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DID YOU READ

Adapt This: “Justice League: Origin” by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee

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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: Justice League: Origin by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee

The Premise: In a world that’s getting its first introduction to super-powered, costumed heroes and villains, a cosmic threat forces Batman to team up with Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and various other superheroes to save Earth. With a live-action “Justice League” movie on the way, the first adventure of DC’s premiere super-team in the rebooted “New 52” universe offers a great blueprint for the big screen that simultaneously introduces the characters to new audiences and tests the limits of what the seven heroes are capable of — both individually and united against a common threat.

The Pitch: When DC decided to relaunch its entire universe, the need to begin with a strong foundation for its most famous team of superheroes was clear — and it’s easy to see that the potential for a big-screen adventure wasn’t far from the publishers’ minds, either. Geoff Johns and Jim Lee have crafted an impressive origin story for the Justice League that feels like it could make an easy transition from page to screen.

The first story arc of the new Justice League series assumes some familiarity with the characters who make up the team but still offers a bit of context for their place in the world — something a live-action movie would do well to mimic. On top of that, the story also illustrates the particular set of skills each character brings to the group and why “a guy dressed like a bat” can be just as important as the Man of Steel when the chips are down. In this way, Justice League: Origin simultaneously introduces the characters to a newcomers and establishes how they relate to each other, covering two of the biggest requirements for a live-action, superhero team-up movie.

While the story in Justice League: Origin follows the standard team-up formula, having the individual heroes fight amongst each other before eventually teaming up to take on the big bad guy they can’t defeat individually, “The Avengers” proved that you don’t need an overly-complex plot to make a good superhero team-up movie. If you cast the characters well, then you can put them in a scene together and watch the sparks fly. With Origin, there’s a compelling narrative that manages to give all of the heroes equal time while also splitting them up in various groupings to show how different characters play off each other (similar to what was done in “The Avengers” so well).

Probably the biggest obstacle in bringing Justice League: Origin to the screen is the villain used in the arc: Darkseid. One of DC’s most lethal villains from the cosmic side of the publisher’s universe, Darkseid is significantly more alien than anything we’ve seen in Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies or any of the Superman movies made thus far, for that matter. In fact, the most closest we’ve got to something vaguely Darkseid-like in recent, prominent comic book movies are the Frost Giants that appeared in “Thor,” with their massive, intimidating profiles and noticeably non-human appearance. The Superman-themed television series “Smallville” encountered this very same problem when it tried to bring Darkseid to the screen in its final season, and ended up turning the character into a red-eyed smoke monster. Most fans will probably agree that this isn’t the way to go with Darkseid, so a live-action “Justice League” movie will need to find the balance between a computer-generated character and practical acting. (Maybe some motion-capture work, perhaps?)

Casting Suggestions: It’s a no-brainer to suggest “Man of Steel” actor Henry Cavill as the Superman of “Justice League,” but what about the rest of the team? “Haywire” actress and mixed martial arts fighter Gina Carano could make for an interesting take on Wonder Woman, with a physicality that’s quite a bit more believable than some waifish actress tossing bad guys through a wall.

Warner Bros. would certainly win points from the “Doctor Who” crowd for casting “Torchwood” actor John Barrowman as Bruce Wayne/Batman, but the need to skew a bit younger could make someone like “Sons of Anarchy” actor Charlie Hunnam a good pick for the role. His ability to channel the Dark Knight’s brooding intensity could make him a pleasant surprise in the role, though all of this probably depends on whether Joseph Gordon-Levitt wants to don the cape and cowl.

As for the Flash and Green Lantern, “Friday Night Lights” actor Scott Porter continues to be a good match for the Barry Allen version of the Scarlet Speedster (he’s been the subject of a fan campaign for a while now), while the studio would likely want to continue with Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan. If WB opts to recast the role, why not go with someone like “White Collar” star Matthew Bomer (who coincidentally was set to play Superman before Bryan Singer jumped onboard “Superman Returns”). And while we’re at it, let’s go meta and cast Adrian Grenier as Aquaman so he has the chance to bridge the gap between his “Entourage” character’s career and his real-world career.

Finally, putting Anthony Mackie in the role of Cyborg will give the project a serious, dramatic actor with the chops to make Victor Stone’s tragic condition a source of genuine angst.


Would “Justice League: Origin” make a good movie? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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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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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

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

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.