DID YOU READ

Adapt This: “The Executor” by Jon Evans & Andrea Mutti

the executor

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With Hollywood turning more of its attention to the world of graphic novels for inspiration, I’ll cast the spotlight on a cool comic book each week that has the potential to pack a theater or keep you glued to your television screens. At the end of some “Adapt This” columns, you’ll also find thoughts from various comic creators and other industry experts about the books they’d like to see make the jump from page to screen.


This Week’s Book: The Executor by Jon Evans and Andrea Mutti (Vertigo Crime)

The Premise: When washed-up hockey goon Joe Ullen learns that he’s been named the executor of his high-school girlfriend’s will, he decides to return home to troubled town where he grew up. Soon he finds himself caught up in the mystery of her death and the grisly connection between her murder and a dark secret from his past.

The Pitch: As we take a break from the superhero stories for a bit, it’s worth noting that The Executor is just one of several great stories to come out of DC’s line of Vertigo Crime graphic novels. Written by award-winning novelist Jon Evans (Dark Places), The Executor is a dark, disturbing story that unfolds in the fictional Elohra, NY — a backwater town mired in economic troubles and a longstanding land dispute with the nearby Mohawk tribal reservation.

While it’s always nice to see a flashy superhero story make the leap from page to screen, The Executor offers some great source material for a tense, gritty mystery that will leave audiences talking well after the credits roll. Evans provides ample amounts of misdirection while gradually seeding the story with the clues to the truth, and the entire tale culminates in dramatic, cinema-friendly fashion once everything stands revealed.

Like any good mystery, there’s no shortage of likely suspects in the murder that lies at the heart of The Executor, and each of the characters has a lot of potential for the right actor to make the role his (or her) own. Even though the story focuses on Joe Ullen, there’s real depth in the supporting cast — something that translates to strong foundations and room for talented actors to put their own spins on the characters.

At a time when every movie seems to rely on a gimmicky angle or eye-catching special effects that often hide flaws in the script, The Executor is a simple, ready-made story that doesn’t require any storytelling tricks or fancy visual elements to hold your attention. It’s the sort of story that could just as easily provide the big break for an up-and-coming filmmaker as offer a nice opportunity for an established director to make a solid, character-driven drama.

Potential Casting: If the film is able to go the big-budget route, actors like Christian Bale or Daniel Day-Lewis would probably find a lot to like in the Joe Ullen role, as the character has more than a few skeletons in his closet and a lot of inner turmoil that he’s working through over the course of the story. It would also be nice to see someone like Tom Hardy take on a quieter role like this, too. A lesser-known actor who comes to mind as a good fit for Joe Ullen is Ryan Hurst from “Sons of Anarchy,” who seems to have a good grasp on the balance between physicality and emotion.

Keeping in line with that Batman theme, Christopher Nolan’s “Insomnia” shares some tonal similarities with The Executor, as well as films like Clint Eastwood’s “Mystic River” and Ben Affleck’s “Gone Baby Gone,” which also share a similar vibe with Evans’ story — so any of those directors would likely do a great job translating the graphic novel to the screen.

The cultural implications of the story would also offer a nice chance to cast the film with prominent Native American actors across a wide range of ages, and there’s no shortage of talent to be found in that pool these days. “Apocalypto” actor Raoul Trujillo is an easy choice for Irkar, one of the locals Joe clashes with during his time in Elohra, and someone like Graham Greene (“Dances With Wolves”) or Wes Studi (“Last of the Mohicans”) could bring some real weight to the role of Jacob Tarbell, the reservation’s tribal chief.


Would “The Executor” make a good movie? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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Grow TFU

Adulting Like You Mean It

Commuters makes its debut on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Jared Warner, Nick Ciavarella, and Tim Dean were once a part of Murderfist, a group of comedy writers, actors, producers, parents, and reluctant adults. Together with InstaMiniSeries’s Nikki Borges, they’re making their IFC Comedy Crib debut with the refreshingly-honest and joyfully-hilarious Commuters. The webseries follows thirtysomethings Harris and Olivia as they brave the waters of true adulthood, and it’s right on point.

Jared, Nick, Nikki and Tim were kind enough to answer a few questions about Commuters for us. Here’s a snippet of that conversation…

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IFC: How would you describe Commuters to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Nick: Two 30-somethings leave the Brooklyn life behind, and move to the New Jersey suburbs in a forced attempt to “grow up.” But they soon find out they’ve got a long way to go to get to where they want to be.

IFC: How would you describe Commuters to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jared: It’s a show about how f*cking stupid people who think they are smart can be.

IFC: What’s your origin story? When did you all meet and how long have you been working together?

Jared: Nick, Tim, and I were all in the sketch group Murderfist since, what, like 2004? God. Anyway, Tim and Nick left the group to pursue other frivolous things, like children and careers, but we all enjoyed writing together and kept at it. We were always more interested in storytelling than sketch comedy lends itself to, which led to our webseries Jared Posts A Personal. That was a show about being in your 20s and embracing the chaos of being young in the city. Commuters is the counterpoint, i guess. Our director Adam worked at Borders (~THE PAST!!~) with Tim, came out to a Murderfist show once, and we’ve kept him imprisoned ever since.

