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SXSW: Russell Brand Cancels Opening Night Appearance

Russell Brand took to his website to explain why he won’t be attending this year’s SXSW, where a new documentary about his life — “Brand: A Second Coming” — kicks off the Austin festival on Friday night.

“I’m told the film is good, but for me watching it was very uncomfortable,” Brand said in a written post.

“Posthumously, this is a great honor but while you’re alive, oddly intrusive and melancholy.”

Brand had been asked by the SXSW organizers to deliver a keynote speech, but he won’t be doing that either. “I apologize sincerely to the organizers of SXSW for my non-attendance, especially Janet Pierson, Brian Solis and Rynda Laurel from the interactive festival, who were responsible for the keynote talk that I was due to do,” Brand said in his statement.

Brand added that it took him seven years to get the project to the bigscreen. “I let go of my mad ambition to direct and star in what had become a shambles and handed the reins over to Ondi, who wanted creative control and to make a documentary about me and my transition from a relatively conventional celebrity to whatever the hell it is I am now.”

“Brand: A Second Coming” was directed by Ondi Timoner (“Dig!”), and funded by 21 different investors, but not Brand himself.

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