It was a small victory to make it to the bar at Abe & Arthur’s last night, where Details and DKNY hosted the after-party for the Cinema Society screening of Brothers. Luckily, the mood at the hot spot in no way matched the emotional intensity of the battle scenes—martial and marital—that give the film its dark energy. To wit, Brothers star Tobey Maguire was full of smiles, making him virtually unrecognizable from the character he plays in the film, a prisoner of war in Afghanistan who returns home after being presumed dead. In Maguire’s absence, his wife, played by Natalie Portman, has a romantic dalliance with Maguire’s brother, played by Jake Gyllenhaal; suffice it to say, sparks fly. Maguire, who spent time with soldiers and their families in preparation for the role, slimmed down to a sickly weight, but his character returns from the Middle East with enough demons to flesh out any malnourished mercenary.
How did the stars stay sane on set? “We definitely needed the lightness to deflate the intensity,” Portman said of the cast’s attempts at humor between takes. “Jake would make [director] Jim [Sheridan] say things in his Irish accent that amused us; like the word third, he says turd, so that provided pretty endless amusement.” As for the starlet and her personal history with love triangles, she claimed innocence, but seemed game. “It would be fun if they were like Tobey and Jake,” said Portman, who wore a bright blue Spring 2010 Jason Wu dress and electric purple super-high Aldo heels. No arguments here.