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J.J. Abrams calls “Star Wars” a “mystery box” at 2007 Ted Talks

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J.J. Abrams is a big fan of the “Star Wars” movies. Like, a big fan. So big, in fact, that he styled his “Star Trek” films after them and also counts them as a major inspiration in his career.

In a newly unearthed Ted Talks video from 2007, it becomes clear just how important Abrams considers George Lucas’ “Star Wars” saga. Abrams gave a speech explaining how he develops his TV shows and movies, and uses “Star Wars” as an example for his “mystery box” formula.

“In terms of the content of it, you look at stories, what are stories but mystery boxes? There’s a fundamental question; in TV, the first act is called the ‘teaser,’” Abrams explained. “It’s literally the teaser, it’s the big question, so you’re drawn into it. Then of course there’s another question and it goes on and on and on.”

He continued, “Look at ‘Star Wars’: You’ve got the droids, they meet the mysterious woman. Who’s that? We don’t know. Mystery box. Then you meet Luke Skywalker, he gets the droids, see the holographic image, you learn, ‘Oh, it’s a message! She wants to find Obi Wan Kenobi, he’s her only hope.’ But who the hell’s Obi Wan Kenobi? Mystery box! He meets Ben Kenobi, Ben Kenobi is Obi Wan Kenobi — have you guys not seen that? It’s huge!”

After initially saying he wouldn’t direct “Star Wars: Episode VII,” Abrams was confirmed to helm the film by Disney on January 25. “To be a part of the next chapter of the Star Wars saga, to collaborate with Kathy Kennedy and this remarkable group of people, is an absolute honor,” Abrams said in a statement. “I may be even more grateful to George Lucas now than I was as a kid.”

Michael Ardnt is writing the screenplay for “Star Wars: Episode VII.” The movie may or may not come out by its planned 2015 release date. There is also a rumor that Zack Snyder is working on a “Seven Samurai”-style spinoff film.

Are you surprised that “Star Wars” has had such an effect on Abrams’ career? 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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