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Alan Tudyk’s Touch of “Evil”

Alan Tudyk’s Touch of “Evil” (photo)

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Long-limbed and deadpan, Alan Tudyk has pulled off the neat trick of making an impression in broad, goofy comedy parts (“Dodgeball,” “Death at a Funeral”) and shining in the confines of genre material (most notably the Joss Whedon’s “Serenity” and “Dollhouse”). This year at Sundance, he gets to combine the two with his work in director Eli Craig’s “Tucker & Dale vs. Evil,” playing Tucker, a good ol’ boy whose trip to a new vacation home in the woods with his friend Dale (Tyler Labine of “Reaper”) runs afoul of a group of camping college kids who think Tucker and Dale are homicidal hillbillies right out of a B-grade horror film and (literally) kill themselves trying to prove it. Tudyk sat down in Park City to talk about the energy of midnight screenings, researching low-rent horror films and how comedy can hurt.

How was your screening last night?

Well, showing at a midnight screening, you get done at two. And you go out for a beer, and it’s usually 4am after your second beer. [laughs]

But the midnight premiere itself — how does it feel to be inside that energy?

It was really cool, especially with this movie. We shot it very fast in 25 days with a lot of night shoots in there as well, and we were in Canada, in Alberta in the wintertime, so the nights were only about five hours long and we had to really move fast. So a lot of it was a blur. We’d kind of end the day and Tyler and I would get together and go, “I don’t know what we just did. Well, there was that one thing. I guess that was funny. Oh, I didn’t get to do those things. Ah, well, I don’t know what we have… hope it’s good.” And now to have been shown [at Sundance], [it’s] such a perfect spot for this movie because it’s a fun movie. It doesn’t take itself too seriously; it’s a comedy, but it’s got all this gory horror kind of stuff in it as well. I was proud of all the work we did, because it was really a collaborative movie, but also I was really proud of Eli [Craig, director], because if it wasn’t for Eli, none of this would happen. Not just ’cause he wrote it with Morgan [Jurgenson], but he had to push to get this movie made. It was him. He strapped it to his back and just went to town. He was still editing two days ago, putting the music together. Honestly, to see [it] up there, in the movie theater with all those people laughing — it was great.

01242010_Tucker&Dale1.jpgAnd that was your first chance to see the finished product?

Yes, yes, definitely.

That has to be weird, as you’re not sure if the jokes are going to play because you’ve seen them a hundred times before.

Well, I hadn’t seen them a hundred times before. Tyler and I had seen the movie once in a very early, early version of it, where the sound edit wasn’t done. It was still very much in flux as far as what was in and what was out, and to Eli’s credit, he [said], “I’m open to notes. What do you guys want?” And then listened to us for the rest of the night. [laughs] “No, no, no, you know what you need to do? You remember there’s like the third take on that scene…” We did some looping so [we] saw a little bit of a couple scenes, but definitely not the finished product, so this is basically the second time I’ve seen the movie.

Last night, Mr. Craig referred to your presence in the film as “a gift from God.” Is that a little awkward?

[Laughs] It was a really collaborative process, and a lot of times with writers and directors, they get very precious about their words. There’s a lack of time to direct somebody the way you saw it when you wrote it in your head, but when you give it over to an actor or actors and then also set designers, everything just starts to change and it takes [on] a life of its own. There are directors who hold on to the reins and try to really control it and keep it as close to what was in their mind as possible…

01242010_Tucker&Dale2.jpgAnd choke the life out of it.

And can absolutely choke the life out of it. Then there are people like Eli, who really embraces who he has working with him and battle the elements with them together. So a lot of what is in the movie, we came up with together. It was his script, but it might have just been the difference of [my saying], “Look, we spend two pages setting up a joke and we never pay it off. Why don’t we pay it off? And I have three ideas of how to do this.” [laughs] And he’d be like, “Oh, yeah? Okay, cool. Great.”

How swiftly after meeting Tyler Labine did you get a sense that this was going to be good comedy mojo?

Yeah, he’s awesome. He’s nothing like the character — he’s very quick-witted and a really smart guy and he’s playing one of the dumbest characters I’ve ever seen in a movie. [Dale’s] really stupid. Tyler’s funny, so we got along really well. Right in the beginning, he said, “Hey, do you want to get together and work on a script?” Nobody’s ever… I’ve never had that, where it’s just another actor and there isn’t a director forcing you to sit down to work on a script together. [Tyler asked], “Hey, want to come and like work on backstory?” It’s like, hell yeah. Anybody who wants to work, I’m really happy to work with, and it was lucky we were on the same page.


Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.


Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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GIFs via Giphy

Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:


The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.


They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!


Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.


Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.



Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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GIFs via Giphy

Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”


IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?

Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!

Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.

Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 


IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.