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Alexander Skarsgard Gets Animated

Alexander Skarsgard Gets Animated (photo)

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“True Blood” star Alexander Skarsgård has gained American heartthrob status as the show’s thousand-year-old Viking vampire Alex, but even if the role is clearly make-believe, the Nordic charm is all his. Son of famed actor Stellan Skarsgård, the Stockholm-born thespian has a long and storied career in his homeland, from becoming a child actor to being named the sexiest man in Sweden circa 1999. Not to be confused with his upcoming part in Lars von Trier’s highly anticipated sci-fi flick “Melancholia,” Skarsgård the younger’s latest project is director Tarik Saleh’s highly stylized, animated sci-fi flick “Metropia.”

Set in a dystopian world of the not-far-off future where the world’s resources are running out and the metro system connects all of Europe, “Metropia” concerns a newly paranoid Swedish everyman Roger (voiced by Vincent Gallo) as he begins to hear a voice in his head that isn’t his own. In fact, it’s Stefan’s (enter Skarsgård), a company man who begins to have second thoughts about his government gig monitoring citizens and their inner thoughts. While on the set of “True Blood,” now shooting its third season, Skarsgård called me to talk Glögg parties, filthy cartoons, and his real-life stint as an anti-terrorist marine.

This may be a general worldview question, but if things continue as they are, could you see the world becoming as dystopian as it is in “Metropia”?

[laughs] Hopefully not. But we’re headed in a direction where big corporations take over more and more. People in Western Europe and especially in the States have some distrust, a feeling that the government doesn’t really represent the people, that they’re almost like an enemy now. In a weird way, people almost trust Coca-Cola more than their own government. This new law that the Supreme Court passed where there’s no cap on how much big corporations can pump into election campaigns, it definitely means that corporations will have so much more impact.

05122010_AlexanderSkarsgardMetropia2.jpgIt was already slanted through the leverage that they had versus the average guy. It’s harder for individuals to make their voices heard now. So I’m not going to take us down the road to “Metropia,” but what I was fascinated and intrigued by when I read the script was that it wasn’t science fiction! [laughs] I could draw parallels to our society today — a city like London, where they have something like 50,000 CCTV cameras, so you’re always being watched. With blogs and Twitter and Facebook, people always keep track of each other in a quite disturbing way.

Your character is quite the company man, even though he does show some heart. Could you relate to his role in life, or do you have more anti-authoritarian inclinations?

I’m slightly more anti-authoritarian than Stefan, but I definitely understand him. I played the guy, so I have to understand him, make him believable, and back him up. He is a little guy caught in this spider web, you know? He’s just trying to do his job, like a lot of people working for huge corporations who are trying to survive and feed their families. In Stefan’s case, he doesn’t really reflect on the moral issue of what it is he’s doing or where society has gone.

All animated films are different and this has such an idiosyncratic style. What was the voice work process like, from coming up with your vocal characterization to the technical process?

I’ve done animated movies before, but the thing that was amazing about this was we recorded it two years before Tarik started to animate, and then he spent two years finishing the movie. I’ve never had that luxury before. The stuff that I’ve done was already animated. You come in, watch it on a big screen and try to lip sync. You’re more confined in terms of hitting certain beats or timing. This was just me and Tarik in the room, so we could play around. If something wasn’t working, I could ad-lib, adding or dropping a line if I wasn’t happy with it. It was a great experience.

05122010_AlexanderSkarsgardMetropia3.jpgYou’ve been friendly with Tarik for a while. How were you introduced?

I met Tarik in Los Angeles five years ago through some mutual Swedish friends. We celebrated Christmas together here in L.A, and I got kind of an instant man crush on him. He’s such a brilliant and interesting man. He was out here for two weeks, I believe, and we just had amazing conversations and talked about everything and nothing. We spent hours and hours discussing his idea for “Metropia.”

Then I went to Africa to shoot “Generation Kill,” this miniseries I did, and it was when I was out in Africa when he called: “We’re recording now, is there any chance we can get you in the studio?” I was down there for seven months, but I had a weekend off, so I flew to Stockholm, went into the studio, spent a day and a half with Tarik, then flew all the way back down to Namibia.


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.