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“Starbuck” director Ken Scott talks “The Delivery Man,” working with Vince Vaughn and reinventing his film for an American audience

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Few directors get to helm the English-language remake of their own movie — and French Canadian director Ken Scott might be one of the first to do so with a comedy. (Unless you count Michael Haneke’s “Funny Games” as a comedy — and that’s something you might want to talk about with your therapist). But Ken Scott, who is turning his just-released French-language “Starbuck” (starring Patrick Huard) into an English-language version called “The Delivery Man” (starring Vince Vaughn), is determined that neither film will get lost in translation.

“What I promised myself and what I expressed to everyone working on the movie is that it won’t be a simple copy of the original,” Scott told IFC. “I also didn’t want to try to be different for the sake of being different.”

In the original film (which is also getting French and Indian remakes), David Wozniack has been an incredibly frequent donor at his local sperm bank, so much so that over time, he’s fathered some 533 children, a fact which he discovers when a large segment of them (142 or so) band together because they want to meet him. (If the premise seems unbelievable, consider that similar cases have already happened and been documented in real life — check out the documentary “Donor Unknown.” As David starts to question whether he wants to know his progeny, he begins to dip into their lives, anonymously, as a guardian angel of sorts — taking on to a hospital when she overdoses, covering for another at work, cheering on another at his work, visiting a disabled youth who has been institutionalized — and learns what fatherhood really is.

The actor who plays the disabled child, Sébastien René is the only actor to graduate from the original to the English-language remake, Scott said, and it’s at the behest of producer Steven Spielberg. “Steven thought he was so great, so it’s great to have him back,” Scott said. “He’s the only actor in both movies.”

But he’s not the only one returning from the production itself. Scott kept the heads of each department, but he instructed them not to just repeat what they had done before. “When you make a movie that’s not a remake, you go through the whole process of getting there, and you’ve got to do that in the remake as well,” he explained, “so the remake feels genuine in every single way. It might feel like putting on a wet bathing suit at first, strange at the beginning, but you got to get in there and tell the story.”

Changing the setting from Quebec to New York, Scott made use of “everything New York can offer” for the remake. He placed David Wozniack and his family in Greenpoint, “because a large Polish community lives there, and it was natural to set the movie in Brooklyn.” He changed the names of some of the characters to Americanize them (Valérie to Emma, who will be played by Cobie Smulders), switched some activities in the same vein (a soccer star becomes a basketball star), and then slapped a new name on the new film. (Starbuck was a reference to a Canadian stud bull — not the coffee). “We also have Starbucks in Canada,” Scott laughed. “So it wasn’t really about that, but we just didn’t want people to be confused.”

Before he started shooting, Scott was able to test the original on the festival circuit “to see how it plays in front of an American audience,” he said. “And they totally got what the story was all about, because it’s a comedy with a big heart.” So even if Vaughn, Smulders, and co-star Chris Pratt Americanize “Starbuck,” Scott said, “The Delivery Man,” out October 4, “will keep the values of the original.” Plus, he added, “Vince has all the qualities that Patrick brought to this character. He’s a great actor, he’s quick to react, and he’s somebody people love.”

“Starbuck” expands to more theaters this weekend.

Will you be seeing “Starbuck” this weekend? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

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

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.