ByBrian Salisbury, writer at
Brian Salisbury

This week, the South by Southwest film festival kicks off in Austin, TX. The film fest is but one of the facets of this leviathan-like event; with music and interactive portions also on the docket. For those who have never been to SXSW, the words "film festival" may conjure up notions of the avant-garde and tiny indie films. While quite a few independent films do play this festival, there are a number of major theatrical releases that anchor the schedule. Not only that, but even some of the smaller films boast impressive casts with scores of mainstream appeal. Here is a list of some of your favorite celebs who have films playing as part of this year's lineup.

Joss Whedon

Whedon was a fanboy favorite for many years until the mammoth success of last year's The Avengers brought him international acclaim and made him a power player in Hollywood. At this year's SXSW, Whedon brings us a modernized adaptation of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, a film Whedon shot over just twelve days, stars Firefly's and (Agent Coulson himself).

Steve Carell

Who doesn't like magic? Well, probably a lot of people. However, Las Vegas sure does love it. In 2013 SXSW alum The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, Former Office frontman stars alongside as a magical duo whose Vegas show is losing its audience to the edgier prestidigitation of Steve Gray ().

Olivia Wilde

The incredibly gorgeous also stars in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, but that isn't her only presence here at the festival. She also headlines 's Drinking Buddies. The film centers on two brewery workers whose platonic relationship, and fidelity to their respective significant others, is continually tested by the beer they consume at work. Drinking Buddies costars and .

Paul Walker

Briefly jumping on the exit ramp from The Fast and The Furious franchise, stars in SXSW entry Hours. The dramatic thriller revolves around a father desperately trying to save his infant daughter in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. (Identity Thief, The Last Stand) costars.

James Franco

If there is one celeb who has a formidable presence at SXSW, it's . Franco is renowned for his prolific career, defying his young age, and this year he brings two films to the fest. Spring Breakers is a crime thriller about four girls on, you guessed it Spring Break. Meanwhile, his second film, Maladies, is decidedly more personal. In Maladies, Franco plays a young actor who retires due to perceived mental illness. and costar.

Selena Gomez

Returning to Spring Breakers for a moment, the cast of this uninhibited, seemingly id-pleasing crime thriller is composed of a number of good girls gone wild. , former child star of Disney's Wizards of Waverly Place, breaks way out of her comfort zone in this sex-driven romp. She is joined by (of the High School Muscial series), and Pretty Little Liars' .

Joseph Gordon Levitt

One of the breakout stars of the last couple of years is former child star . Between Looper, Inception, and The Dark Knight Rises, his stock continues to soar. This year's SXSW hosts JGL's directorial debut Don Jon. He plays the porn-addicted Lothario lead striving to be less selfish. and costar.

Gillian Jacobs

On the heels of the return of NBC's Community, Greendale's own Britta Perry (better known as actress Gillian Jacobs) stars in the horror comedy Milo at SXSW. In the film, a man discovers that his stomach troubles are being caused by a demon living in his intestines. and .

Mary Elizabeth Winstead

How can you not adore Ramona Flowers, err, that is ? At this year's festival, she can be seen returning to a story of the perils of young love in Crushed. The film centers on a popular, hard-drinking, high school boy who, after being dumped by his girlfriend, begins an unexpected relationship with a nice girl. The film costars , who will be playing Mary Jane Watson in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

Paul Rudd

is one of the foremost names in studio comedies. That said, his films have always enjoyed a warm reception at Austin-based film fests. Knocked Up, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and Role Models have all premiered at either SXSW or Fantastic Fest. In Prince Avalanche, his 2013 SXSW entry, he plays one of two highway workers spending the summer of 1988 away from the city. (Speed Racer) costars; (Pineapple Express) directs.

Reese Witherspoon

Academy Award winner stars alongside in Mud. The film centers on a pair of young boys who encounter an escaped convict and make a pact to help him evade capture. (Take Shelter) directs.

Zac Efron

Vanessa Hudgens isn't the only High School Musical alum to turn up in this year's film fest catalog. stars in 2013 SXSW entry . The film centers on a farming family in crisis and the tumultuous relationship between the father and son therein. At Any Price costars and .

Ellen Page

Before dives back into the role of Kitty Pryde in X-Men: Days Of Future Past, she stars in action drama The East. She plays a intelligence operative sent to infiltrate an anarchist group. Bet that whole walking through walls thing would really help her character here as well. True Blood's costars.

Abigail Breslin

This is shaping up to a big year for young Academy Award nominee . In addition to the -costaring The Call and the filmic adaptation of the sci-fi novel Ender's Game, Breslin headlines Haunter, the new horror thriller from (Splice). A fitting SXSW entry for the actress whose first role was in Signs.

Michael K. Williams

For a long time, actor was best known for his role as Omar Little on The Wire. However, a series of films such as Gone Baby Gone, The Road, and his turn as Chalky White on the HBO series Boardwalk Empire, Williams' has become a major headliner. At this year's SXSW, he is starring in a short film, a western entitled They Die By Dawn. Even the short films at SXSW attract name talent as Williams is joined here by and .


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