Let us present one of the loveliest of distractions from the Sundance Film Festival's focus on independent-film sales: the Sundance "it" girl, an actress who stars in multiple films, lights up cocktail and dinner parties with fun cold-weather fashion and charms jaded industry vets.
This year, one of those girls is Ari Graynor -- star of festival entries "For A Good Time, Call ..." and Rashida Jones' "Celeste & Jesse Forever."
A breakout as the loony drunk sidekick in cult hit "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist," Graynor has a laundry list of supporting credits and is poised for a leading-lady breakout thanks to upcoming projects, not to mention her current starring gig on Broadway in "Relatively Speaking," a one-act play by Woody Allen. Here are a few essentials on one of 2012 Sundance's "it" girls.
Career hyphenate: Graynor is an actress by trade, but came on as executive producer of "For A Good Time, Call ...."
"I require a lot of stimulation," she told us at Grey Goose's Blue Door lounge on Main Street in Park City, Utah, "and there's so much I've learned being in front of the camera, I felt like I had more to give behind it."
Style guide: Let's not pretend that looking great doesn't contribute to enticing potential film buyers. So did Graynor activate a glam task force for the festival?
"There was a little bit of thought, but it wasn't extensive," she said with a laugh. "I went to Dolce & Gabbana, and they gave me a few things, which was so helpful."
Free-stuff factor: Sundance's other distractions, including swag suites, raging after-hours partying, celeb canoodling and silly industry folk, have Graynor amused.
"You come here and it's this hilarious dichotomy of independent filmmaking -- blood, sweat and tears, no money -- and then you show up to ... places where's there's like ... all this free stuff, and this world of junior publicists," she said, laughing. "That's a little bit intense for me."
Starstruck: The fame game may not entice Graynor, but she was starstruck meeting Ethel Kennedy, subject of the Sundance documentary "Ethel." A Massachusetts native, Ari was obviously hit with some Camelot fever.
"In fact, I was one of her grandsons' senior-prom dates. I asked her to tell him hello for me."
Obvious Redford swooning: Any Sundance standout must pledge allegiance to festival founder and American heartthrob Robert Redford. We asked which Redford, through the ages, she found the sexiest.
"For me? It's 'Butch Cassidy' Redford," Graynor said.
-- Matt Donnelly
Photo: Ari Graynor at the premiere of "For a Good Time, Call ..." at the Sundance Film Festival on Sunday. Credit: Chris Pizzello / Associated Press