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Sinise in ‘Stain’ spotlight

Participants gush over creative atmosphere

Gary Sinise, not Anthony Hopkins, Nicole Kidman or even blonde stand-in Jacinda Barrett, was the star of the Sept. 18 soiree for “The Human Stain” in BevHills. Steppenwolf Theater benefit served as lovefest for co-founder Sinise and the Oscar hopeful, which Miramax reskedded earlier that week with kudos in mind.

“Every once in a while you get lucky and get swallowed up with great creative energy all around you,” Sinise said before the film unspooled. He praised helmer Robert Benton for helping him shape his character, only to have Benton parry: “My collaboration with Gary consisted of Gary talking and me listening.”

Producer Gary Lucchesi, who has been jetting round the world on a series of fest stops, enthused about Miramax’s decision to resked the movie. “The later its release, the more it becomes an Oscar contender,” he said in between courses at the Wolfgang Puck catered dinner.

Co-star Wentworth Miller joined Hopkins and Barrett at the head table, with Kidman the only major absentee. Also in the crowd: pic’s Jeff Perry, a fellow Steppenwolf co-founder.

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