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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.

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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….

E.coli-class-

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.

ecoli-computer

IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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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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