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William Shatner and Billy Dee Williams pitch J.J. Abrams “Star Wars” ideas

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If there’s one thing the fans want from J.J. Abrams’ upcoming “Star Wars: Episode VII,” it’s Princess Leia and Chewbacca having sex. At least, that’s what Jimmy Kimmel wants us to believe.

Kimmel had Abrams on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” to promote the release of “Star Trek Into Darkness,” but couldn’t resist talking about “Star Wars.” He also couldn’t resist inviting two famous guests on the show: Billy Dee Williams and William Shatner. Watch the magic unfold below:

Of course, Abrams did talk about “Star Wars: Episode VII” as well.

“It’s obviously very early days,” he said. “We’re working on the story. We just don’t want to screw it up. We’re trying to figure it out right now. That’s kind of where we are.”

If Chewy and Leia end up hooking up, at least we now know why. “Star Wars: Episode VII” is slated for a summer 2015 release, with “Episode VIII” coming out in summer 2017 and “Episode IX” hitting theaters in summer 2019. Meanwhile, two “Star Wars” spinoffs will come out in the summers between them, with one hitting theaters in 2016 and the other in 2018. “Star Trek Into Darkness” is due in theaters on May 17.

What would you like to see in the new “Star Wars” movie? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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As the Spoof Turns

15 Hilarious Soap Opera Parodies

Catch the classic sitcom Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures Television

The soap opera is the indestructible core of television fandom. We celebrate modern series like The Wire and Breaking Bad with their ongoing storylines, but soap operas have been tangling more plot threads than a quilt for decades. Which is why pop culture enjoys parodying them so much.

Check out some of the funniest soap opera parodies below, and be sure to catch Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

1. Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

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Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman was a cult hit soap parody from the mind of Norman Lear that poked daily fun at the genre with epic twists and WTF moments. The first season culminated in a perfect satire of ratings stunts, with Mary being both confined to a psychiatric facility and chosen to be part of a Nielsen ratings family.


2. IKEA Heights

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IKEA Heights proves that the soap opera is alive and well, even if it has to be filmed undercover at a ready-to-assemble furniture store totally unaware of what’s happening. This unique webseries brought the classic formula to a new medium. Even IKEA saw the funny side — but has asked that future filmmakers apply through proper channels.


3. Fresno

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When you’re parodying ’80s nighttime soaps like Dallas and Dynasty , everything about your show has to equally sumptuous. The 1986 CBS miniseries Fresno delivered with a high-powered cast (Carol Burnett, Teri Garr and more in haute couture clothes!) locked in the struggle for the survival of a raisin cartel.


4. Soap

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Soap was the nighttime response to daytime soap operas: a primetime skewering of everything both silly and satisfying about the source material. Plots including demonic possession and alien abduction made it a cult favorite, and necessitated the first televised “viewer discretion” disclaimer. It also broke ground for featuring one of the first gay characters on television in the form of Billy Crystal’s Jodie Dallas. Revisit (or discover for the first time) this classic sitcom every Saturday morning on IFC.


5. Too Many Cooks

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Possibly the most perfect viral video ever made, Too Many Cooks distilled almost every style of television in a single intro sequence. The soap opera elements are maybe the most hilarious, with more characters and sudden shocking twists in an intro than most TV scribes manage in an entire season.


6. Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace

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Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace was more mockery than any one medium could handle. The endless complications of Darkplace Hospital are presented as an ongoing horror soap opera with behind-the-scenes anecdotes from writer, director, star, and self-described “dreamweaver visionary” Garth Marenghi and astoundingly incompetent actor/producer Dean Learner.


7. “Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive,” MadTV

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Soap opera connoisseurs know that the most melodramatic plots are found in Korea. MADtv‘s parody Tae Do  (translation: Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive) features the struggles of mild-mannered characters with far more feelings than their souls, or subtitles, could ever cope with.


8. Twin Peaks

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Twin Peaks, the twisted parody of small town soaps like Peyton Place whose own creator repeatedly insists is not a parody, has endured through pop culture since it changed television forever when it debuted in 1990. The show even had it’s own soap within in a soap called…


9. “Invitation to Love,” Twin Peaks

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Twin Peaks didn’t just parody soap operas — it parodied itself parodying soap operas with the in-universe show Invitation to Love. That’s more layers of deceit and drama than most televised love triangles.


10. “As The Stomach Turns,” The Carol Burnett Show

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The Carol Burnett Show poked fun at soaps with this enduring take on As The World Turns. In a case of life imitating art, one story involving demonic possession would go on to happen for “real” on Days of Our Lives.


11. Days of our Lives (Friends Edition)

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Still airing today, Days of Our Lives is one of the most famous soap operas of all time. They’re also excellent sports, as they allowed Friends star Joey Tribbiani to star as Dr Drake Ramoray, the only doctor to date his own stalker (while pretending to be his own evil twin). And then return after a brain-transplant.

And let’s not forget the greatest soap opera parody line ever written: “Come on Joey, you’re going up against a guy who survived his own cremation!”


