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Eric Ladin of AMC’s “The Killing” Brings The Thunder As Cole McGrath in “Infamous 2”

Eric Ladin of AMC’s “The Killing” Brings The Thunder As Cole McGrath in “Infamous 2” (photo)

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Eric Ladin’s got one of those ‘that guy’ faces that you know you know from somewhere, even if you can’t quite remember his name. Slightly boyish with a shock of blonde hair, Ladin became known to many as part of the cast of HBO’s “Generation Kill” series and later landed an even more high-profile part as William Hofstadt, brother to January Jones’ Betty Draper. The Texas-born actor can currently be seen as campaign manager Jamie Wright on AMC’s latest hit “The Killing”.

But Ladin’s latest role isn’t about his face. The 33-year-old takes over the role of electric superdude Cole McGrath–previously voiced by James Cottle–in the just-released “Infamous 2.” The PS3 exclusive sequel switched up production methods and moved from just voice recording to full performance capture. This time out, the combination of Ladin’s raspy voice and nuanced body language are what bring Cole to life in the game. Ladin took the time to answer a few questions about playing Cole, the zombie apocalypse and which of the game’s two superpowered women would win out with the lead of “Infamous 2.”

How’d you come to be involved in “Infamous 2”?
The initial meeting came through my agents. After an audition in which I read with some of the other actors in the project, as well as some physicality work, I went to Sucker Punch and met with the developers of the game and the entire “Infamous 2” team. There was a healthy amount of pre-production work, and then we got to shooting.

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Your portrayal of Cole comes after the work of another actor. Was there an impulse to maintain some kind of continuity and change your voice, or was the decision to make it your own from the get-go?
A happy medium of both. I, of course, had to honor the continuity of the character from the first game but, at the same time, this was going to be my take on Cole. That’s why they hired me.

You don’t sound as growly on “Mad Men” or on “Big Love”. What was the inspiration for your Cole voice?
It’s not just the voice; it’s the character, really. Cole comes from a different place; he has a different history. He has more grit to him than the other two characters.

Was your work on “Infamous 2” your first motion capture experience? What was the biggest adjustment when compared to on-camera performances?
No, I did one day on “L.A. Noire.” However, it wasn’t enough time to get completely comfortable with the process. It takes a while as you have to get used to acting naturally without props, wardrobe, sets and all the other luxuries we on-camera actors are used to.

What appeals to you about Cole? Are there certain qualities of his that you’d try to bring out in your performance?
I tried to bring out all of his qualities in my performance. The ones that appeal to me the most are vulnerability, humility, humor and most importantly likability.

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Out of the two female partners he meets in the game, who do you think Cole should end up with, Kuo or Nix?
Probably Kuo, as she is more level-headed and has more in common with Cole.

What’s your current video game obsession? What are your all-time favorites?
Well, I just played “Infamous 2” all the way through yesterday, so that was awesome. I am about to start “L.A. Noire,” and I think “Uncharted 2” is pretty fantastic. All-time favorites, hmm…I logged a lot of hours on “Contra” (if you forgot the cheat code, call me; I got you covered) and in the sports arena I loved “Tecmo Bowl” and “Mike Tyson’s Punch Out.” Wow, those were some graphics huh?!

You played Ellis, one of the human survivors in “Left 4 Dead 2.” What’s the first thing you’d do in the event of a zombie apocalypse, like the one Ellis has to fight through?
Hit up a car dealership, hotwire a truck, take it to a groceries store and load up! Then, probably go find some guns.

Has the success of “The Killing” taken you by surprise at all? It’s so different than other police procedural-type shows, with the gloomy tone and slower pace.
Surprised? No. Thrilled? Yes! When I read the pilot, I knew it was special; it was different. I feel like there is plenty of audience out there for this type of show and I am just so excited that I am lucky enough to be a part of it.

Are there any similarities between Jamie, the character you play in “The Killing” and Cole McGrath?
They both have an extremely strong will to win; win at all costs. Neither like to lose, I think that is something I share with the both of them.

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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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