Woody Harrelson and Laura Dern share some family time at the Mall of America in "Wilson" Photo: Fox Searchlight

Woody Harrelson and Laura Dern share some family time at the Mall of America in "Wilson" Photo: Fox Searchlight

He’s as good as his word. At the Sundance Film Festival debut of “Wilson,” director Craig Johnson told the Star Tribune he had something special planned for his Minnesota-filmed comedy before its March 24 nationwide release.

Johnson intended to personally host a premiere of “Wilson” in the Twin Cities, where he has filmed Woody Harrelson, Laura Dern, Judy Greer and Isabella Amara . The quirky relationship saga was shot in locales from the Mall of America to Como Zoo to Lake Minnetonka in July and August 2015. Holding the film’s coming out party at its creative home base was very appealing to Johnson.  

“We’re working with Fox Searchlight (the film’s distributor) to set that up,” he said.

It worked. Wednesday night, Johnson will attend a free public screening of “Wilson” at St. Louis Park’s Showplace Icon Theater. He will introduce the R-rated film before its 7 p.m. showing and return for a post-screening audience question and answer session about its making.

“Wilson,” based on a graphic novel by Daniel Clowes (“Ghost World”), is a funny, uncomfortable, ultimately touching story of family dysfunction. Harrelson stars as a lovable but emotionally clumsy misanthrope hoping to reunite with his ex-wife (Dern) and begin a new relationship with the teenage daughter (Amara) he has never met. The supporting cast is largely drawn from the Twin Cities theater community.

Tickets for Wednesday’s screening in a 200-seat auditorium are available on a first come, first served basis. The Twin Cities Film Festival, hosting the event, advises filmgoers to join the rush line after 5:30 p.m.  The Showplace Icon Theater is located at 1625 West End Boulevard, St. Louis Park.

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