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Sundance: Kevin Spacey and Uma Thurman shut the photo studio down

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All good things must come to an end, even things like photo studios. And so it was that the final afternoon at the EW Loft unspooled, welcoming just three casts into its warm, sandwichy embrace before taking down the flashing lights for another year. What the casts lacked in quantity, they made up for in quality (and paparazzi fervor, thanks to the presence of one Uma Thurman). While only two of the three had time to talk, their cheerfulness filled the room like the dozens of assorted stylists and hangers-on who’d lingered about over the weekend, only nicer, and less awkward.

Wish we could have sat down with Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster from The Messenger — a drama centered around soldiers tasked with delivering bad news to the family members of those killed in action — but we’d had the privilege of dining with them the night before, so when they were running late, we didn’t get grabby. We do know that, over a plate of vegan sesame crackers in one of Park City’s finest Asian restaurants (there are a shocking number of Asian restaurants in Park City), Harrelson raved about Oren Moverman and Alessandro Camon’s screenplay, calling it the best he’s ever read.

Did get to sit down, briefly, with Kevin Spacey, Keke Palmer, and director Jonas Pate from Shrink, a movie Pate described as “about a group of people who live in Los Angeles, and how they cope with personal tragedy.” Pate paused, then asked, “Was that too heavy?” Spacey plays the titular therapist, and Palmer (you’ll recognize her as Akeelah from and the Bee) a young pro bono patient he’s taken on between celebrity clients. Their rapport on the couch was sweet and familiar, even though the 15-year-old Palmer (1) referred to Woody Harrelson as “the guy in the Wesley Snipes movies” and (2) admitted to never having seen one of Spacey’s movies prior to starting work on the film. She got a crash course eventually, watching The Usual Suspects, The Negotiator, and “the one where he dies, he gets shot in the head, and then the guy is looking at him saying, ‘That’s so beautiful.'” “American Beauty,” Spacey said quietly. Then he imitated her broad, head-tossing laugh.

Ended the afternoon — and the festival of interviews — with the cast of Motherhood, a group of people you just kinda want to hang out with. Thurman, Minnie Driver, Anthony Edwards, and writer/director Katherine Dieckmann clustered around the tape recorder to hold several conversations at once, talking over one another in a joyous, respectful way that the women of The View have never quite approximated. Dieckmann has written one no good, very bad day in the life of a mom (played by Thurman) in New York City, and discussion flowed through parenting, choices, and changes.

“We just did an interview before this where this guy said, ‘You know, I’m really used to seeing Uma as a babe, and when I saw her with a kid on her back, it was kind of a bummer,'” said Dieckmann. “And I said, ‘Well, that’s called growing up. People change. Sorry.'” Thurman recalled the first role she was offered after having her first child: to play a mom with five kids. “They told me I had eight lines of dialogue, and I’d be lucky to have the part,” she said. “That was a real great wakeup call.” New mom Driver threatened to throw herself off a building if that sort of thing was now her only option. Edwards suggested that the presence of Michelle Obama in the White House might change some perceptions about motherhood, and Thurman stressed that the film could also resonate beyond the breeders. “Even if you’re not a parent, I think the movie deals with this sense of the passage of time,” she said. “How do you hang on to the image of yourself you had when you were in your 20s? Where does that self go?”

When the group, all parents, was asked about the sacrifices made w/r/t their families while sustaining a career in Hollywood — the choice basically coming down to leaving the kids at home, or bringing them along and occasionally forcing them to sit through boring interviews with weekly entertainment journalists (apologies to the young Ms. Edwards) — everyone agreed that Sundance was, all in all, not so bad. “This is a really fun place to bring your children when they’re older, I’d imagine,” said Driver. “Like, ‘You go ski, I’ll go promote the movie, we’ll meet up for lunch.'” And Thurman had some advice for Driver, who’d come without her son. “Enjoy yourself,” she said. “You should knock yourself out for four years. Have a great time. When they’re in school, it gets much worse.” Dieckmann agreed. “When they’re in school, you have to really make the choice. I’ve been away from my family since Saturday, and I think one more day would be too much. There’s a limit to how long you can be away from your kids.” So parenthood changes priorities, it should seem, and makes one question whether this bizarre lifestyle — the movies, the junkets, the promotion, the travel, the time away from reality in pretend world — is worth the sacrifice. Thurman didn’t hesitate. “Is it worth it? The answer is invariably no.”

Ended the afternoon — and the festival of interviews — with the cast of Motherhood, a group of people you just kinda want to hang out with. Thurman, Minnie Driver, Anthony Edwards, and writer/director Katherine Dieckmann clustered around the tape recorder to hold several conversations at once, talking over one another in a joyous, respectful way that the women of The View have never quite approximated. Dieckmann has written one no good, very bad day in the life of a mom (played by Thurman) in New York City, and discussion flowed through parenting, choices, and changes.

“We just did an interview before this where this guy said, ‘You know, I’m really used to seeing Uma as a babe, and when I saw her with a kid on her back, it was kind of a bummer,'” said Dieckmann. “And I said, ‘Well, that’s called growing up. People change. Sorry.'” Thurman recalled the first role she was offered after having her first child: to play a mom with five kids. “They told me I had eight lines of dialogue, and I’d be lucky to have the part,” she said. “That was a real great wakeup call.” New mom Driver threatened to throw herself off a building if that sort of thing was now her only option. Edwards suggested that the presence of Michelle Obama in the White House might change some perceptions about motherhood, and Thurman stressed that the film could also resonate beyond the breeders. “Even if you’re not a parent, I think the movie deals with this sense of the passage of time,” she said. “How do you hang on to the image of yourself you had when you were in your 20s? Where does that self go?”

When the group, all parents, was asked about the sacrifices made w/r/t their families while sustaining a career in Hollywood — the choice basically coming down to leaving the kids at home, or bringing them along and occasionally forcing them to sit through boring interviews with weekly entertainment journalists (apologies to the young Ms. Edwards) — everyone agreed that Sundance was, all in all, not so bad. “This is a really fun place to bring your children when they’re older, I’d imagine,” said Driver. “Like, ‘You go ski, I’ll go promote the movie, we’ll meet up for lunch.'” And Thurman had some advice for Driver, who’d come without her son. “Enjoy yourself,” she said. “You should knock yourself out for four years. Have a great time. When they’re in school, it gets much worse.” Dieckmann agreed. “When they’re in school, you have to really make the choice. I’ve been away from my family since Saturday, and I think one more day would be too much. There’s a limit to how long you can be away from your kids.” So parenthood changes priorities, it should seem, and makes one question whether this bizarre lifestyle — the movies, the junkets, the promotion, the travel, the time away from reality in pretend world — is worth the sacrifice. Thurman didn’t hesitate. “Is it worth it? The answer is invariably no.”

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