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SXSW: Jay Duplass Says New Jason Segel Film Tricky to Market

The "Baghead" and "Cyrus" filmmaker, who helped launch mumblecore, brings his short "Kevin" to Austin.

The annual opening night party at Buffalo Billiards on Sixth St. played out as it always does: locals mixed with far-flung filmmakers and press to drink beer and talk about how awesome it is to be back in Austin.

SXSW narrative feature juror Michelle Satter (a longtime Sundance Institute fixture) was eager to start watching the eight competition films on her agenda for the next three days. She’ll commune with fellow jurors Roger Ebert and New York Magazine writer Logan Hill on Tuesday ahead of the awards ceremony that night.

While we were talking, Jay Duplass walked up. Duplass, along with his brother Mark, is a kind of local filmmaking hero for inadvertently launching the Austin-based mumblecore movement. He’s at SXSW with a short called Kevin about his college music hero Kevin Gant, whom he went in search of after a 15-year disappearance. Duplass promised a special event at the Sunday screening at the Alamo Lamar.

He also mentioned that he and his brother had just locked picture on their latest film, Jeff Who Lives at Home, for Paramount. It stars Jason Segel and Ed Helms but isn’t any kind of straight-ahead comedy, so he’s worried about marketing it so as not to mislead audiences’ expectations. It doesn’t have a release date yet, but the studio is looking for one that can make the best use of Segel’s ability to promote it. The actor-writer already has Bad Teacher coming out in June and then The Muppets, which he also co-wrote, hitting theaters in November.

Sounds like September could be the sweet spot. Telluride, perhaps?