The South by Southwest Festival announced its closing night film will be the World Premiere of The King of Luck, a documentary about Willie Nelson that will be directed by Billy Bob Thornton. The film screens March 19. The fest will also show a work in progress screening of Paul Feig’s Bridesmaids, which was cowritten by Kristen Wiig and produced by Judd Apatow. (Deadline was not a fan of the movie’s first trailer.) Seeing Thornton back behind the camera is most intriguing. He hasn’t directed a film since 2001′s Daddy and Them, and before that helmed the underrated All the Pretty Horses. BBT has spent as much time singing as he has turning in performances in films like Bad Santa, but I’m sure he’s got another Sling Blade in him, so hopefully this signals the start of a trend with Thornton writing and directing features again. Mmmm, hmmm.
South by Southwest 2011 has programmed a bunch of features to go with previously announced opening night premiere Source Code. Coming on the heels of Sundance, the Austin, Texas-based SXSW has put itself in position to secure films that didn’t play in Park City. Films that will create buzz include the Jodie Foster-directed The Beaver, which features Mel Gibson as a troubled exec who battles depression with the help of a beaver puppet, and Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop, which Deadline told you last March was being filmed while O’Brien served his TV banishment by hitting the road with a 30-city comedy/musical tour. Here are the other films added to the program so far:
The Beaver (World Premiere)
Director: Jodie Foster, Writer: Kyle Killen
Summit Entertainment and Participant Media Present in Association with Imagenation Abu Dhabi and Anonymous Content – Two-time Academy Award winner Jodie Foster directs and co-stars with two-time Academy Award winner Mel Gibson in an emotional story about a man on a journey to re-discover his family and re-start his life. Plagued by his own demons, Walter Black was once a successful toy executive and family man who now suffers from depression. No matter what he tries, Walter can’t seem to get himself back on track…until a beaver hand puppet enters his life. Cast: Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Anton Yelchin & Jennifer Lawrence
Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop (World Premiere)
Director: Rodman Flender
After a much-publicized separation with his former employers, did Conan O’Brien …