Today, there are more celebrities in town than there are in all of, oh, Orange County. They're here to promote three very different movies, but the actors and director in Dallas do have local ties, even if they're of the incredibly vague and tenuous variety. For instance, Will Ferrell's here to promote Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, or Anchorman on wheels, some of which was filmed at the Texas Motor Speedway. And Elisha Cuthbert, best known as The Daughter in Danger on Fox's 24, is in town promoting The Quiet, a twisted thriller-slash-dark comedy that was not only filmed in Austin but also produced by the Burnt Orange Productions, which is run out of the University of Texas at Austin film department. Cuthbert, who's small enough to put in your pocket (I tried), said the movie wouldn't have gotten made without UT's help; she also wanted to know why it's "so hot here, my God." She asked, "I mean, doesn't it ever rain here? I could use a little thunderstorm or something." She just got into town last night. She can't wait to leave. I do not blame her. (Ferrell, not so incidentally, was wearing a "Global Warming" bracelet. Last I looked, it was beginning to melt.)
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But also in town today's a director with deep Dallas ties: Oliver Stone, who has brought with him Maggie Gyllenhaal and Crash's Michael Pena to promote World Trade Center, which screened last week for critics and a few firefighters (those who weren't in Austin for the Firefighter Olympics, anyway). Stone, of course, has shot all of part of four movies here: Talk Radio, Born on the Fourth of July, JFK and Any Given Sunday. (Don't think I left one off the list...) Speaking of Gyllenhaal, she's also in an upcoming movie with Will Ferrell called Stranger than Fiction. And wasn't Elisha Cuthbert in Old School with Ferrell? Apparently, Will Ferrell's not the new Bill Murray after all. He's this year's Kevin Bacon. --Robert Wilonsky