“I didn’t want to talk I’m too drunk,” said director Jonathan Levine after the screening of the world premiere of his film Long Shot on Saturday at SXSW. Levine, who was joined on the stage by stars Charlize Theron, Seth Rogen, O’Shea Jackson, June Diane Raphael and Ravi Patel, admitted that he was nervous that no one was going to like the comedy, which follows an unlikely romance between a by-the-book, influential politician (Theron) and her super-progressive speechwriter (Rogen).
When the mic was passed to Theron to say a few words about her role she admitted, “I don’t know why I have a mic because I’m drunk too!”
Then it was Rogen’s turn. He didn’t say whether or not he was drunk but he did admit that everyone — like Levine — was nervous. “I don’t know what to say,” he said. He started talking about Boyz II Men, who appear in the film in one of the funniest moments. He gushed on how it was an honor to star alongside with Theron, but it was just as great to appear in a film with the legendary R&B group — so he brought them out to perform.
Yes, Boyz II Men took the stage to perform the seminal hit “Motownphilly” as Rogen, Theron, the Long Shot cast and the audience danced the night away in Austin’s Paramount theater, making it one of the most memorable premieres of the fest.
The performance added to an already crowd-pleasing Lionsgate film which had many people in the audience on their feet when the credits started rolling. Before Boyz II Men came out, Levine gushed about working with the cast and Theron admitted she was a fan of Rogen and thought she would never work with him.
“I usually die in my movies or kill people or get assaulted,” she said. “This is not in my wheelhouse. I’m hashtag blessed tonight.”
Long Shot combines politics, romance, fame and comedy to tell a story of two people who find each other at a crossroads in their lives. Charlotte Field (Theron) vies to be president but constantly compromises just so she can move centimeters ahead while Fred Flarsky (Rogen) is a self-deprecating journalist-turned-speechwriter that strives for change but is too stubborn to accept other people’s ideas. The result is a pleasant surprise of a romantic comedy that speaks to the times and moves the needle when it comes to changing the balance of gender perspective in the genre.
The film also stars Bob Odenkirk, Alexander Skarsgard, and a very unrecognizable Andy Serkis. It is written by Dan Sterling and Liz Hannah. Theron and Rogen produce along with A.J. Dix, Beth Kono, Evan Goldberg and James Weaver.