SXSW: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass On Why Safety Not Guaranteed Isn't Really A Time Travel Movie

Safety Not Guaranteed, which remains my personal favorite of the 2012 South By Southwest film festival, faces a marketing challenge. The sci-fi hook of it being a time-traveling drama certainly is what piqued my interest in director Colin Trevorrow’s Sundance hit. Yet once you’ve seen it, you kind of figure out that time travel – while important to the story – is secondary to various explorations of life’s little failures and the strange need to connect with individuals who have been through similar emotional pains. It’s also pretty damn funny.

Yet the questions at the post-screening Q&A still harped on time travel, which could be misleading for those who’ve yet to see it and are looking for the next Back to the Future (which Safety is not). When I sat down with Safety stars Mark Duplass and Aubrey Plaza here in Austin, one of the things we talked was whether the attention being paid to the time-travel angle was disappointing, as it sort of undercuts the more human message of Trevorrow’s delightful film.

“To a certain extent, you understand that,” Duplass told me. “People like to do that stuff. But I think you do bring up a good point in that this is not a time travel film. This is a relationship movie seen through the prism of time travel, and the metaphor that time travel is, which is, ‘I’m a little bit fucked up, and I want to go somewhere else to be happy.’ But I think that’s what makes the movie special, to me at least. I’d never seen a sensitive, relationship-oriented time travel film before.”

FilmDistrict picked up distribution rights to Safety Not Guaranteed, and plans to release it in theaters on June 8. While there have been a number of films that have resonated with the SXSW audiences, from the rousing action of The Raid to the genre love letter that is The Cabin In the Woods, the one I’m most anxious to share with others is Safety. Thankfully I’ll be able to do so soon. Check back with us closer to release date for our full conversation with Plaza and Duplass. (Red carpet images courtesy of Tim Alden Grant)

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.