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J.J. Abrams explains how Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy convinced him on “Star Wars”

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J.J. Abrams clearly had a pretty big change of heart when he agreed to direct “Star Wars: Episode VII.” Though he had initially denied his involvement, Abrams was eventually won over by Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy.

“I learned firsthand how incredible and persuasive she is,” he said in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “The thing about any pre-existing franchise — I’d sort of done that. But when I met with Kathy, it was suddenly very tantalizing,”

The two first met on December 19, but it wasn’t until January that they were able to seal the deal. Kennedy explained that Abrams had “very genuine concerns” about what his obligations to the franchise would be, and the impact of his having to shoot away from his family in Los Angeles. Then, of course, there was the fact he would have to take the reins from the “Star Wars” franchise from creator George Lucas, which in itself is no small task.

“If there was any pause on J.J.’s part, it was the same pause everybody has — including myself — stepping into this. Which is, it’s daunting,” Kenney explained. “We spent a lot of time talking about how meaningful Star Wars is and the depth of the mythology that George has created and how we carry that into the next chapter.

Considering Kennedy has known Abrams since he was 14, it’s not very surprising that she got him to close a deal on January 25. As for the claim that the movie won’t come out until after 2015, Kennedy said, “Our goal is to move as quickly as we can, and we’ll see what happens. The timetable we care about is getting the story.”

No actors have been cast in “Star Wars: Episode VII,” but Michael Ardnt is currently writing the screenplay. There’s also a rumor swirling that Zack Snyder will direct a “Seven Samurai”-style “Star Wars” spinoff movie.

Do you think Abrams is a good fit for “Star Wars”? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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Inauguration Alternative

Bill Murray On Repeat

It's a movie "Murray-thon" all-day Friday on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs courtesy of GIPHY

Democrats, Republicans and Millennials agree: 2017 is shaping up to be a spectacle — a spectacle that really kicks into high gear this Friday with the presidential inauguration. Not only will the new POTUS swear in, but all the Country’s highest offices will be filled. It’s a daunting prospect, and to feel a little anxious about it is only normal. But if your anxiety is snowballing into panic, we have a solution:
Bill Murray.

He’s the human embodiment of a mental “Happy Place”, and there’s really no problem he can’t solve. So, with that in mind, how about we all set aside reality for a moment and let Bill take the pain away by imagining a top-shelf White House cabinet filled exclusively by his signature characters. Here are a few hypothetical appointments for your consideration…

Secretary of Defense:
Bill Murray from Stripes

His incompetence is balanced by charm, and dumb luck is inexplicably on his side. America could do worse.

Secretary of State:
Bill Murray from Lost In Translation

A seasoned globetrotter steeped in regional traditions who has the respect of the whole wide world. And he kills Costello in karaoke, which is very important.

Press Secretary:
Bill Murray from Ghostbusters

“Cats and dogs, living together. Mass hysteria.” Dude knows how to brief a room.

Secretary of Health and Human Services:
Bill Murray from What About Bob.

A doctor-approved people person who knows that progress is measured in baby steps.

Secretary of Energy:
Bill Murray from Groundhog Day

Let’s be honest, this world is going to need a lot of do-overs.

Feeling better? Hold on to that bliss. And enjoy a healthy alternative to the inauguration brouhaha with multiple Murrays all Friday long in an IFC movie marathon including Kingpin, Zombieland, Ghostbusters, and Ghostbusters II.

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Home Run

Hank Azaria Gets Thrown A Curve Ball

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Unless you’ve somehow missed every episode of the Simpsons since 1989, then surely you know that Hank Azaria is one of the most important character actors of our time. He’s so prolific and his voice is so dynamic that he’s responsible for more iconic personalities than most folks realize. Basically, he’s the great and powerful Oz — except that when you pull back the curtain the truth is actually more impressive. And now Hank is coming to IFC to bring yet another character to the TV pop culture hive mind in the new series Brockmire. Check out the trailer below.

Based on the following Funny or Die short and co-starring Amanda Peet, Brockmire follows the story of imploded major league sportscaster Jim Brockmire as he tries to resurrect his career by calling plays for a floundering minor league team in a podunk town.

The series is written by Joel Church-Cooper (Undateable) and produced by Funny or Die’s Mike Farah and Joe Farrell, meaning that there’s funny in front of the camera, funny behind the camera–funny all around. Sounds like a ball to us.

Brockmire premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Car Notes

Portlandia On People Who Can’t Park

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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If flagrant bad parking takes nerve, then retaliatory note writing takes neuroses. Watch Fred and Carrie take passive aggression to next level in Car Notes, the new Portlandia web series presented by Subaru. The first episode is yours right here and now, and you can see every installment of Car Notes anytime online, on the IFC app and on demand.

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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