For years, Jack Quaid, the progeny of Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan, has dreamed of attending SXSW. “I’ve been to Austin countless times,” notes the 24-year-old, who has “tons of family” in the offbeat Texas town. “But I made a deal with myself that I wouldn’t come [to the festival] unless I had something here.” The project that made his dream come true: his role as the “unrequited” love interest of one of the main characters in “Tragedy Girls,” a slasher comedy for the social media set, which also happens to star Josh Hutcherson, Quaid’s costar in “The Hunger Games.” “It was a ‘Hunger Games’ reunion but we never actually saw each other,” he laments.
PROVENANCE: Los Angeles. “Growing up, you’re able to at least see the culture projected out there, like the Hollywood nonsense, and you’re able to see it for what it is — nonsense. I had great parents. They really kept me away from that thing, that Hollywood-ness.”
GOING HOLLYWOOD: “I did just move to Hollywood, so I guess I’m very Hollywood now. I’m on my own for the first time,” says Quaid, who previously lived with a roommate in Santa Monica.
BIG BREAK: “I knew based off of the excitement around the book it was going to be a big thing,” says Quaid of landing his first role — Marvel in “The Hunger Games” — while studying theater at New York University. “I had no idea to the extent because I’m a very minor character. There were people with fan sites of me and the movie hadn’t come out yet, and I was like, ‘Guys, I barely do anything, calm down,’” says Quaid, who also appeared in “Vinyl,” an HBO series directed by Martin Scorsese.
GETTING LAUGHS: “I always had the performing bug. I would do magic shows for family growing up. Terrible magic tricks. Like, ‘You see this pencil? Now it’s gone,’” laughs Quaid, who recalls playing Bottom in a middle school production of “Midsummer Night’s Dream.” “I got my first laugh onstage, and I was like, ‘Now I want to do this forever.’”
MAMA’S BOY: “Nobody knows you better than your mom, so it was absolutely perfect,” Quaid says of acting in his mom’s directorial debut, “Ithaca,” a war melodrama released last year. “Our shorthand is incredible. I tried to somehow keep it professional,” he says, adding of his famous parents, “They’ve always been super supportive. They know how hard it can be, but once they saw I was passionate about it, they never wanted to restrict that.”
LOCAL HANGOUTS: “Barton Springs Pool is incredible. I know this is cheesy, but there’s Hulu Hut by the lake. And of course I love Matt’s El Rancho. Anything with chili con queso, I’ll be there.”
UP NEXT: If his role in Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming star-packed action comedy, “Logan Lucky,” fails to draw buzz, he has a backup plan: “I’m working on a one-man show about a wizard who parties. It’s just like a thing I’ve done at parties that I’ve somehow managed to turn into a 45-minute comedy show. So we’re gonna see if it works,” said Quaid, who also writes and performs in Sasquatch Sketch Comedy.