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After making a splash at the 2010 Toronto Film Festival and scoring a reported $3 million distribution deal, “Dirty Girl” is finally getting its U.S. theatrical release this week.
On Monday, The Cinema Society and The Weinstein Co. hosted a screening at the Landmark Sunshine Cinema for the film, a sweet and mirthful tale of two high-school underdogs who run away from their close-minded Oklahoma town on a voyage of self-discovery in a stolen Cadillac.
Set in the Eighties, the film stars 22-year-old British actress Juno Temple — whose early roles included lauded performances in “Notes on a Scandal” and “Atonement” — as the precocious and promiscuous title character, Danielle. In the movie, she has her heart set on escaping an unhappy home life with an unusually youthful mother, played by Milla Jovovich, who’s about to marry a domineering but feckless Mormon, played by William H. Macy. Temple’s character has her heart set on finding her long lost birth father, played by country singer Tim McGraw.
McGraw’s own wife, Faith Hill, was on hand for the screening, as were Harvey Weinstein, Rachel Roy, John Varvatos, Gina Gershon, Christopher Meloni, Tiki Barber, Irina Shayk, Kelly Bensimon, Keren Craig and Anne Dexter-Jones. Calvin Klein came with good pal Donna Karan and chatted up ex-wife Kelly Klein in the row in front of him.
At an after party at Jimmy in The James hotel, evocative Eighties hits set the mood, as did a handful of dimmed stars from that decade, including Sean Young and Corbin Bernsen.
“I really fought for this part. I went in for two auditions. The first time I looked a little too dirty, like stinky dirty. The second time, I was a bit classier,” said Temple, who has a delicate countenance that recalls a young Kate Moss. “My character has a hard shell. She’s like a muffin — hard on the outside but squishy and soft on the inside.”
Temple’s sidekick in the move is a roly-poly, gay outcast played by Jeremy Dozier, in his big-screen debut.
“I love the transformation he makes from this shy, closeted abused kid who finds his voice and stands up for himself,” said Dozier. The young actor has undergone his own transformation, losing 120 pounds over the course of the past two years and appearing significantly thinner at the after-party than in the film.
“I wish I could say it was method and I had gained all this weight for the film, but no — that’s just where I was in this weight loss journey,” he explained. Dozier attributed the slimming to eliminating fast food from his diet — although he did treat himself to a cheeseburger and fries from a passing waiter.
At the party, the film’s writer and director, Abe Sylvia, toted around “Joan,” a surprisingly expressive sack of flour adorned with a wig that almost steals the movie from its youthful leads.
“I’ve always been fascinated by fabulous, dirty women,” said Sylvia. “Smart-ass, confident, iconoclastic women is where it’s at. But this movie is about growing up — not just about growing up a gay boy or slutty girl.”