Written and directed by Mike Birbiglia, starring Gillian Jacobs, Chris Gethard, Keegan-Michael Key and Birbiglia, “Don’t Think Twice” is a scripted comedy about a group of friends who run an improv group in a struggling theater. The movie is funny throughout, but also brings a realness to the situation through dramatic, hard-hitting moments. SCP hit the red carpet to pick the cast brains about SXSW, the city of Austin and the film itself.
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Read the interview highlights below, or listen to SCP Radio’s full-length podcast:
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Sean Ritchie: I wanted to touch on the excitement of the premier of the film. Was there any special meaning or significance with the city of Austin having it premier here?
Chris Gethard: To me, I think, the thing I like about South by Southwest is I think it is very unpretentious. I think this film is about regular people in a lot of ways. Something like Cannes or Sundance is obviously huge and an honor, but I kind of feel like Austin is a city where the people really come out, and it’s very unpretentious. It’s like, “Let’s just appreciate stuff for appreciating it.” I kind of feel like the characters in the movie are sort of like the people I have met in Austin that I really love; creative, unpretentious sort of blue-collar types. That feels good to me, it feels good to amongst people that I think will identify with the film.
SR: For sure. Have you been to Austin a bunch of times or is this your first time?
CG: I have. This is my sixth or seventh time. The first time when I was here I was driving cross country, and I stopped. I didn’t know what to expect and I had a really wild night of life — it was good.
SR: Amazing. What particularly, outside of the vibe of the city stands out to you? Are there any interesting sights you like to see, or maybe restaurants you like to hit while you’re here?
CG: Well there used to be a guy, who actually past away, it was a guy named Leslie who used to be on 6th street and was this notorious weirdo. He used to dress up in crazy costumes and he would run for mayor every time they would run for mayor. I always liked that. The whole phrase “keep Austin weird” sounds like a catch phrase, but then you see a guy like that who’s a local celebrity just for being a lunatic and that, I think, speaks very highly of the city of Austin.
SR: Finally, last question I have, were there any challenges with this film? Was there anything that you set out and had to overcome in the making of it?
CG: It definitely was a lot of emotion, it’s a comedy, but it also gets pretty heavy and I’m not used to that. I really just do comedy. The obvious answer, not to be weird, but I have a nude scene. I was not expecting that, nor was anybody. I had to ask my wife if it was okay, and I still haven’t told my mom. So, that was tough. I’ve never done that before.
SR: How did that blow over?
CG: We’ll see tonight at the premier. The wife was fine with it, the mom probably won’t be. We’ll have to see. I want to get some good reviews in to show her that and then break it to her. Maybe she’ll think it was an artsy choice instead of me being an exhibitionist. So, we’ll see!
SR: What was the excitement of having the premiere be at SXSW in Austin?
Gillian Jacobs: Well, I haven’t had any yet, but clearly barbecue is the reason to come to Austin. I wanted to go to Franklin Barbecue, but I don’t have time to wait in line because of the festival. I’ve had Franklin Barbecue before and it’s incredible. It’s crazy to see how much the festival has grown and how alive the city is. I mean, it’s just bar after bar, lounge after lounge and restaurants. It’s just fun to be here. You’re not bummed to be here.
SR: I’m actually from outside of New York City.
GJ: Oh you are?
SR: So, I had a little bit of a low expectation coming down to Austin.
GJ: You were a little snob?
SR: Honestly, I was in a way and I had no idea really about the city. I was kind of impressed by the vibe of it. Can you touch on that a little bit? How does it kind of represent The South and Texas as a whole?
GJ: I don’t know. I haven’t traveled too much in The South, so I don’t know about that, but it feels like Austin is just a cool place where a lot of hip things are happening. People seem really excited to be here, and there is a lot of young students with the university. I want to explore different sections. I’ve gone over the river to a party that was really great. I don’t know what part of town it was, but it was a gorgeous hotel. I know a lot of people that have bought homes here and moved, because they love it down here so much.
SR: What about your character were you excited to play in this film?
GJ: Well, I’ve played a lot of characters that have a lot of issues that they’re grappling with. So, I was excited to play someone that was a more normal human being, who’s maybe felt a little more closer to me as a person, but also was far enough away from me that it felt like a challenge as a character.