SXSW 2012: Director Nelson George talks Magic Johnson and “The Announcement”


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It’s been more than two decades since Magic Johnson made his shocking announcement that he was HIV positive, but the impact of that event still can be felt today. Director Nelson George decided to channel that continued relevance by teaming up with ESPN and NBA Entertainment to create a documentary that takes a look back at Johnson’s life-changing announcement.

Appropriately titled “The Announcement,” George’s film was shown at SXSW earlier this week. IFC was lucky enough to get a chance to catch up with the director and talk about why he decided that this was the right time to get Johnson to tell his story.

“For years many people had been coming at Magic to tell the backstage story of those events in November 1991. He was reluctant to go back,” George explained. ESPN really went after him this year because the 20th anniversary was last November. Around Labor Day, he agreed to do it.”

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The film not only chronicles the actual announcement, but also shows the fallout after Johnson revealed he had AIDs. George recounts that people were quick to shut themselves off to Johnson, even going as far as calling his manager and telling him that Johnson was never to come to their restaurant again.

When Johnson revealed he had AIDs in 1991, it was considered a death sentence. But by being such a public face of the disease and also continuing to be healthy, some believe that Johnson has taken the fear out of HIV.

“He says he’s been the gift and the curse,” George said. “I think one reason he wanted to do the film now was to reawake the conversation about the virus. The truth is it’s not part of the national political dialogue on election year, it’s not on the front page of newspapers. Fifty to sixty thousand Americans every year are affected, and this has been pretty consistent for the past 10 years. We need to be out here educating young people, and I think the film for Magic and myself is a form of advocacy, about awareness for HIV.”

Do you plan on catching this film? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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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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Draught Pick

Sam Adams “Keeps It Brockmire”

All New Brockmire airs Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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From baseball to beer, Jim Brockmire calls ’em like he sees ’em.


It’s no wonder at all, then, that Sam Adams would reach out to Brockmire to be their shockingly-honest (and inevitably short-term) new spokesperson. Unscripted and unrestrained, he’ll talk straight about Sam—and we’ll take his word. Check out this new testimonial for proof:

See more Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC, presented by Samuel Adams. Good f***** beer.

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