Hot Sundance Trends: Actors Directing!

"But I really want to direct" isn't just a cliché -- it's also a burning ambition among the movies' thespian class. And where better for actors-turned-filmmakers to premiere their wares than the Sundance Film Festival? This year's aspirants to the hyphenate throne of Clooney, Eastwood and Dennis Dugan include:

· Vera Farmiga directs and stars in Higher Ground (pictured above), a U.S. Dramatic Competition entry about a woman who chafes against the conservative fundamentalist community she has joined. (Kind of like recent Fox Searchlight acquisition Martha Marcy May Marlene, without the creepy sex undertones.) Not a lot of buzz for or against this one just yet, but Farmiga has put together an interesting array of indie and New York stage actors, including John Hawkes, Norbert Leo Butz, Donna Murphy, and...

· Joshua Leonard, who's also in Park City with his own directorial debut, The Lie. The Blair Witch Project and Humpday star one-ups Farmiga by acting, directing, and co-writing this movie about a married couple at a crossroads, and the threat posed to their future together when the husband commits the titular sin.

· Also stepping behind the camera is Irish actor Paddy Considine (In America, The Bourne Ultimatum) with Tyrannosaur, about a man on the run who finds love with a woman trapped in a marriage to a religious fanatic.

Next year: Megan Fox? Paul Giamatti? It's anyone's guess.

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