Connectivity was the theme in Austin on Saturday: Kevin Bacon made his first trip to the SXSW Film Festival to chat about his career, including the 20th anniversary of the “six degrees” game that links him to every other actor in Hollywood. The star of Footloose has gone from being “horrified” by the pop phenomenon to embracing it for his charity network: SixDegrees.org. Film veteran Bacon is now starring in the second season of his first TV show, Fox’s The Following, which was just renewed for a third season despite this year’s ratings slip. Bacon reflected on his career with Deadline as SXSW’s 2014 edition kicked off:
DEADLINE: Your first role was in Animal House, which the recent passing of Harold Ramis brought back into mind. And that role couldn’t be farther from the “Kevin Bacon” audiences have come to know.
KEVIN BACON: Between me and Neidermeyer, he’s the one you want the worst fate to befall. And that’s fun to do. I was so grateful to [John] Landis and Harold Ramis and all those guys for giving me that part. They came to my acting school and I didn’t have an agent, I didn’t have a pot to piss in. When the movie came out I was still a waiter — I had to ask for the night off in order to go to the premiere. So that was a huge movie in my life, but it didn’t change my life, really, other than I thought, “OK, now I’ve actually worked and got paid to be an actor.” But it certainly didn’t put me on the map. It was still a struggle to try and get an agent. It was still a struggle to make ends meet; I ended up waiting tables for quite a few years after the movie came out.
DEADLINE: Why did it take you so long time to come to television with The Following?
BACON: TV has undergone a renaissance, but when I started that just was not the perception. So it was a very difficult decision. Most of it was clouded by my own snobbery. There was a directive amongst my representation to never, ever come to me with a television show because I would perceive that as a vote of no confidence, and it would anger me. And then my focus started to shift. I started to think about all the shows that I was watching and consuming over an entire weekend – The Sopranos, The Wire, Dexter, Six Feet Under. I was seeing iconic performances, not the least of which with [his wife] Kyra [Sedgwick] and seeing her life in the seven years she was on [The Closer]. I went, “Why am I being such an asshole? Why not? What I really love to do is act. Why not put yourself in a situation where you have a greater chance and more time in front of the camera, over the course of months — years, if you’re lucky?” I threw my hat into the ring and said, “OK, I’m open to the idea now.” In the next two weeks I read three or four of the best scripts I’d ever read. Pilots. And I thought, I really have been missing out. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: In the grand tradition of Borat and recent Paramount hit Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, prank comedy hybrid May The Best Man Win combines narrative storytelling with hidden camera stunts pulled on real folks, starring Drew Tarver of the upcoming sitcom spin-off How I Met Your Dad, Whitmer Thomas of Comedy Central’s pilot Crazy House, and Rosa Salazar of NBC’s pilot The Pro. Directed by That Awkward Moment producer and Brit comedy vet Andrew O’Connor (Balls of Steel, Peep Show), the hard-R gotcha-comedy tracks YouTube pranksters Whit and Drew who recruit a girl into their team and then compete for her affections in a series of embarrassing and outrageous challenges. Last summer the What If It Barks Films production made headlines in L.A. with one of their pranks, in which dozens of actresses were asked to audition in blackface and impersonate Hitler for a bit that left a number of would-be starlets upset. Pic is scripted by O’Connor, Matthew Robinson, and Lee Hupfield and world premieres tonight in SXSW‘s Visions program. O’Connor, Robinson, Lee Hupfield, and Ray Marshall are producers and Andrew Newman, Oliver Obst, and Manu Gargi exec produced. Here’s an exclusive taste:
First deal out of SXSW today is Lionsgate‘s purchase of the North American rights for Eduardo Sanchez‘s Bigfoot feature Exists. Sanchez co-directed the 1999 microbudget title The Blair Witch Project for $60K, which then-distributor Artisan morphed into a worldwide phenom with close to $250 million at the box office. Below is Lionsgate’s release for the Jamie Nash-scripted Exists:
(Austin, TX & Santa Monica, CA, March 8, 2014) — Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF) has acquired North American distribution rights to EXISTS, a new horror film from THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT director Eduardo Sánchez. The film played last night to a sold-out midnight screening at SXSW in Austin.
In Bigfoot’s bold return to the big screen, five friends on a camping weekend in the remote woods of East Texas struggle to survive against a legendary predator that is stronger, smarter, and more terrifying than anything they would have ever believed exists.
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EXCLUSIVE: Writer-director Mike Flanagan and Intrepid Pictures’ Trevor Macy are reteaming on the supernatural thriller Diver, setting a summer production start. Flanagan will direct a script by Diane Ademu-John and Carter Blanchard with revisions by Flanagan and writing partner Jeff Howard. Macy will produce the film, with Marc D. Evans, Asha Kurian, and Julie Wilke also serving in various producing capacities.
