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LAFF: “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” cast ponders the apocalypse

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We won’t know for sure that the Mayans were wrong about 2012 being the year of the apocalypse until the we reach the end of December, which means we still have six more months to speculate about how it will all go down. Will an asteroid blow us all to bits? Will there be a surprise nuclear holocaust? Will some big man in the clouds come down and pluck us away into nonexistence?

And how will we all act when we know that our lives will end shortly, and there’s nothing we can do to stop it? That’s the question that Lorene Scafaria’s latest film “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” asks its audience, and that’s the question we put to the stars of the film when we saw them at its Los Angeles Film Festival red carpet.

“Hopefully I wouldn’t just be sitting there crying the whole time. That would be terrible,” Melanie Lynskey told IFC. Taking a second to think about the idea of the apocalypse, she added, “It’s a crazy thing. You sort of like shrug your shoulders and you’re like, ‘Whatever,’ but then there’s a part of me that’s like, ‘What if that happens? What if that’s real?'”

“Seeking a Friend” is, in many ways, a light, comedic take on the end of the world. It shows how people can come together in a time of crisis, even if there really is no point. And they literally come together in the movie. All most of the stars of the flick could talk about at the red carpet was the orgy that Steve Carell, Keira Knightley, Gillian Jacobs, TJ Miller and some extras get into at a T.G.I. Friday’s-style restaurant called Friendly’s.

When asked to describe filming the scene, Jacobs answered, “Very exuberant, I would say, with a lot of tactile elements. It was really fun. It was so silly.”

But apparently it took several tries to actually get right.

“It was the politest orgy you’ve ever seen for the first three takes and then Lorene came over and said, ‘You guys, we do not have this time. This is an independent film. We do not have the budget to ease into this. Let’s see an orgy.’ And then she went off and the next take I think was a little too much,” Miller said. “I may have done some things to Steve Carell’s calves and ankles that I’m not proud of.”

Jacobs had the unique opportunity to make out with both Carell and Knightley, as well as some other lucky extras. When asked which smooch was her favorite, she couldn’t decide.

“Guys, come on! Sophie’s choice! I can’t answer these questions! Don’t play hardball with me,” she said.

Though sex and drugs (the orgy occurs while everyone is high on ecstasy) might not be the ways in which Miller chooses to go out during the apocalypse, he did joke that he spent plenty of time preparing for his big scene in “Seeking a Friend” by taking a method approach to it.

“I took ecstasy for two and a half years in the Mojave desert, just straight, right up until the day that we filmed, and then I went directly insane,” he deadpanned. “They call me the young uglier Harvey Keitel.”

When asked why she thought that pop culture has continued to return to the end of the world scenario over time, Jacobs had several explanations. “I think it’s something that people are always obsessed with,” she said. “I mean, uncertain times, climate change, Mayan calendar, knowing that everything can’t go on forever. I think it’s always bubbling sort of under the surface of our consciousness.”

But fans might be surprised to find out that Scafaria’s inspiration for the film didn’t stem from the Mayan prophecy at all. Instead, it was a certain event that occurred 11 years ago that affected her life — and all of the United States — forever.

“9/11 happened, and I’d moved from New York to LA a week before it and had no friends there and was so desperate for human contact and thought a lot about how this global event could have a really personal impact on me, my behavior and my relationships with people,” she explained. “That stayed with me for a long time and yeah, we end up here.”

She continued, “That kind of event happened and it really did change people for the better for a little while. I felt like New York was a place that people were finally looking each other in the eyes for a little bit. Sometimes it takes something like that to bring out the best in people.”

For Scafaria, the decision to have “Seeking a Friend” be a light-hearted take on what’s typically an action-packed or dramatic genre was intentional.

“I think when you take forever off the table, it does something really interesting to what you think is important,” she said. “There’s something a little freeing about it.”

“Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” hit theaters June 22.

What would you do if you found out the world was ending in a few weeks? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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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.