One sunny October afternoon on a Malibu beach, the stars of ”Personal Velocity” — Parker Posey, Kyra Sedgwick, and Fairuza Balk — are arguing about who among them was most qualified to play the role of town slut Delia. ”I think my ass would have been better,” jokes Posey, 34. ”My ass is a little small for Delia,” Sedgwick, 37, replies with a sly smile. Despite her seemingly inadequate posterior, Sedgwick won the part in writer-director Rebecca Miller’s drama (which United Artists will release on Nov. 22), a trilogy of stories about women struggling to change their lives. For Miller — the daughter of playwright Arthur Miller and wife of actor Daniel Day-Lewis — the movie itself was a singular struggle.
Adapting her 2001 book of short stories, the 40-year-old mother of two shot quickly on a digital-video shoestring, yet managed to win both the 2002 Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize for drama and the award for excellence in cinematography.
In the movie’s first segment, Sedgwick (”Something to Talk About”) plays Delia, a woman with an abusive husband who takes off with her children one night after a bad beating. The second segment features Posey (”Best in Show”) as ambitious book editor Greta, who agonizes over whether to leave her kind but unsuccessful husband. In the third, 28-year-old Balk (”The Waterboy”) plays Paula, a pregnant runaway who’s traumatized after witnessing a hit-and-run driver kill a man.