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NEW YORK — The only problem with casting stars who resemble one another in the same movie is that there can be confusion on the red carpet. Such was the case at last week’s Gotham preem for “The Human Stain.” The arrival of a tall blonde with a coy smile sent a murmur of “Nicole!”s through the crowd. As the woman neared, a wave of more uncertain “Nicole?”s followed. It was not Nicole Kidman, but Jacinda Barrett. (For future reference, the two women have different noses.)

Easier to identify was director Robert Benton, looking professorial in a tweedy suit. Asked about making movies today versus in the 1970s, he said that the conglom-owned studio system has forced him to work with smaller companies like Miramax. “I live in the same town (as the studios), but I work in a different neighborhood.”

As for why the Philip Roth book appealed to him: “Any novel where one man asks another man to dance…”

Anna Deveare Smith was more lukewarm on the subject of Roth (an absentee at the event). Before reading “Stain,” she’d found his books “comme ci, comme ca.”

Other attendees at the Beekman Theater screening and Brasserie 8 ½ after-party included Kidman, Gary Sinise, Wentworth Miller, Harvey Weinstein, Kerry Washington and a popcorn-munching Lauren Bacall (“What good is a movie without popcorn?” the raspy-voiced vet asked.)