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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.

Soap tv show

As the Spoof Turns

15 Hilarious Soap Opera Parodies

Catch the classic sitcom Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures Television

The soap opera is the indestructible core of television fandom. We celebrate modern series like The Wire and Breaking Bad with their ongoing storylines, but soap operas have been tangling more plot threads than a quilt for decades. Which is why pop culture enjoys parodying them so much.

Check out some of the funniest soap opera parodies below, and be sure to catch Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

1. Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

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Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman was a cult hit soap parody from the mind of Norman Lear that poked daily fun at the genre with epic twists and WTF moments. The first season culminated in a perfect satire of ratings stunts, with Mary being both confined to a psychiatric facility and chosen to be part of a Nielsen ratings family.


2. IKEA Heights

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IKEA Heights proves that the soap opera is alive and well, even if it has to be filmed undercover at a ready-to-assemble furniture store totally unaware of what’s happening. This unique webseries brought the classic formula to a new medium. Even IKEA saw the funny side — but has asked that future filmmakers apply through proper channels.


3. Fresno

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When you’re parodying ’80s nighttime soaps like Dallas and Dynasty , everything about your show has to equally sumptuous. The 1986 CBS miniseries Fresno delivered with a high-powered cast (Carol Burnett, Teri Garr and more in haute couture clothes!) locked in the struggle for the survival of a raisin cartel.


4. Soap

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Soap was the nighttime response to daytime soap operas: a primetime skewering of everything both silly and satisfying about the source material. Plots including demonic possession and alien abduction made it a cult favorite, and necessitated the first televised “viewer discretion” disclaimer. It also broke ground for featuring one of the first gay characters on television in the form of Billy Crystal’s Jodie Dallas. Revisit (or discover for the first time) this classic sitcom every Saturday morning on IFC.


5. Too Many Cooks

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Possibly the most perfect viral video ever made, Too Many Cooks distilled almost every style of television in a single intro sequence. The soap opera elements are maybe the most hilarious, with more characters and sudden shocking twists in an intro than most TV scribes manage in an entire season.


6. Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace

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Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace was more mockery than any one medium could handle. The endless complications of Darkplace Hospital are presented as an ongoing horror soap opera with behind-the-scenes anecdotes from writer, director, star, and self-described “dreamweaver visionary” Garth Marenghi and astoundingly incompetent actor/producer Dean Learner.


7. “Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive,” MadTV

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Soap opera connoisseurs know that the most melodramatic plots are found in Korea. MADtv‘s parody Tae Do  (translation: Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive) features the struggles of mild-mannered characters with far more feelings than their souls, or subtitles, could ever cope with.


8. Twin Peaks

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Twin Peaks, the twisted parody of small town soaps like Peyton Place whose own creator repeatedly insists is not a parody, has endured through pop culture since it changed television forever when it debuted in 1990. The show even had it’s own soap within in a soap called…


9. “Invitation to Love,” Twin Peaks

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Twin Peaks didn’t just parody soap operas — it parodied itself parodying soap operas with the in-universe show Invitation to Love. That’s more layers of deceit and drama than most televised love triangles.


10. “As The Stomach Turns,” The Carol Burnett Show

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The Carol Burnett Show poked fun at soaps with this enduring take on As The World Turns. In a case of life imitating art, one story involving demonic possession would go on to happen for “real” on Days of Our Lives.


11. Days of our Lives (Friends Edition)

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Still airing today, Days of Our Lives is one of the most famous soap operas of all time. They’re also excellent sports, as they allowed Friends star Joey Tribbiani to star as Dr Drake Ramoray, the only doctor to date his own stalker (while pretending to be his own evil twin). And then return after a brain-transplant.

And let’s not forget the greatest soap opera parody line ever written: “Come on Joey, you’re going up against a guy who survived his own cremation!”


12. Acorn Antiques

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First appearing on the BBC sketch comedy series Victoria Wood As Seen on TV, Acorn Antiques combines almost every low-budget soap opera trope into one amazing whole. The staff of a small town antique store suffer a disproportional number of amnesiac love-triangles, while entire storylines suddenly appear and disappear without warning or resolution. Acorn Antiques was so popular, it went on to become a hit West End musical.


