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Malcolm McDowell talks Tom Jones, his legendary career and his new film “Suing The Devil”

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Legendary actor Malcolm McDowell has certainly played his fair share of big screen bad guys. From Alex DeLarge in “A Clockwork Orange” to Dr. Tolian Soran in “Star Trek Generations,” McDowell has turned the cinematic villain into an art form. Perhaps none of his previous characters, however, could match the historically tainted image that his character in Tim Chey’s thriller “Suing the Devil” maintains. In the film, now available On Demand and Digital Download, McDowell plays the Prince of Darkness himself – Satan. When Luke O’Brien (Bart Bronson) decides he’s had enough and sues Satan for eight trillion dollars, the Devil must come to his defense with the help of the country’s greatest lawyers. McDowell was kind enough to sit down with IFC to chat about Tom Jones, his legendary film career, and what it’s like to play Satan.

IFC: We’ll start right in: Do you really think Satan prefers Tom Jones to KISS?

Malcolm McDowell: (Laughter) Well, I put that in because my eight-year-old went through a Tom Jones period. He loves Tom Jones and asked me if I could invite him over for tea. My thought was, well he’s Welsh and he’d probably prefer a nice pint of beer. (Laughter) Yeah, he loved Tom Jones so that’s why I put that in there. I could have said Elvis Presley or someone else, but I just thought it would be fun and so random. (Laughter) I got a chuckle out of it. I just threw it in. There are a lot of ad-libs there, actually, in that part. A LOT. I’d say maybe twenty-five percent I made it up.

IFC: It does seem like they gave you a lot of room to play.

MCDOWELL: It’s the kind of role that you can do anything. When he’s waving the bible at me, I’m pretending it’s his heart or something. I mean, whatever. You can go with anything on this kind of stuff. And it’s such a great role to do that you just make it your own and run with it basically. The thing is, I was there really to entertain the audience. That part had to be bigger than life. Believable? Yes, and it had to really keep the audience entertained. That was what my brief was playing that part. Simple as that.

IFC: It seems like Satan plays it very much like a rock star. I wondered is that more how you viewed him or how you believe Satan would view himself?

MCDOWELL: Yes, it’s the way Satan would love to, of course, appear himself. Sure. [SPOILER REDACTED] Bigger than life. I had to inject a little more in it than normally I would as far as playing a naturalistic sort of part.

IFC: Is that one of the things that first attracted you to the project? The idea that you could really spread your wings a little?

MCDOWELL: Yeah, I could really go for it. You know? Sometimes it’s great to just really go for it. And this is one of those parts. You can’t hold back. You can’t think of the subtleties of playing. You just have to get out and really bare it all and hopefully you don’t fall off the plank. And if you do, hey, pick yourself up, dust yourself down, and start all over again.

IFC: “Suing the Devil” is also a highly religious film. Would you consider yourself a religious person?

MCDOWELL: It is. As for me, I would say that I’m a believer, for sure. I certainly don’t think we are the highest power on the planet.

IFC: Do you think that influences your work and your performances?

MCDOWELL: No. No. It doesn’t in any way, shape, or form. I’m a professional actor. If that were the case, I would never play a murderer or anyone that was immoral. That’s not my call. An actor cannot be a censor. I’m there to interpret. And I don’t have a personal view on the stuff. I don’t make judgments on the characters I play at all. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to play them if I did.

IFC: Yeah, the film doesn’t seem to hammer you over the head with the religious aspects of it.

MCDOWELL: You’re right. Of course it is a very religious film. At the end of the day, that’s their audience, but I think it’s a crossover because I think anybody can enjoy this film.

IFC: You got to slap a lot of people in the film. Did that feel good?

MCDOWELL: (Laughter) Yeah, sure. Why not? (Laughter)

IFC: You’ve been in so many great films in so many genres. Is there anything you particularly want to do next?

MCDOWELL: No, there isn’t because, honestly, you can only take what you’re offered and it’s best not to jump ahead. Otherwise you’re going to be disappointed and disillusioned. I just take it as it comes and if I’m not offered something, there’s always a reason, and usually it’s a pretty good one. I’m not worried about it. You know, I’ve had an incredible career and I’m blessed. Yeah, it’s been peaks and valleys, but when you start off with “If…,” “A Clockwork Orange,” and “O Lucky Man!” there’s only one place to go from there. I’m very happy. Very happy.

