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Jim Carrey, Steve Carell bring "Burt Wonderstone" magic to SXSW

Comedian Jim Carrey speaks before presenting an award during the second annual 2012 Comedy Awards in New York City April 28, 2012. REUTERS/S
Comedian Jim Carrey speaks before presenting an award during the second annual 2012 Comedy Awards in New York City April 28, 2012. REUTERS/S

By Corrie MacLaggan

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Comedians Jim Carrey and Steve Carell brought a touch of magic to the opening day of the South by Southwest Conferences & Festivals in Austin, Texas on Friday, with the premiere of their new film "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone."

"Burt Wonderstone," out in U.S. theaters on March 15, tells the tale of childhood friends Burt (Carell) and Anton (Steve Buscemi) who bond over their love of magic, growing up to become a world-famous magician duo.

They soon find their skills and friendship tested in a constantly evolving world of magic and entertainment, as audiences demand something new with the arrival of edgy illusionist Steve Gray (Carrey).

Carrey, decked out in a red jacket and silver shoes on Friday's red carpet, said that despite playing a magician, he resented magic. "I've always had this weird relationship with magic. I think it's fascinating and yet it annoys me because I can't figure it out," Carrey said.

The funnyman was joined by co-stars Carell, who wore jeans, and Olivia Wilde, who wore a striped navy and white dress and signed autographs for fans.

Carell said he learned a bit of magic for the tricks that were shown up close in the film. "Some of those things you just can't fake," Carell said on the red carpet.

Inside the historic Paramount Theatre in downtown Austin, audience members laughed loudly throughout the film, and the stars answered their questions afterward.

Carell told the audience his character's orangey glow was achieved through weekly spray-tanning. He said it wasn't until the final days of shooting that he realized that only his face and chest showed in the film, meaning he had gotten repeatedly sprayed from head to toe for "no reason whatsoever."

The world premiere marked the opening of the film portion of South by Southwest, where creative types from all over the world converge in the Texas capital to swap ideas about film, music and technology.

SXSW, which began as a music event in 1987, runs for 10 days. The Interactive portion runs March 8-12, and the Music portion runs March 12-17. Film events run until March 16.

More than 60,000 people registered for SXSW conferences last year, and SXSW officials estimate the growth for 2013 to be in the 5-8 percent range.

Featured speakers at this year's SXSW include former Vice President Al Gore, actor Matthew McConaughey, retired basketball star Shaquille O'Neal and Dave Grohl, the former Nirvana drummer who founded the Foo Fighters.

Headliner films include the world premiere of "Evil Dead," starring Jane Levy and Shiloh Fernandez, while Green Day, Depeche Mode and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are among the musical performers slated.

(Reporting By Corrie MacLaggan; Writing by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Todd Eastham)

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