’21 Jump Street’ And SXSW: A Long History That Led To A Killer Premiere

The positive buzz for “21 Jump Street” continues! Just as it has been playing like gangbusters to audiences at sneak preview screenings all over the country, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum’s upcoming action-comedy brought the house down at its SXSW premiere Monday night in Austin. The film’s positive reception wasn’t at all unexpected given the advance praise but according to Hill, it might very well have been predestined in a sense.

“This is where, five years ago exactly, I was here with Paul Rudd for ’Knocked Up’ and my agent called and asked me if I wanted to write ’21 Jump Street’ into a movie,” Hill told MTV News of the film’s SXSW beginnings at the SXSW-based press day. “So I started writing it in this hotel years ago. It’s crazy we’re back here talking about it now.”

And because the festival holds such a special significance for Hill, who also served as a screenwriter and producer on the film, he and Tatum waited to screen the film with a live audience until their premiere yesterday.

“We haven’t seen with a crowd,” he revealed. “I made Chan wait until South By because the crowd is going to be crazy. We’re waiting for tonight to watch the movie.”

“Yeah, he’s been telling me since the beginning, ‘I can’t wait for you to see it [with that audience],'” Tatum added. “I’ve never done an out-and-out comedy like this, so I’m nervous but I’m excited.”

When we caught up with the consistently-costumed duo later on in the evening (they’ve been wearing their costumes from the movie to all their promotional appearances) at the premiere’s after party it was obvious that the SXSW audience had delivered on Hill’s promise to Tatum that they would be crazy receptive. When I asked them separately how things went, they both grinned from ear to ear in recounting the awesome and unforgettable experience with the SXSW crowd.

Will you see “21 Jump Street” on opening day? Tell us in the comments or on Twitter!