DID YOU READ

Anton Yelchin on hitting the books for “Star Trek 2” and Benicio Del Toro casting rumors

Anton Yelchin on hitting the books for “Star Trek 2” and Benicio Del Toro casting rumors (photo)

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Do you want to know my deepest, darkest secret?

I’ve been to a “Star Trek” convention.

Back in middle school I was a full-on “Star Trek” nerd. I watched the shows, I read the novels, I bought the toys. God help me, I even owned a “Next Generation” costume. It was as red, the same color my cheeks get as I recount these details. I’m not proud of my Trekkie past, but after J.J. Abrams‘ outstanding 2009 franchise reboot, I was a lot less not proud. That movie was both a fantastic homage to the series’ storied past and an impressive blueprint for a bright future. It made “Star Trek” cool.

When I got the chance to talk to actor Anton Yelchin about his beautiful new film “Like Crazy,” I couldn’t help myself. Talking to the guy who plays Abrams’ version of Ensign Pavel Chekov, the USS Enterprise’s Russian accented navigator brought out the lapsed Trekkie in me. Yelchin was nice enough to accommodate a few questions about Abrams’ upcoming “Star Trek” sequel, currently scheduled to go into production in January of next year.

Unless my math is off, that’s just two months away, but Yelchin told me he still doesn’t know what he’ll be doing in this movie (besides pronouncing v’s like w’s of course). “I’ve been told that at a certain point I will actually read a draft,” Yelchin said. That’s what happened last time: I went into J.J.’s office and I read a script, but I had to leave it there. So I’ll probably read a draft and then in a couple weeks they’ll send me, like, some top secret draft that I bring to set but it stays in the trailer and doesn’t leave [laughs]. So at a certain point I will actually read the script before I go in to work. I don’t just show up and get sides.”

It sounds really challenging to prepare for a role without knowing exactly what you’ll be doing or saying in it, but Yelchin assured me there’s plenty of prep he can do without a script. “I’m going to go back and watch the old show and movies again,” he said. “I’ll dig out my old script and go through my notes on the character from that. And also, weirdly enough, I’ll rewatch ‘Star Trek’ and watch my own performance to make sure basically I’m moving the same way. I’m sure there’s things I’ve forgotten. I still have my ‘Star Trek Encyclopedia’ on my desk. I’m gonna whip that out and start reading up on things.”

Reading up on things online is how Yelchin’s been learning of the latest developments on the upcoming sequel. He didn’t hear about the still unconfirmed rumor that Benicio Del Toro may play the film’s villain until he saw it posted on the web. Weeks after that announcement, Yelchin still doesn’t know whether Del Toro’s officially on board or not. “I think I’ll probably know when I get to work and he’s either there or not,” he joked, before adding that Del Toro would be an “amazing” choice for the part. “Just the thought of him being in the film is very exciting,” he said.

One thing that will definitely be in “Star Trek 2” with Yelchin is his great, Walter Koenig-inspired sorta-Russian Chekov accent. Is it a hard accent to do? “It’s a lot of fun to do. I don’t know if it’s hard or easy,” Yelchin told me. While trying to find just the right voice for the character, the Russian-born, American-raised actor even tried having his grandfather read Chekov’s lines for him for inspiration. “I recorded him [doing it], but having someone in their 80s who doesn’t speak English try to say these pseudoscientific terms — within the first couple words, I was like ‘This is not going to work,'” Yelchin recalled with a laugh.

“I think Walter Koenig’s accent is so great,” he continued. “The character he created is so great. He’s such a joyous character. In one of my favorite ‘Star Trek’ episodes, all he does is spend the whole time macking on his girlfriend. That’s literally all he does in the episode!”

If you’re curious, that episode is “The Way to Eden” (at least I think it is; remember I’m a lapsed Trekkie). And if you’re curious, no, Yelchin hasn’t been to a “Star Trek” convention yet. Unlike, y’know, me. Look for the rest of my interview with Yelchin about the excellent “Like Crazy,” which is currently in theaters, on Monday.

Would you want Benicio Del Toro to play the villain of “Star Trek 2?” Tell us in the comments below write to us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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