Diver revolves around a secret project based in New Orleans that involves a team sent to enter the minds of the recently dead to experience their final memories in order to solve the most heinous crimes. When the Divers breach the barrier between the living and the dead, they must contend with the supernatural force they unleash. Read More »
The documentary about the notorious Mexican drug lord is particularly timely now that Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has been captured after more than a decade on the run. The Legend Of Shorty chronicles the hunt for the near mythical figure who is alternately described as a brilliant business visionary, an amoral and ruthless murderer, a revolutionary hero and a latter-day Robin Hood. Directors Angus Macqueen and Guillermo Galdos venture into Mexico, where they gained access to El Chapo’s inner circle. The pic from Oscar-winning producer Simon Chinn (Searching For Sugar Man, Man On Wire) is having its world premiere today in the Documentary Spotlight section at SXSW. Here’s an exclusive look:
Bob Berney‘s company has grabbed all U.S. rights to the latest from the team behind the Lionsgate slasher pic You’re Next. The Guest, from director Adam Wingard, writer Simon Barrett and Snoot Entertainment, follows a family who takes in a young soldier who claims to be a good friend of their son who was killed in action. But when people in their town start turning up dead, the teenage daughter becomes suspicious of their guest. Dan Stevens, Maika Monroe, Leland Orser, Lance Reddick and Sheila Kelley star in the film, which is screening as a Midnighter at SXSW after bowing at Sundance in January. CAA brokered the deal for The Guest. Picturehouse is planning a fall release.
Related: SXSW: Oscilloscope Acquires Joel Potrykus’ Comedy ‘Buzzard’
Game Of Thrones‘ Rose Leslie and Harry Treadaway star in writer-director Leigh Janiak’s horror thriller that will have its world premiere Friday in the Midnighter section at SXSW. Honeymoon centers on a couple who travel to remote lake country (why always a lake?) for their honeymoon. But as she becomes more distant and her behavior increasingly peculiar, he begins to suspect something more sinister. ICM is repping worldwide rights.
EXCLUSIVE: Genre pics are a hot commodity on the fest circuit and here’s an exclusive first look at one SXSW Midnighters title to watch this week. Alexandra Essoe stars in Starry Eyes as Sarah, a wannabe starlet in L.A. who lands a lead role in a film only to find herself undergoing a series of terrifying mental and physical transformations. Pic is written and directed by longtime collaborators Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer, whose credits include 2003′s Postcards from the Future: The Chuck Palahniuk Documentary. For Starry Eyes the duo teamed up with Snowfort Pictures producer Travis Stevens (Cheap Thrills, Jodorowsky’s Dune) and turned to Kickstarter to raise funds. Amanda Fuller (Last Man Standing), Fabianne Therese (John Dies At The End), Noah Segan (Looper), Shane Coffey (Pretty Little Liars), and Pat Healy (Cheap Thrills) also star in the psychological body horror pic which will be looking to make an impression on buyers next week in Austin.
Related: SXSW: ‘The Guest,’ ‘Oculus,’ ’13 Sins’ Among Midnighters
“In today’s world, people gauge their own celebrity by the amount of followers they have on Twitter, by how many ‘Likes’ they get on Facebook,” said co-director Widmyer. “We’re living in an age where everyone wants to feel famous. So we wanted to focus on a young woman caught up in that hunger, that is given an opportunity to do something horrible to attain her dreams, and she dives in head first.” Read More »
Joel Potrykus‘ comedy Buzzard is set to world premiere this Saturday at SXSW. Today Oscilloscope Laboratories announced it acquired North American rights to the pic which follows a small-time scam artist named Marty who makes ends meet by drifting from one small con to the next. Buzzard was produced by Michael Saunders, Ashley Young, Kevin Clancy, and Tim Saunders and represented by BGP Films’ Bill Straus. After its premiere at SXSW, it will screen at New Directors/New Films Festival at NYC’s Lincoln Center. O-Scope plans further festival play followed by a theatrical release later this year.
