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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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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

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

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.