A24’s Action Thriller ‘Civil War,’ Starring Kirsten Dunst, to Premiere at SXSW (EXCLUSIVE)

A24’s action thriller “Civil War,” directed by Alex Garland and starring Kirsten Dunst, is heading to Texas.

The movie, about a team of journalists who traverse a bitterly divided United States, will premiere at South by Southwest as a late addition to the festival. The screening will take place on March 14 at the Paramount Theater.

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SXSW confirmed the news, with programmer Claudette Godfrey saying she “cannot imagine a better place” for “Civil War” to debut. This will be Garland’s return to SXSW following the North American premiere of his first film, 2015’s sci-fi thriller “Ex Machina.”

“Alex Garland’s ‘Civil War’ is a gorgeous, haunting and powerful piece of cinema unlike anything else you’ll find in a movie theater this year. It’s a wholly immersive experience that expertly blends large-scale spectacle with an intimate understanding of character and personal stakes brought to beautiful life by a stellar ensemble cast” said Godfrey, SXSW’s VP of film and TV. “When the credits rolled on ‘Civil War,’ we all looked at one another in a bit of shock, knowing full well Alex and A24 had delivered another masterpiece.”

Garland, the filmmaker of “Annihilation” and “Men,” wrote and directed the movie. A press release describes “Civil War” as an “adrenaline-fueled thrill ride through a near-future fractured America balanced on the razor’s edge.” Set in the near future, it unfolds amid a new Civil War between the U.S. government and the so-called successionist “Western Forces” led by California and Texas. (For that reason, it’ll be interesting to see how the movie is received in the capital of the Lone Star State, where SXSW is held.) Much blood is shed in the disturbingly violent trailer, which culminates with a missile blowing up the Lincoln Memorial in D.C.

“Civil War” cost $50 million, making it A24’s most expensive film to date. It will be released in theaters on April 12. The cast includes Nick Offerman as the president of the United States, Wagner Moura, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Cailee Spaeny and Jesse Plemons.

SXSW takes place from March 8 to March 16. Netflix’s series “3 Body Problem,” from “Game of Thrones” creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, will open the festival. Other notable premieres include the Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt action comedy “The Fall Guy,” Pamela Adlon’s directorial debut “Babes” and the Mark Wahlberg-produced documentary “MovieCrash,” about the downfall of subscription-based ticketing service MoviePass.

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