06/21/2011 01:44 pm ET | Updated Aug 21, 2011

David Hyde Pierce Plays The Perfect Host

You'd be wise not to accept a glass of red wine from Warwick Wilson, the character played by David Hyde Pierce in his new movie, The Perfect Host. That epithet aside, let's just say his cooking skills may be impeccable, but his intentions are more than intoxicating.

When a wanted bank robber stumbles into his L. A. house as he prepares for a dinner party, Pierce is also perfect as victim, but then who is the more dangerous? Ultimately The Perfect Host is about trust, said the actor at a private screening on Monday at the Core Club attended by a New York's theater and television who's who: Victor Garber, Carol Kane, Charles Busch, James Lipton, Kathleen Turner, Dana Ivey, Dick Cavett, Tovah Feldshuh, S. Epatha Merkerson, Christopher McDonald among them. Recent Tony winner Nikki James stopped by on her way to a book party for LaToya Jackson.

Australian director Nick Tomnay, who also wrote the screenplay, said he based the idea of an encounter between an "ordinary" guy and a career criminal (the hunky Alabaman actor Clayne Crawford) on a story a friend told him. I just wanted to make a film in America that would play to American audiences, he said in his introduction. After such films as Animal Kingdom and The Square, two fine, accomplished works that were very successful here, but very dark, extremely violent, this film -- which trades on menace with a good supply of kinky in a surprising, riveting, twisty script -- is atypical if those films were indicative of the kind of films made by Australians.

Up next for David Hyde Pierce is a musical, It Should Have Been You, starring Tyne Daly, that he will direct. It was no small irony that the actor William Sadler sat down next to this reporter at the screening. In a joke between us about his role in the movie Kinsey, I said, "You're the pervert." After the screening, he said, "Who's the pervert now?"

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