Dissed By Tara Reid, Embraced By Antonio Banderas: Sundance Diary

Cancelled interviews frustrate fest first-timer, but Banderas and Sarah Polley are inspiring.

PARK CITY, Utah — This year MTV is covering the Sundance Film Festival from every conceivable angle — including an ongoing diary of our news team's experiences at the fest.

January 23, 8:34 a.m.

I am in the home stretch of my first Sundance experience. But just because I leave in about 30 hours doesn't mean I'm going down without a fight. On the agenda for today: four interviews, two movies, the usual work and if I'm lucky, maybe even a meal or two. Everyone here is tired. Late nights, early mornings, lots of work on the fly. For a cushy gig, Sundance keeps you busy. Not that I'm complaining. This is going to be a big day. I'm talking to Tara Reid and Antonio Banderas, among others. MTV News writer Larry Carroll should be meeting up with the "it" girl of Sundance herself, Dakota Fanning. Her new flick, "Hounddog," premiered here last night and is already infamous due to the fact that the character 12-year-old Fanning plays is raped in the film (see "Timberlake, Lohan And That Dakota Fanning Flick: Sundance 2007 Preview"). Yup, there's a lot to digest today.

11:14 a.m.

After arriving 30 minutes early to my first interview, I find out that the location has been changed. Not a good omen for the day.

11:50 a.m.

Moments after I ask the creative team behind 2005's "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," Garth Jennings and Nick Goldsmith, if they've run into cast members Sam Rockwell or Zooey Deschanel at Sundance, Zooey breaks in and interrupts our interview. In between hugs and kisses, all apologize profusely. Back to our interview, Jennings and Goldmith talk animatedly about their film at the fest, "Son of Rambow: A Home Movie," a childhood fantasy earning lots of good buzz, as they say.

12:11 p.m.

With the interview complete, I race out to find a quick bite. I have an interview with Tara Reid in 49 minutes. Yes, that's a skip you see in my step.

12:40 p.m.

As I wolf down some pizza for lunch, I notice that everyone in the restaurant is standing and gawking out the window. I've never seen anything like it. When I look out I see what's drawing all the attention: It's Tara, walking in step with a throng of paparazzi.

1:18 p.m.

Even though she was just feet away me a half hour ago, my interview with Tara is cancelled. This disappoints me more than I'm comfortable admitting.

1:43 p.m.

Dakota Fanning has cancelled her interviews as well. Let's hope these things don't come in threes.

2:58 p.m.

Antonio Banderas may be the nicest man on the planet (take that, Tara!). I've just finished chatting with him about his second directing effort, "Summer Rain," which debuted at the fest last night. The conversation runs the gamut from "Rain," which is about a bunch of teenagers coming of age in Spain, to "Shrek the Third" and working with Robert Rodriguez again. Anything I throw at him, he's game to discuss — the perfect kind of interview.

5:34 p.m.

I get off the phone with MTV News writer Shawn Adler, who tells me he's about to see a flick called "The Last Mimzy" (see "Wild West Outlaws, Gory Gangsters: Pitt, Crowe Bring The Drama In '07"). Not earth-shattering news, except that he's going with a girl from Bhutan who is looking at schools here. The folks behind the movie put him in touch with her — this is going to be her first movie-going experience.

5:49 p.m.

One last interview of the day for me and it's with a young woman who really personifies what Sundance is all about. Sarah Polley has been acting since she was a kid (rent 1988's "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen") and she's spent a career bouncing back and forth between commercial vehicles ("Dawn of the Dead," "Go") and indie fare like "The Sweet Hereafter." Now she's at Sundance wearing two hats: one as a juror, the other as a first-time director. Her film, "Away From Her," is a heartbreaker of a flick about the last days of a love affair. Not the kind of stuff you expect from a 28-year-old. As I talk to her, I realize she's efficiently managed that age-old art-versus-commerce war that Sundance has wrestled with for two decades, and she's come out of it in fine form.

Duly inspired, I rest up for a bit before tackling the double–feature on the plate for my last night at Sundance.

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