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Chloë Sevigny Has a Case of the “Munday”

Chloë Sevigny Has a Case of the “Munday” (photo)

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Downtown NYC cool kid-turned-actress Chloë Sevigny (“Boys Don’t Cry,” “The Brown Bunny,” HBO’s “Big Love”) is well known for turning down high-paying roles in favor of the kind that simply appeal to her indie-arty sensibilities. Her latest project is writer-director Chris D’Arienzo’s comedic feature debut “Barry Munday,” making its world premiere at this year’s SXSW. Patrick Wilson stars in the titular role as an oblivious, womanizing office drone whose life turns to shit after he wakes up in a hospital to find that he’s lost his testicles in a brutal attack by a young girl’s angry father. Making matters worse, he’s slapped with a paternity suit from an equally angry frump named Ginger (Judy Greer) with whom Barry was too drunk to remember sleeping with.

In a scene-stealing supporting performance, Sevigny co-stars as Ginger’s sister Jennifer, the “pretty daughter” who drives poor ball-less Barry crazy by trying to seduce him right under everyone’s nose. Last weekend, I sat down with the ever-stylish Sevigny at the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin to talk about pole dancing, fashion and her other SXSW premiere, “Mr. Nice” — but before all that, I began with a standard ice breaker:

Are you tired of talking about yourself today?

I was tired of talking about me 15 years ago. [laughs] It’s never been my strong point.

Have you eaten any Tex-Mex in Austin yet?

I’ve had a lot. I had a breakfast burrito this morning, actually, at Joe’s. It was delicious. I could eat a million tacos. In New York City, there are no good tacos.

03192010_BarryMunday2.jpgAgreed. So, how did you first get connected with this project?

My agent sent me the script. She was a big supporter of it and thought it was great. I read it, fell in love with the Ginger part and met with the director. He had a different person for Barry then, and they were considering me for Ginger, but then they lost their Barry. They got Patrick [Wilson], and then they needed somebody else for Ginger. Money reasons, I guess? Maybe they didn’t think I was right, who knows? Chris [D’Arienzo] said, “What about the sister, Jennifer?”

We talked about Hal Ashby, about [Chris’] ideas for the film, the tone and the music. He was such a dynamic individual that I thought, “I want to work with this guy. I feel like he can make a great movie.” I’ve worked mostly with writer/directors, and I’ve had a pretty good track record so far. I’ve been playing kind of the bitch on “Big Love,” but in films, I’m more often the innocent one, or the one who gets put upon. So I thought I’d like to be the bad girl, the seductress. That appealed to me.

Why did you originally want to play Ginger?

Oh, come on, it’s a great part and it’s the lead. [laughs] There were so many interesting facets and nuances to the character — the ugly duckling [who is] comfortable being that, being undesirable. It would’ve been a completely different film with me in that part. I would’ve played it real real. [laughs]

Barry is such a clod. Why do you think Jennifer’s trying to seduce him?

I don’t think she’s attracted to him. She just wants to know that he is attracted to her. She wants everybody to like her, and she wants to be everybody’s favorite because she always has been. I don’t think she would even act on it if something were to happen. She wants to know that he desires her, so she’s going to flirt to no end just to make sure she knows she can get him. There’s maybe a little [sibling rivalry], but you can see her love for Ginger.

With siblings, it is strange that you can love them and still be at odds with them.

I have a brother, believe you me. I’m not really allowed to be friends with his girlfriends anymore. [laughs] Well, I don’t know — it’s gone back and forth. He’s blamed me for being mean to his girlfriends, scaring his girlfriends. I guess I’m a scary and powerful individual. I didn’t always know that. So yeah, there is a bit of rivalry. Of course, him being a boy is a little different.

03192010_Kids.jpgOne throughline in your career has been provocative material. What draws you to audacious projects?

I guess it’s just the directors. Lars [von Trier], of course, I’m a huge fan of. Harmony [Korine] was my boyfriend, or whatever. [laughs] It would be case by case. I don’t think “Shattered Glass” or some of my films that are more conservative, like “Zodiac,” are… well, I guess “Zodiac” is a little bit [provocative]. I make films that I’d want to see as a viewer. Those are the kinds I’m attracted to. Last year, “Hunger” was one of my favorites. Films like that are telling stories in new ways, pushing limits or challenging you. Those are the films I like to watch.

What have you watched and enjoyed lately?

I saw “Shutter Island.” Surprisingly, I liked that. I’m not always the biggest Scorsese fan. [laughs] I haven’t seen that much lately. Sorry.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.

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IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

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IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….

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IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.

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IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

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

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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