Live from Austin, Texas, it’s Pete Davidson.
The “Saturday Night Live” comedian will be opening this year’s SXSW Film Festival. The annual gathering in Austin will kick off this year with “King of Staten Island,” the much-anticipated autobiographical comedy based on Davidson’s upbringing in the New York borough. Judd Apatow, who is no stranger to SXSW, where he’s debuted many of his hit comedies in prior years, directed the film.
“King of Staten Island,” which was written by Apatow, Davidson and former “SNL” writer Dave Sirus, will screen at SXSW on March 13. It opens in theaters from Universal Pictures on June 19.
“Judd Apatow has provided transcendent, exhilarating experiences at SXSW over and over starting with ’Knocked Up,’ then ’Bridesmaids,’ ‘Trainwreck,’ ‘Girls,’ ‘The Big Sick’ and ‘May It Last,'” said Janet Pierson, the festival’s director of film. “This year, it’s our particular privilege to present his deeply moving new feature ’King of Staten Island,’ starring Pete Davidson leading a great ensemble, as our opening night film.”
In addition to being a launching pad for smaller movies, SXSW has also become a crucial stopping point for spring or summer studio releases that could benefit from a jolt of buzz. The last two opening night movies to premiere at SXSW — Jordan Peele’s “Us” and John Krasinski’s “A Quiet Place” — went on to become massive box office successes.
In the summer of 2018, Davidson sat down with Variety as he was preparing the film. “I don’t want to do that many movies; that sounds terrifying,” he said. “I would like to do a handful — over a long period of time, that would be tight. Once in a while, a cool cameo would be fun. People who are in a lot of movies, they are real actors. Obviously, I could only act as myself, so how much of me could you really take? In my opinion, less is more for me.”
He went on to explain why. “I have a wonky eye so I don’t think that’s good for movie stars,” he revealed. “One of my eyes just closes on its own and shuts.”
He said he noticed it when he was watching himself back on one of “SNL’s” “Weekend Update” segments. “And my eye starts going like this,” he said, squinting for effect. “That’s not good.”
Here’s the full 2020 lineup.