Watching Peter Sarsgaard (2005-05-21)

Tonight at the Gala Reception at the Red Lion Hotel we met Peter Sarsgaard, in town for "An Evening with Peter Sarsgaard" and the screening of The Dying Gaul. The Dying Gaul was preceded by short film selections showing why Peter received the Golden Space Needle Award for Outstanding Achievement in Acting. His recent parts are much more significant than his earlier roles as Walter Delacroix in Dead Man Walking or Raoul in The Man in the Iron Mask (which I unfortunately watched to see Leonardo DiCaprio)! One of my favorite movies in which Sarsgaard played is Garden State.

The introductions began when Karen and SIFF membership coordinator Tara Morgan left the table at which Ryan and I had been catching up with Steven and Dan, whom we met at last year's SIFF. Kevin and Lisa sat down in Tara's and Karen's places, and later told us about their big trip. Before that, however, we learned that Kevin and Lisa attended the interview, film, and party because Kevin went to Jesuit high school in Connecticut with Peter Sarsgaard. When Peter walked in with Maggie Gyllenhaal (Who knew they were dating?), Kevin and Lisa stood up to talk to them. Ryan and I later joined them.

I remarked to Peter that his character's roles as lover of a married man was similar in Kinsey and The Dying Gaul. He replied that Robert in The Dying Gaul was much more aggressive than Clyde Martin in Kinsey. Ryan complimented Peter on his portrayal of a gay man, particularly a scene in The Dying Gaul in which he grieves his lost lover. That scene reminded Ryan of his best friend Mika. Ryan also touched Peter's very short, low-maintenance hair.

Partygoers continuously asked for Peter's and Maggie's autographs. When Peter stepped away with Tara, Kevin asked Maggie if she made movies as well. Maggie mentioned Secretary and Criminal. Ryan took the opportunity to discuss Maggie's movies, particularly Mona Lisa Smile (a sort of Dead Poet's Society for girls). He also complimented her on her style, asked if she had fashion help, and asked if she followed magazine comments on her dress. She dresses herself and doesn't care what the press says.

Finally, Ryan told her that he thought both she and Jake were beautiful, and asked her to tell her younger brother that at least one person in Seattle thinks he's hot. Momentarily thinking only of Jake Gyllenhaal--and forgetting that Maggie was in the same movie--I remarked that we were sorry Jake didn't attend the Donnie Darko director's cut screening at SIFF last year. (It had been nice to chat with Jena Malone and Mary McDonnell last year, however. Jena Malone--who also played in Life as a House--had been in two other SIFF films I saw: The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys and Saved!) I'd love to meet the star of October Sky and Jordan from Lovely & Amazing. Jake, come to Seattle!

Back to Peter Sarsgaard, The Dying Gaul will be interesting in distribution, given that the story of a gay couple--revolving around Peter's character--is a major plot element. In fact, The Dying Gaul is self-referential, discussing at length how difficult it is for such a film to attract theatergoers, despite the success of Philadelphia. The box office will tell if this is true.


Anonymous said...

Assuming you dressed up for the 'gala reception', I want to see pictures of you and Ryan posted.

William said...

From a conversation with SIFF members at the Secret Festival I understand that when Peter stepped away with Tara, it was to resolve a dispute about the meaning of the ending. (The ending was as depressing as we thought.) The ending will be different at the film's release, however, as test audiences did not like the current one.

William said...

Alas! We have no pictures. :(

William said...

Amie Simon wrote a SIFFblog review of The Dying Gaul.