The British Film Institute created a pilot scheme in January to give a leg up to UK films premiering at Sundance with a view to helping them attract theatrical distribution in the U.S. The program has now been extended to five films in selection at the upcoming SXSW Festival which runs March 7-16. The BFI is making up to £25,000 ($41,750) available to U.S. distributors who acquire the films to boost marketing campaigns and help support the promotion of UK talent to American audiences. The films that fall under the initiative are documentary The Legend Of Shorty, co-directed by Angus Macquee and Guillermo Galdos; Vision selections Beyond Clueless, directed by Charlie Lyne, and The Possibilities Are Endless, co-directed by Edward Lovelace and James Hall; and 24 Beats Per Second entries Pulp, directed by Florian Habicht, and Soul Boys of the Western World, directed by George Hencken. The scheme was successful in Sundance with all three entries, Hong Khaou’s Lilting, Stuart Murdoch’s God Help The Girl and Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard’s 20,000 Days On Earth, each sealing a U.S. theatrical deal. BFI Film Fund director, Ben Roberts, says, “With each of the eligible films at Sundance quickly securing U.S. distribution deals, we were very keen to extend the pilot to see if it has legs at SXSW, and explore further if it can help … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The rush to build new filmmaking ecosystems based on crowdsourcing is still in full effect, as industry-watchers have seen with the high-profile success of crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, its peer site Indiegogo, and online financing communities like Slated. Debuting in time for SXSW is another new digital film hub using crowdsourcing as its hook. Tentsquare, created by Modernciné and Modern Distributors CEO and filmmaker Andrew van den Houten, is a new web platform that integrates a social networking element in the making of short and feature-length film projects in what van den Houten describes as a digital production studio. He’s recruited fellow indie filmmakers including the McManus Brothers (2012 SXSW Official Selection Film, Funeral Kings) and Jeffrey Reddick (the Final Destination franchise) to the budding platform, in which members can track and interact with each other via the Tentsquare network and, in theory, contribute input into story, character development, and casting of Tentsquare projects. Users also can submit themselves as directors, screenwriters, actors, and cinematographers, with fellow members and a panel of expert judges voting on who gets selected to work on the company’s films. “The goal is to democratize the filmmaking process,” said van den Houten. “No creative executive at any studio has ever been willing to give control over to the audience.” The platform officially launches this week at SXSW, where Tentsquare will have a … Read More »
Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell‘s crowdfunded Veronica Mars movie is slated to make its world premiere next Saturday at the SXSW Film Festival, but an early sneak peek at the film’s first two minutes has been released online. The clip bridges the gap between the cancelled CW series’ end and the film with a voice-over by ex-teen P.I. Veronica Mars (Bell), in a montage “where we tell new fans everything they’ll need to know,” Tweeted series co-creator and director Thomas. WB will release Veronica Mars theatrically and day and date on VOD March 14. In January The CW announced a spin-off digital series to follow starring Veronica Mars‘s Ryan Hansen.
Related: ‘Veronica Mars’ Movie To Premiere at SXSW
‘Veronica Mars’ Gets Digital Spinoff Series On CW Starring Ryan Hansen
A June theatrical and VOD release is tentatively planned for Brian Knappenberger’s documentary The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz followed by a broadcast TV premiere on Participant-owned Pivot during the the fourth quarter. Knappenberger made the hacker docu We Are Legion: The Story Of The Hacktivists, and this one is about programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz, one of co-founders of Reddit, who became ensnared in a legal nightmare that ended with his suicide last year at age 26. It played in competition in Sundance and is in the lineup at next week’s SXSW. Charles Annenberg Weingarten, Zach Braff and Mason Fink produced. The deal was negotiated by FilmBuff CEO Janet Brown and Head of Content Partnerships Steven Beckman, Participant COO Jeff Ivers, Pivot SVP Acquisitions and Operations Jennie Morris, and Cinetic Media’s John Sloss for the filmmakers.
Related: SXSW: ‘Neighbors,’ ‘Joe,’ Wes Anderson Q&A Round Out Features Lineup
EXCLUSIVE: The South By Southwest Festival continues to grow in popularity and influence, and the Hollywood marketing machine has taken notice. With last year’s fest drawing an estimated 64,000 plugged-in registrants, entertainment companies again are salivating at the opportunity to mine the Austin crowd and active social media accounts. Enter Funny or Die. The humor brand is planning a March 8-10 assault that includes tie-ins with Universal Pictures and Facebook, live podcasts, panels, an event with its Fuse show Billy On The Street and culminating with a stand-up show by a comedy legend making his fest debut. The revelry kicks off with a Saturday night Delta Psi frat party, a wink at the boisterous Greeks featured in Neighbors, the Seth Rogen-Zac Efron-Rose Byrne comedy that Uni will bow May 9. There’s Neighbors-related fraternity shenanigans the next day with a Delta Psi open house. Funny or Die’s three-day party will wind down — or whip up, depending on your point of view — with a Bill Cosby concert Monday night. That is if the whippersnappers can look up from their phones long enough to appreciate an American treasure who made their parents and grandparents double over. FOD also is partnering with Facebook, which will have teams from the social network and Instrgram at the festival to help media groups and public figures … Read More »
