Ahead of A&E‘s Bates Motel panel at SXSW, where Carlton Cuse just described the show as “One part Friday Night Lights, one part Lost, [and] one part Twin Peaks“, the first six minutes of the first episode leaked online. With a week to go before the Hitchcockian prequel series premieres, A&E is in full promotional mode at the Austin fest. Bates Motel stars Freddie Highmore as Norman Bates and Vera Farmiga as his mother and debuts March 18 at 10 PM. Here’s the opening six minutes:
EXCLUSIVE: The team behind Sundance pic Filly Brown and SXSW entry Snap are reuniting with actress Gina Rodriguez on Marching Banda. Rodriguez, who played the eponymous lead in the hip-hop flavored Filly Brown, will star as a single mother of a high school trumpet player in the Cima Productions pic. When the boy’s estranged musician father turns up, he bonds with his son as he begins teaching traditional Mexican regional music to the school’s marching band. Marching Banda is set for a late summer start with Filly Brown co-director Youssef Delara helming. Amir Delara, Victor Teran and Delara will produce for their Cima Productions banner.
Sunday night at SXSW Lionsgate finally began its long campaign to build You’re Next into a potential late summer hit. Adam Wingard’s slasher pic was the toast of the 2011 Toronto Midnight Madness line-up (see Mike Fleming’s report on its hot sale to Lionsgate here). But a few months later Lionsgate merged with Summit and the indie horror got bumped down the priority line. A year after inking the deal, the studio set the family home invasion pic for August 2013 — a two year delay that could have been (and still might be) the kiss of death to all the buzz shored up from its handful of film festival screenings.
Harmony Korine‘s Day-Glo crime thriller Spring Breakers had its U.S. premiere Sunday night at SXSW, where stars Selena Gomez, James Franco, Ashley Benson, and Rachel Korine (minus Vanessa Hudgens) joined their director onstage for a Q&A. “I’d been collecting Spring Break imagery for a couple of years from fraternity sites and co-ed pornography for paintings and artwork”, said Korine, who wrote and directed the pic about college girls who commit robbery to finance their dream Spring Break only to become entangled in the dangerous lifestyle of a Floridian thug named Alien (Franco). “Here were all these hypersexualized, hyperviolent subjects with childlike details — nail polish, bags, stuff like that. So I imagined girls on a beach in bikinis robbing fat tourists”.
Back at SXSW to premiere his 14th feature, Drinking Buddies writer-director Joe Swanberg brought something new to the festival: A movie with name stars, a polished look, and mainstream sales potential. The relationship comedy stars Tron: Legacy‘s Olivia Wilde and New Girl‘s Jake Johnson as a pair of Chicagoan craft brewery co-workers whose platonic friendship veers toward flirtation. Ron Livingston and Anna Kendrick co-star as their respective significant others in the pic which marks Swanberg’s first modestly-budgeted (vs. micro-budgeted) feature.
Drinking Buddies has a more traditional look than Swanberg’s previous mumblecore releases thanks to Beasts Of The Southern Wild DP Ben Richardson. It was entirely improvised as the cast worked from Swanberg’s outline. “Putting dialogue in somebody else’s mouth has always seemed strange to me. The writing process shifted to the editing, so that’s when the script gets written”, Swanberg explained after Saturday’s premiere.
Things got a little too warm when Al Gore took to the stage at the SXSW Interactive festival Saturday to talk about The Future — that is, his new book subtitled Six Drivers Of Global Change as well as …
SXSW isn’t a sales-dominant fest, but two years ago Universal’s Bridesmaids debut here paid off when the Kristen Wiig pic became a $288 million global box office hit. Now studios with spring openers and genre fare are hoping SXSW can be a similar launching pad for strong word of mouth. Here are the mainstream pics hoping to squeeze hot buzz out of SXSW:
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (Warner Bros.):
Director: Don Scardino, Story by Chad Kultgen & Tyler Mitchell and Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley. Screenplay by Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley. Cast: Steve Carell, Jim Carrey, Olivia Wilde, Steve Buscemi. Warner Bros opens the Steve Carell – Jim Carrey magician comedy nationwide next week but the mixed critical reaction after its SXSW opening night premiere won’t help.
