As Jeffrey Wells reports on his site this weekend, screen legend Sissy Spacek and Factory Girl director George Hickenlooper turned up at the Alamo Drafthouse on the Closing Night of Fantastic Fest (after the screening of PT Anderson’s There Will Be Blood). Hickenlooper was reportedly in attendance for a (non Fantastic Fest) Mayor of the Sunset Strip screening in one of the theaters. Walking around the lobby, I wondered, “why is George Hickenlooper here?” But I was nonetheless pleased. He’s a very friendly and charming gentleman, always a pleasure to have in Austin. Meanwhile, someone asked “Did you see Sissy Spacek is here too?” This made total sense, given that her husband Jack Fisk was the production designer on There Will Be Blood.
But what many of those mingling in the lobby did not realize, was that young actor Emile Hirsch had been answering questions inside yet another theater at the Alamo Drafthouse during all this. I know, because I was the one moderating his Q&A following a (non Fantastic Fest) screening of Sean Penn’s Into the Wild. Asked to do the honors, I was happy to oblige when it was revealed to me that this would be next door to There Will Be Blood. Given both films’ lengthy durations, the timing was incredibly perfect. Hirsch was surely exhausted (this was the end of a three-week press tour), but he charmed the audience with excitement, vigor, and anecdotes. When he heard that he’d just missed a screening of There Will Be Blood, Hirsch was shocked. My film geek mind couldn’t help but connect him with Blood co-star Paul Dano, Hirsch’s castmate in the teen sex comedy, The Girl Next Door (not to be confused with the Jack Ketchum adaptation, which did screen at Fantastic Fest this year). Of course, I didn’t mention this to Hirsch, though I did ask him about his lead role in the upcoming film version of Speed Racer.
Regardless, everyone seemed extra happy to be in the Alamo Drafthouse that night with so much going on at one time. Clearly, it was the place to be.