13. “Point Place,” That 70s Show

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In a memorable That ’70s Show episode, an unemployed Red is reduced to watching soaps all day. He becomes obsessed despite the usual Red common-sense objections (like complaining that it’s impossible to fall in love with someone in a coma). His dreams render his own life as Point Place, a melodramatic nightmare where Kitty leaves him because he’s unemployed. (Click here to see all airings of That ’70s Show on IFC.)


14. The Spoils of Babylon

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Bursting from the minds of Will Ferrell and creators Andrew Steele and Matt Piedmont, The Spoils of Babylon was a spectacular parody of soap operas and epic mini-series like The Thorn Birds. Taking the parody even further, Ferrell himself played Eric Jonrosh, the author of the book on which the series was based. Jonrosh returned in The Spoils Before Dying, a jazzy murder mystery with its own share of soapy twists and turns.

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15. All My Children Finale, SNL

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SNL‘s final celebration of one of the biggest soaps of all time is interrupted by a relentless series of revelations from stage managers, lighting designers, make-up artists, and more. All of whom seem to have been married to or murdered by (or both) each other.

“Man of Steel” recruits composer Hans Zimmer

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Well, we’re glad Warner Bros. is keeping it all in the family.

Variety is reporting that the studio has hired Hans Zimmer to score Zack Snyder‘s upcoming superhero flick “Man of Steel.” It’s worth noting that this will be the first movie that Snyder has made that hasn’t been scored by Tyler Bates. But hey, we’re getting Zimmer instead. You hear that? It’s no one complaining.

We likely can credit this pairing to Christopher Nolan, who is acting as a producer on “Man of Steel.” Zimmer and Nolan have worked together on all three Batman films and “Inception,” and likely will continue their working relationship on future projects as well. There’s a reason that Zimmer has been nominated for nine Oscars and won one of them: he’s great at what he does. If anyone can come close to topping the iconic score John Williams came up with for 1978’s “Superman,” it’s Zimmer.

Hopefully this bodes well for Snyder’s take on “Man of Steel.” He earned his name with his “Dawn of the Dead” remake and “300” adaptation, but Snyder lost his stride when “Watchmen” only reached a niche audience and “Sucker Punch” — his only original work — was almost universally panned. With Nolan likely having a thing or two to say about who acts as composer for the flick, maybe that means he and Warner Bros have stepped in more than once to make sure “Man of Steel” lives up to our expectations.

“Man of Steel” stars Henry Cavill, Michael Shannon, Amy Adams, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane and Laurence Fishburne. It is due in theaters on June 14, 2013.

Are you excited to hear what Zimmer comes up with for “Man of Steel’s” score? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

“The Dark Knight Rises” final trailer shows off Tom Hardy and Hans Zimmer

The Dark Knight Rises poster

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We’re in crunch time now. One month from today, theaters around the country are going to be gearing up for midnight releases of one of the most anticipated movies of the year: “The Dark Knight Rises.” Christopher Nolan’s third and final Batman movie promises to be a dramatic cinematic feast and an appropriate send off to the beloved series.

That means that Warner Bros. needs a truly great trailer to keep the fire of fan excitement rising for the flick. That trailer came today, courtesy of Nokia. We’ve seen plenty of great teases for the movie before, but this trailer underlines two of the elements of “The Dark Knight Rises” that we’re most looking forward to: Bane and Hans Zimmer.

Considering we all (by now) know that Bane is the villain to “break the Bat” in the “Batman” comic books, chances are their showdown will be pretty epic in this film. That’s likely why this latest trailer chose to show us more Bane than it did any other character in the movie. But we’re okay with that because it proves that Bane really is audible now and that Tom Hardy‘s portrayal of the big bad back-breaking machine is going to be fantastic. Bruce Wayne might be angry instead of scared, but we’re a little bit of both.

There’s also not much dialogue in this trailer, but that’s likely to showcase just how awesome Hans Zimmer’s score is. Really, is there anything this man can’t do? The music in “The Dark Knight Rises” is a lot more haunting than the scores for the previous two Nolan Batman films, reinforcing our belief that everything won’t end all that happily for Mr. Wayne.

Oh, and at least we now know where the cover image for the “Dark Knight Rises” soundtrack came from.

Directed by Christopher Nolan, “The Dark Knight Rises” stars Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Hardy, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Marion Cotillard and Morgan Freeman. It’s coming to theaters and IMAX on July 20.

Were you as impressed with and excited by this trailer as we were? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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