Attack the Block

Before the Force

See the Cast of Star Wars: The Force Awakens Before They Entered a Galaxy Far, Far Away

Catch Attack the Block throughout December on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Screen Gems/Courtesy Everett Collection

Hey, have you heard there’s a new Star Wars movie coming out? No? You must not have the Internet. After all the wait, we’re just under a week away from our collective return mission to a galaxy far, far away. And here’s the thing — we shockingly still know little about the movie itself. Yes, we know Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher are returning, because landing on the Moon got less publicity then that announcement. But who are these new guys filling up space in the teasers and trailers? Where have you seen them before? Before you catch John Boyega in his pre-Star Wars role in Attack the Block on IFC, take a look at the early roles of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens cast before they become bigger than a Sarlacc’s appetite.

10. Billie Lourd (Unknown)

Billie Lourd

You probably recognize Lourd from her turn as Chanel #3 on the Ryan Murphy horror comedy Scream Queens. But did you know she’s Carrie Fisher’s real life daughter? Lourd claims she’s not playing Princess Leia’s daughter in The Force Awakens, despite photo evidence that suggests more than a passing resemblance. Now we totally get why Chanel #3 wears earmuffs all the time.


9. Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron)

Warner Bros.

Warner Bros.

Born to a Guatemalan mother and a Cuban father, Isaac grew up in Miami before finding his way to the Juilliard School, where he studied alongside future costar Jessica Chastain. He played Romeo in the Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park production of Romeo and Juliet in 2007, before making the leap to movies. Giant flops like Sucker Punch soon gave way to small, critically acclaimed films, including DriveInside Llewyn Davis, A Most Violent Year and Ex Machina.


8. Daisy Ridley (Rey)

Daisy Ridley

BBC One

Perhaps the least known of the newcomers, Ridley had worked sparingly on British television before getting her big break in a galaxy far, far away. While none were starring roles, you may recognize her from Casualty, Silent Witness, Youngers or Mr. Selfridge, in which she got to act in the general vicinity of Ari Gold himself, Jeremy Piven.


7. John Boyega (Finn)

Big Talk Pictures

Big Talk Pictures

Born in London to Nigerian parents, Boyega was primarily a theater actor when he won the lead role of Moses in the genre bending hit Attack the Block. He nearly played a version of Mike Tyson in the HBO pilot Da Brick, but the series was ultimately not picked up. That may have been for the best, as it allowed him to accept the role of a lifetime when J.J. Abrams came calling.


6. Adam Driver (Kylo Ren)

NBC

NBC

While Driver may be best known for having sex with Lena Dunham in every which way possible on the HBO hit Girls, he’s already had a unique and diverse career beyond that star making turn. Before he ever found his way to acting, he actually served in the Marines, answering his country’s call after the attacks of 9/11. It would be an injury while bike riding, and not in the theater of war, that would lead to a medical discharge. A stop at Julliard led to roles on shows like The Unusuals and Law & Order: SVU (above), where he played, in his words,  a “creepy” computer geek. He made his feature film debut in J. Edgar, before landing roles in Lincoln, Frances Ha, and Inside Llewyn Davis, where he would costar alongside future Star Wars castmate Oscar Isaac.


5. Andy Serkis (Supreme Leader Snoke)

Film4

Film4

Serkis got his start in theater, starring in numerous hits, including a 1997 production of Hurlyburly with Doctor Who himself, David Tennant. But he is perhaps best known as the man who made motion capture acting respectable, famously playing Gollum in the Lord of the Rings films. Bringing a complex character to life, with the assistance of a talented group of animators, transformed the industry and his career. He would soon take on other digitally animated roles, such as playing the title role in King Kong and ape messiah Caesar in the new Planet of the Apes films.


4. Domhnall Gleeson (General Hux)

Domhnall Gleeson Harry Potter

Warner Bros. Ent./Courtesy Everett Collection

 

Son to actor Brendan Gleeson, Domhnall followed in his father’s footsteps, starring on both the stage and the screen. In 2006 he was nominated for his part in the Broadway production of The Lieutenant of Inishmore. He’s also been a constant presence in independent cinema, starring in everything from Frank to Never Let Me Go to Ex Machina (alongside future Star Wars costar Oscar Isaac). Still, he may be best known for playing the eldest Weasley brother, Bill, in the Harry Potter movies, starring alongside his father.


