sale of their home, only to discover that by signing the papers, he will forfeit all custody of his six-year-old daughter, Ellen (newcomer Shaylena Mandigo). With a good-natured lawyer (Jon Heder – NAPOLEON DYNAMITE) unable to make headway in reversing the decision, and a girlfriend (Jena Malone – INTO THE WILD) that represents an era of his life that he might be ready to graduate from, Joby negotiates a visit with his daughter to explore whether he is able to walk away from his child, and whether it might be too late for reconciliation.

For Ellen hits theaters on September 5th, 2012 and on VOD on September 18th.

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