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HCFF: Rainn Wilson and James Gunn talk the cult of “Super”

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“Super” is a movie that is all still fresh in our brains, and one that that was easily the youngest film present at the Hero Complex Film Festival. But host Geoff Boucher explained that he felt the flick will stand the test of time and one day sit happily next to such classics as “A Clockwork Orange,” “RoboCop” and “Shaun of the Dead,” which is why he included it in the line-up.

Star Rainn Wilson and writer/director James Gunn seemed honored to be present at the festival, even though they said it wasn’t too long ago that they were telling these same stories. That being said, they felt that the movie has really found its niche since it was released in 2010.

“It’s great that it’s really reaching an audience,” Wilson said. “People are loving the movie. I think it’s getting in the groundwater and I think it will really last, and that’s a really cool thing. That’s why you do it, especially kind of a weird, low-budget little cult film like this. People are very moved by it, and I like that.”

“Super” is sort of a comedy, sort of an action flick, sort of a drama and sort of a cult movie, and Gunn always knew that it would be a hard sell. He explained that he made the movie for the specific audience that would like it, instead of trying to appeal to a wide audience.

“I knew it was not a movie for everyone. It really was a movie for a few people and I feel really good about that. I knew that from the beginning,” Gunn said. “The people who love ‘Super’ like fucking love it. It touches them and it movies them. And we meant it sincerely, it was our story. That’s who I made the movie for.”

Gunn originally wrote the script back in 2002, and it first got financing back in 2004. He couldn’t find the right actor for the project then — he wanted John C. Reilly, but his financiers felt he “wasn’t a big enough star” (yet) — so it was put on hold while he did “Slither.” After that, it was Gunn’s ex-wife, “The Office” star Jenna Fischer, who turned him on to Wilson.

“I really needed somebody who could do the acting part, who could do the comedic part, who was a big enough goof that you could think he was getting picked on by the cook at the diner but is also a big enough guy that you could imagine him kicking ass at the end of the movie,” Gunn said.

Well, Wilson certainly fits that model to a T. After that, Gunn said it was surprisingly easy to get the cast that they needed. He wanted an Ellen Page-type for Boltie, and they got Ellen Page. Liv Tyler was a passionate supporter of the project, and used her prestigious name to swing a lot of the financing and pull some strings. Kevin Bacon was a last-minute addition, but one that was no less dedicated to the project. With those all set, it was just a matter of making the movie.

One of the things that’s interesting about “Super” is that the superhero storyline in the movie is sort of secondary. Gunn acknowledged that during the post-screening Q&A.

“[‘Super’ is] really much more about the fact that he’s this guy,” he said. “And I think the story could be told without him putting on the suit, but the suit’s kind of like gravy that gives it a little bit of extra something, but it’s really not about him being a superhero. It’s about him being this guy who lost his wife and how he tries to deal with it.”

Much of the influence for the film stylistically came from Asian cinema, but Gunn said much of the inspiration for the story came from Alan Moore.

“He wrote ‘Watchmen’ and sort of deconstructed the superheroes and was really trying to deconstruct the superhero idea in that same way,” Gunn said.

Even though “Super” seemed like an original idea when Gunn was writing it, he soon found himself with another similar project: “Kick-Ass.” But it turns out that there’s no bad blood between him and “Kick-Ass” creator Mark Millar, and in fact Millar was very supportive of Gunn’s film.

“I’m actually friends with Mark Millar online. We’re email buddies,” Gunn explained. “Back in 2004 or whatever he said, ‘What are you working on now?’ and I said, ‘Well, I’ve got this screenplay I’ve gone out with,’ and I told him what the gist of the screenplay was, and I think we’ve got the money for it, I think we’ve set it up, and he emailed me back and was so bummed out and was like, ‘Well shit, I’m writing this comic book,’ which was ‘Kick-Ass.'”

It seems like the making of “Super” was a good experience for both Gunn and Wilson. Though they both have other projects at the moment, they agreed that they would be open to working with one another again. Wilson even teased that he had an idea that he was going to pitch to Gunn in the coming week. Considering how off-the-wall “Super” was, we can only imagine what their next collaboration will be like.

Would you like to see Gunn and Wilson work together again? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and 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.