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15 Buzzy SXSW Premieres: ‘The Fall Guy,’ ‘3 Body Problem,’ Travis Kelce’s Producing Debut and More

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The 2024 SXSW Film & TV Festival — which runs March 8–16 in Austin, Texas — has cooked up an eclectic spread of studio crowd-pleasers, enterprising TV premieres, and indie gems aiming to break through. Here is some of the most promising fare. 

Babes

The canon of Ilana Glazer-led indies about childbearing expands. Following 2021’s “False Positive,” Glazer plays pregnant once again in “Babes,” this time from a film script she wrote with Josh Rabinowitz in Pamela Adlon’s feature directorial debut. The Neon comedy follows Eden (Glazer), who gets pregnant from a one-night stand and seeks help from Dawn (Michelle Buteau), a married mother of two. In other words, “Babes” lets the “Broad City” star do what she does best: lean heavily on the support of a best buddy.

Black Twitter: A People’s History

Come to “Black Twitter: A People’s History” for a who’s who of the funniest moments Black people have created on the social media site now known as X. Stay for what director Prentice Penny calls a coming-of-age story: “Are we just going to be a place for fun and jokes, or are we going to start to make things happen?” he asks. The three-part Hulu docuseries chronicles how Black Twitter users have impacted culture and politics since 2007 and questions what’s at stake now that Elon Musk owns the company. But don’t expect these talking heads to call the site anything besides its original name.

Doin’ It

When Lilly Singh said goodbye to NBC’s “A Little Late,” she cited a desire to focus on long-form content that the 1:30 a.m. time slot didn’t afford her. Enter “Doin’ It,” her debut narrative feature as a writer, which is seeking distribution. Singh also stars as Maya, a virgin who accidentally finds herself teaching high school sex education, a premise that returns her to the outrageous brand of comedy that made her famous on YouTube before she crossed over to Hollywood.

The Fall Guy

Meg Ryan fans may find themselves happy to hear this: According to Ryan Gosling, “The Fall Guy” feels like “‘When Harry Met Sally’ with action.” In the Universal film, when a major movie star (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) goes missing, his body double, Colt Seavers (Gosling), goes on a stunt-filled rescue mission to save their film and woo its director (Emily Blunt), who also happens to be Colt’s ex-girlfriend. “It’s such a love letter to movies,” Gosling says, “from a perspective you’ve never seen: the people who actually make it, and how much they’ve been taken for granted.”

Hacks – Season 3

Almost two years after its second season aired, Max’s “Hacks” is making a showy post-strikes return to follow comedy legend Deborah Vance (Jean Smart), still riding the success of her standup comedy special, and Deborah’s former writing partner, Ava (Hannah Einbinder), pursuing new opportunities in LA. If that doesn’t sound like much yet, please accept this tease from showrunners Paul W. Downs, Lucia Aniello and Jen Statsky: “Two words: Tom Cruise coconut cake.

The Idea of You

Michael Showalter’s rom-com stars Anne Hathaway as a 40-year-old single mom who falls into a whirlwind romance with the 24-year-old lead singer of the One Direction-esque August Moon, played by Nick Galitzine (“Red, White & Royal Blue”). “We rarely get to see love stories on screen that buck the many ways society tries to label relationships and prevent romance from blossoming where it should,” producer Cathy Schulman says. Per director and co-writer Showalter, viewers will see a “showstopping” performance from Hathaway, a big introduction for Galitzine and “an epic Wang Chung dance sequence.”

Immaculate 

Fresh off her Marvel-adjacent role in Sony’s “Madame Web” and her rom-com queen stint alongside Glenn Powel in “Anyone But You,” “Euphoria” staple Sydney Sweeney stars in this Michael Mohan-directed Neon film as Cecilia, a devout American nun. After arriving at a remote convent in the idyllic Italian countryside, Cecilia soon learns the convent “harbors a sinister secret and unspeakable horrors.” From a script by Andrew Lobel, “Immaculate” tells a dark conception tale and preaches the message: “Suffering is love.” 

Jerrod Carmichael Reality Show

From his semi-autobiographical NBC sitcom “The Carmichael Show” to his Emmy-winning HBO stand-up special “Rothaniel,” in which he came out as gay, Jerrod Carmichael has excelled at reimagining familiar formats to deliver trenchant and topical comedy. His new HBO documentary series — co-created with director Ari Katcher (“Ramy”) and executive producer Eli B. Despres (“Couples Therapy”) — promises to do much the same, as it chronicles the 36-year-old comedian’s “tumultuous quest for love, sex and truth,” according to the festival catalog. In keeping with Carmichael’s unconventional persona, SXSW is premiering the show on the same night as the Oscars.

