By Lisa Schwarzbaum
Updated May 15, 2009 at 09:12 PM EDT

Aye, I’m talking about that Paul Schneider, the amiable American guy from Lars and the Real Girl, soon to be seen with John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph in Away We Go. In the sensual Cannes competition film Bright Star, Jane Campion’s lyrical, characteristically feminist historical biopic about the youthful 19th century romance between poet John Keats and girl-next-door Fanny Brawne, Schneider bites into a rich Scottish burr as Keats’ close and jealous friend, Brown. Indeed, Schneider is so transformed by beard, belly, wire-rim glasses, and plaid waistcoat that at first I didn’t recognize the effervescent dude-next-door type from The Family Stone and Elizabethtown.

The lovebirds themselves are played by peachy Abbie Cornish (pictured; Elizabeth: The Golden Age) and darkling Ben Whishaw (one of the Bobs Dylan in I’m Not There). And their chemistry is a potent one, as Cornish’s provocative aura of sexual willfulness challenges Whishaw’s expressions of stricken pining. Fanny, as it happened, prided herself on her fashion sense and her sewing skills. The wardrobe, by Campion’s great longtime production and costume designer, Janet Patterson, is, in the words of the Project Runway poet Christian Siriano, sooo fierce.

Random questions of the kind we all like at the end of one of these posts: Have you taken up sewing as a result of Project Runway? (I have; even bought my first sewing machine.) Also, what movie character’s wardrobe would you most like to wear in real life?