Film News

It's dry as a bone out there, but this verdant pasture of industry info and celebrity gossip is no mirage

Limits to 'Idiocracy'

The good news is that Austin fans will finally get to see Mike Judge's futuristic comedy, Idiocracy, on the big screen. The bad news is that people in most other areas of the country likely won't. Idiocracy opens in limited – and very quiet, judging by the lack of a trailer and short notice – release on Sept. 1 in Austin, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, and Toronto, a spokesperson for 20th Century Fox said. Whether the long-delayed, Austin-shot film will expand to other markets is uncertain. The announcement comes on the heels of a report on the MTV Web site that the film's release was "postponed indefinitely" with rumors of the dreaded limited release. Wrong on the first; correct on the second. Which leads to the obligatory questions: Is it that bad? Will film execs ever figure out Judge's humor? Is the film's star, Luke Wilson, cursed? (His Austin-shot directing debut, The Wendell Baker Story, should be filed under whereabouts unknown.) Lest we forget, Judge's Office Space was a dud at the box office but remains gold on DVD/video. The better news hereabouts is that Judge appears to be preparing for his next live-action feature, Meat in the Freezer. Oh, and you can check out the Idiocracy poster at

My Liz Smith impersonation

Yes, Austin is currently crawling with celebs who are no doubt wondering if they've arrived in hell, given our molten temps. Reese Witherspoon is reportedly sweatily nesting here while hubby Ryan Phillippe shoots the untitled war in Iraq film formerly known as Stop-Loss. And Quentin Tarantino can be found – surprise – watching movies at the Paramount and original Alamo Drafthouse. Local stunt legend Gary Kent happened upon QT sipping coffee at Jo's on South Congress the other day and was dumbfounded when the director said Kent's name will pop up in "Death Proof," Tarantino's slasher half of Grind House, his joint project with Robert Rodriguez. Seems the plot involves Stuntman Mike portrayed by Kurt Russell. Filming commenced this week. So, where is Goldie Hawn, and will her newly unhitched daughter Kate Hudson brave the Texas boil with her rumored flame Owen Wilson? But on a more seriously segued note, look for Owen in India about the time monsoon season ends for The Darjeeling Limited, the next Wes Anderson directing gig. No, Owen isn't back to writing scripts with Anderson; this time, UT alumnus Wes penned it with Jason Schwartzman (who will also star) and Roman Coppola. Meanwhile, Sydney Poitier has been added to the cast of the aforementioned Death Proof, which is indeed seeking extras. You need to be available for 12- to 14-hour night shoots for two straight weeks from Monday, Aug. 28, through Sept. 8. E-mail a current photo and phone numbers to

Former Longhorn turns 'Cowboy'

Former Texas Longhorn tight end Will Moore is gearing up for his second feature, Cowboy Smoke, which will shoot in Tivoli, a small town outside of Victoria. The story follows a convenience-store clerk who gets to pursue his cowboy dream when he sets out to help a family of illegal immigrants facing certain death. Moore cut his film teeth working for his costume supervisor father, Stanley Moore, on Robert Rodriguez's The Faculty and made his first feature, Wesley Cash, for $20,000. It later sold to Vanguard Cinema. In addition, Moore's short, "Quarter to Life," will premiere at the Los Angeles International Short Film Festival in September, about the time the camera cranks on Cowboy.

And the rest...

Tim McCanlies is singing all the way to the bank with word that his Secondhand Lions is being made into a, gulp, musicial for the stage!... Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars) will portray a hexagon in Flatland: The Movie, an educational DVD directed by Jeffrey Travis and animated by Dano Johnson in Austin. Based on Edwin A. Abbott's novel, it also stars Martin Sheen... Are you funny and a filmmaker? The Austin Film Festival (just around the corner in October) and the Capitol City Comedy Club have the Funniest Filmmaker in Austin Competition just for you. Films should be five minutes or shorter, and the deadline is Sept. 1. More at The Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival is seeking 45-second trailers to run between screenings during the Sept. 29-Oct. 8 fest. The deadline is Sept. 15; the theme is "Say What?"; and more info is at UT grad student Peter Malof's first short, "Derek's Appeal," starring his 12-year-old son, won the grand jury prize at the recent San Francisco International Festival of Shorts, beating out more than 900 entries and raking in a $1,000 prize. You know Malof as one of the Texas Lottery announcers... P.J. Raval's feature documentary, Best Kept Secret, has been accepted into the IFP Market to be held in September in New York City. The rocket of the local film scene also has been named one of 25 new faces in film by Filmmaker Magazine... Ken Johnson's short, "A Sorta Sin," will screen at Reel Affirmations, the Washington, D.C., International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, in October. The short has a priest interrogating a young man about his sexuality.

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Ken Johnson, P.J. Raval, Peter Malof, Kristen Bell, Jeffrey Travis, Flatland:The Movie, Derek's Appeal, Best Kept Secret, Funniest Filmmaker in Austin, Austin Film Festival, Mike Judge, Idiocracy, Luke Wilson, The Darjeeling Limited, Wes Anderson, Jason Schwartzman, Roman Coppola, Wesley Cash, Will Moore, Cowboy Smoke

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