Russell Brand has cancelled his opening night appearance at SXSW where Ondi Timoner’s "Brand: A Second Coming" is set to screen as the opening night selection. Brand has also ben asked to deliver a keynote speech.
Timoner herself, wasn’t sure if he would show or not, saying in an Indiewire interview: "It’s just so hard for him. He’s very much on the fence, I think, and he was leaning that way, and then leaning against. It’s hard for him to talk about his life. He said to me a couple of times during filming, ‘I went through it already. It was hard enough to live the first time.’ He’s somewhere where he wants to look forward and stay on his mission. It might get useful after he sees how positively people respond to him after seeing the film."
Brand released a lengthy statement on his website, explaining his absence:
"Ondi is a very beautiful person and a director of peerless integrity, I suppose what I didn’t consider was that in letting go of the film, I was agreeing to be the subject of a biography. Posthumously this is a great honor but while you’re alive, oddly intrusive and melancholy. […]
You’d think a narcissist would like nothing more than talking about themselves and their ‘rags to riches,’ ‘hard luck’ story but actually, it felt like, to me, my life was hard enough the first time round and going through it again was painful and sad. […]
I know Ondi is an artist and I’m told the film is good but for me watching it was very uncomfortable. I apologize sincerely to the organizers of SXSW for my non-attendance, especially Janet Pierson, Brian Solis and Rynda Laurel from the interactive festival who were responsible for the keynote talk that I was due to do."