DID YOU READ

Frank Langella calls Skeletor “one of my very favorite parts”

skeletor masters of the universe

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In his new film, “Robot & Frank,” award-winning actor Frank Langella plays a former thief whose advancing age has eroded his ability to keep track of the years and take care of himself. His son buys him a robot caretaker (the film is set in the “near future” where such things are common), and after some initial friction, he develops a bond with the robot that has the pair embarking on a brand new heist.

The movie is the latest of many dramatic roles that have established the Oscar-nominated actor as one of the industry’s most talented, respected actors, and it is already generating some awards-friendly buzz on the festival circuit.

However, decades before “Robot & Frank” and his memorable turn as Richard Nixon in 2008’s “Frost/Nixon,” Langella played a fictional but no less sinister character in 1987’s silly live-action “Masters of the Universe” movie. Starring opposite musclebound Swedish actor Dolph Lundgren, Langella played the aptly named, skeleton-faced villain Skeletor, whose plan to conquer the universe is derailed by He-Man, his powerful allies, and a bunch of plucky kids from Earth (including Courteney Cox). The film ends with a short, post-credits scene that has Skeletor rising from the depths of the pit he was cast into and announcing, “I will be back!”

While interviewing Langella about “Robot & Frank,” I couldn’t help asking him about his role as He-Man’s mortal enemy, as the film provided my very first introduction to the actor — a situation that clearly wasn’t unusual, given the actor’s quick response to my awkward segue from talk of senile dementia to discussion of Skeletor.

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As I explained that I wanted to ask him about the first role I ever saw him in, Langella spoke up before I finished my question.

“Skeletor?” he asked.

Given all of his dramatic roles over the years in historical dramas, thought-provoking science-fiction films, and various other movie and television projects that have showcased his talents, I asked him whether he ever looks back on playing Skeletor and, well… chuckles a bit at the relative silliness of it all.

“Never,” said Langella, who remained just as serious and professional as ever while describing his time playing He-Man’s skeletal foe.

“It’s one of my very favorite parts,” he continued. “I played him because my son was four years old and walked around with a sword yelling, ‘I [have] the power!’ And he loved, loved, loved Skeletor.”

“I didn’t even blink [when I was offered the role],” he explained. “I couldn’t wait to play him.”

And since Langella seemed so comfortable discussing his time as the bane of Eternia, I decided to push my luck and ask the all-important question on everyone’s minds that only he can answer…

Who’s more evil: Richard Nixon or Skeletor?

“Either one is fine by me,” he answered, barely cracking a smile.

And there you have it, folks. Keep an eye on IFC.com for more from our “Robot & Frank” interview with Langella and actress Susan Sarandon.

“Robot & Frank” will hit theaters in limited release August 17, and in wide release August 24. The film stars Frank Langella, Susan Sarandon, James Marsden, and Liv Tyler. It’s directed by Jake Schreier.

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Thank Azaria

Best. Characters. Ever.

Our favorite Hank Azaria characters.

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GIFs via Giphy

Hank Azaria may well be the most prolific voice and character actor of our time. The work he’s done for The Simpsons alone has earned him a permanent place in the pop culture zeitgeist. And now he’s bringing another character to the mainstream: a washed-up sports announcer named Jim Brockmire, in the aptly titled new series Brockmire.

We’re looking forward to it. So much so that we want to look backward, too, with a short-but-sweet retrospective of some of Azaria’s important characters. Shall we begin?

Half The Recurring Simpsons Characters

He’s Comic Book Guy. He’s Chief Wiggum. He’s Apu. He’s Cletus. He’s Snake. He’s Superintendent Chalmers. He’s the Sea Captain. He’s Kurt “Can I Borrow A Feeling” Van Houten. He’s Professor Frink. He’s Carl. And he’s many more. But most importantly he’s Moe Szyslak, the staple character Azaria has voiced since his very first audition for The Simpsons.

