Your film is world premiering at SXSW. Your A-list starlets are in attendance. Best of all, the movie's playing extremely well to the crowd at Austin's Paramount Theater. And then, two-thirds through the film, the projector malfunctions and the packed house is staring at an empty screen. What's a filmmaker to do when unforeseeable disaster strikes his film premiere?
If you're Sebastian Gutierrez, you put on a brave face, step onto the stage, and hold an impromptu Q&A session while staffers furiously try to fix the snafu. That's just what he did Sunday night at SXSW when a technical issue interrupted his Women in Trouble sequel Elektra Luxxa little more than an hour into the film, and while those in attendance would have liked to have seen how it ended (they didn't get to), Gutierrez's effort and good nature won the crowd over.
More from the premiere and red carpet after the jump.
While answering audience questions, the writer-director took the opportunity to discuss his next project, a feature-length film to be made available for free online this summer. A Girl Walks Into a Bar, shot in ten days and inspired by a scene in Elektra Luxx, stars Carla Gugino, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Rosario Dawson, Robert Forster, and Zachary Quinto. Gutierrez described the plot as "a Robert Altman-esque, Short Cuts kind of movie that takes place in bars. Ten bars, one night, different stories [that are] interconnected."
Gutierrez's affable Q&A had the audience in stitches, earning him and his stars a standing ovation by the end of the night. There were also the only-at-SXSW moments, such as when Grindhouse actress Electra Avellan, sitting in the audience, posed a question: "What made you choose the name 'Elektra'?" "Your name is Elektra," Gutierrez guessed. "You thought it was about you?"
After holding court solo, Gutierrez called cast members Gugino, Chriqui, Malin Akerman, and Emma Bell to join him onstage. Ironically, Akerman's character had yet to be seen in the film by the time of the interruption; her character doesn't show up until the end. But while the SXSW crowd was left wondering about her role, Akerman did share a small character tidbit with Cinematical on the pre-screening red carpet. "I'm not in any lingerie," she warned, which makes her one of the few characters in Elektra Luxx's ensemble cast not to appear in various states of undress (male stars included).
Though there's plenty of said undress in both Women in Trouble and Elektra Luxx, and although the latter focuses quite humorously on the twin themes of love and sex, Gutierrez's stars said they trusted their director implicitly to bring modern female characters to life with respect and sophistication -- elements often lacking in mainstream offerings. "He's a fantastic writer for women," Akerman told Cinematical on the red carpet. "He writes it better than some women can."
"He respects a woman like nobody's business, on every level," added Chriqui. One of a few returning actors who also appeared in Women in Trouble, Chirqui resumes her role as the stripper friend of the delightfully dizzy Adrianne Palicki, who's now developed romantic feelings for her platonic BFF.
Gugino explained further. "He was raised by all women, so he's much more comfortable at a table of women than at a table of men. You read these characters and they're so insightful in terms of women. To me, men and women are much less different than people might think, so I kind of like the fact that we have this man as our fearless leader. And it's celebrating women, in a movie about women."
"Elektra Luxx shows the complexity of women you might think of as one-dimensional, and instead you see so many other sides," she continued. "Women are able to be all that women are, which is sexy and funny and smart. You don't have to be one or the other; we are everything."
Check SXSW.com and the official SXSW Twitter feed for updates on the rescheduled screening of Elektra Luxx.