Sundance 2012: 'Fresh Faces' -- or are they?
There is always a crop of up-and-comers at the Sundance Film Festival -- pretty young things who are fawned over throughout the entirety of their stay in Park City.
Depending on which one you ask, though, being considered the next big thing isn't always a positive experience.
"All these silly labels that the business gives -- you have to have a love/hate relationship with it," said Ari Graynor, 28, who appears in two films at this year's festival, "For A Good Time, Call..." and "Celeste and Jesse Forever." "You know that it means nothing, but you want it anyway."
Photos: The scene at Sundance 2012
Graynor was ducking snowflakes outside a late-night party Friday, where she and six others -- including Lizzy Caplan, Gina Rodriguez and Christopher Abbott -- were being feted as Sundance's "Fresh Faces." But the actress -- known to many as the memorably drunk best friend in "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist" -- has actually been to the festival three times already in her young career.
Caplan, 29, has also attended a few times, and seemed to have mixed feelings about being considered an 'It-girl' after having worked in Hollywood for a decade.
"Being called a fresh face when you've been doing this for so long is interesting," said the actress, who appeared on Starz's short-lived cult-hit "Party Down." "But I'm very flattered by it, for sure. I felt very fortunate to not kind of break out [earlier] because it's allowed me to do ... things that people of a certain stature aren't able to do."
Meanwhile, Gina Rodriguez, star of the rap drama "Filly Brown," has no qualms about all of the newfound attention she's getting. The 27-year-old has her first major role in the Sundance premiere and said she was thoroughly enjoying her first trip to Utah. So far, she has visited one swag suite, sat for numerous interviews and ambushed Mary J. Blige at a party. But the most meaningful moment? Sitting next to her mother at the premiere of her new movie.
"The whole time, my mom is holding my hand and you cannot imagine what that feels like," she smiled. "Feeling like, 'Wow, I made her proud. I did it.' "
We'll have more with Rodriguez later in the festival, but for now, check out these video interviews with some of Sundance's most buzzworthy new actors.
-- Amy Kaufman
Photo: Gina Rodriguez in "Filly Brown." Credit: John Castillo