Oh, and He’s Frank Grimes

For all the regular Simpsons characters Azaria has played over the years, his most brilliant performance may have been a one-off: Frank Grimes, the scrappy bootstrapper who worked tirelessly all his life for honest, incremental, and easily-undermined success. Azaria’s portrayal of this character was nuanced, emotional, and simply magical.

Patches O’Houlihan

Dodgeball is a “sport of violence, exclusion and degradation.” as Hank Azaria generously points out in his brief but crucial cameo in Dodgeball. That’s sage wisdom. Try applying his “five D’s” to your life on and off the court and enjoy the results.

Harold Zoid

Of Futurama fame. The crazy uncle of Dr. Zoidberg, Harold Zoid was once a lion (or lobster) of the silver screen until Smell-o-vision forced him into retirement.

Agador

The Birdcage was significant for many reasons, and the comic genius of Hank Azaria’s character “Agador” sits somewhere towards the top of that list. If you haven’t seen this movie, shame on you.

Gargamel

Nobody else could make a live-action Gargamel possible.

Ed Cochran

From Ray Donovan. Great character, great last name [editorial note: the author of this article may be bias].

Kahmunra, The Thinker, Abe Lincoln

All in the Night At The Museum: Battle Of The Smithsonian, a file that let Azaria flex his voice acting and live-action muscles in one fell swoop.

The Blue Raja

Mystery Men has everything, including a fatal case of Smash Mouth. Azaria’s iconic superhero makes the shortlist of redeemable qualities, though.

Dr. Huff

Huff put Azaria in a leading role, and it was good. So good that there is no good gif of it. Internet? More like Inter-not.

Learn more about Hank Azaria’s newest claim to fame right here, and don’t miss the premiere of Brockmire April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Flame Out

Brockmire and Other Public Implosions

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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There’s less than a month until the Brockmire premiere, and to say we’re excited would be an insulting understatement. It’s not just that it stars Hank Azaria, who can do no wrong (and yes, that’s including Mystery Men, which is only cringeworthy because of Smash Mouth). It’s that the whole backstory of the titular character, Jim Brockmire, is the stuff of legends. A one-time iconic sportscaster who won the hearts of fans and players alike, he fell from grace after an unfortunate personal event triggered a seriously public meltdown. See for yourself in the NSFW Funny or Die digital short that spawned the IFC series:

See? NSFW and spectacularly catastrophic in a way that could almost be real. Which got us thinking: What are some real-life sports fails that have nothing to do with botched athletics and everything to do with going tragically off script? The internet is a dark and dirty place, friends, but these three examples are pretty special and mostly safe for work…

Disgruntled Sports Reporter

His co-anchor went offsides and he called it like he saw it.

Jim Rome vs Jim “Not Chris” Everett

You just don’t heckle a professional athlete when you’re within striking distance. Common sense.

Carl Lewis’s National Anthem

He killed it! As in murdered. It’s dead.

To see more moments just like these, we recommend spending a day in your pajamas combing through the muckiness of the internet. But to see something that’s Brockmire-level funny without having to clear your browser history, check out the sneak peeks and extras here.

Don’t miss the premiere of Brockmire April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Mirror, Mirror

Portlandia Season 7 In Hindsight

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available Online and on the IFC App.

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Another season of Portlandia is behind us, and oh what a season it was. We laughed. We cried. And we chuckled uncomfortably while glancing nervously around the room. Like every season before it, the latest Portlandia has held a mirror up to ridiculousness of modern American life, but more than ever that same mirror has reflected our social reality in ways that are at once hysterical and sneakily thought-provoking. Here are just a few of the issues they tackled:

Nationalism

So long, America, Portland is out! And yes, the idea of Portland seceding is still less ludicrous than building a wall.

Men’s Rights

We all saw this coming. Exit gracefully, dudes.

Protests

Whatever you stand for, stand for it together. Or with at least one other person.

Free Love

No matter who we are or how we love, deep down we all have the ability to get stalky.

Social Status

Modern self-esteem basically hinges on likes, so this isn’t really a stretch at all.

These moments are just the tip of the iceberg, and much more can be found in the full seventh season of #Portlandia, available right now #online and on the #IFC app.

via GIPHY

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