Movie Article

Days of Wine and Roses

Virginia Madsen's favorite ''Sideways'' moment -- The Golden Globe-nominated actress recounts a memorable scene from her movie

Golden Globe nominee Virginia Madsen is a poet of the red carpet. ''What,'' we asked her at this month's indie-loving Gotham Awards, ''was your favorite moment on Sideways?'' the night's best-feature winner, in which she plays the true-hearted object of Paul Giamatti's affections. Her answer so warmed the cockles of our jaded hearts that we print it here in its entirety.

''I think the whole group of us kind of fell in love with each other during the making of the movie.... My favorite moment is the sunset when we're all having a picnic. It was the first thing that we did all together as a group — and it was very much by design, you know. [Director] Alexander [Payne] did things like that for us all the time. They gave us a bag of groceries and he just said, 'Go have a picnic.' We all kind of stood there, like little kids, like, 'Go...go have... over there? Like a real picnic? Should we have lines?' And he was like, 'Go have a picnic.'

''He kept the camera very far away from us.... We just sat there and we had this amazing gourmet food. It was real props. Real wine. Real glasses.

''And then we were like, 'Do you think we should open the wine?' 'I dunno! Do you think we should open the wine?' 'I dunno!' Sandra [Oh, Payne's wife] asked, 'Can we open the — should we open the wine?' And Alexander said, 'Drink the wine!' We had to have permission, right? 'Cause we're on a movie set.

''And so, you know, it was only about 10 minutes. But we sat, and for that 10 minutes we didn't know whether the camera was rolling or not; we all had a little toast. And it's one of those moments that you just say, 'Oh, we should never ever forget this moment.' But it's on film, we can always see that moment. And that was the beginning of everything for me in that movie.''

Originally posted Dec 20, 2004 Published in issue #798 Dec 24, 2004 Order article reprints