You can see Malcolm McDowell playing Satan in “Suing the Devil” On Demand and Digital Download now.

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Flame Out

Brockmire and Other Public Implosions

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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There’s less than a month until the Brockmire premiere, and to say we’re excited would be an insulting understatement. It’s not just that it stars Hank Azaria, who can do no wrong (and yes, that’s including Mystery Men, which is only cringeworthy because of Smash Mouth). It’s that the whole backstory of the titular character, Jim Brockmire, is the stuff of legends. A one-time iconic sportscaster who won the hearts of fans and players alike, he fell from grace after an unfortunate personal event triggered a seriously public meltdown. See for yourself in the NSFW Funny or Die digital short that spawned the IFC series:

See? NSFW and spectacularly catastrophic in a way that could almost be real. Which got us thinking: What are some real-life sports fails that have nothing to do with botched athletics and everything to do with going tragically off script? The internet is a dark and dirty place, friends, but these three examples are pretty special and mostly safe for work…

Disgruntled Sports Reporter

His co-anchor went offsides and he called it like he saw it.

Jim Rome vs Jim “Not Chris” Everett

You just don’t heckle a professional athlete when you’re within striking distance. Common sense.

Carl Lewis’s National Anthem

He killed it! As in murdered. It’s dead.

To see more moments just like these, we recommend spending a day in your pajamas combing through the muckiness of the internet. But to see something that’s Brockmire-level funny without having to clear your browser history, check out the sneak peeks and extras here.

Don’t miss the premiere of Brockmire April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Mirror, Mirror

Portlandia Season 7 In Hindsight

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available Online and on the IFC App.

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Another season of Portlandia is behind us, and oh what a season it was. We laughed. We cried. And we chuckled uncomfortably while glancing nervously around the room. Like every season before it, the latest Portlandia has held a mirror up to ridiculousness of modern American life, but more than ever that same mirror has reflected our social reality in ways that are at once hysterical and sneakily thought-provoking. Here are just a few of the issues they tackled:

Nationalism

So long, America, Portland is out! And yes, the idea of Portland seceding is still less ludicrous than building a wall.

Men’s Rights

We all saw this coming. Exit gracefully, dudes.

Protests

Whatever you stand for, stand for it together. Or with at least one other person.

Free Love

No matter who we are or how we love, deep down we all have the ability to get stalky.

Social Status

Modern self-esteem basically hinges on likes, so this isn’t really a stretch at all.

These moments are just the tip of the iceberg, and much more can be found in the full seventh season of #Portlandia, available right now #online and on the #IFC app.

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Spirit's Up

You Missed It, But Don’t Panic

Watch the 2017 Spirit Awards Right Now on the IFC App.

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The 2017 Independent Spirit Awards are over! Done! See you next year!
Moonlight won every award for which it was nominated, The Witch got some well-deserved rookie love, Nick Kroll & John Mulaney were perfect hosts, and Fred Armisen apparently died.

If you missed any of it, don’t freak. It’s 2017, which is the future. The magical immediacy of media technology will save you.

Watch the entire awards show, start to finish, on the IFC app or right here. RIGHT NOW. FOR FREE. Or, you know, whenever, because that’s the whole point.

If you’re still on the fence, don’t get comfortable. Here’s a sampler platter that’ll give you the flavor of everything that went down today. Fair warning: It’s real good.

Nick Kroll and John Mulaney

Perfect hosts. Perfect. Their opening routine was deadly funny, wicked smart, and invoked both David Lynch and Werner Herzog. A huge step up from the Academy Awards’ usual fart jokes, figuratively speaking.

Andy Samberg’s Surprise Cameo

We’ll never think of Eddie Vedder the same way again.

Best Supporting Female: Molly Shannon

Superstar! It’s been too easy to think of Molly exclusively in the context of her beloved characters, but her nuanced performance in Other People changes all of that. And man can she work a crowd.

Best Feature: Moonlight

This. Movie. We called it first, Oscar!

See the full list of winners here and enjoy the entire 2017 Spirit Awards now or anytime on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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