Evil Dead (Screen Gems):
Director/Screenwriter: Fede Alvarez, Screenwriter: Rodo Sayagues. Cast: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, Elizabeth Blackmore. Producer Sam Raimi’s fingerprints have been all over this quasi-remake, which was the hottest ticket in town on Day One. Raimi didn’t make the trip to Austin to stump for Evil Dead with director Fede Alvarez and fellow producer Bruce Campbell — he was busy opening Disney’s Oz: The Great And Powerful — but the gory R-rated remake made an impression on the late night genre crowd.
Related: Joss Whedon Q&A On Eve Of SXSW
EXCLUSIVE: In 2012, Adam Rifkin (Detroit Rock City, Look) made Reality Show, a Showtime mockumentary series produced by Sony International Television about a reality TV producer (Rifkin) and the unwitting family starring in his latest ratings-grabber. While editing it for broadcast he saw the potential in recutting the eight-episode run down to a 90-minute movie with a dramatically darker tone and viewing experience. And with no studio brass telling him not to, that’s what he did. The result is Reality Show: The Film, an opening night selection of SXSW.
Related: Joss Whedon Q&A On Eve Of SXSW
Image Entertainment has taken all U.S. rights including home entertainment and digital on Evidence, a thriller starring Stephen Moyer (True Blood) and Radha Mitchell (Red Widow). The deal closed yesterday on the eve of …
The SXSW Film Festival officially begins Friday, but early deals were brewing ahead of the festivities. Digital distribution specialist GoDigital has nabbed North American rights to The Punk Syndrome, a docu about a Finnish band comprised of four mentally handicapped musicians that makes its stateside debut Tuesday in Austin. (Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät will play a live show at SXSW on March 15.) “This is a documentary unlike any we’ve seen, telling a story unlike anything we’ve heard”, said GoDigital CEO Logan Mulvey of director Jukka Kärkkainen’s pic, which will hit VOD and digital distribution this summer.
THURSDAY PM: Joss Whedon is making a much anticipated appearance at SXSW to present his indie modern retelling of the Shakespeare comedy Much Ado About Nothing. That’s the microbudgeted pic he shot in 12 days in secret under his Bellwether Pictures banner while working on Marvel‘s The Avengers. Picked up after its Toronto debut, the film screens in Austin with a panel on Saturday in front of his rabid fanbase – then hits theaters June 7 via Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions. (The film releases June 14 in the UK via Kaleidoscope, which is also handling international sales.)
Whedon recently wrapped his pilot for Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D. series and is set to work on The Avengers 2 for a 2015 release. He’s also contracted for three years as a creative consultant to Marvel, helping studio head Kevin Feige develop the sprawling superhero universe. Whedon admits the Marvel commitments may not leave time anymore for passion projects like Much Ado because he’s “in constant danger of burning out”. He also talks to Deadline’s Jen Yamato and contributor Joe Utichi about what could have been – Wonder Woman, Star Wars – and what might still be for The Hulk:
DEADLINE: Most directors helming a giant summer blockbuster wouldn’t choose to use their 2-week break to make a small Shakespeare film.
WHEDON: Making The Avengers was very important to me, but it was also extremely arduous. I missed my friends and I missed my home, so I decided to throw them all on camera which is the only way I seem to know to relate to people. But I was blissfully happy when we were shooting Much Ado About Nothing – and it was actually one week and three weekends – and then I went back to cutting Avengers much better. I was in the very early process – my first assembly was very long. When I came back from Much Ado, without any rancor or confusion, I was able to cut the film down to length and readily focus on the things that mattered. I think I would have come to that one way or another, but Much Ado sped it up. Here I was making absolute giddy ridiculous art with no expectations, and nothing but joy – and wishing that my neighbors’ dogs would shut up.
EXCLUSIVE: Break Media is adding a high octane new channel to their portfolio, just in time for SXSW. The male-targeted online network is launching their new YouTube channel Hardcoded with a web series that blends found footage with episodic action, starring James Kyson (Heroes), Camille Guaty (The Vampire Diaries), Wes Chatham (The Unit), Patrick Fabian (The Last Exorcism), and Jason Manuel Olazabal (Make It Or Break It).