Fantastic Fest will roll out the red carpet for some big-name talent representing a vast swath of the entertainment and movie world. The country’s biggest genre fest welcomes one of Austin’s favorite genre-loving sons on opening night, as Robert Rodriguez helps kick off the festival on September 19 with the premiere of “Machete Kills.” Machete himself, Danny Trejo, will be in attendance, along with co-star Alexa Vega.
Two Fantastic Fest favorites, Spanish director Eugenio Mira and Elijah Wood, will appear together to promote their “Grand Piano,” which stars sometime-Austinite Wood as a renowned concert pianist who, on the night of his final performance, becomes the target of a sniper played by John Cusack.
Keanu Reeves, no stranger to Austin, having appeared in Richard Linklater’s locally shot “A Scanner Darkly,” returns to town for the U.S. premiere of his directorial debut “The Man of Tai Chi.” Reeves and his star, Tiger Chen, will also battle Alamo Drafthouse co-founder Tim League in the popular Fantastic Debates.
Famous funnyman David Koechner leads a roster of talent in town with director E.L. Katz to present “Cheap Thrills,” a darkly humorous and bloody take on the lengths to which people will go to make money.
Oscar-winning director Errol Morris and Metallica Kirk Hammett will also be on hand, representing two movies that seem to only tangentially fit into the fest’s unwritten theme of dark violence. Morris’s “The Unknown Known” profiles former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, while Hammett and Metallica bass player Robert Trujillo will take to the carpet with “Metallica: Through the Never” director Nimrod Antal.