DID YOU READ

Brit Marling compares upcoming films “The East” and “The Company You Keep” to Occupy protests

Brit Marling compares upcoming films “The East” and “The Company You Keep” to Occupy protests (photo)

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Depending upon the outcome of the Occupy Wall Street protests occurring across the nation, we’ll likely see Hollywood’s take on the 99 percent’s uprising at some point in the near future. But while films like “The Dark Knight Rises” considered attempting to tap into the civil unrest, at least one upcoming indie has already been working on capturing the activists’ sentiments.

“Sound of my Voice” star/co-writer Brit Marling and director/co-writer Zal Batmanglij have reteamed in their respective roles for the upcoming thriller “The East.” The film tells the story of a contract worker named Sarah (Marling) who is given the job of infiltrating an anarchist group, but ends up finding herself aligning with its beliefs and falling for its leader (Alexander Skarsgard). IFC caught up with Marling recently while she was promoting the DVD release of her Sundance darling “Another Earth,” and she acknowledged that “The East’s” upcoming release likely couldn’t be at a more timely occasion.

Interestingly enough, Marling’s other upcoming film, Robert Redford‘s “The Company You Keep,” also has to deal with activist movements. In the interview, she addressed her own passion for activism and whether she thinks these two movies about such a hot-button subject will end up causing any controversy.

IFC: “The East” seems like it’s pushing the envelope with its extremism and environmental activism. Do you think that it’s particularly timely with all the other activist events going on right now, like Occupy Wall Street?

Brit Marling: Yeah, I think we were really astounded as we were writing it, things kept happening that were literally things that were in the movie or things that were themes or feelings in the movie. I remember when the BP Oil spill happened we were like, oh my gosh, this movie is so prescient. And then when WikiLeaks happened, we were like, oh my god, this movie is so prescient. And then, you know, when Occupy Wall Street happened, we were like, this film needs to just enter the world already.

I think that when you’re writing, you’re really just sticking your hand out into what people are thinking and feeling, and certainly I think generationally there’s a pretty big crisis in our generation of like, what is going on? The design of the world order makes no sense. Things keep falling apart. I mean, how long are we going to continue to ignore that the structure of things are unsound? When are we going to stand up and be accountable for the way we live our lives and like do things differently? Maybe even erratically differently. And I think Occupy Wall Street is filled with that unrest and I think, I don’t know, it will be nice for this movie to enter this conversation.

I think it’s something people want to talk about and, I don’t know, hopefully it will be a useful note in the conversation. I don’t know. We hope that anyway.

Brit Marling says Alexander Skarsgard isn’t “recognizable” in “The East”

IFC: It sounds like it’s something you’re pretty passionate about. Are you particularly attached to the idea of activism? Is that something you believe in?

BM: I guess what I believe in is, you know, life in the modern world can really lull you to sleep in a way. Things in the first world are pretty comfortable. You know, like hotel rooms and movie theaters and malls and cars on highways. The whole experience is pretty seamless, in and out of airports. But there are so many things that are just shocking and astounding that we just continue to ignore. Especially just the literal liquidation of the environment. We have oceans falling apart and reefs crumbling.

We’re alive in a really strange time in which we seem to be on the precipice of a crisis, certainly in terms of like where things are in the environment, and yet not fully dealing with it in our every day lives and the way that we live them. I don’t know what it would take for things to change dramatically, but I think certainly I believe in attempting to be awake to that and to hopefully do something. Do something in whatever way one can to like be a part of the movement for changing things or trying to make things better.

IFC: It’s interesting to me that the other film you’re working on, “The Company You Keep” with Robert Redford, also involves extremism with his character being a part of the Weather Underground. Do you think that either of these films are going to stir up any controversy once they get released?

BM: I hope they do, but even more than controversy. I think something really interesting happened when Obama was elected, which is the millennial generation felt for a moment that like real change was possible, and they like galvanized themselves in a way that had never been done before. Everybody’s pretty focused on their own career, their own life, the way in which their life is unfolding, and I dropped everything I was doing and got on plane for Ohio and was like knocking on doors in Columbus, Ohio. And I think it was because everybody felt like, well here’s a way in which things can really be different.

I think people are looking for that. I don’t know that either one of these movies will do that but certainly like Occupy Wall Street and what’s happening there and what’s happening all over the world, there are stirrings of it. You feel that the sense is in the air, and it just hasn’t fully become organized. Or the ideas behind which real change can happen [haven’t] been fully solidified. It’d be cool if both of these movies sort of got people talking about these things and not just retreating into their lives, which can be so consuming.

Are you intrigued by either of Marling’s upcoming projects because of their political statements? Tell us in the comments section below or 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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