SUN., SEPT. 14, 2003
Hollywood seems to be high on Austin in recent years. In any given month at least a couple of major productions are shooting in or around town, bringing with them a retinue of grips, gaffers, sound technicians, set designers, make-up artists, painters, carpenters, stunt men, and camera operators, many of whom look like they live in a trailer down by the river. Some actually do. There are also movie stars – not just Sandy slumming in SoCo or Bongo McConaughey on the sidelines at a Longhorn game but real, live Hollywood legends like Stallone, Spacey, Winslet, Banderas, Buscemi, Hayek, Montalban and Marin (Ricardo and Cheech, respectively). Maybe it’s the music. After all, Sandy fell for Bob, and Bob fell for Billy Joe (Schneider, Duval, and Shaver, respectively). Russell Crowe, Dennis Quaid and the Bacon brothers have all pitched their musical tents here in the past few years and Johnny Depp even gigged here once with Gibby and Bill (Haynes and Carter, respectively) back before he started hatin’ on ’merica. If it’s not the music that’s hooking Hollywood it’s probably the migas. You can drive Sunset from Vine all the way out to the Pacific Ocean and not find a decent plate of migas. In Austin, just about any place short of Denny’s makes a respectable rendition though you have to admit it would be nice to run into the Pacific Ocean every once in a while when you’re out looking for them. Filling out the holy trinity of Austin allure is the margarita. It’s very likely that Austin’s favorite sporting drink is solely responsible for the huge influx of West Coasters, many of whom got their first brain freeze at places like Trudy’s, Manuel’s and Z Tejas. Some credit the versatility of Austin’s environs: the river, the lakes, the hills. Don’t bet on it. Tulsa’s pretty diverse, but you don’t see Ricardo Montalban slamming margaritas down on Peoria Avenue. More than anything, it may be that Austin is overly blessed with an abundance of creative people who have the chops to make movies happen. Take, for instance, the Austin Film Society. For nearly 20 years the AFS has been hosting screenings and local independent filmmakers, the result of which has been increasing interest and investment in the local film community. This Sunday the AFS is hosting the regional premiere of Secondhand Lions, which was shot in and around Austin and written and directed by Tim McCanlies, whose previous works include The Iron Giant, and Dancer, Texas Pop. 81. Secondhand Lions stars Academy Award winners Robert Duval and Michael Caine as well as Academy Award nominee Haley Joel Osment and may well be the most interesting film to come out of Austin/Hollywood in some time if only for the fact that no one seems to know how to market it yet. Director McCanlies and star Osment will undoubtedly get the ball rolling this Sunday by attending the premiere and hosting a Q&A afterwards. Sadly Duval and Caine are not scheduled to attend, but even if Haley Joel is still a little too wet behind the ears to pique your interest, the admission price includes and afterparty at La Zona Rosa with Billy Joe Shaver. $10 for a movie, music, and margaritas. Can migas be far behind?