IFC: What was the genesis of Commuters?

Tim: Jared had an idea for a series about the more realistic, less romantic aspects of being in a serious relationship.  I moved out of the city to the suburbs and Nick got engaged out in LA.   We sort of combined all of those facets and Commuters was the end result.

IFC: How would Harris describe Olivia?

Jared: Olivia is the smartest, coolest, hottest person in the world, and Harris can’t believe he gets to be with her, even though she does overreact to everything and has no chill. Like seriously, ease up. It doesn’t always have to be ‘a thing.’

IFC: How would Olivia describe Harris?

Nikki:  Harris is smart, confident with a dry sense of humor but he’s also kind of a major chicken shit…. Kind of like if Han Solo and Barney Rubble had a baby.

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

Nikki:  I think this is the most accurate portrayal of what a modern relationship looks like. Expectations for what your life is ‘supposed to look like’ are confusing and often a let down but when you’re married to your best friend, it’s going to be ok because you will always find a way to make each other laugh.

IFC: Is the exciting life of NYC twentysomethings a sweet dream from which we all must awake, or is it a nightmare that we don’t realize is happening until it’s over?

Tim: Now that i’ve spent time living in the suburbs, helping to raise a two year old, y’all city folk have no fucking clue how great you’ve got it.

Nikki: I think of it similar to how I think about college. There’s a time and age for it to be glorious but no one wants to hang out with that 7th year senior. Luckily, NYC is so multifaceted that you can still have an exciting life here but it doesn’t have to be just what the twentysomethings are doing (thank god).

Jared: New York City is a garbage fire.

See the whole season of Commuters right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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C'mon Fellas

A Man Mansplains To Men

Why Baroness von Sketch Show is a must-see.

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Mansplaining is when a man takes it upon himself to explain something to a woman that she already knows. It happens a lot, but it’s not going to happen here. Ladies, go ahead and skip to the end of this post to watch a free episode of IFC’s latest addition, Baroness von Sketch Show.

However, if you’re a man, you might actually benefit from a good mansplanation. So take a knee, lean in, and absorb the following wisdom.

No Dicks

Baroness von Sketch Show is made entirely by women, therefore this show isn’t focused on men. Can you believe it? I know what you’re thinking: how will we know when to laugh if the jokes aren’t viewed through the dusty lens of the patriarchy? Where are the thinly veiled penis jokes? Am I a bad person? In order: you will, nowhere, and yes.

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Huge Balls

Did you know that there’s more to life than poop jokes, sex jokes, body part jokes? I mean, those things are all really good things, natch, and totally edgy. But Baroness von Sketch Show does something even edgier. It holds up a brutal funhouse mirror to our everyday life. This is a bulls**t world we made, fellas.

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Oh Canada

After you watch the Canadian powerhouses of Baroness von Sketch Show and think to yourself “Dear god, this is so real” and “I’ve gotta talk about this,” do yourself a favor and think a-boot your options: Refrain from sharing your sage wisdom with any woman anywhere (believe us, she gets it). Instead, tell a fellow bro and get the mansplaining out of your system while also spreading the word about a great show.

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Dudes, that’s the deal.
Women, start reading again here:


Check out the preview episode of Baroness von Sketch Show and watch the series premiere August 2 on IFC.

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Happy Tears

Binge Don’t Cringe

Catch up on episodes of Documentary Now! and Portlandia.

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Photo Credit: GIFs via GIPHY

A brain can only take so much.

Every five minutes, all day, every day, ludicrously stressful headlines push our mental limits as we struggle to adapt to a reality that seems increasingly less real. What’s a mind to do when simple denial just isn’t good enough anymore?

Radical suggestion: repeal and replace. And by that we mean take all the bad news that keeps you up at night, press pause, and substitute it with some genuine (not nervous, for a change) laughter. Here are some of the issues on our mind.

Gender Inequality

Feminist bookstore owners by day, still feminist bookstore owners by night, Toni and Candace show the male gaze who’s boss. Learn about their origin story (SPOILER: there’s an epic dance battle) and see what happens when their own brand of empowerment gets out of hand.

Healthcare

From Candace’s heart attack to the rise of the rawvolution, this Portlandia episode proves that healthcare is vital.

Peaceful Protests

Too many online petitions, too little time? Get WOKE with Fred and Carrie when they learn how to protest.

What Could Have Been

Can’t say the name “Clinton” without bursting into tears? Documentary Now!’s masterfully political “The Bunker” sheds a cozy new light on the house that Bill and Hill built. Just pretend you don’t know how the story really ends.

Fake News

A healthy way to break the high-drama news cycle is to switch over to “Dronez”, which has all the thrills of ubiquitous adventure journalism without any of the customary depression.

The more you watch, the better you feel. So get started on past episodes of Documentary Now! and Portlandia right now at IFC.com and the IFC app.

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