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A Spirited Q & A With “Winter’s Bone” Actress Jennifer Lawrence

A Spirited Q & A With “Winter’s Bone” Actress Jennifer Lawrence (photo)

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As a way of celebrating this year’s nominees for the Spirit Awards in the weeks leading up to the ceremony, we reached out to as many as we could in an effort to better understand what went into their films, what they’ve gotten out of the experience, and where they’ve found their inspiration, both in regards to their work and other works of art that might’ve inspired them from the past year. Their answers will be published on a daily basis throughout February.

One of the recurring oddities of awards season is reconciling the actors and actresses who walk the red carpet with the roles they so thoroughly inhabited that got them honored in the first place. For Jennifer Lawrence, the difference has been particularly stark, radiating old school Hollywood glamour as she’s strolled through one ceremony after another in recent months for her performance in “Winter’s Bone” where as the steely Ree Dolly, she couldn’t be further away in the Ozarks. However, what makes it easier to reconcile the two is knowing the other things Lawrence radiates – an intelligence and inner strength – that makes Ree no victim and the actress no ordinary thespian.

In both circumstances, it took someone to recognize this and put in the proper context. Just as Ree has John Hawkes’ enigmatic Teardrop aid her on her quest to find her father, Lawrence has Debra Granik to guide her after proving to be herself to be one of the most exciting actresses of her generation with searing, if underseen turns in “The Burning Plain” and “The Poker House.” Dressed in layer upon layer of baggy clothing, the weight of Ree’s attire in “Winter’s Bone” is no match for the burden she carries throughout the film, tending to her incapacitated mother and her young brother and sister while navigating the backwoods of Missouri, strewn with abandoned cars and farm equipment and knee deep in meth labs and in-laws she’d prefer not to see again.

Incidentally, it was Lawrence’s own mother who was the first to realize she’d make a fine Ree Dolly while reading Daniel Woodrell’s original novel long before she ever auditioned for Granik. (There might have been second thoughts if she knew it entailed an education in skinning squirrels and handling rifles, both of which Lawrence had to learn during preparation for the film.) Still, there’s no doubt that good instincts run in the family since with a script where every word counts, Granik and co-screenwriter Anne Rosellini don’t let Lawrence convey as much verbally as the actress does for herself with not much more than her piercing set of blue eyes and a world-weary hunch that few teenagers could (or should) ever shoulder. In the same spirit, Lawrence kept her answers to our questionnaire relatively short, but given that it’s one of the most talked-about performances of the year, it’s clearly an achievement that speaks for itself and the announcement of an actress with many superlatives in her future.

Why did you want to make this film?

Because I loved it and I would have done anything for it.

What was the best piece of advice you received that applied to the making of this film?

Do whatever it takes.

What was the toughest thing to overcome, whether it applies to a particular scene or the film as a whole?

The physical elements – the cold and the long hours.

What’s been the most memorable moment while you’ve traveled with the film, either at a festival or otherwise?

Being recognized by Steven Spielberg at DreamWorks – the fact that he had seen the movie. I just couldn’t get over how tiny the movie was compared to how big he is.

What’s your favorite thing about your film that’s been largely uncommented upon?

One of my favorite things about the movie is the folk music. It’s written and sung by people from the area where we shot the film. It’s stirring…I really love it.

What’s been the most gratifying thing to come out of this film for you personally?

The fact that people have seen it. Working so hard on something and knowing it’s been appreciated.

Your favorite film, book or album from the past year?

My favorite films were “Inception” and “The Social Network.” My favorite book was “Hunger Games.”

“Winter’s Bone” is still playing in limited release and is now available on DVD, Blu-ray and iTunes. The Spirit Awards will air on IFC on February 26th.

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Bro and Tell

BFFs And Night Court For Sports

Bromance and Comeuppance On Two New Comedy Crib Series

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“Silicon Valley meets Girls meets black male educators with lots of unrealized potential.”

That’s how Carl Foreman Jr. and Anthony Gaskins categorize their new series Frank and Lamar which joins Joe Schiappa’s Sport Court in the latest wave of new series available now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. To better acquaint you with the newbies, we went right to the creators for their candid POVs. And they did not disappoint. Here are snippets of their interviews:

Frank and Lamar

via GIPHY

IFC: How would you describe Frank and Lamar to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Carl: Best bros from college live and work together teaching at a fancy Manhattan private school, valiantly trying to transition into a more mature phase of personal and professional life while clinging to their boyish ways.

IFC: And to a friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Carl: The same way, slightly less coherent.

Anthony: I’d probably speak about it with much louder volume, due to the bar which would probably be playing the new Kendrick Lamar album. I might also include additional jokes about Carl, or unrelated political tangents.

Carl: He really delights in randomly slandering me for no reason. I get him back though. Our rapport on the page, screen, and in real life, comes out of a lot of that back and forth.

IFC: In what way is Frank and Lamar a poignant series for this moment in time?
Carl: It tells a story I feel most people aren’t familiar with, having young black males teach in a very affluent white world, while never making it expressly about that either. Then in tackling their personal lives, we see these three-dimensional guys navigate a pivotal moment in time from a perspective I feel mainstream audiences tend not to see portrayed.

Anthony: I feel like Frank and Lamar continues to push the envelope within the genre by presenting interesting and non stereotypical content about people of color. The fact that this show brought together so many talented creative people, from the cast and crew to the producers, who believe in the project, makes the work that much more intentional and truthful. I also think it’s pretty incredible that we got to employ many of our friends!

Sport Court

Sport Court gavel

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Joe: SPORT COURT follows Judge David Linda, a circuit court judge assigned to handle an ad hoc courtroom put together to prosecute rowdy fan behavior in the basement of the Hartford Ultradome. Think an updated Night Court.

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Joe: Remember when you put those firecrackers down that guy’s pants at the baseball game? It’s about a judge who works in a court in the stadium that puts you in jail right then and there. I know, you actually did spend the night in jail, but imagine you went to court right that second and didn’t have to get your brother to take off work from GameStop to take you to your hearing.

IFC: Is there a method to your madness when coming up with sports fan faux pas?
Joe: I just think of the worst things that would ruin a sporting event for everyone. Peeing in the slushy machine in open view of a crowd seemed like a good one.

IFC: Honestly now, how many of the fan transgressions are things you’ve done or thought about doing?
Joe: I’ve thought about ripping out a whole row of chairs at a theater or stadium, so I would have my own private space. I like to think of that really whenever I have to sit crammed next to lots of people. Imagine the leg room!

Check out the full seasons of Frank and Lamar and Sport Court now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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