12. Acorn Antiques

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First appearing on the BBC sketch comedy series Victoria Wood As Seen on TV, Acorn Antiques combines almost every low-budget soap opera trope into one amazing whole. The staff of a small town antique store suffer a disproportional number of amnesiac love-triangles, while entire storylines suddenly appear and disappear without warning or resolution. Acorn Antiques was so popular, it went on to become a hit West End musical.


13. “Point Place,” That 70s Show

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In a memorable That ’70s Show episode, an unemployed Red is reduced to watching soaps all day. He becomes obsessed despite the usual Red common-sense objections (like complaining that it’s impossible to fall in love with someone in a coma). His dreams render his own life as Point Place, a melodramatic nightmare where Kitty leaves him because he’s unemployed. (Click here to see all airings of That ’70s Show on IFC.)


14. The Spoils of Babylon

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Bursting from the minds of Will Ferrell and creators Andrew Steele and Matt Piedmont, The Spoils of Babylon was a spectacular parody of soap operas and epic mini-series like The Thorn Birds. Taking the parody even further, Ferrell himself played Eric Jonrosh, the author of the book on which the series was based. Jonrosh returned in The Spoils Before Dying, a jazzy murder mystery with its own share of soapy twists and turns.

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15. All My Children Finale, SNL

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SNL‘s final celebration of one of the biggest soaps of all time is interrupted by a relentless series of revelations from stage managers, lighting designers, make-up artists, and more. All of whom seem to have been married to or murdered by (or both) each other.

Bomb Squad: Why Did “Peeples” Tank?

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Welcome to “Bomb Squad,” a recurring column that takes a closer look at a movie that tanked at the box office and tries to figure out what happened.

May has long been the official kickoff for summer movie season, but that doesn’t stop studios from slotting the occasional comedy as effective counterprogramming to all the superhero films. Unfortunately, that didn’t work with “Peeples,” a “Meet the Parents”-esque comedy that, despite the presence of “Tyler Perry Presents” in the title, failed to do well in its opening weekend, grossing less than $5 million and finishing in fourth place. (Even the commercially disappointing “Pain & Gain” did better last weekend.) What exactly happened here? Let’s take a look at some possible theories, some more convincing than others, and then reach our verdict…

Theory No. 1: Craig Robinson is not a movie star.

Audiences like Craig Robinson. He became a breakout star thanks to “The Office,” and he’s been funny in everything from “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” to “Hot Tub Time Machine.” The problem is that those movies weren’t hits. (The one really successful film in which he’s had a substantial role, “Pineapple Express,” boasted several much bigger names.) Even his rise on “The Office” was during the post-Steve Carell period when the sitcom stopped winning Emmys and started losing some of its hip cachet. At this stage of his career, he’s a welcome presence, but he’s not necessarily a huge factor in driving people to the theater.

Theory No. 2: Tyler Perry’s name isn’t what it used to be.

For almost a decade, Perry has been a consistent commercial force. None of his films have been $100-million blockbusters, but he can deliver solid crowds on low budgets. He’s such a brand that you’d assume that slapping “Tyler Perry Presents” on top of “Peeples” would be a stamp of approval for his fan base, even though Perry didn’t write or direct (or star in) this comedy. (“Peeples” is the feature directorial debut of writer-director Tina Gordon Chism.) No doubt some will now suggest that Perry’s power is waning. After all, his bid to become an action-thriller hero in last year’s “Alex Cross” tanked. But let’s not rush to judgment: This March’s “Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor” did quite well by his standards, especially when you consider he wasn’t in it and the film was a drama, which tend to do less well than his Madea comedies. Even if Perry’s brand has lost a little of its luster, the man still has his commercial clout. (He’s got “A Madea Christmas” coming out this December. Who would bet against its chances?)

Theory No. 3: It looked pretty generic.

The ads for “Peeples” seemed to play it safe, figuring that folks would be intrigued to check out Robinson trying to win over his girlfriend’s distrustful father (David Alan Grier). It looked like another “Meet the Parents” … maybe too much like one. There wasn’t anything particularly compelling or uproarious about the commercials. (Frankly, the ads gave off a sitcom-y vibe.) That hasn’t hurt Perry-related projects in the past. To be blunt, the promotion of his films has always been a bit drab, except when it comes to his posters. Still, “Peeples” screamed “rental,” which may be where it ultimately finds its niche.

Theory No. 4: Everybody was too busy seeing “Iron Man 3” and “The Great Gatsby.”

The point of counterprogramming is to target a sizable audience that isn’t that interested in the weekend’s big release. And when done right, it can pay off. Some recent success stories are Fox’s decision to pit “The Devil Wears Prada” opposite “Superman Returns” or when Fox Searchlight released “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” the same weekend as “The Avengers.” In both cases, the underdog went after a crowd — women and older audiences, respectively — that might like a movie that didn’t feature comic-book characters. Likewise, “Peeples” catered to African-Americans and comedy fans in the hopes that they would have already seen “Iron Man 3” (which came out May 3) and wouldn’t be lured by the flash and pomp of “The Great Gatsby.” Whatever the strategy, it wasn’t that effective: Those two movies made a combined $123 million over the weekend. It would never have been realistic to expect “Peeples” to reach those sorts of numbers, but it didn’t even manage to be a sleeper surprise. It just sunk like a stone.