David Gordon Green directed Nicolas Cage in the adaptation of Larry Brown’s novel, about an Southern ex-con trying to stay out of trouble. Spoiler alert: He can’t, especially after befriending a hard-luck kid (Tye Sheridan) he tries to protect from an evil father. Sheridan won the Best Newcomer prize for the role at Venice. Gary Hawkins wrote the screenplay. Roadside Attractions nabbed the title in a bidding war during Toronto and is releasing it April 11– but not before Joe has its U.S. Premiere at SXSW on March 13. Here’s the trailer that dropped today:
A keynote session with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 helmer Marc Webb leads the final lineup for the 2014 SXSW Film Conference slate which also includes chats with filmmakers Jason Bateman (Bad Words), Mike Myers (Supermensch) moderated by Jon Favreau, Ralph Steadman (For No Good Reason), and actors Robert Duvall and Tilda Swinton. The SXSW Film Festival runs March 7-15:
SXSW 2014 Features Lineup, New TV Section Unveiled
SXSW Midnighters & Full Shorts Slate Unveiled
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The Wagner/Cuban Company’s Magnet Releasing snagged U.S. rights to horror comedy musical Stage Fright, which is set to debut next month at SXSW. The Midnighters premiere from first-time feature director Jerome Sable (The Legend of Beaver Dam) stars Allie MacDonald and Douglas Smith in the tale of a starry-eyed teenager with Broadway dreams who sneaks out of kitchen duty at the snobby performing arts camp where she works to audition for the summer showcase and lands the lead, only to find herself in the middle of a bloodbath when rehearsals begin. Meat Loaf and Minnie Driver also co-star. Magnet is planning an Ultra VOD release with Stage Fright hitting iTunes/On Demand on April 3 ahead of a May 9 theatrical debut. The pic is produced by Ari Lantos and Jonas Bell Pasht of Serendipity Point Films. Original music and lyrics are by Sable and collaborator Eli Batalion, who also appears in the film as the camp’s music director. For a taste of Sable’s chops check out his 2010 Legend of Beaver Dam short which made the film fest rounds and similarly blended music, dark comedy, and children being hacked up at camp:
Related: SXSW: ‘The Guest,’ ‘Oculus,’ ’13 Sins’ Among Midnighters; Full Shorts Slate Unveiled
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The final wave of programming set to unspool at SXSW next month will include Midnighter selections The Guest, starring Downton Abbey‘s Dan Stevens and directed by Adam Wingard (You’re Next), 13 Sins from Daniel Stamm (The Last Exorcism), Late Phases from Adrián García Bogliano (Here Comes the Devil), and Mike Flanagan‘s Oculus, the festival announced today. Today’s newly unveiled genre and shorts slate round out SXSW 2014′s full film lineup, which includes already-announced premieres for Universal’s Neighbors, Jon Favreau’s Chef, the Veronica Mars movie, and David Gordon Green’s Joe. Scroll down for the full Midnighters and Shorts program:
Related: SXSW: ‘Neighbors,’ ‘Joe,’ Wes Anderson Round Out Features Lineup
Director: Adam Wingard, Screenwriter: Simon Barrett
A soldier on leave befriends the family of a fallen comrade, only to become a threat to all around him when it’s revealed he’s hiding dangerous secrets from his past.
Cast: Dan Stevens, Maika Monroe, Leland Orser, Lance Reddick, Sheila Kelley
Director/Screenwriter: Daniel Stamm, Screenwriter: David Birke
A cryptic phone call sets off a dangerous game of risks for Elliot, a down-on-his luck salesman. The game promises increasing rewards for completing 13 tasks, each more sinister than the last.
Cast: Mark Webber, Rutina Wesley, Devon Graye, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Richard Burgi, Tom Bower, Ron Perlman (World Premiere)
Among The Living (France)
Director/Screenwriter: Julien Maury, Alexandre Bustillo
After horror favorites Inside and Livid, Maury and Bustillo pair up again for a horror-thriller at the cross roads between Stand by Me and Friday the13th. Cast: Anne Marivin, Béatrice Dalle, Francis Renaud, Fabien Jegoudez, Nicolas Giraud (World Premiere)
Director: Eduardo Sánchez, Screenwriter: Jamie Nash
Five friends on a camping weekend in the remote woods of East Texas struggle to survive against a legendary beast that is stronger, smarter and more terrifying than they would have ever believed exists. Cast: Chris Osborn, Dora Madison Burge, Roger Edwards, Denise Williamson, Samuel Davis (World Premiere)
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The first film in 23 years from Chilean auteur Alejandro Jodorowsky has been picked up by ABKCO Films, which distributed his El Topo and The Holy Mountain in 2007 and will release the autobiographical Dance Of Reality theatrically in NY and LA on May 23. Dance of Reality, shot in Jodorowsky’s desert hometown of Tocopilla, blends the filmmaker’s recollections of childhood with metaphor and his signature surrealist style. Pic premiered at Cannes in the Director’s Fortnight sidebar and makes its stateside debut at SXSW in March where Jodorowsky will appear in person for a rare Q&A. Check out the trailer here:
Related: SXSW 2014 Full Features Lineup