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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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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