The Verdict

Sometimes studios roll the dice and come out a winner. Other times, you have what happened to “Peeples”: mediocre reviews mixed with mediocre buzz that adds up to disappointing grosses. This movie’s release was so underwhelming that there’s a good chance that when it shows up on cable or DVD in the near future, a good chunk of folks won’t even realize it ever came to theaters first. Let’s just hope Robinson has other chances to show off his stuff.

You can follow Tim Grierson on Twitter.

Roman Coppola on “A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III,” Bill Murray and wanting to work with Kristen Stewart

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Roman Coppola has been involved in the Hollywood scene for decades, but he rarely is found directly behind the camera. After helming his directorial debut “GQ” in 2001, he has acted primarily as a co-writer, music video director and producer on projects for people like Wes Anderson and his sister Sophia Coppola instead of directing his own features. That changed in 2011 when it was announced that he would tackle the independent movie “A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III,” which he also wrote and was producing.

Years have passed and, after making its premiere at the Rome Film Festival and having a limited run in theaters, “A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III” was released on Blu-ray on May 14. IFC had a chance to talk with Coppola about the movie, the actors he chose to work with and what he plans on working on next.

IFC: Why is this the story that you wanted to tell?

RC: What can I say? Projects sort of choose you. People ask, “Oh, why’d you do this?” “Why’d you choose that?” I find it hard to really answer genuinely because you get something kind of in your mind and it’s an intuitive feeling. In this case, there was a character. I had a sense of this guy that I thought would be a fun to see portrayed. And then he got dumped and how does he react to that? He is kind of a very imaginative kind of character in how he sees things and to use to that as an opportunity to have these kinds of flights of fancy and have the experience of the movie reflect the feeling of what it’s like to be dumped and how your mind is kind of crazed and kaleidoscopic, fractured thoughts. It’s not really an answer I can give, why I chose that. It just sort of chose me. It’s just the character interested me in that world, but it did start with the character and the feeling, this vibe of this kind of cool guy who can’t keep it together when he got dumped.

IFC: What led you to casting Charlie Sheen in that lead role? Did you always know you wanted him, or was there someone else you were considering?

RC: I wrote it without really anyone in mind. As you’re writing, you always think, “Oh, it could be this person or that person,” and you’re sort of open to thinking of people, but I didn’t really have an actor in mind. It wasn’t until I kind of got into the casting process — who could I get to portray this? — that I thought of Charlie. To me, it was sort of a no-brainer in that I needed someone who was the right age, so mid-40s. I needed someone who is handsome and is charming, someone who had wit and this kind of sense of humor, and someone who’s a fine actor, and someone that, to me and maybe people won’t agree with me, but a freshness that you hadn’t really seen on the screen. There’s something fun about presenting someone that has a freshness in a way, and I just thought Charlie had all those qualities in terms of being, as I said, a very good actor, very charming, the right age.

The fact that I knew him personally — I haven’t seen him in many years, but we as kids we were pals during “Apocalypse Now” — that’s also something that means something to me. When you’re trying to make a movie, to reach out to people you have a rapport with and you know, you have sense of who they are, [is nice]. Obviously Jason [Schwartzman] is in the movie, and Patricia Arquette is someone who was part of our family; she was married to my cousin [Nicolas Cage]. Bill Murray is someone who I’ve worked with over the years, so there was a comfort and I think an asset of working with someone who I had this connection to.

IFC: It’s interesting that you call it a “freshness,” because I definitely do feel like we’ve seen a new side of Charlie Sheen since he came out of this difficult time in his life.

RC: I wouldn’t want to make any proclamations, but I think it’s great that you see it that way. It’s interesting because, to me, I think he gives a very good performance in the movie. I think he’s very charming. He’s just a witty guy. I think he’s fun to watch. I think that one of the challenges to the movie — and to me, I see him as the character. He’s Charles Swan III. You know, he’s embodying this character, but I think a lot of people seem, my impression, to have a hard time kind of divorcing all their kind of Internet kind of notions about someone. It’s hard for people to let go of that, so I sort of invite people to say, “Hey look, this is an actor portraying the role.” I think a lot has been made, at least presented to me, like, “Oh Charlie, that’s an odd choice,” or, “Why him?” To me it’s like, he’s so obvious. He’s a great talent. He’s got such charm and wit. It’s so obvious to me, but I guess that’s kind of why I’m just a different person than everyone else.

IFC: Well the parallel obviously is in the name, too. It’s weird seeing him onscreen being called “Charlie” or “Charles” and having to disconnect that.

RC: It’s funny because in “Two and a Half Men” he also plays “Charlie,” in his new show [“Anger Management”] he plays “Charlie,” and I wrote the character “Charlie” as just a name, so that’s a weird interesting coincidence.

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