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‘Civil War’ World Premiere Leaves SXSW Audiences With Ears Ringing & Hearts Racing

One of the most anticipated movies in a contentious Red vs. Blue election year, A24’s Civil War made its grand splash Thursday night in the Texas democratic stronghold of Austin — and the media, on which this feature casts a spotlight, savored it like a stack of beef ribs.

The dystopian future movie is set in a U.S. in which a three-term demagogue president rules (sound scary familiar? He’s played by Nick Offerman). Civil War follows a war journalist, played by Kirsten Dunst, as she traverses a very hostile America.

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(L-R) Kirsten Dunst, Wagner Moura, Cailee Spaeny and Alex Garland at a SXSW screening of A24’s ‘Civil War’ at the Texas History Museum
(L-R) Kirsten Dunst, Wagner Moura, Cailee Spaeny and Alex Garland at a SXSW screening of A24’s ‘Civil War’ at the Texas History Museum

“The film is intended to be a conversation. It is not asserting things. It’s not a lecture. So, you want to leave space for people to bring their part of the conversation,” said filmmaker Alex Garland during the Q&A at the Paramount Theatre. He’s worked with A24, going back to his feature directorial debut and arthouse darling Ex Machina.

Garland expounded on the origins of the pic: “It was four years ago. I wrote it back then and sent it to A24 and they just said, ‘Yup, all good,” which was surprising. This is a brave film to finance, so it was super appreciated.”

Dunst added: “I had never read a script like this, never seen anything like this.” Her research process began when she “put the camera in my hand.”

The pic also stars Priscilla star Cailee Spaeny, who worked with Garland on his FX miniseries Devs.

A24 also screened Civil War an hour after its world premiere at the Paramount at the Texas History Museum, which has the biggest Imax screen in the Lone Star State.

There Garland said he wanted to make journalists the heroes in Civil War because in “every democracy they aren’t a luxury, but a necessity.”

Below are tweets from the media, who are going nuts over the film. It opens on April 12, and it’s playing in Imax.

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