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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Frank Langella calls Skeletor “one of my very favorite parts”
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.
15 That ’70s Show Quotes to Help You Unleash Your Inner Jackie
Catch That '70s Show Mondays and Tuesdays from 6-10P on IFC.
Posted by Brian Steele on Photo Credit: Carsey-Werner Company
When life gets you down, just ask yourself: what would Jackie do? (But don’t ask her, because she doesn’t care about your stupid problems.) Before you catch That ’70s Showon IFC, take a look at some quotes that will help you be the best Jackie you can be.
15. She knows her strengths.
14. She doesn’t let a little thing like emotions get in the way.
13. She’s her own best friend.
12. She has big plans for her future.
11. She keeps her ego in check.
10. She can really put things in perspective.
9. She’s a lover…
8. But she knows not to just throw her love around.
A new “Masters of the Universe” movie could be made, and this time “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” director Jon M. Chu could be the one behind the camera.
Deadline broke the news, saying that talks are “just getting underway” but that the adaptation of the Mattel toy line is “in high gear” at Sony and Escape Artists. There have been attempts to make a new He-Man film for years now, but apparently the companies think that this time they could finally have it.
Of course, Chu is currently tied down working on “Retaliation,” which was pegged for reshoots for a variety of reasons. It probably would be a year or so before the movie could start shooting if Chu ends up taking the gig, but at least a script has already been written.
Writing team Alex Litvak and Mike Finch wrote a screenplay for the project called “Grayskull” that Deadline calls “strong” and that caught Escape Artists’ attention. No word yet on whether or not that would be the script used for a Chu-directed “Masters of the Universe,” but that’s at least a good starting place for the project.
The story of He-Man and his battle against Skeletor has been turned into a movie before, but that Dolph Lungdren and Frank Langella-starring flick was pretty much dead on arrival. The cartoons, comic books and toy line have all done well though, so it’s clear that interest in the property — which has been around for decades — remains.
While we wait for more news on this potential film, let’s all sit back and watch this hilarious mash-up for good measure:
Would you want Chu to direct a “Masters of the Universe” movie? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.
Is it us, or have the oddballs, weirdoes and assorted dreamers and schemers of Portlandia started to seem a lot more mainstream lately? When the IFC series, masterminded by Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, first premiered in 2011, no one could have guessed how omnipresent its world of mustache wax and artisanal knots would become. We laughed at these fringe weirdoes and their weird ways, and then one day we found that our mustache was in need of wax. Nothing would ever be the same.
As we approach the premiere of Portlandia‘s sixth season this Thursday, January 21st at 10P, we are starting to realize that the whole world has basically become a giant Portlandia sketch, and we’re just living in it. The food is good. The bike lanes are bountiful. And everything has a bird on it. (Or at least a bird emoji.) Here are just a few ways that Earth has become Planet Portlandia.
10. Singles Yoga
While aerobics classes may have been the singles bars of the ’80s, and 7-11 parking lots the singles bars of the ’90s, nowadays, if you’re really looking for a place to meet someone and you’re completely over Tinder, you head to your local yoga studio. In-between Pranayama breathing and downward dogging, you might notice that there are a lot of cute, single people writhing around in see through clothing. It’s like a nightclub, but instead of bottle service, there’s pregnancy meditation and cucumber water. Portlandia was one of the first to notice that inner peace might not be the only reason yoga studios find themselves so packed these days. There’s even Singles Speed Yoga, for those of us that are ready to skip the chakra alignment and just cut to the chase already.
9. Bike Lane Anarchy
As Portlandia so memorably pointed out, there have been militant bike riders for as long as there have been bikes. But as cities fight to go more green, and bike lanes become part of the everyday norm, these “cyclopaths” have started to multiply. With their weird clip-on shoes and smug attitudes, they love to tell us how they’re saving the world one bike ride at a time. Less pollution. Less traffic. And the thing that really annoys us is, they’re right. Now there’s even a real life Spike, doing his duty to take a stand against jerkwad cars getting in his bike lane.
Casey Neistat, a New Yorker and popular YouTuber who was ticketed for riding outside the bike lane, actually went to war with the city over cyclist rights. As you’ll see in the video below, Neistat’s assertion that “I’m doing the world a favor” could basically have come from the mind of Fred and Carrie.
8. No Spoilers!
There is perhaps no greater threat to our modern way of life than the spoiler. There you are, minding you’re own business, when BOOM, someone blurts out that Haley Joel Osment sees dead Bruce Willises. (Oh, um, SPOILER ALERT?) You take a step back. Try to regroup. Pretend likes it’s not a big deal. The movie’s supposed to be good. It doesn’t really matter if you know the ending. But deep down, you can feel it. You’re life will never be the same.
Portlandia poked fun at our modern spoiler-averse culture with a perfect season three sketch that runs through spoilers for everything from Game of Thrones to Boy Meets World. But while most of us just go through life in a constant panic, ready to run at the first mention of Making A Murderer, someone out there has been doing the hard work of fixing this problem. That’s how Spoiler Shield came to be. With this iOS and Android app designed to block TV, movie and sport spoilers, you never have to worry about learning anything you don’t want to. Well, unless you leave your house. But why would you do that? You have so many shows to catch up on!
