By Whitney Pastorek
Updated August 04, 2020 at 11:08 AM EDT

Screenwriter John August (Go, Big Fish) is but two weeks away from the premiere of his directorial debut, The Nines. He’s been filing PopWatch updates periodically to describe the process. (You should also check in on his frequently fascinating blog.) In today’s installment: Venice, scheduling, cannibals, and pirates.

The Nines opens August 31st in New York and Los Angeles. Bycoincidence (really), we have our international premiere three dayslater at the Venice Film Festival, where we’re the sole American film in Critics’ Week.

That seems like a lovely bit of timing, but it’s been a logisticalnightmare. In the space of ten days, we have a press day in LosAngeles, a press day in New York, a press day in Venice, three Q&Ascreenings, a director’s commentary, and four photo shoots. RyanReynolds will be visiting Conan O’Brien, TRL, and a bunch of other NewYork media — but we still need him in Los Angeles to do otherpress. Melissa will have to squeeze in appearances between shooting her new TV show. Venice is out of the question for her.

And then there are the non-Nines variables: babysittinggrandparents, geriatric pugs, and the Tim Burton retrospective I want to attend. Plus eight more lessons of Pimsleur Italian, so I canpolitely explain why I’m throwing myself in a canal.

It all feels like one of those brain-teaser logic problems, where youneed to transport people in canoes across a river — but some of themare cannibals, who can’t outnumber you. (I’m honestly not sure whothe cannibals are in this metaphor. And whatever happened to FineYoung Cannibals? They were great.)

I’m still getting the update e-mails about press reactions. I wasrelieved to find that Zink magazine liked the movie — but too latefor the September issue. Oh well. Now I’ll never have to find outwhat Zink magazine is.

What’s been a little surprising to me is how many people are gettingscreener copies on DVD. Since Sundance, I’ve been pretty ruthlessabout keeping track of the three official DVDs, in order to lessenthe chances of the movie showing up online before it hits theaters.
But the publicity people are a lot less reluctant to share, and sofar, nothing’s shown up where it shouldn’t. (That’s not a dare, bythe way. Thanks.)

Tickets for the exclusive L.A. screening at Landmark’s Nuart Theaterare on sale now, at all the usual places (, Moviefone). The 7:30 p.m. screening on August 31st is the Q&A, whichis selling out. If you want any questions answered about the movie,or my appreciation of FYC, that’s your chance.