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The “Wrath of the Titans” cast talks gods, moving past “Clash,” and where the next film might go

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Sam Worthington returns as Greek hero Perseus in this weekend’s “Wrath of the Titans,” a sequel to the 2010 remake of “Clash of the Titans.” This time around, Perseus sets out to free his father, Zeus, from imprisonment at the hands of Hades, and prevent the massive titan Kronos from destroying the world.

Directed by Jonathan Liebesman, “Wrath of the Titans” faces a herculean task of its own: taking the franchise to the next level while overcoming the poor critical response to “Clash of the Titans” that almost doomed the sequel.

“What was most important to me was to maintain things I liked about the first movie,” Liebesman told IFC. “I went on opening day to ‘Clash of the Titans,’ and I had my own feelings about it — but there were things I really liked.”

“I thought Louis [Letterier] did an incredible job with the spectacle [in ‘Clash of the Titans’],” he explained. “It had a real massive, Hollywood spectacle to it, so that was important to maintain. What I wanted to add to that was a grittiness, so that I could ground that spectacle and try to make it as believable as possible, even though you’re in a fantasy world.”

For Liebesman, part of grounding the story was spending more time on the characters and their stories — including newcomer Agenor, the demigod son of Poseidon played by British actor Toby Kebbell. According to Kebbell, a character who started out as a sidekick for Perseus and occasional source of comic relief eventually grew into a bigger part of the “Titans” universe.

“What was originally written on the page was kind of a goofy character who spent his time saying inappropriate things at the wrong time, but me and Sam and Jonathan all agreed that we didn’t want that cliche in the film,” recalled Kebbell. “Sam wanted to make this big. He didn’t want to do a sequel and just make it like any other film for a paycheck.”

Along with the debut of Agenor, “Wrath of the Titans” also features an expanded role for two returning characters: Zeus and Hades. Played by Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes, respectively, the two gods and the talented actors portraying them provide some of the film’s most memorable moments.

“I felt like [Zeus and Hades] were a little underused in the first movie,” said Liebesman. “Those two guys, Liam and Ralph, have such a great relationship with each other. They’re like brothers in real life. They’re so close. I just wanted to embrace that and have them in the film as much as possible.”

“There are a lot of scenes cut out with them, because I was just in love with those guys,” he laughed. “I was making my own Liam and Ralph movie. I would love to do anything with those guys. They are such a great team. I’m surprised they haven’t been in more movies together.”

And if all goes well with “Wrath of the Titans,” screenwriter Dan Mazeau says the “Titans” team has already begun discussing the next chapter of the franchise and where it could take Perseus and the Greek gods.

“It’s never really explained in mythology how it went from this pantheon of Greek gods to essentially none of them — to them being gone,” he explained. “That story of the fall of the gods hasn’t been told, so having this canvas to play with, it allows us to tell that story. This is about a world in transition. It’s a world going from a world of the gods to a world of men, so you’re seeing a lot of these things that were such a big part of the world, the gods and the monsters, having their last hurrah.”

“That was the overall idea when we started, and there is certainly more to tell,” he continued. “Where the world leaves off, it’s sort of an uncertain future, and mankind is going to have to chart its own course. I think there’s definitely some interesting stories, and yes, we’ve had some conversations about that.”

For Liebesman, however, it all starts with bringing to life a massive battle between the Greek gods and mythical creatures.

“That was the challenge that I wanted to give the team,” he said. “Can we do what you guys did in ‘Clash’ and ground it in reality? The fun will be trying to make people say, ‘Oh shit, this really looks like it could’ve happened!'”

“Wrath of the Titans” hits theaters March 30, and stars Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Edgar Ramirez, and Toby Kebbell. Keep an eye on IFC.com for more from the “Wrath of the Titans” press junket.

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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.