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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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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.