SXSW: 'Cabin in the Woods' director Drew Goddard's festival diary: BBQ with Robert Rodriguez, Bradley Whitford mom flirtation, and rain rain rain

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Image Credit: Michael Buckner/Getty Images

Drew Goddard, the writer behind some of your favorite episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, AngelAlias, and Lost, made his feature directing debut with The Cabin in the Woods at the SXSW Film Festival last Friday night. Goddard co-wrote the highly anticipated horror film with producer Joss Whedon; it stars Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Anna Hutchison, Bradley Whitford, and Richard Jenkins. In his first SXSW diary entry, Goddard forecasted his expectations for his first time at the Austin mega-festival, some of them a bit tongue-in-cheek. Little did he know how accurate his predictions would be

Thursday, March 8 — DAY ONE

7:10 p.m. – Plane lands in Austin. The Austin airport smells like barbecue. This delights me to no end.

7:30 p.m. – It is monsooning right now in Austin. Weather reports are predicting the worst rainstorm to hit Austin in six years. The director in me immediately worries about how this will affect my actresses’ hair tomorrow. (Note for aspiring directors: When working, you will spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about how the elements will affect your actors’ hair and makeup on any given day. This is not something they teach you in film school.) 

8:45 p.m. – Reunite with Bradley Whitford and Kristen Connelly. Starting to feel like this is a heist and we’re getting the team back together.

9:15 p.m. – Just checked tomorrow’s schedule. Remember when I joked in my previous diary entry about how I expected Robert Rodriguez to greet people upon arrival at SXSW? Well, it turns out THAT’S TOTALLY HAPPENING. He’s hosting a welcome lunch for filmmakers tomorrow at his Troublemaker Studios. I’m convinced my prescience means I’m some sort of Time Lord.

11:15 p.m. – Hard to sleep. Too excited. Rain still coming down.

Friday, March 9 — DAY TWO

7:30 a.m. – Yep, still raining.

9 a.m. – Three hours of phone interviews in the hotel room.

12 p.m. – En route to the Filmmaker Lunch, the driver points out the Longhorns’ football stadium. Even though we’re right next to it, we can barely make it out through the rainstorm.

12:15 p.m. – The Filmmaker Lunch is inside a converted airplane hanger at Robert’s studios. The power in the compound is currently out due to the storm. The hanger is decorated with props from Robert’s movies. Joss and I take a lot of pictures next to the rocket luge.

12:35 p.m. – Power back on. Cheers all around.

12:45 p.m. – Robert is serving barbecue for lunch. I WAS KIDDING ABOUT THAT YESTERDAY. And it’s from Franklin’s, of all places. (Everyone told me Franklin’s was the best barbecue in Austin, and therefore the world, but I would never be able to eat it because you have to line up at like 8 a.m. for lunch and they run out by noon.) Robert explains how he was able to have it brought to us: “I’ve got some pull around here.”

12:51 p.m. – Richard Linklater is here, too. I’m not making this up. This cinches it. I’m a Time Lord.  (Here is my exact quote from my first entry: “I expect Richard Linklater and Robert Rodriguez to greet people at the airport. Those guys are like the mayors of Austin, right? If they’re not handing barbecue to passengers as they get off the plane, like the Hawaiians do with leis, I’m going to be very sad.”) Okay, yes, they didn’t meet us at the airport, but we are standing in an airplane hangar. Clairvoyance is not an exact science.

12:53 p.m. – Robert and Richard are everything you would hope they would be. Also, so is Franklin’s barbecue.

1:14 p.m. – This is what happens in my head: “Tell Richard about how much Before Sunset means to you.  He’ll appreciate that, one filmmaker to another.”  This is what comes out of my mouth: “Richard I love Before Sunset SO MUCH I may start crying just thinking about it how did you shoot all of that in realtime in Paris also remember when Wooderson said ‘It’d be a lot cooler if you did?’

1:30 p.m. – I’m pretty sure I just saw Omar Rodriguez-Lopez from At the Drive-In at this lunch. I also said I hoped At the Drive-In reunited while I was here in that earlier entry. I no longer think I’m a Time Lord; I’m now beginning to believe that I’m on an operating table dying and this whole lunch is some Jacob’s Ladder fever dream, with pulled pork instead of Vietnam.

NEXT PAGE: Cabin in the Woods’ red carpet premiere — i.e. Getting Over My Fear of Talking In Front of People


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