Dermot Mulroney Takes Time to Exhale After “Inhale”

Dermot Mulroney Takes Time to Exhale After “Inhale” (photo)

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Nearly halfway through talking to Dermot Mulroney I asked about an indie film he made last year, though I struggled to remember the name. “‘The Family Tree’?” he said, while watching me squirm. Yeah, that’s the one. “I don’t know whether that hit the theater, maybe for a week here or there. I know it was at the Seattle Film Festival.”

“Really?” I wondered, thinking that I would’ve at least heard if the film co-starring Hope Davis and Christina Hendricks had been in theaters already. (It’s only played the festival circuit so far.)

“If that sees the light of day, I’d bet you enjoy it,” Mulroney assures me. “It’s definitely got some laughs in it.”

Uncertainty is not a feeling usually associated with the work of Mulroney, whose ability to exude a cool confidence has made him a go-to guy for Hollywood romantic comedies and auteurs such as the late Robert Altman, David Fincher and Alexander Payne. But in recent years, it has crept into how his work is presented. That’s why audiences may only be slightly more familiar with his latest film “Inhale,” which came and went from theaters last month.

Mulroney’s clearly proud of the thriller, in which he stars as an assistant district attorney who must question his principles when the only way he can save his daughter’s life is through an illegal lung transplant across the border. However, he’s also well aware that even with a cast of recognizable actors such as himself, Sam Shepard, Diane Kruger and Rosanna Arquette in a solid race-against-the-clock potboiler, “Inhale” is exactly the type of film that could easily slip into the void created by a shrinking industry and a wider array of film options where indies have trouble getting attention and distributors are less willing to take risks.

So there’s both notes of excitement and incredulity in Mulroney’s voice when he exclaims, “It’s doing really well on VOD,” which is where it can currently be seen through IFC Films On Demand [a corporate sibling of IFC.com]. As he acknowledges below, the realization that theatrical is just one of many different platforms is something that’s taken some time to adjust to and as a result, our conversation is as much about the state of the mid-level indie film as it is about his performance in “Inhale.”

12022010_DermotMulroneyInhale2.jpgWith this new world of how movies go out into the world, does it change your attitude towards the work?

That’s a great question. I think it just now did. I learned from the way IFC Films released “Inhale,” because the movie had sat for a while because it’s very grim and hard to promote. What I learned is that IFC Films wants as much to release it in the theater as it wants to use the theater release to platform where it’s actually going to make some of its money back, which is on the video on demand at home. So that went off like a light bulb for me. They didn’t intend necessarily to have this film grow in theaters and then open it in Chicago, then Dallas, and then Pittsburgh, which is what the old scenario used to be. I don’t think that’s ever going to happen again. If it does, it’ll be because people revert to it purposefully.

Consequently, the stigma — that’s a strong term — of doing a movie that doesn’t go into the theater is gone because everybody’s equal. I’ve done 55, 60 movies maybe, and until now, one of those didn’t get released in a theater. And that was back at a time when that was like ouch, someone’s going to find out that movie wasn’t good enough to earn a release in a theater. Now, half of the movies made don’t go out and if they do, they go out like “Inhale” did — two theaters, one in each city, New York and Los Angeles, and they close after a week. So it’s a whole new world. And I can make decisions differently now. In other words, I can take movies without having to worry about whether they’re going to be successful in the box office because there’s so many other outlets.

You were also in “Jolene,” which sat on the shelf awhile before it got a release this summer, but it seems like more people will find it at Blockbuster.

I hate to say it, but I think what happened is, especially independent financiers, not smaller film production companies that had their own money, but the guys that come in with cash out of their pocket to try and make a movie, I think that they all got used up. I think that they all finally learned that making a mid-range to low-budget movie is the wrong way to invest your money. [laughs] The secret got out. We’ve been doing it for 20 years and these guys just kept coming back with more money. But I think now it’s clear that’s why people aren’t willing to risk their money as much and the ones that had been risking their money learned that it’s a very, very tough risk.

12022010_DermotMulroneyInhale3.jpgSpecific to this film, the American cut was different that the international cut. Does that affect how you feel about your performance?

This is what happened with that precisely. It was written and shot to happen in chronological order and they had a delivery date for one of their European releases. I think it was Germany that in order to get the pre-sale money on the German release, they gave them that, presuming that it would remain that cut. If anything, they’d tweak it while they’re still looking for a U.S. distributor. Nobody took it. It’s already shown in Germany because they had a delivery date. So it’s really the first cut. So they went back in and recut it to see if that made it more appealing to domestic distributors. And it’s a better movie because it’s cooler – all the same content. They just shuffled the deck.

That would probably be the first time anyone’s ever said an American cut was cooler than the European version. Have you been in other films that had multiple versions?

No, I don’t recall that ever really happening. I’ve seen both cuts of this and I think the non-chronological version, the U.S. version, is marginally more interesting, but I don’t think they changed performance takes. It’s the same movie.

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.


IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

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

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines


The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.


Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.


A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.


Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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