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‘The Lovebirds’ Stars Kumail Nanjiani, Issa Rae to Skip SXSW Film Premiere Over Coronavirus Concerns

Paramount’s comedy will still screen at the festival

Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae, the two stars of Paramount’s upcoming comedy “The Lovebirds,” will not attend this year’s SXSW when their film makes its world premiere as part of the festival, an individual with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap.

Director Michael Showalter also will not attend the festival in Austin, Texas, but the film will still screen at the event.

Paramount will now move the press efforts for “The Lovebirds” to Los Angeles ahead of its April 3 release.

Nanjiani recently announced he had to cancel his performance as part of a live table read at Film Independent on Wednesday, citing concerns over new cases of COVID-19 reported in LA county.

Hollywood continues to monitor SXSW before it kicks off next week on March 13 and runs through March 22. Already several media outlets, studios and tech companies have announced they are pulling out or limiting their activity at the festival. Among them are Starz, Lionsgate, Netflix, Apple, Amazon Studios, Twitter, Facebook and CNN.

So far, Texas health officials have confirmed 14 cases of the respiratory virus in the state.

Nanjiana tweeted Wednesday that he lives “with an immunocompromised person,” seemingly referring to his wife, Emily V. Gordon, who has Still’s disease. “So I need to be extra careful and avoid crowds right now. I need to do everything I can to protect those I love,” Najiani added.

“The Lovebirds” is a comedy, romance and mystery story about a couple deeply in love who go on the run from the law after a man they think is a cop murders another man and leaves them at the scene of the crime. Their love is tested as they work together to clear their names.

Variety first reported the news.