Maggie Gyllenhaal swans into the New York Film Festival premiere of An Education held Monday at NYC’s Paris Theater wearing a strapless black pantsuit that shows off her toned shoulders. She greets two guests with kisses on the cheek, and gleefully strikes up conversations.
When opening remarks take place, she peers into the theater from her post in the hallway, and I catch a glimpse of her sparkling right-hand diamond ring.
The towering, blue-eyed beauty pumps her fist, and gives a supportive “woo-hoo” to cheer on husband Peter Sarsgaard, who stars in the film as a 30-something man attempting to seduce a 16-year-old girl away from her education and into his glitzy world of classical concerts, art auctions and late-night dinners.
Tonight, her only role is to be a loving wife.“I’m extremely proud of him,” Maggie tells me.
(Wow! She talked. This is truly an occasion. I am amazed.)
Although Peter makes a late entrance and doesn’t do press, the drama’s other stars — Carey Mulligan, Dominic Cooper and Alfred Molina — are pleased to fill the void.
Carey, who tells me it’s “surreal” that Anna Wintour called her “stunning and talented,” may just be Hollywood’s next It girl. She is rumored to be dating her Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps co-star Shia LeBeouf, but doesn’t want to get personal even though she plays the young girl wooed away by an older man in the film.
The Prada-clad British actress, 24, tells me her parents aren’t overprotective or strict when it comes to meeting boyfriends.
But like Shia, she does have a wild side.
“I threw a house party when I was 16, and it was a superhero party, so everybody had to come dressed as a superhero,” she says. “And the police came twice because there was lots of noise. My parents came back in the morning not too impressed, but I didn’t do anything bad. It was just a little bit rowdy.” She laughs, “I was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.”
Hopefully Shia is a gentleman, because Carey adores the politeness perks of the ‘60s that her character enjoys in the film.
“It’s nice to have the door held open, and they do it when they’ve got their hands full,” she says. “In real life, it’s harder to get them to do that.”
Also not discussing his romance is Dominic Cooper, who has been linked to Jennifer’s Body/Mama Mia!/Mean Girls star Amanda Seyfried. While he nixes what it was like when he met her parents for the first time, he feigns regret over never having an affair with a much-older woman.
“I didn’t get a chance to do that,” the Brit actor says with a smirk. “It’s quite upsetting, really.”
He admits he was “lost” at age 17.
“I was misbehaving, and not taking responsibility,” he says. “I was not listening to anything I should have been. I feel regretful for not appreciating more of the things that were offered to me such as the stuff the teachers were prepared to teach me. Why wasn’t I more interested? I was sitting in the room, and they were telling me things that I didn’t know, but I, for some reason, wasn’t interested.”
He continues, “I found it quite a difficult time because I found the decisions you’re supposed to make at that age to be quite monumental – well, you’re certainly made to feel that way during school. ‘What are you doing with your life? What do you want your career to be? How are you going to end up?’ If you don’t know, you get into a bit of a panic. So, I was quite worried. Thank God someone mentioned going to drama school. I left it too long, and I only managed to get into one. That’s when I had some sort of direction. Everyone else was establishing what they wanted to be, and going off to university. It was quite worrying.”
Alfred Molina, who plays the father, never saw Peter and Maggie’s three-year-old daughter Ramona on set, but calls the couple “very nice.”
The actor also worked with Jake Gyllenhaal in the forthcoming Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Of Reese Witherspoon and boyfriend Jake, he says, “They seemed very happy. They’re a very nice couple.”
Working with both Peter and Jake was “like a family affair,” he says.
And they’re off: Maggie joins Peter and the cast for dinner while the New York Film Festival crowd enjoys the film.
An Education is in select theaters beginning October 16.