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Pneumonia prevented Ryan Reynolds, who plays a schizophrenic murderer in “The Voices,” from attending the cocktail party Sunday evening for the film at the Grey Goose Blue Door on Main Street in Park City, Utah. But that didn’t stop his costar Anna Kendrick, coming off three of her movies premiering on the same day at the Sundance Film Festival, and director Marjane Satrapi, new to the Sundance circuit, from showing up.
Compared to Cannes, where Satrapi’s animated effort “Persepolis” was rewarded with the Jury Prize in 2007, she was finding Sundance more relaxed. “All the independent filmmakers are here, and I’m so happy to be here,” gushed Satrapi, proceeding to scan the room with a video recorder to document the festivities. “Persepolis” is based on Satrapi’s autobiographical graphic novel, and “The Voices,” written by Michael R. Perry, is the first movie of Satrapi’s in which she doesn’t take part in the writing. “I got sent the script, and I really loved it, so I really wanted to do it. From the second you want to do something badly, you should do it,” said Satrapi. “The script was funny. It was sad. It was intelligent. It had all the qualities I look for.”
Kendrick’s other two films at Sundance — “Happy Christmas,” a dramedy from mumblecore king Joe Swanberg, and “Life After Beth,” a zombie comedy — are in keeping with her eclectic choice in projects since she earned an Oscar nomination four years ago for her plucky turn in “Up in the Air.”
“[‘The Voices’] was very specific,” the actress said. “Marjane has a very, very specific idea about what each frame will look like, what the scene will feel like, what the music might be.”
“Christmas,” on the other hand, wasn’t even scripted.
“We had an outline, but no dialogue, no script, no idea what the finished film was going to be like,” Kendrick said. “[Both films] are equally exciting.”
Minutes after the party at the Blue Door for “The Voices” wound down at 9:30 p.m., Kendrick arrived at 501 on Main to join the cast and crew of “Happy Christmas” for The Next Generation Filmmaker Dinner Series. She quickly posed for photographs with Mark Webber and Swanberg, who does triple duty on the movie as its writer, director and Kendrick’s on-screen brother. Webber called the movie “an anti-Christmas film in a way, at least a traditional one.” He elaborated, “It’s this beautiful, really small, intimate look at a family and family life set around Christmas. It’s very real and natural.”
Also present to promote the movie was Melanie Lynskey, who plays Swanberg’s wife and Kendrick’s sister-in-law in “Happy Christmas.” Lynskey took a break from the business at hand to gamely dance upstairs with Alison Pill and Jason Ritter. Kendrick followed along and kept the dance party going. Amid the merriment, Swanberg emphasized “Happy Christmas,” which was picked up for distribution by Magnolia Pictures and Paramount Pictures earlier in the week, covers serious ground. “I hope that it sparks conversations between men and women about the relationship between work and child care, and I hope it gets people talking about fairness and expectations for women when they have children,” he said.