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DID YOU READ

Matt Damon and Anna Paquin film finally coming to theaters after six years

Matt Damon and Anna Paquin film finally coming to theaters after six years (photo)

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The Playlist spotted an item from Exhibitor Relations that brings some surprising news: Fox Searchlight will finally open Kenneth Lonergan’s “Margaret” on September 30. The long lost film has been sitting on a shelf for a very long time. How long? So long that when casting announcements were made, Anna Paquin was still working on “X-Men: The Last Stand” — and it was still called “X3.” So long that people were already writing “Where is Kenneth Lonergan’s ‘Margaret?'” articles three years ago. Shooting originally wrapped in 2005.

Since then, the film has been bogged down in years of edits and re-edits, and numerous contentious lawsuits between Lonergan, the studio, and various other production and insurance entities. The whole sordid affair — or at least the whole sordid affair circa 2009 — can be found in the Los Angeles Times article “Kenneth Lonergan’s ‘Margaret’: post-production in a courtroom,” which outlines the main reason that the film is just now coming out six years after principal photography: “Lonergan [couldn’t] finish the film.”

“A number of producers and editors — including Rudin, Pollack and Martin Scorsese’s legendary editor, Thelma Schoonmaker — have tried but failed to help Lonergan complete his movie, court documents and interviews show. With his financing from [financier Gary] Gilbert and Fox Searchlight cut off, Lonergan borrowed more than $1 million from actor and close friend Matthew Broderick (who has a small part in “Margaret”) in an attempt to complete the editing of the movie, according to a person close to the production.”

But wait! There’s more!

“After a year and a half of editing, the situation imploded in the summer of 2007. Gilbert brought back the film’s original editors, [Anne] McCabe and Mike Fay, to recut the film while Lonergan was on vacation, but when Lonergan returned he ‘forbade’ them to work on the film.”

And that brings us basically to where we are now with — wait, what? There’s more?!?

“Not long after, ‘Margaret”s completion bond company, International Film Guarantors, which insures that the film will be finished and delivered in a timely manner, stepped in. Lonergan gave IFG an earlier cut of the film (which Gilbert says was “randomly selected” and “incoherent”), which was then delivered to Fox Searchlight last June. With the film in hand, Fox Searchlight demanded that Gilbert and Camelot pay its contractually obligated share of the film’s budget, $6.2 million, which they haven’t paid.

Okay, is that it? Probably not, but I’m just going to move on before we’re stuck here all day.

That is a lot of legal wrangling for just one movie. But just what is the movie about? The Times piece also includes a detailed synopsis of the plot, which is reprinted, word for word, on “Margaret”‘s Wikipedia page (it might be considered slightly SPOILERish, so be aware):

“The story revolves around a 17-year-old New York City high school student named Lisa Cohen (Anna Paquin), who may have contributed to a bus accident in Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Lisa’s mother, Joan (played by Lonergan’s wife, J. Smith-Cameron), is a single mom grappling with parenting and her acting career. A sexually active teen, Lisa inappropriately flirts with one of her teachers (Matt Damon) while arguing with her classmates about the Middle East. Lisa ultimately becomes involved in a legal action against the bus operator (Mark Ruffalo). The film’s title comes from the Margaret in the poem ‘Spring and Fall: To a Young Child’ by 19th century poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, briefly alluded to in one of Lisa’s classrooms.”

What remains unclear at the moment is exactly which of the myriad cuts of the film Fox Searchlight is going to release and just how sizable that release will be. Lonergan had final cut on the film — that’s the reason Fox didn’t just take the movie away from him after a couple years, edit it themselves, and release it — so unless that changed as a result of the settlement of all these lawsuits, it should be something the director is reasonably happy with. I’m curious to finally see this thing and to find out whether it’s even half as interesting as its own tortured history. Who knows how good the movie of “Margaret” will be, but the production of “Margaret” was juicy enough to make a great film itself.

Curious about a six year old movie? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below or on and Twitter.

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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.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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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:

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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SO EXCITED!!!

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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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.”

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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. 

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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.