And if that had been my entire encounter with the Wachowskis on this film, that would have been great. I felt like we had a real conversation, a good afternoon of talking about their film and some past work and film in general. They were so much more relaxed and personable and at ease during the interview that it seemed crazy to me that they've been so low-profile before now. Still, that's a choice, and I respect that some people would rather let the work speak for itself.
I got home from the Toronto Film Festival on a Thursday night, and Friday morning, I got a phone call from someone who worked for the Wachowskis, asking me if I'd be available for a phone conversation with Lana around lunchtime. I started worrying that they were going to ask me to edit my piece or that they were second-guessing themselves in terms of how open they'd been. I also found myself hoping it was just going to be some additional thoughts, additions to the piece instead of subtractions. I sent back my cell phone number, and later in the day, just before I was set to walk into a meeting, the phone rang, and Lana Wachowski greeted me as I answered.
The question she had was about Fantastic Fest, which is always the sundae at the end of my festival-going year. They had been invited to bring the film as a secret screening, and she wanted to know what I thought of the festival and the venue. I told her the same thing I tell anyone who asks about the Drafthouse, which is that Tim League is one of the great showmen of our time, a guy who passionately believes in the entire experience of attending a movie, a guy who has worked tirelessly for years now to create singular experiences for movie fans. I told her that the audience at Fantastic Fest is made up of rabid movie lovers, people who are always up for the new and the adventurous, people who want to be surprised and impressed and transported. I told her the film would be met with open arms by that crowd, and that I sincerely hoped they would attend. I told her that if it would make them more comfortable, I would happily moderate the post-screening Q&A for them as well.
A few days later, I got the official word that they'd be attending, and that they did want me to moderate the Q&A. Then I got momentarily anxious, hoping that they would indeed have an experience as good as the one I pitched to them.
And sure enough, Austin delivered in style.