Magpie

Based on a surreal concept from star Daisy Ridley, “Magpie” follows how reality and fiction warp for parents Ben (Shazad Latif) and Anette (Ridley) when their elder daughter, Matilda, is cast alongside a glamorous movie star. “It’s a story of survival; of a woman who is scorned and disregarded and pushed to her limits and rather than falling further, she’ll go to any lengths to take back control and break free,” producer Kate Solomon says. Director Sam Yates says the “thriller elements” in “Magpie” will “pull at the audience” to question just what Ridley’s character is capable of to survive.

Monkey Man

Dev Patel makes his directorial debut in this vigilante thriller he also co-wrote, produced and stars in, as a nobody working in the bowels of a Mumbai fight club who decides to take revenge against the crime lords responsible for the death of his mother. “Monkey Man” was originally picked up by Netflix, but after screening it, Jordan Peele bought the film from the streamer through his company, Monkeypaw Prods., so it could receive a theatrical release from Universal.

My Dead Friend Zoe

Travis Kelce’s producing debut, which is seeking distribution, is a dark dramedy starring Sonequa Martin-Green as Merit, a U.S. Army veteran who is not on good terms with her family due to the regular presence of Zoe (Natalie Morales), Merit’s dead best friend, killed in Afghanistan. Merit is forced to confront her grief over Zoe’s death when her estranged grandfather (Ed Harris), a fellow vet, needs help at the family’s ancestral lake house. Morgan Freeman also stars. “The project resonated with Travis partially because he’s been a big advocate of veterans,” says co-producer Paul Scanlan, “and partially because he’s a Morgan Freeman fan.”

Oddity

The title of this Irish paranormal thriller from Shudder comes from the haunted curios collected by Darcy (Carolyn Bracken), a blind psychic still reeling from the grisly death of her twin sister the previous year. One such item — a life-size wooden figure trapped in a frozen scream — becomes crucial to Darcy’s quest to root out the truth about the murder. Writer-director Damian McCarthy (“Caveat”) worked with effects artist Paul McDonnell to ensure the model’s grotesque, gaping maw was appropriately terrifying. “I was literally sitting on a Zoom call with him as he’s sculpting it,” McCarthy says. “I thought that it would really just allow me some kind of gateway to hell.”

Road House

In this remake of the Patrick Swayze cult favorite, Jake Gyllenhaal stars as a former UFC fighter turned bouncer whose new job at a Florida Keys roadhouse forces him into an escalating procession of brawls. Co-starring Billy Magnussen, Daniela Melchior and Lukas Gage, the movie looks like catnip for the famously enthusiastic SXSW audiences. But it’s at risk of being overshadowed by a different kind of skirmish — between Amazon and director Doug Liman, who says he’s boycotting his film’s Austin premiere in protest of the streamer’s decision to forgo a theatrical release in favor of a run on Prime Video.

3 Body Problem

After forging “Game of Thrones” into the biggest TV series of the new century, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss apparently felt they needed even more of a challenge. Partnering with co-showrunner Alexander Woo (“The Terror”), they’re adapting the acclaimed— and wildly ambitious — “Remembrance of Earth’s Past” sci-fi novels by Chinese author Liu Cixin, which fuse rarefied scientific concepts (interplanetary physics, nanoscopic engineering) with an alien-invasion saga stretching from 1960s China to present-day London. The international cast of the Netflix series includes Benedict Wong, Eiza González, Rosalind Chao, Jovan Adepo, Jess Hong, Alex Sharp and “Thrones” alumni Jonathan Pryce, Liam Cunningham and John Bradley. “It’s a bit like ‘Game of Thrones,’” says Bradley. “It’s got so much scope to it, there will be something everybody will like.”

Y2K

These days, the term “Y2K” connotes an aesthetic characterized by low-waisted denim and Britney Spears. Kyle Mooney’s teen comedy, though, zeroes in on the apocalyptic anxiety that came with the turn of the millennium. Following two high school randos (Jaeden Martell and Julian Dennison, in a cast that also includes Rachel Zegler and Alicia Silverstone) who crash a party on Dec. 31, 1999, “Y2K” realizes the fight for survival that might have been necessary if computers had actually driven the end-times that night. Like “Brigsby Bear,” Mooney’s 2017 writing debut, the A24 film looks to center bizarro earnestness in conditions that would usually inspire nihilism.