The Sundance Film Festival just wrapped up in Utah yesterday. Indie films are a great resource for unexpected baby names – they’re inventive, original, often rich with significance, and yet they’re usually not blockbusters. Choosing a name from a great but somewhat obscure movie is different than calling your daughter Neytiri or your son Anakin – there’s less instant, unavoidable connection to the character.
Last week also brought us a string of celebrity birth announcements too intriguing to ignore. A handful of Sundance-inspired appellations, like Merrily, Beatrice, Clarke, Spring, and Beau, exited the list to make room for a few newsworthy baby names.
Let’s start with a few from the Festival:
Tulip – Catherine Zeta-Jones’ character in upcoming crime caper Lay the Favorite answers to this botanical rarity. Rebecca Romijn and Jerry O’Connell used it as an extra middle for their daughter Charlie Tamara Tulip. She shares the same vowel sound as Ruby and Lucy. Will we start to see Tulip in bloom?
Zibby – The youngest Olsen sister, Elizabeth, plays Zibby in coming-of-age flick Liberal Arts. Surely it isn’t the character’s given name. Maybe Zibby is a creative short form of Elizabeth, or it could be a novel nickname for Isabella.
Rory – Despite the success of Riley and so many Irish appellations, Rory remains relatively underused. Could Bradley Cooper change that? He plays a plagiarizing writer called Rory Jansen in The Words. Also notable: Zoe Saldana’s character is named Dora, proving that the name remains wearable despite the animated Explorer.
Ellis – If you watch The Good Wife, you’ll recognize young actor Graham Phillips. He stars with Vera Farmiga and David Duchovny in Goats. Phillips plays a character called Ellis. Like Rory, it is the kind of name that isn’t nearly as popular as you might expect.
Tucker – And the last one drawn from the silver screen for this week is Tucker, an occupational surname probably crossed off many a list because of an unfortunate rhyming possibility. Eric Christian Olsen plays Tucker in Celeste and Jesse Forever. It probably won’t catch on, but with boys answering to Tyler and Archer, why not?
Turning to the celebrity baby names, we welcomed a bumper crop this past week:
Romy Hero – Matt Lauer, Sofia Coppola, and Gina Bellman all have girls named Romy. Now add Kick-Ass star Aaron Johnson and his partner Sam Taylor-Wood to that list. Sam and Aaron have an older daughter, Wylda Rae. Romy, traditionally a short form of Rosemary or Rosemarie, sounds modern without feeling invented. It also brings to mind screen legend Romy Schneider. As for that middle name, the Shakespearean pick is extravagant but appealing.
Fiona Leigh – It’s twins for Community’s Danny Pudi and wife Bridget! Son James Timothy has a completely classic appellation, but there’s something quite current about daughter Fiona. Not only does she share her name with the Shrek heroine, Fiona has all the same sounds as the ever-so-stylish Sophia.
Kaya Emory – It took them a few days, but tennis star Lindsay Davenport and husband Jonathan Leach settled on a name for baby #3. Kaya Emory joins Lauren Andrus and Jagger Jonathan. The couple says that they’re not sure if they’ll use her feminine first name or more androgynous middle.
Maxwell Lue – Speaking of unisex names, actress Lindsay Sloane and husband Dar Rollins went with a completely unexpected choice for their firstborn – daughter Maxwell. It’s a masculine moniker for a little girl, though Max seems perfectly wearable, as natural as all those girls called Sam and Alex. As for that middle, Lue owes something to Heidi’s Lou and something to Beyonce’s Blue, too.
Would you draw inspiration from a movie character? Does it matter if the movie is well known?