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Luke Wilson talks “Meeting Evil” and working with Samuel L. Jackson

meeting evil

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Luke Wilson has made a career out of playing nice guys swept up in a sea of wild characters, but in “Meeting Evil” his nice-guy character meets an entirely different sort of wild element — one that puts a dark spin on what a nice guy is capable of when pushed to the brink.

IFC spoke to Wilson about the new film, which he stars in alongside Samuel L. Jackson, who plays the mysterious, sinister stranger who takes a downtrodden salesman (Wilson) on a deadly journey.

“As a movie-goer, I like all kinds of movies, so I always appreciate the chance to do different stuff,” said Wilson of breaking from his usual comedic roles for this moody, tense thriller. “Of course, as an actor, I feel like I can do pretty much anything but a musical, so it’s always nice to get asked to do things that people don’t immediately think of me doing — something like this, which is more of dark, film-noir movie.”

“There were so many years when I was first starting out that I didn’t think about it,” he explained. “I was just trying to stay busy and make a living. People would say, ‘Hey, you sure play a lot of boyfriends.’ [Laughs] I didn’t even think about it then, but eventually I was like, ‘Wait, am I doing that too much?’ I’m really just doing whatever comes my way and trying to stay busy and get better at what I’m doing. It’s nice, though, getting older and being able to do different roles.”

Over the course of his career, Wilson has appeared in films alongside Gene Hackman, Bill Murray, and a host of other celebrated actors. With “Meeting Evil,” he adds Jackson to that impressive list — something that isn’t lost on the actor. Fortunately, he had a good idea of what to expect from his co-star.

“It’s funny, because Sam and I had actually gotten to be friendly before ‘Meeting Evil,'” he said. “George Lopez had gotten us to play in a golf tournament, so me and George and Sam played as a team at this tournament in Palm Springs. We wound up winning it together, but it was one of those things where I didn’t take it that seriously, but Sam was pretty intense about it. I was thinking I’d just play golf to have fun and be outside, but it became one of those things where I was like, ‘God, I have to concentrate, because Sam really wants to win this thing!’ So we became friends doing that.”

“Working with him, he’s one of those people who reminds me of Gene Hackman in terms of how much an icon he is, and I’ll get worried about a lot of different things,” he confessed. “I’ll be worried about being too much in awe of him, or being able to just be in the moment, because some of those guys, you can’t believe you’re standing there with them. He’s just incredible to work with. I love how much he works and how intense he is. He’s one of those people who likes to know everything about what he’s working on.”

And like any good thriller, “Meeting Evil” develops in a slow boil that leaves its audience guessing right up until the closing credits. Given some actors’ preference to not know any narrative surprises that await their characters (so they can react more authentically), IFC asked Wilson how he approaches stories with a twist.

“I have to read the whole script ahead of time, yeah,” he said. “I’ve heard Woody Allen movies are like that, though, where you get handed the pages the day of filming. That would be interesting to do, but I’ve never really done it.”

“I’ve worked on movies that are being rewritten as you go, but you take so long and so much time doing it, that it’s not really an issue knowing what’s going to happen or how the movie is going to end,” he added. “Working with somebody like Sam, you’re just in the moment. And having a good director is helpful to keep track of the story and build up the tension.”

Still, Wilson said that doing a film like “Meeting Evil” definitely flexes different acting muscles than the comedies he’s been doing for so much of his career.

“I definitely notice it doing a movie like this, or any movie that’s more serious and has emotions,” he explained. “It’s fun to work on a good comedy, because you’re in a good mood and the goals are always very clear for the movie and day-to-day, scene-to-scene. You’re just trying to do something that’s funny, whether you think it’s funny or the director or the other actors or people on set. For lack of a better term, it’s instant gratification.”

“Something like [‘Meeting Evil’], though, you just have to be confident in yourself and what you’re doing because it’s not as clear-cut,” he continued. “When you’re doing something that’s supposed to be scary or filled with tension or emotion, you just have to do the best job you can, and that’s really all you can hope for. You have to tell yourself that sometimes things will feel a little stagnant, but you have to remember that there are all these other elements that will add to it.”

“Meeting Evil” is available now via On-Demand video, and will arrive in theaters May 4.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.

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IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

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IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….

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IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.

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IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

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

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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