Will Arnett and Jason Bateman pair with Activision for “Call of Duty” content

Will Arnett and Jason Bateman pair with Activision for “Call of Duty” content  (photo)

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Activision’s looking to make this year a banner one for the best-selling “Call of Duty” franchise. “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3” ramps op the action to heretofore never-before-seen stakes, thrusting players into a multi-front conflict erupting in New York, London, Prague, Berlin and other major Western cities. Online players will be able to compare stats, form groups and mine through the game’s performance data to their hearts’ content on the game’s “Call of Duty” Elite social network, already in beta testing with last year’s “Black Ops” title. And the publisher’s taking things real-world with the upcoming “Call of Duty XP” fan fest on Labor Day weekend, where attendees can shoot it up in paintball matches massive reproductions of multiplayer maps and compete in a $1 million dollar tournament.

The Elite social platform’s going to be a key part of the “COD” strategy moving forward, and Activision’s announce that they’ll have a premium tier of the service that fans can shell out an undisclosed monthly fee for. It’s also been mysterious as what extras premium Elite members would be getting for their money. Possibilities like celebrity-focused game-with-fame sessions and early access to DLC have been bandied about. Now, via The Hollywood Reporter, comes word of a deal that might be bound for the premium Elite channel.

THR reports that Will Arnett and Jason Bateman will be developing exclusive content for “Call of Duty” Elite platform through their DumbDumb production company. NO word on whether either of the stars will star in the programming, but Arnett already has close ties to Infinity Ward, one of the three dev studios making “COD: MW3.” He told THR:

“I consider myself a gamer,” said Arnett. “When you look at the time spent gaming, versus other entertainment outlets whether it’s watching TV or watching movies; for me, I probably spend more time gaming. I want my videogames to be entertaining. You realize that videogames are a real outlet that needs to be taken seriously.”

The corollary to Arnett’s remarks is that there’s more media being created in the orbits around phenomena like “Call of Duty,” “Halo” or “World of Warcraft.” Most gamers know that Austin-based collective Rooster Teeth used “Halo” to create a comedy empire that started with “Red vs. Blue.” In much the same way, Felicia Day became an internet success with “The Guild,” a webseries built around the lives of people who play an MMO suspiciously similar to “WoW.” Kevin Tancharoen’s unofficial “Mortal Kombat” film earned him a sanctioned web series–“Mortal Kombat: Legacy” from Warner Brothers, too.

And, no surprise, “Call of Duty” homages abound on YouTube. The “Find Makarov” short that debuted earlier this year garnered a massive following for the We Can Pretend studio that created it. Activision took notice and invited the Toronto-based shop to show off their latest “COD”-derived work at the XP fan fest.

What’s important about this DumbDumb/Activision partnership is the involvement of established Hollywood talent in direct-to-web video programming. The fruits of their labor will probably follow the low cost, down-n-dirty model that thrives on the web, but it’ll be interesting to see if Arnett and Bateman will loop in any other self-identified gamers from Hollywood to get involved. Folks lucky or devoted enough to make the pilgrimage to Call of Duty XP 2011 will get a glimpse of the DumbDumb “COD” Elite project and might even get a chance to take out Arnett in a multiplayer match to boot. As for the game at the center of all this, “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3” comes out on November 8 for multiple platforms.

What are your expectations for Will Arnett and Jason Bateman’s partnership with “Call of Duty”? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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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


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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