Behind the Scenes at Sundance: a Star-Filled Women's Rally, Fun Sightings and More

PEOPLE is in Park City, Utah, capturing all the fun behind-the-scenes moments at Sundance

Photo: Robby Klein/YouTube x Getty Images

Another year, another fun-filled 10 days are happening at the Sundance Film Festival in snowy Park City, Utah — and PEOPLE is there to capture all the behind-the-scenes action.

Celebrities like Dakota Fanning, Jane Fonda, Nicholas Cage and more are braving the frigid weather and flocking to the small town this weekend to interact with their biggest fans and hit up some of the festival’s hottest parties.

Thursday, Jan. 18

2:35 p.m.: Blythe Danner arrives in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she is greeted by a swarm of photographers and fans asking for autographs. “Why do I deserve all this attention?” she asks.

11:35 p.m.: Actors Jason Mantzoukas and Nick Offerman ham it up at the Hearts Beat Loud afterparty at the Grey Goose Blue Door on Main.

Friday, Jan. 19

11:13 a.m. – Evan Peters stops by the IndieWire Space to play some Space Invaders in the Pizza Hut Lounge. The 31-year-old actor is in Park City with partner Emma Roberts promoting his film American Animals.

11:30 a.m. – Nicolas Cage and Elijah Wood hang out in the JUUL Lounge at the JetSmarter Music in Film Summit.

Elijah Wood, Nicolas Cage
Barry Brecheisen/Invision for Park City Live/AP

11:35 a.m.: Ted Danson and Danner walk among fans on Main. “We love you, Ted!” an onlooker yells.

12:05 p.m.: Nicholas Cage stops by the Entertainment Studios Suite on Main to discuss his film Mandy. “I don’t think I’ve had a movie premiere here in 40 years, so I’m very excited,” the 54-year-old actor tells PEOPLE. Cage also celebrated the film with his wife Alice Kim by his side at the movie’s premiere, hosted by WanderLuxxe House and Apex Social Club presented by OTT.

And when it comes to the #MeToo movement, Cage says he takes “every opportunity I get to work with a female director.” He added, “One of the best movies I ever made was Valley Girl and I just did a picture called Inconceivable with Maria Pulera and there was a strong female cast. I realize that the talent and creativity needs to be heard and supported and cherished.”

Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

2:30 p.m.: Arrested Development alum Alia Shawkat, who’s in town to promote her new film Blaze, flies in from Los Angeles wearing a bright orange hoodie and sporting her short, curly locks. Emmy-winning Master of None star Lena Waithe is also on the flight, wearing a Chance the Rapper number “3” baseball cap.

The two are spotted chatting and laughing together at the Los Angeles International Airport before boarding. Both actresses stop to sign autographs and chat with a throng of fans who anxiously wait by the baggage claim area, which is cordoned off by velvet rope for the special weekend.

2:35: After the duo depart, the crowd begins to stir excitedly as East Bound & Down star Danny McBride arrives from another flight. He stops to sign autographs before being whisked away to his car.

3:15 p.m.: Offerman takes a second to warm up in the IndieWire Space and grabs a hot slice of pepperoni pizza from the Pizza Hut Lounge.

5:00 p.m.: Director Gus Van Sant, Jack Black, Jonah Hill and Joaquin Pheonix promote their film Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot at The Grey Goose Blue Door on Main.


8:30 p.m.: Luke Evans serenades Dakota Fanning at an exclusive screening of his new TNT show The Alienist sponsored by the network and Vulture. Playfullygoaded by the curator and the audience — which includes Fanning’s sister Elle, 19 — a visibly embarrassed Evans, 38, begrudgingly serenades the room with an a capella rendition of George Gershwin’s “Summertime.” Evans, who proved his vocal abilities in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast as Gaston, sounds pitch perfect. At one point during the song, an audience member shouts, “You’re so sexy!”

