DID YOU READ

“Lockout” stars Guy Pearce and Maggie Grace talk stage combat and science-fiction

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By Jennifer Vineyard

The new Luc Besson sci-fi movie “Lockout,” which takes place in the year 2079, is less “The Fifth Element,” more “Die Hard” in its sensibilities — Guy Pearce plays a wisecracking action hero tasked with saving the President’s daughter (Maggie Grace) during a prison riot (and did we mention the prison is in space?). The two have a punchy relationship — literally, since their first few encounters involve inflicting each other with various forms of violence. (In one scene, she gets a syringe in her eye).

“It reminded me of Hans Solo and Princess Leia,” Grace told IFC, “the snarky, combative relationship between the two.”

The usually lean Pearce had been a bodybuilder when he was a teenager and bulked up 50 pounds for the part of Snow, but he was worried about his fight scenes with Grace. “I’m always very conscious of the physical stuff,” he told IFC. “And not to suggest that women aren’t as strong as guys, but Maggie’s a gentle creature, and I was nervous about doing some of the stuff I have to do to her. I mean, when I was punching her, I was nervous I was going to take her out!”

Pearce needn’t have worried, at least as far as Grace was concerned . But for his own sake? That’s another story. “I had to punch him,” the actress said. “And we were very careful. You have to pre-measure the punch. You have to sell it. You’re not supposed to make contact. But I shifted, and I accidentally made contact and hit him! So he was nervous he’d hit me, but really, I hit him.”

Grace’s punch was but one of many injuries Pearce suffered on set, and not usually from stunts. He estimates that he incurred at least one injury per week, from “some stupid thing, like tripping on the end of a table,” or pulling a muscle. In one scene, he was supposed to fire a gun while crawling through a low tunnel, but the bullet casing ricocheted and went down the back of his shirt, burning him.

“So they have me on film going, ‘Agh! Agh!'” he laughed. “That’s probably going to be on the DVD. The good thing was, I was in such a highly adrenalized frame of mind, that each time I hurt myself it was just like, ‘What? Another injury?’ And then you kind of move on.”

Most of the action takes place in a contained space, the prison MS One, where 500 criminals kept in stasis wake up and revolt. There is a bit of discussion about the effects of deep space exploration on the human body via the medical experiments performed on the prisoners, but despite being in outer space, the sci-fi is kept to a minimum.

“Even though it’s a dystopian future, it’s not just sci-fi,” Grace said. “It’s unabashedly entertaining.”

“We’re not really delving into the ideas that are seemingly real but also seemingly far-fetched,” Pearce said.

Grace predicted that back on Earth, though, the people of 2079 would have had all sorts of fun gadgets that we’ve seen in films so far, but haven’t realized in our timeline. “Where are our hovercrafts, damn it?” she demanded with a laugh. “They promised them, and they’re not there. Where is it all? The X Prize is at least proposing a tricorder, so we’re going to get that at least. ‘Star Trek’ is solving at least one of our problems.”

Grace admits to being a tech geek, which is how she originally came across Pearce’s TED talk, in character as Peter Weyland from “Prometheus,” from the year 2023. Strange coincidence, she agreed, that the cryo-stasis experiments in “Lockout”‘s 2079 are supposed to the lead to the kind of deep space exploration that happens in “Prometheus” in 2085, just a years away. “But they’re not connected just because Guy’s in both of them,” she laughed.

Pearce wouldn’t — or couldn’t — confirm that his Weyland actually takes part of the Prometheus expedition, albeit at the ripe old age of 95 (or thereabouts). But, he agreed, “you would think” that his character would want to, and “you would think” that he could, if he wanted to, given that the Weyland Corp. are the financial backers. “What does he say at the end of the TED lecture?” Pearce said. “I’d like to change the world.’ That should establish what he’s up to.”

While Pearce will be busy promoting “Prometheus” this summer, and Grace will have her own fantasy movie later this year (“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2,” in which she plays the vampire Irina) , but she joked that she and Pearce should reteam on the HBO series “Game of Thrones,” just because she’s “addicted” to the show. Regrettably, she thinks she lacks the right kind of citizenship. “Can only British actors and Europeans and Australians do it?” Pearce asked her. “They don’t use Americans,” she said, forgetting about Peter Dinklage, despite saying just seconds before, “Peter Dinklage is amazing.”

“She worked abroad illegally and they found out so now she can’t ever work abroad again,” Pearce teased.

“We could do a marriage of convenience,” she offered, also forgetting Pearce’s wife. “And then we could be on the show because you have the right passport.”

“Is that a proposal?” he asked.

“Maybe. Maybe.”

If not that, they’ll settle for a “Lockout” sequel, if it’s funny and Pearce doesn’t have to bulk up again. “Let’s do a tropical planet,” he suggested. “If we can have some say next time, we should be on holiday somewhere.”

“Lockout” opens in theaters today.

Are you excited for the new space prison action movie? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.