DID YOU READ

The “Casa de mi Padre” cast weighs in on Will Ferrell’s spanish-language skills

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We’ve seen Will Ferrell play everything from a human raised by elves to an ex-president, but this weekend’s premiere of “Casa de mi Padre” could feature the popular comedian in one of his most challenging roles to date: a Mexican rancher who doesn’t speak a word of English.

In the film, Ferrell plays Armando Alvarez, a man who must save his father’s ranch from a dangerous drug lord played by Gael Garcia Bernal. Offering both a clever homage and hilarious parody of classic telenovela dramas, “Casa de mi Padre” is filmed almost entirely in Spanish (with English subtitles), and nearly every member of the cast speaks the language fluently.

All except for Ferrell, that is.

“I had enough going in where I could read [Spanish] fairly well,” said Ferrell of his Spanish-language skills at the point when the cameras began rolling. “It wasn’t that I was learning it phonetically or anything like that, and I didn’t have to use a Marlon Brando-style earpiece or anything. [Laughs] I just got together with the translator and we’d go over lines nearly every day. We’d actually drive to the set together, drive home, and then start working on the next day’s lines.”

“It was complete immersion,” he said of his crash course in the language. “I started dreaming in Spanish.”

And apparently his hard work paid off, as his Spanish-speaking costars were quick to heap praise on Ferrell’s command of the language.

“He’s good… really good,” Bernal told IFC.

And if anyone should know, it’s Bernal — a native Spanish-speaker who has appeared in six Oscar-nominated films, including multiple nominations for Best Foreign-Language Film at both the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes. One of the most successful Mexican actors in Hollywood right now, Bernal lavished praise on Ferrell and his take on the dim-witted but honorable Armando Alvarez.

“When he found himself in trouble with a certain word, he would ask us questions, but he speaks really well, with a good, clear accent,” said Bernal. “And [the times when he didn’t], that was part of the character. The character is a little slow, so…”

Actress Genesis Rodriguez, who plays Ferrell’s love interest in the film and also grew up speaking Spanish, took her praise for Ferrell a step further.

“I really think that Mexican actors should pay attention, because there’s a new guy in town,” she joked. “And he’s ready.”

Rodriguez noted that she had to change up her own Spanish in order to take on the proper accents for a Mexican character — something that made her even more impressed with Ferrell’s grasp of the language.

“[It was actually] confusing for me, because he really dominated the cadence of the Mexican accent,” she explained. “I’m Cuban-Venezuelan, so I had to change my speech in that sort of way, because I played a Mexican part. So for someone who does not dominate the language and does not really understand what he’s saying, to pinpoint that sing-song way of saying things is extremely impressive.”

Still, not everything came easy for Ferrell, who said he occasionally found himself at a loss for words when his costars improvised lines here and there or ad-libbed in the moment. Normally a master of improv who always gets an extra laugh out of a scene, Ferrell said his shaky grasp of the language outside of what he memorized led to a few long, thoughtful pauses while he tried to understand what was said. In fact, a few of those scenes made it into the final cut of the film, when Armando is seen contemplating something said by one of the other characters.

“When everyone was speaking so fast, and they’re fluent, you don’t realize what’s being said,” he confessed. “It was all I could do to make sure I got that day’s work down and sounded authentic. We didn’t want [any lines] to be dubbed in later or have to do the take again.”

“I never doubted Will Ferrell,” laughed Rodriguez. “I’ve been a fan for many, many, many years, and I thought that if there was one person to do it and take this type of risk, it would be him. And he did it just brilliantly.”

“Casa de mi Padre” is currently in theaters. Chime in below or on Facebook or 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.
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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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