10:10 p.m.: Ethan Hawke and Rose Byrne mingle amongst fans at the Juliet, Naked afterparty at the Grey Goose Blue Door on Main. Hawke, sporting a thick winter goatee, is in town to promote his latest directorial effort, Blaze. Also in attendance is It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia star Glenn Howerton, who holds court with friends by the fireplace. He is currently starring in the new NBC comedy A.P. Bio.

Party-goers are greeted at the door with cozy hot toddies and Grey Goose Main Street cocktails, a fresh and vibrant twist on the classic spritz is a mix of pineapple juice, club soda, St-German elderflower liqueur, and Grey Goose vodka — bundled up with a cinnamon stick as garnish.

12:10 a.m.: Audrina Partridge arrives at TAO Park City for a girls night out with friends. The small group walks over to their private table to sip on Don Julio 1942 cocktails while dancing to tunes by DJs Mel DeBarge and Vice.When Camilla Cabello’s “Havana” comes on, Partridge throws up hers arms in excitement and starts singing along and dancing with friends.

12:35 a.m.: and fellow Black Eyed Peas members and Taboo arrive at TAO Park City and are greeted with Tequila Don Julio bottle service at their private table next to the DJ booth.

1:30 a.m.: Idris Alba munches on a hot slice of Pizza Hut pizza while DJ’ing at the WME late night party.

Saturday, Jan. 20

10:00 a.m.: Despite the freezing temperatures and falling snow, hundreds gather for the Respect Rally, a Park City event organized to support “all ethnicities, religions, genders, political and sexual organizations” that falls on the anniversary of last year’s Women’s March. Lyft gave free rides to anyone attending.

Jane Fonda, Tessa Thompson, attorney Gloria Allred, Lena Waithe, Nick Offerman, Maria Bello, Common and other celebrities brave the weather to rally the crowd with impassioned speeches. “When we are equal, we are not abused,” Fonda, the keynote speaker, says. “This kind of change doesn’t just come about through protest. It comes through organizing.”

12:00 p.m. – Armie Hammer stops by the IMDB Studio to discuss almost being Batman in George Miller’s Justice League in 2007, revealing he stole the entire script once the project was canceled.

Celebrity Sightings In Park City

1:27 p.m. Emma Roberts stops by the J.Crew’s “Denim By You” customization bar at the Rock & Reilly’s Lounge Presented by J.Crew, NYLON, and Roku. Roberts gets her nickname “Bob” painted on her J.Crew denim jacket. She attends with her boyfriend Evan Peters and picks out some denim gear for him and her sister.

2:30 p.m.: Jake Gyllenhaal arrives in style with Acura at the Eccles Theater on Main. The 37-year-old actor, who is promoting his film Wildfire, is greeted by screaming girls as soon as he stepped out. He braves the cold and stops to take selfies with fans outside of the theater. Later that day, he supported big sister Maggie Gyllenhaal at a cocktail party hosted by Autograph Collection Hotels and the Black List celebrating her role as independent film advisor for the brand’s Indie Film Project. The actor was spotted giving Ashley Judd a big hug, an onlooker tells PEOPLE.

7:15 p.m.: Common gives a private performance at Grey Goose Blue Door on Main.

7:45 p.m.: Gloria Allred and Marta Kaufman chat it up at the 2018 ChefDance with Creative Playground celebrating 49 Remarkable Women and One Really Cool Dude (Scooter Braun). Guests enjoy a four course meal by Chef Shawn McClain and an intimate performance of Michael Jackson’s “Man In The Mirror” by Grammy Award winning producer and writer, Siedah Garrett, who wrote the song.

Vivien Killilea/Getty Images

8:43 p.m.: Allred tells Braun “you’re the one cool dude because I’ve sued all the rest of them!”

9:10 p.m.: Audrey Plaza arrives toAn Evening with Beverly Luff Linn dinner at the MoviePass Estate, where she hangs with Jemaine Clement and Craig Robinson.

Sunday, Jan. 21

11:14 a.m. – Priyanka Chopra, Jim Parsons, Octavia Spencer, Claire Danes stop by the the Adobe-sponsored Indie Wire Studio and pose for a group photo.