7. Putting Birds On Things
Putting birds on things helped put Portlandia on the map. But it also created a monster. No longer could birds be content to sit in their nests, or on power lines. Now they found themselves everywhere.
Portlandia loves all things artisanal, from light bulbs to movie theater popcorn, but even they would be hard-pressed to come up with what one Brooklyn bodega had to do when faced with an exorbitant rent increase. If you ask your typical hipster about gentrification, they’ll have a long, reasoned, possibly passionate take on the subject that highlights all of its evils, while conveniently leaving out that they live in an overpriced condo their parents outbid a local family of eight for. It’s a complicated issue. Just ask one bodega in the Boerum Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, who, facing a stiff rent increase, decided that pickling the heck out of something might be its last line of defense.
In an effort to raise cash fast, the store began labeling everything they sold as artisanal, and doubling the asking price. $15 for a “slow roasted” Five Hour Energy drink. $21.99 for a “pasture-raised flash-frozen teriyaki bowl.” Or just $24.97 for a one-of-a-kind Dickson’s Farms Condom.
The irony of having to use irony to afford living in a neighborhood overtaken by people who can only communicate through irony is, well, ironic. But, happily, the plan seems to have worked, as Jesse & Co. MarketPlace is still open for business.
5. Babysitters For Grownups
While adult babysitters sound like something you’d find in the Casual Encounters section of Craigslist, there’s actually a place to send your wayward spouse if they need a little looking after. Preschool Mastermind is a month long nursery school for grownups.
If you’re over the age of 18, and want to “re-learn the basics and experience the magic of life as it was originally intended,” this might be the place for you. Based, unsurprisingly, in Brooklyn, the school charges anywhere from $333 and $999 to help you get in touch with your inner child by playing games, conducting show-and-tell and having naptime. There’s also field trips and a class picture day. Although, were assuming every day is Instagram Day at this school.
4. Binge Watching
We all remember when Fred and Carrie sunk into a Battlestar Galactica K-hole, forfeiting a functional life in a desperate attempt to find out who the Final Five Cylons really were. Since that episode aired in 2012, binge-watching has gone from a funny novelty to a cultural tidal wave. Like a fever dream, you start an episode of Jessica Jones or Todd Margaret and wake up in your own filth ten hours later, filled with regret and frozen pizza.
While Fred and Carrie may have been the first to point out our obsessive new way of watching TV, it didn’t take long for the world at large to catch-up. Collin’s Dictionary even named binge-watching the 2015 Word of the Year. We’re just impressed they got around to naming anything, considering they haven’t even watched Better Call Saul yet.
3. Kiddie Music Snobs
Portlandia loves to dissect the disturbing degrees to which parents involve themselves in their children’s lives. Whether it’s helping them collect signatures for an important cause, or getting them accepted in a preschool at any cost, Fred and Carrie have always had an eye on the competitive parenting culture we now live in. That was certainly true with their Shooting Star Preschool sketch, in which a parent/teacher meeting turns into a music snob-off. But honestly, should a woman who doesn’t know anything about Krautrock or Neu! really be teaching your kids?
The thing is, these Pitchfork-worshiping parents aren’t that far off from the truth. There’s a whole genre of music called Kindie Rock for the discerning parent who wants their kids to sport some serious musical opinions. Full of moody rockers, hot licks and mosh pits for kids, the only difference between Kindie and their Indie Rock big brother is that their songs are more about riding the bus to school, and less about casual sex and existential dread.
Two time Grammy Nominee Justin Roberts, who got his start in the cult band Pimentos for Gus, is one of the best of the batch, creating catchy hooks and clever lyrics that sound like pop/rock hits, but with the twist that they’re geared towards the 8-and-under crowd. Let’s be honest: Barney is for babies. You aren’t a baby, are you?
2. Dumpster Diving For Profit
Dumpster diving used to be, at best, a sort of weirdo activity that one guy from high school did to help pay for his heroin habit. But like nearly everything else in our society, dumpster diving has been monetized.
Matt Malone calls himself a professional dumpster diver. While he makes a six figure salary as a security consultant in Texas, he claims that his dumpster dives earn him even more money. Most days, on the way home from work, he’ll swing by a local mall, dig through the trash, and often pull out hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars worth of discarded technology. He claims that, if he did this full time, he could earn as much as $250,000 a year.
While Fred and Carrie may have found the dirty hippies who scavenged for old watermelons and stained baby dolls, Malone has other ideas when it comes to our garbage. Maybe it’s time we wise up, and stop throwing this stuff away.
1. Canoe Dancing
And then there are things that are just too ridiculous to exist in real life…
Alright, never mind. It’s a Portlandia world, and we’re all just living in it.
Want more Portlandia? Watch a free episode from the new season right now on IFC.com or on the IFC app.