Among the glitz and overloaded chaos of Sundance, breakout stars emerge, fueling the reputation of the festival’s force as a discovery engine. This year, one of the most talked-about young actors is 15-year-old Josh Wiggins, who stars alongside Aaron Paul in director Kat Candler’s third feature “Hellion.”
The film—which grew out of Candler’s 2012 short of the same name—features Paul and Wiggins as father and son Hollis and Jacob, still reeling from the death of Jacob’s mother a year earlier. Devastated, repressed and angry, neither has been able to properly express his grief: the ill-equipped Hollis has turned to alcohol and denial, while Jacob—along with his ragtag crew of latchkey comrades—has become a destructive delinquent, and a harmful influence on his younger brother Wes (Deke Garner). With the family hurtling towards crisis, social workers and Hollis’s sister-in-law Pam (Juliette Lewis) step in to try to stem the bleeding, but only succeed in tearing the fragile fabric holding father and sons together (read our review here).
“Hellion” is a heartbreaking film, filled with alternating moments of rage and tenderness. The relationship between Paul and Wiggins is central to the film’s success, and we caught up with the pair at Sundance this week, where their mutual admiration was on full and charming display.