Sundance IndieWire 2018
Adobe + IndieWire Studio Presented by Dropbox

12:00 p.m. – John Legend takes the dais for a special Q&A at the Stella Artois Cafe to celebrate his latest project as an executive producer. Based on the acclaimed 1999 novel of the same name by Walter Dean Myers, Monster tells the story of an African American teenager who finds himself incarcerated at a New York juvenile detention center charger with robbery and felony murder.

Legend, who works with The Show Me Campaign to fight mass incarceration, says of working on the film, “I thought this was a beautiful opportunity to marry a really riveting script, amazing source material that was highly regarded, with an issue that I really care about.”

Also in attendance is director Spike Lee, who sat in the audience to support his wife, Tonya Lee Lewis, a producer on the film. Rap star and former Kendall Jenner flame A$AP Rocky, who stars in the film, also made an appearance, as well as Westworld actor Jeffrey Wright, who plays the main character’s father.

12:00 p.m. — Debra Messing sits down for a chat with director Kevin Smith to talk about Will & Grace being back on TV a full two decades after it first aired.

“This April will be 20 years since the pilot,” she tells Smith at the annual IMDb Studio. “So I mean, it’s never been done before and when we came back we were all sort of like looking at each other going, ‘What is going on?’ It’s the same hair and makeup team, wardrobe team, cameramen. I mean, literally everybody came back!”

Despite the time gap, Messing says she feels like she hasn’t missed a step. “It’s kind of beautiful because it feels like riding an old bike but better and I feel like when we were in the middle of it there was just so much happening around it and I think because we got 11 years away from it and we chose to come back, I think that there’s this sort of gratitude around it that I think we’re free-er and I think in a way everybody is better than we were.”

12:30 p.m. Suki Waterhouse, who’s in town to promote her new film Assassination Nation, a dark comedy that deals with the consequences of social media, sits down with Smith next to talk about her own online presence.

“I feel like we live in this messy contradiction where there is a push that you should be posting and doing stuff and then sometimes I just want to delete the entire thing!” she says.

“Like I don’t want any trace and then you’re like, ‘No, look how nice I look in this garden,’ ” she added with a laugh.

The actress was also spotted over the weekend getting cozy with Jennifer Lawrence’s former boyfriend, director Darren Aronofsky.

12:45 p.m. — Several members of the original cast of Hamilton have an impromptu reunion at the Rock & Reilly’s Daytime Lounge Presented by J.Crew, NYLON and Roku, including Daveed Diggs, Anthony Ramos, Jsmine Cephas Jones and Okierete Onaodowan. Riz Ahmed came to crash the hang out, getting cozy on the comfy couches in the Daytime Lounge. They are joined by Blindspotting co-stars Utkarsh Ambudkar and Janina Gavankar.

All of the cast members are gifted Roku Streaming Stick+ players and enjoyed hot chocolate and hot toddies while hanging out at the Daytime Lounge. Several of the cast members have films at Sundance this year, including Blindspotting, co-written by Diggs and Casal and Monsters and Men, featuring Ramos.

4:40 p.m. — Ashley Judd and a panel of diverse filmmakers and Hollywood players sit down for an emotional discussion for Univision Communications Behind the Camera: Where Diversity Begins. The panel discussed diversity and inclusion in Hollywood, addressing practical solutions to spur change in Hollywood and beyond.

Judd, who has been outspoken about the Harvey Weinstein scandal, opened up about her own history both with discrimination in film and sexual abuse. “Well first of all, my first audition yielded a screen test and I was asked to take my shirt off. It was between another woman and me, and I said that isn’t about our acting, that’s about evaluating a pair of breasts. And the answer was not ‘no’ but ‘hell no.’ ”

Courtesy Univision

Discussing the new film Monster, which addresses themes of sexual assault, Judd said the storytelling resonated with her deeply. Speaking about her own willingness to discuss her history of sexual abuse, Judd said, “I understand it was never my shame and it was the perpetrators shamelessness which he put on me and I’ve given that shame back to the perpetrator where it belongs. And I talk about this from the perspective of from hurting to healing to now helping, but I have the exact same experience where this one summer I was incested and I thought that I had a relationship with an adult man and that it was fancy because he was wealthy, and it was just the sophisticated affair and it was outright incest because he was married to a family member.”

