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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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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

via GIPHY

Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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