DID YOU READ

Sean Stone talks working with father Oliver and directing “Greystone Park”

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Chances are you know Sean Stone even if you don’t recognize his name. The son of director Oliver Stone has appeared in 13 of his father’s movies including “Natural Born Killers,” “JFK” and “Savages.” But now he’s decided to put the camera into his own hands.

Stone has created his first feature film with “Greystone Park,” a found footage horror movie that details the real-life experience he had with the movie’s co-writer/star Alexander Wraith at a haunted insane asylum. IFC had the chance to catch up with Stone over the phone prior to the flick’s DVD release and talk to him a bit about his inspiration for the project and his decision to have his father star in some of the movie.

IFC: What influenced you to make this movie? Have you always cared about ghost stories and haunted houses and things like that?

SEAN STONE: Well, I have, actually. I’ve loved horror films since I was about four years old and forced my mother to take me to see “Pet Cemetery.” I don’t know what it is, but I’ve just loved scaring myself since I was a little boy. Hearing ghost stories, I’d always wanted to have the experience but I’d never actually had an encounter with a ghost or anything like that. When this opportunity came up, it was because I met Alex Wraith at dinner just like you see in the film, and he had stories about this play, Greystone, out in Jersey, a great haunted mental hospital, and I just got excited. I said, ‘Let’s check it out, I want to film it.’

IFC: So did that idea come first and you were like let’s make a story about it, or did you already have a gem of an idea and kind of develop it from there?

SS: No, pretty much we lived it. We literally recorded [the experience]. I always had an idea about making a film. Alex had been going there for about three years and taking a camera inside. [He had] been stopped by police and been arrested a couple times. [He’s] lost footage because they confiscated the footage. So he kept going back like he was trying to piece the thing together, like he was going to shoot it all with his friends running around inside the place.

That’s the point that I met him, and for me it was just like the place sounded amazing. I wanted to explore it and, sure enough, the next night we went in and what happened to us that night was the basis of the story. So when I left with Alex I said, “This is a movie, we should start writing it.”

IFC: You said when you were younger that you hadn’t encountered a ghost, but would you say that that’s changed now?

SS: Yeah.

IFC: Now that you’ve gone to Greystone Park, are you going to continue going to haunted areas? Is this something you’d want to pursue?

SS: We spent about two years, all in all, in the dark. 2009, 2010 and into 2011 when we finished the film I really felt like I was living in the darkness. A lot of expeditions at night; we kept going to not just Greystone but other places. We went to other kinds of hospitals, haunted houses, forests: just places with a lot of negative, dark energy, and we carried it with us, you know? They definitely follow you, and then you start getting the calls and they start interacting with you more and more; they’re telling you they’re interested about you. It’s a really weird reality so, in a sense, I don’t feel the need to go back and make another film about it at the moment. I’m working on a martial arts comedy; it’s a very different direction.

IFC: That’s the opposite of what you’re doing right now.

SS: It’s the opposite direction, definitely. I definitely am fascinated by that realm and I want to do more projects hopefully documenting and understanding more about that and that world.

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

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

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
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Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
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Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
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Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
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Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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