9:40 p.m. — Robert Pattinson arrives at the Assassination Nation cast party at Chase Sapphire on Main. Pattinson, who stars in the modern day western, Damsel, keeps it casual wearing a hoodie and black leather jacket. The 31-year-old actors sips on cocktails and chats with friends.

10:13 p.m. — Bella Thorne arrives with boyfriend Mod Sun, younger sister, Dani, and a small group of friends. Thorne, who stars in the thriller Assassination Nation, keeps it trendy by wearing a hot pink wig, a black sweatshirt and black jeans. The group makes there way to a private table in front of the DJ booth and dance to hit songs including Cardi B’s “Red Bottoms.”

10:35 p.m. — Thorne leans over to give boyfriend Mod Sun a sweet kiss. Shortly after, Mod Sun takes the shirt off his back and offers it to Thorne to change into.

Usher SundancePhoto credit: @futureparty @thesleepless1
@futureparty @thesleepless1

12:50 — Usher arrives to the sounds of a Diplo DJ set at the “Skate Kitchen” Premiere Party at the DirectTV Lodge presented by AT&T. As Diplo plays Usher’s “Yeah”, the singer dances alongside fans in the audience. The Grammy winner is also spotted chatting and laughing with Jaden Smith. And Jon Hamm, sporting a thick winter beard, mingles and laughs with friends as the music plays.

Monday, Jan. 22

10:00 Naomi Watts stops by the IndieWire Lounge and takes three pairs of Mou boots home.

12:40 p.m. Jon Hamm escapes the cold and takes a break inside the IndieWire Lounge on Main. While gushing over Mou boots, the 46-year-old actor – who’s promoting his upcoming movie Beirut – asks to grab a women’s shoe size 8 for a special someone.

4:17 p.m. Robert Pattinson stops by the IndieWire Lounge. “Those shoes are sick,” Pattinson says of the Mou boots display. “I will definitely take a pair of those!”

<a href="" data-inlink="true">Chrissy Teigen</a>, John Legend
Evan Agostini/Invision for Chase Sapphire/AP

8:30 p.m. — John Legend, along with wife Chrissy Teigen, surprise the cast and guests of Monster including A$AP Rocky at Chase Sapphire on Main with an exclusive performance of a medley of his hits including “All of Me,” “Love Me Now” and “Green Light.” Teigen, who is pregnant with the couple’s second child, keeps in casual and comfortable in with an oversized beige sweater, black leather pants and caramel-colored fur coat.

10:30 p.m. — Chloë Grace Moretz arrives at the IMDb studio for the premiere party for her new movie The Miseducation of Emily Post. In addition to the premiere, the guests, including rapper-actor A$AP Rocky, celebrated the launch of IMDBPro’s first-ever mobile app.

Tommaso Boddi/Getty

The actress, whose fashion over the weekend seemed to be an homage to her boyfriend Brooklyn Beckham’s mom Victoria, wears Vampire’s Wife Blue Floral and Silver Metallic Dress and Gold Jimmy Choo Boots.

Moretz’s new film is based on Emily Danforth’s acclaimed and controversial coming-of-age novel, which tells the story of a teenage girl who gets caught having sex with her high school prom queen and is forced into a gay conversion therapy center in 1993.

11:30 p.m. — Common and John Legend hit the stage,performing a collection of hits at the Common and Friends party at the Wanderluxxe house. Partygoers, who sip on Casamigos cocktails, include Idris Elba, Jeffrey Wright, Craig Robinson, Taboo and more.

WanderLuxxe House hosts "Common and Friends" Evening of Private Performances presented by Dropbox and Apex Social Club
Michael Bezjian/Getty
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