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Hollywood Flashback: Paul Dano Made Noise With ‘Little Miss Sunshine’

This year has been a memorable one for Paul Dano, who played the Riddler in the batman and is currently starring opposite Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen in Steven Spielberg’s award nominee, The Fabelmans. After beginning his career as a child actor, Dano found a prominent role in the 2006 road trip drama. little miss sunshinewith his co-stars Greg Kinnear, Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Abigail Breslin and Alan Arkin.

From co-directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, the story centers on a family who travels across the country in a Volkswagen bus to bring their youngest daughter, Olive (Breslin), to Southern California to compete in a beauty pageant. . Dano played Olive’s half-brother Dwayne, a Nietzsche-adoring teenager who has taken a vow of silence. The film was a sensation at Sundance, where it opened in early 2006 and sold to Fox Searchlight for $10.5 million, one of the festival’s biggest deals to date; THRThe review for praised its “clever mix of farce and heart”.

The investment paid off: The film opened on July 26, 2006, and showed impressive legs at the box office with a worldwide total of $101 million ($149 million today). Viewers had warm feelings for little miss sunshinewith the film winning Best Ensemble Performance at the Critics Choice Movie Awards, where Dano prevailed for Best Young Actor and Breslin won Best Young Actress.

While accepting the award, Dano joked that he was “stuck in the back seat of a very hot van with a cranky, stinking Alan Arkin, and for a young guy, that was a real privilege.”

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The film was an awards season favorite, winning the SAG Award for Best Performance by an Ensemble Cast and garnering four Oscar nominations, including for Original Screenplay and for Arkin for Best Supporting Actor.

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In March of this year, Dano said THR that he has gotten better at managing the call center over the years, saying of projects like the batman:: “It feels very good for me to have done this now, and I can enjoy it now, where I don’t know if I would have done it in my 20s”.

The Hollywood Reporter kicks off original review of 'Little Miss Sunshine'

This story first appeared in a December standalone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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