Hollywood Storms Sundance
Skiers have a term for the luxuriously smooth, dry snow that was falling on Park City, Utah, all weekend: "Champagne powder." But the real fizzy swirl right now is the 26th annual Sundance Film Festival. Celebrating independent filmmaking is the festival's raison d'être, so naturally there's a ton of star-packed parties to slalom through.
The one Diesel and Absolut sponsored for James Franco and his film Howl got things going Thursday night, but corks (or, just as often, beer caps) didn't really start to pop until Friday. That was when Philippe Chow whipped up a post-premiere dinner at the Bing Supper Club for actor/director Josh Radnor and the cast of his endearing ensemble dramedy HappyThankYouMorePlease. "I love it already, from day one," gushed Malin Akerman. It was the Swedish-born Canadian actress' first Sundance, and Park City reminded her of the ski hamlets she romped around in as a kid. "Everyone kind of lets their guard down because it's cold and you're all bundled up and cozy." Nor does the talent necessarily waste precious time showering, she added. "Who cares? You can't smell anything!"
Later that night, Akerman presented a "Fresh Faces" award to cast mate Zoe Kazan at a Gen Art party honoring a cadre of promising young actors. Kate Mara (who lights up HappyThankYouMorePlease as a Southern-born cabaret singer in New York) insisted that in the two years since she'd been named one, her face hadn't changed. "I like to think it's still fresh!"
More indie darlings were being toasted at the premiere for Mark Ruffalo's heavy-metal redemption tale Sympathy for Delicious—including Orlando Bloom. "It's a different kind of muscle," Bloom said. "You feel stripped of big sets and scenery." (Or, in the case of this film, in which the actor plays a strutting goth rocker, a shirt.) Meanwhile, Ruffalo stroked his beard to demonstrate one of the perks of the facial hair he was sporting this weekend. "Some of the pretty girls do that," he said. Currently bearded Mad Men idol Jon Hamm, who was turning heads at Tao's pop-up club Friday night, can presumably say the same.
Dressing down, skipping the morning shave: It works for festival board member Kenneth Cole. "Everything here is meant to be very relaxed. It's not Cannes—it's not a costume," the designer said at his Saturday-night party at Sky Lodge. Not that there aren't drawbacks to ski-town festivities, as a sarcastic Joseph Gordon-Levitt pointed out: "Oh yeah, I love wet feet."