DID YOU READ

15 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Braveheart

BRAVEHEART, Mel Gibson, 1995. TM and Copyright (c) 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved.

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You remember Mel Gibson’s award-winning performance as William Wallace, but these nuggets about the creation of Braveheart may enrich your repeat viewings.

1. Screenwriter Randall Wallace first had the idea on a vacation to Edinburgh.

He saw statues of William Wallace (no relation) and Robert the Bruce adorning Edinburgh Castle and asked a tour guide who they were. The guide proceeded to tell the screenwriter about their story. Wallace was immediately inspired to write a screenplay about the famed warriors.


2. But Wallace didn’t immediately start his research.

Wallace opted to do specific historical research after he completed his screenplay because he wanted to capture the drama of the story first and input historical details later. Wallace brushes off claims of the movie’s historical inaccuracy by saying that the script is only his dramatic interpretation.


3. Mel Gibson didn’t want a title sequence.

The director opted against including a main title sequence because he felt the film should launch right into the story. Nevertheless, famous designer Kyle Cooper created a brief title sequence for the film. Cooper would go on to do the noted title sequences for films like Se7en, Spider-Man, Iron Man, and American Horror Story.


4. There’s a little Spartacus in Gibson’s direction.

Gibson’s main inspirations for Braveheart were sword-and-sandal epics he watched growing up, like El Cid and Spartacus.


5. Gibson worked in order.

The first shot in the movie was the first shot that he filmed.


6. James Robinson, who plays Young William, hadn’t acted in a movie before Braveheart.

At one of the casting calls in Glasgow, Gibson asked another young actor there if he knew anybody who would be good for the movie, and the young actor referred Gibson to Robinson.


7. Mel Gibson’s brother makes an appearance.

The director’s brother, Donal Gibson, plays the leader of one of the clans that joins up with William Wallace at the midpoint of the movie.


8. Mad Max influenced the battle scenes.

Gibson admits that he borrowed the cinematic techniques for most of the violent shots in the movie—like shooting at different speeds or using jump cuts to emphasize the violence—from his Mad Max director George Miller. He also admittedly borrowed ideas and techniques for more atmospheric shots from director Peter Weir (who directed Gibson in Gallipoli and The Year of Living Dangerously).

9. Gibson had no choice but to star as William Wallace.

Gibson was relatively new to directing and was known more as an actor when he took on Braveheart – at that point his only directing credit was the small drama The Man Without a Face. Because of his onscreen fame, Paramount Pictures would allegedly only agree to let Gibson direct the movie if he starred in it.


10. Gibson didn’t have actors read lines when they auditioned.

Instead, he sat down and talked to each actor over tea.


11. Gibson brought in actual members of the Wallace clan as extras.

They’re standing around Wallace during the opening shots of battles.


12. There’s a subtle Shakespeare reference in the film’s most famous speech.

William Wallace’s famous “Freedom” speech was heavily inspired by King Henry’s “St. Crispin’s Day Speech” from the Shakespeare play Henry V.


13. The distinctive face paint—called “woad”— is actually an anachronism.

It was never worn in battle at the time the movie takes place.


14. Gibson’s woad went through some revisions.

Gibson originally wanted to have St. Andrew’s Cross (a symbol of Scotland that appears on its contemporary flag) as the woad design on his face, but the film’s makeup artist, Lois Burwell, suggested the now iconic half-face-covering design. Good call by Burwell – she won the Oscar for Best Makeup for Braveheart.


15. Some of the warriors were real-life soldiers.

The production used reserve soldiers from the Irish territorial army as extras during the battle scenes. To save money, the same group played both Scottish and English forces and simply changed costumes depending on the angles Gibson wanted to shoot.

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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.
Die Hard wedding

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.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

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.
Die Hard thank you

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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