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Last Updated: Friday, 28 January 2005, 14:57 GMT
Actors hail quirky Sundance roles
By Tom Brook
BBC News, Sundance

Many actors in Utah for Sundance film festival are liberated from the straightjacket of their Hollywood roles.

For James Bond star Pierce Brosnan it meant shedding his 007 image - by playing a foul talking, alcoholic, lascivious hitman in the film The Matador.

Pierce Brosnan as James Bond
Pierce Brosnan starred in four James Bond films from 1995-2002
In one clip - not handed out to TV journalists - Brosnan strides through a hotel lobby wearing nothing but a tight swimsuit and cowboy boots.

Brosnan, famed for playing the suave secret agent, said it was a "conscious decision" to "break a mould that's been created".

"You do the same thing for 20 years and then suddenly you grow a moustache and walk across a hotel lobby in your knickers and suddenly it's like - 'that's cool where's he coming from'".

Independent films at Sundance give actors the opportunity to prove they have a broad reach.

Jamie Bell stepped out to play a boy in love with a gun in his Sundance film - quite different from the sweet boy in love with ballet role in the film Billy Elliot that made him famous.

Billy Elliot
Jamie Bell won a Bafta for his performance as Billy Elliot
"I'm working on new stuff. I'm getting older and to move away from that is something that will naturally happen," he said.

And after Sundance, Keira Knightley hopes nobody will view her as just a corseted damsel type, after seeing her as a young contemporary American - with authentic sounding accent - opposite Adrien Brody in the psychological thriller The Jacket.

The Pirates of the Caribbean star said: "The fact of the matter is that as an actor you want to change.

"I don't want to play the same character for my entire career - that would be supremely boring - and as a British actor in Hollywood you get typecast very fast - if you're lucky you can avoid being the plucky British broad for your entire life.

"I do want to do everything I can to fight against that and play as many different characters as possible."

Keira Knightley
Keira Knightley: Keen to do a variety of roles
Then there were British-born actors in Sundance who just continued to impress - like the Oscar-winning Daniel Day Lewis in The Ballad of Jack and Rose.

The film is set on an island cut off from the world, with Day Lewis' character conflicted by the deep love he has for his daughter.

"I suppose the greatest dilemma is knowing that love has become something that has been forced into a dangerous realm - whether to let the world in or not," he said.

With a wealth of British talent in town and some 10 UK feature films in the pipeline this is a strong year for the British at Sundance - some of the filmmakers could go home with prizes.

That would be the hope for the British creators of On A Clear Day, competing in the world cinema section it opened the festival.

Peter Mullan
Peter Mullan's film On A Clear Day secured a big US distribution deal
It is a story of a laid-off shipyard worker who sets his sights on swimming the English Channel and is an inspirational tale a bit like The Full Monty.

And actor Peter Mullan received a lot of acclaim for this Glasgow-set film.

Films at Sundance were there to be sold - On A Clear Day secured a big North American distribution deal and Pierce Brosnan's film was also bought by meaning that millions of cinemagoers around the world could now see him in his most anti-Bond role to date.

Pierce Brosnan as you have never seen him before

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