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“The Hunger Games” recruits Steven Soderbergh as second-unit director

“The Hunger Games” recruits Steven Soderbergh as second-unit director (photo)

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Unless you’re a fan of the trilogy of novels on which they’re based, or happen to have a weird thing for any of the seemingly dozens of young thespians cast in the film, you might not have been paying too much attention to news about next spring’s “The Hunger Games.” But that may very well change when you hear who’s directing the film’s second unit: Steven Soderbergh.

The news first broke over Twitter, and was pieced together yesterday by The Playlist. A couple different people involved with the film, including production designer Eddie Mills and electrician Chrys Blackstone spoke out about the director’s involvement, saying “Soderbergh in the house this weekend!!! Very exciting!” and “Holy sh*t! Just found out that Steven Soderbergh is coming to the #hungergames to direct 2nd Unit. I am so excited this is getting good!” Both tweets, however, have since been deleted.

While Soderbergh’s involvement might seem odd at first, he actually has a long-standing friendship with the film’s director, Gary Ross. Not only was Soderbergh a producer on Ross’ “Pleasantville,” but Ross has reportedly looked over Soderbergh’s scripts in the past. Additionally, “The Hunger Games'” production designer, Phil Messina, has also worked on a number of Soderbergh movies including “Erin Brockovich,” “Traffic” and others.

If you’re a member of the uninitiated, “The Hunger Games” are basically a televised competition in which young adults fight to the death – similar to Japanese cult film “Battle Royale.” The film takes place in the dystopian nation of Panem, in the area once occupied by the United States. As penance for the outlying districts rising up against the capital, the folks in charge force each district to send one girl and one boy to the fight-to-the-dead Hunger Games. While technically young adult, the books are incredibly dark and mature, and have attracted a wide audience of older readers.

Soderbergh is widely renowned for his speed and ability to film and edit footage quickly, a skill that will no doubt be put to the test on “The Hunger Games,” as the production team is currently rushing to meet a March 23, 2012 release date. The film features a massive ensemble cast, including Jenneifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Paula Malcolmson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Lenny Kravitz and many more.

What do you think about Soderbergh signing on for “The Hunger Games?” Does it peak your interest in the adaptation of the best-selling novels? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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Holiday Extra Special

Make The Holidays ’80s Again

Enjoy the holiday cheer Wednesday December 21 at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Whatever happened to the kind of crazy-yet-cozy holiday specials that blanketed the early winter airwaves of the 1980s? Unceremoniously killed by infectious ’90s jadedness? Slow fade out at the hands of early-onset millennial ennui? Whatever the reason, nixing the tradition was a huge mistake.

A huge mistake that we’re about to fix.

Announcing IFC’s Joe’s Pub Presents: A Holiday Special, starring Tony Hale. It’s a celeb-studded extravaganza in the glorious tradition of yesteryear featuring Bridget Everett, Jo Firestone, Nick Thune, Jen Kirkman, house band The Dap-Kings, and many more. And it’s at Joe’s Pub, everyone’s favorite home away from home in the Big Apple.

The yuletide cheer explodes Wednesday December 21 at 10P. But if you were born after 1989 and have no idea what void this spectacular special is going to fill, sample from this vintage selection of holiday hits:

Andy Williams and The NBC Kids Search For Santa

The quintessential holiday special. Get snuggly and turn off your brain. You won’t need it.

A Muppet Family Christmas

The Fraggles. The Muppets. The Sesame Street gang. Fate. The Jim Henson multiverse merges in this warm and fuzzy Holiday gathering.

Julie Andrews: The Sound Of Christmas

To this day a foolproof antidote to holiday cynicism. It’s cheesy, but a good cheese. In this case an Alpine Gruyère.

Star Wars Holiday Special

Okay, busted. This one was released in 1978. Still totally ’80s though. And yes that’s Bea Arthur.

Pee Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special

Pass the eggnog, and make sure it’s loaded. This special is everything you’d expect it to be and much, much more.

Joe’s Pub Presents: A Holiday Special premieres Wednesday December 21 at 10P on IFC.

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It Ain't Over Yet

A Guide to Coping with the End of Comedy Bang! Bang!

Watch the final episodes tonight at 11 and 11:30P on IFC.

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After five seasons and 110 halved-hour episodes, Scott Aukerman’s hipster comedy opus, Comedy Bang! Bang!, has come to an end. Fridays at 11 and 11:30P will never be the same. We know it can be hard for fans to adjust after the series finale of their favorite TV show. That’s why we’ve prepared this step-by-step guide to managing your grief.

Step One: Cry it out

It’s just natural. We’re sad too.
Scott crying GIF

Step Two: Read the CB!B! IMDB Trivia Page

The show is over and it feels like you’ve lost a friend. But how well did you really know this friend? Head over to Comedy Bang! Bang!’s IMDB page to find out some things you may not have known…like that it’s “based on a Civil War battle of the same name” or that “Reggie Watts was actually born with the name Theodore Leopold The Third.”

Step Three: Listen to the podcast

One fascinating piece of CB!B! trivia that you might not learn from IMDB is that there’s a podcast that shares the same name as the TV show. It’s even hosted by Scott Aukerman! It’s not exactly like watching the TV show on a Friday night, but that’s only because each episode is released Monday morning. If you close your eyes, the podcast is just like watching the show with your eyes closed!

Step Four: Watch brand new CB!B! clips?!

The best way to cope with the end of Comedy Bang! Bang! is to completely ignore that it’s over — because it’s not. In an unprecedented move, IFC is opening up the bonus CB!B! content vault. There are four brand new, never-before-seen sketches featuring Scott Aukerman, Kid Cudi, and “Weird Al” Yankovic ready for you to view on the IFC App. There’s also one right here, below this paragraph! Watch all four b-b-bonus clips and feel better.

Binge the entire final season, plus exclusive sketches, right now on the IFC app.

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Everybody Sweats Now

The Four-Day Sweatsgiving Weekend On IFC

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This long holiday weekend is your time to gobble gobble gobble and give heartfelt thanks—thanks for the comfort and forgiveness of sweatpants. Because when it comes right down to it, there’s nothing more wholesome and American than stuffing yourself stupid and spending endless hours in front of the TV in your softest of softests.

So get the sweats, grab the remote and join IFC for four perfect days of entertainment.

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It all starts with a 24-hour T-day marathon of Rocky Horror Picture Show, then continues Friday with an all-day binge of Stan Against Evil.

By Saturday, the couch will have molded to your shape. Which is good, because you’ll be nestled in for back-to-back Die Hard and Lethal Weapon.

Finally, come Sunday it’s time to put the sweat back in your sweatpants with The Shining, The Exorcist, The Chronicles of Riddick, Terminator 2, and Blade: Trinity. They totally count as cardio.

As if you need more convincing, here’s Martha Wash and the IFC&C Music Factory to hammer the point home.

The Sweatsgiving Weekend starts Thursday on IFC

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