ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT ENVELOPE Sundance Film Festival

Sundance 2014: first look at Molina & Lithgow in 'Love is Strange'

Though Sundance may be more typically thought of as the place for young and emerging filmmakers, it also has a space for its own veterans. Writer-director Ira Sachs won the festival's grand jury prize in 2005 with "Forty Shades of Blue" and 2012's "Keep the Lights On" also premiered in the festival's competition. His latest film, "Love Is Strange," is premiering this year at Sundance as part of the Premieres section.

The film stars John Lithgow and Alfred Molina as a couple who finally marry  after 39 years together. One of them loses his job at a Catholic school, and their ensuing struggles place a new strain on their  relationship. (Marisa Tomei also appears in a supporting role.)

FULL COVERAGE: Sundance 2014

"You could call 'Love Is Strange' a coming-of-age movie," Sachs wrote in a series of captions for this gallery of first-look images from the film. Describing Lithgow's performance in the film, Sachs wrote, "When John and I first met to talk about the film, he told me that the last time he had felt as close to a character was when he played the transsexual Roberta Muldoon in 'The World According to Garp.' There’s an elegance and warmth, to his performance as 'Ben' which is so much like John himself."   

Regarding Molina, Sachs said, "Alfred is the kind of actor you consider writing extra scenes for, so you can have him around on the set more often. He loves the work, and he loves the people, and he has a wit laced with deep kindness that makes everyone fall in love with him. He also never has an inauthentic moment on screen, so working with him as a director is a very luxurious experience." 

Sachs' "Keep the Lights On" was nominated for four Spirit Awards, including Best Director and Best Picture. Like his previous picture, Sachs' new "Love Is Strange" looks to blend elements of autobiography with fictional extrapolation into something meaningful and insightful.

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Follow Mark Olsen on Twitter: @IndieFocus

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