DID YOU READ

Cillian Murphy on Christopher Nolan: “He’s set the bar for all sorts of superhero franchises”

INCEPTION

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It remains to be seen whether Cillian Murphy will have a role in “The Dark Knight Rises,” and it’s a question that many fans have refrained from asking. Most want to know if Marion Cotillard will be playing a vengeful Talia al Ghul or if Christian Bale’s Batman will live through the film or if Joseph Gordon-Levitt will be set up to take up the cowl and utility belt by the end of the flick. But considering the fact that Murphy’s Scarecrow has had a role in both “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight,” it seems like a fair assumption that director Christopher Nolan — who also hired Murphy for “Inception” — will have the Scarecrow return one final time in “The Dark Knight Rises.”

Just don’t expect Murphy to be the one to tell you if he’s back for round three. IFC recently had the chance to catch up with the Irish actor at the press day for his upcoming movie “Red Lights,” and he acknowledged that he wouldn’t answer our big question about “The Dark Knight Rises” no matter how nicely we asked.

“My thing is always like, it’s out very shortly. Let’s not be impatient. People are so impatient,” he said playfully. “Some things [spoilers are] great for, but other things… isn’t it so great to go and see a film that you haven’t seen a script for, that you haven’t seen on set videos, that you haven’t read spoilers for, that you just go in and you just are in it? That’s what it should be. That’s what it was in the old days, and in many ways Chris is a very sort of old fashioned filmmaker in the methods that he employs and his belief in cinema, and I think that’s a good thing.”

We’d agree, and we honestly will be happier being surprised if Murphy does — or doesn’t — pop up for one final hurrah in “The Dark Knight Rises” when we see it in theaters on July 20. But he, alongside Bale, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman, has the special vantage point of having seen each of the films be developed pretty much since their inception (see what we did there?). We asked Murphy what he thinks the legacy of Nolan’s Batman films will be as someone who’s worked with the director for more than seven years.

“I think that that franchise has just been totally reinvigorated and he’s set the bar for all sorts of superhero franchises in terms of making something that’s hugely entertaining but also really intelligent and moving. They’re phenomenal films and I think that he’s just — not just in the Batman franchise, but with all superhero franchises — that’s the level they have to live up to,” Murphy said.

Well, that’s what many comic book film franchises have been trying to do. Many fans have criticized films like “Man of Steel” and “The Amazing Spider-Man” for seemingly trying to go down the dark and gritty route that “The Dark Knight” perfected. Murphy acknowledged that the style of filmmaking wouldn’t necessarily work for every superhero ever created.

“Some of them are more ludicrous than others, aren’t they? So it depends. Batman is the coolest of them all, I think, because he doesn’t have any special powers. He’s just a rich guy who does a lot of push ups and has got lots of fancy toys. And his costume is so cool. But it works,” he said. “The most important thing is, like a film like ‘Inception’ for example, which wasn’t a franchise, it was a standalone movie but it was very challenging and you had to really work. But millions and millions of people went to see it and I think that really changed things in that people wanted a clever movie, wanted a movie that challenged them, and I think it’s foolish always for studios — or any filmmakers — to underestimate how smart their audiences are.”

So does he think that Warner Bros. could continue on this Batman franchise without Nolan as director?

“I don’t know. I don’t know. Let’s watch this one and see,” Murphy hedged.

That being said, he had nothing but wonderful things to say about Nolan. “I think Chris Nolan is one of the greatest directors working today and he is really one in a million. Those movies — well, all of his films, I adore all of his films. He makes the exact sort of films that I love,” Murphy gushed. “I’d love to work with him [again]. It’s a real gift and priviledge to work with someone that talented.”

Are you looking forward to “The Dark Knight Rises”? Would you rather be surprised in the theater or know everything about the project going in? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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Home Run

Hank Azaria Gets Thrown A Curve Ball

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Unless you’ve somehow missed every episode of the Simpsons since 1989, then surely you know that Hank Azaria is one of the most important character actors of our time. He’s so prolific and his voice is so dynamic that he’s responsible for more iconic personalities than most folks realize. Basically, he’s the great and powerful Oz — except that when you pull back the curtain the truth is actually more impressive. And now Hank is coming to IFC to bring yet another character to the TV pop culture hive mind in the new series Brockmire. Check out the trailer below.

Based on the following Funny or Die short and co-starring Amanda Peet, Brockmire follows the story of imploded major league sportscaster Jim Brockmire as he tries to resurrect his career by calling plays for a floundering minor league team in a podunk town.

The series is written by Joel Church-Cooper (Undateable) and produced by Funny or Die’s Mike Farah and Joe Farrell, meaning that there’s funny in front of the camera, funny behind the camera–funny all around. Sounds like a ball to us.

Brockmire premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Car Notes

Portlandia On People Who Can’t Park

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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If flagrant bad parking takes nerve, then retaliatory note writing takes neuroses. Watch Fred and Carrie take passive aggression to next level in Car Notes, the new Portlandia web series presented by Subaru. The first episode is yours right here and now, and you can see every installment of Car Notes anytime online, on the IFC app and on demand.

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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Nick Kroll and John Mulaney To Host Spirit Awards

The Spirit Awards Air February 25 LIVE on IFC.

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The 2017 Spirit Awards have finally found their frontmen: Nick Kroll and John Mulaney. And it’s no wonder. Just marvel in their splendid chemistry back when they appeared on Comedy Bang! Bang!:

The pair are prolific within the performing arts community: television (Kroll in The League and The Kroll Show, Mulaney as a writer of IFC’s own Documentary Now!), theater (including Broadway’s current Oh Hello Show), and stand-up comedy. In fact, it’s entirely possible that emceeing an awards show is one of the few remaining line items on their professional bucket lists.

It’s important to caveat this announcement, however. Unlike the bigger and more ubiquitously known awards shows, the Spirit Awards are not, well…boring. (We’re talking to you, Oscar.)

They’re funny. They’re honest. They have quality to match the red-carpet fanfare. And that’s alarmingly special. Last year’s show included some legitimately historic moments, like when transgender actress Mya Taylor won best supporting female, or Kate McKinnon’s hilarious and timely parody of Carol. See more highlights here to get the flavor of the Spirit Awards and read all about Film Independent to dig deeper.

The 2017 Spirit Awards air live February 25 at 5P ET exclusively on IFC.

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