PARK CITY, Utah — Newcomer Elizabeth Reaser (“The Family Stone”) stars as a lesbian Manhattanite who gets tangled up in a bisexual love triangle with a former couple, played by Gretchen Mol and Justin Kirk, in the frothy but likable film “Puccini for Beginners.” Shot over 18 days in September in the kind of picturesque West Village haunts and cozy apartments that make both non-New Yorkers and natives wonder what they’re missing, the film delivers belly laughs as well as poignant moments. Reaser and Mol sat down at Sundance to chat about playing lovers and the perks of acting in independent films.

WWD: What made you want to do this movie?

Elizabeth Reaser: The script was so sexy and different and smart, I just wanted to be Allegra so badly it was killing me. When I got it, I was screaming and calling everyone, like I usually do.

Gretchen Mol: The script had me laughing out loud. I haven’t done that much comedy, so I was excited in that prospect to play Grace.

WWD: Do you live in New York?

E.R.: I do.

G.M.: I just moved back to L.A. But I still have an apartment there.

E.R.: [to G.M.] You’re still legit.

WWD: Blockbusters versus indies?

G.M.: I still want to get a great role in a big-budget movie, but the best roles I’ve done come from smaller-budget movies.

E.R.: Small filmmakers are putting their heart and soul and money into projects, so I feel such a responsibility, and so proud, to be in these kinds of films.

WWD: How did you get along on the set?

E.R.: She’s one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen in my life. She’s just sparkly and luminescent and talented so it was really easy to act with her.

This story first appeared in the January 26, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

G.M.: Enough. Stop!

WWD: Now it’s your turn to embarrass her.

G.M.:Elizabeth was this character. It was like a second skin. The words just came off the page.

WWD: What about the love scenes?

E.R.: Not weird at all.

G.M.: I think we had pretty good chemistry.

WWD: What’s next?

G.M.: I’m filming “Train Wreck” in March and I have “The Notorious Bettie Page” coming out in April.

E.R.: I just did an Ed Burns film called “Purple Violets” and a show for TNT called “Saved.”

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