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James Franco’s ‘The Disaster Artist’ to Premiere at SXSW

Variety logo Variety 2/7/2017 Dave McNary
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James Franco’s ‘The Disaster Artist” has been set for a “work in progress” premiere the upcoming South by Southwest film Festival.

SXSW made the announcement Tuesday. Franco directed “The Disaster Artist,” based on the making of Tommy Wiseau’s incomprehensible “The Room,” which some describe as the “’Citizen Kane’ of bad movies.” Franco also stars along with sibling Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, Josh Hutcherson, Ari Graynor, Jacki Weaver and Alison Brie.

The program is also attempting to set up a screening of the original “The Room,” which first screened in 2003.

The festival, which is heading into its 24th year, will open March 10 in Austin with the previously announced Terrence Malick movie “Song to Song” with Rooney Mara, Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender, and Natalie Portman. It announced most of the lineup a week ago, including world premieres of “Baby Driver” and “The Ballad of Lefty Brown.”

The new announcement includes the SXSW Midnighters section of 10 genre films, including eight world premieres plus nine other new movies, bringing the total to 128.

“In this current political climate, genre filmmakers are more necessary than ever,” said Jarod Neece, SXSW Senior Film Programmer. “They give us the chance to escape the horrors in our daily lives and spend some time in the dark, hallowed halls of the cinema. This year’s batch of Midnighters span the gamut of splatter horror, dark comedy, revenge, and satire, and explore mortality, sociopathy and survival.”

SXSW has also launched a new Virtual Reality section with 38 projects that emphasize storytelling and ingenuity as a showcase how other industries are embracing the medium.

SXSW Conference announced separately a new keynotes, featured speakers and sessions. They include Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Senator Cory Booker, actress Julia-Louis Dreyfus and the cast of “Veep,” GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis, Fleetwood Mac namesake Mick Fleetwood, pop singer and songwriter Kesha, actor Bob Odenkirk, WWE star John Cena, Nick Denton and Jeff Goodby. Previously announced speakers include Lee Daniels, Gareth Edwards, Jill Soloway, Cheryl Boone Isaacs and “Game of Thrones” creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.

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