3. Gwendoline Christie (Captain Phasma)

Sony Pictures Classic

Sony Pictures Classic

Christie only recently found out that her role in the The Force Awakens was changed from a man to a woman, with her in mind. We can all be grateful for that based on her popular performance as Brienne of Tarth on Game of Thrones. She got her start with a blink and you’d miss it part in Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, and also appeared in his 2013 film Zero Theorem, but has since gone on to bigger and better. Not content to have just two massive franchises on her resume, she recently played Commander Lyme in the concluding chapter of The Hunger Games movies, Mockingjay – Part 2.


2. Lupita Nyong’o (Maz Kanata)

MTV Staying Alive

MTV Staying Alive

Like many acting greats before her, Nyong’o attended the Yale School of Drama, where she starred in productions of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya and William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. She had a brief run on a Kenyan soap opera called Shuga, before going on to win an Oscar for 12 Years a Slave, her first role in a film.


1. Max von Sydow (Lor San Tekka)

Dino De Laurentiis Company

Dino De Laurentiis Company

The elder statesman of the new Star Wars cast members, von Sydow has had a legendary career up to this point. Arguably most famous for Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal and The Exorcist, von Sydow has also played Ernst Blofeld in the Bond film Never Say Never Again, craved the spice in Dune and attacked Earth with his intense eyebrows and facial hair as Ming the Merciless in Flash Gordon. 

Travel to a galaxy far, far away (the ’70s) with the That ’70s Show “Totally Spaced-Out Marathon” Monday and Tuesday on IFC. 

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Grow TFU

Adulting Like You Mean It

Commuters makes its debut on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Jared Warner, Nick Ciavarella, and Tim Dean were once a part of Murderfist, a group of comedy writers, actors, producers, parents, and reluctant adults. Together with InstaMiniSeries’s Nikki Borges, they’re making their IFC Comedy Crib debut with the refreshingly-honest and joyfully-hilarious Commuters. The webseries follows thirtysomethings Harris and Olivia as they brave the waters of true adulthood, and it’s right on point.

Jared, Nick, Nikki and Tim were kind enough to answer a few questions about Commuters for us. Here’s a snippet of that conversation…

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

Nick: Two 30-somethings leave the Brooklyn life behind, and move to the New Jersey suburbs in a forced attempt to “grow up.” But they soon find out they’ve got a long way to go to get to where they want to be.

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

Jared: It’s a show about how f*cking stupid people who think they are smart can be.

IFC: What’s your origin story? When did you all meet and how long have you been working together?

Jared: Nick, Tim, and I were all in the sketch group Murderfist since, what, like 2004? God. Anyway, Tim and Nick left the group to pursue other frivolous things, like children and careers, but we all enjoyed writing together and kept at it. We were always more interested in storytelling than sketch comedy lends itself to, which led to our webseries Jared Posts A Personal. That was a show about being in your 20s and embracing the chaos of being young in the city. Commuters is the counterpoint, i guess. Our director Adam worked at Borders (~THE PAST!!~) with Tim, came out to a Murderfist show once, and we’ve kept him imprisoned ever since.

IFC: What was the genesis of Commuters?

Tim: Jared had an idea for a series about the more realistic, less romantic aspects of being in a serious relationship.  I moved out of the city to the suburbs and Nick got engaged out in LA.   We sort of combined all of those facets and Commuters was the end result.

IFC: How would Harris describe Olivia?

Jared: Olivia is the smartest, coolest, hottest person in the world, and Harris can’t believe he gets to be with her, even though she does overreact to everything and has no chill. Like seriously, ease up. It doesn’t always have to be ‘a thing.’

IFC: How would Olivia describe Harris?

Nikki:  Harris is smart, confident with a dry sense of humor but he’s also kind of a major chicken shit…. Kind of like if Han Solo and Barney Rubble had a baby.

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

Nikki:  I think this is the most accurate portrayal of what a modern relationship looks like. Expectations for what your life is ‘supposed to look like’ are confusing and often a let down but when you’re married to your best friend, it’s going to be ok because you will always find a way to make each other laugh.

IFC: Is the exciting life of NYC twentysomethings a sweet dream from which we all must awake, or is it a nightmare that we don’t realize is happening until it’s over?

Tim: Now that i’ve spent time living in the suburbs, helping to raise a two year old, y’all city folk have no fucking clue how great you’ve got it.

Nikki: I think of it similar to how I think about college. There’s a time and age for it to be glorious but no one wants to hang out with that 7th year senior. Luckily, NYC is so multifaceted that you can still have an exciting life here but it doesn’t have to be just what the twentysomethings are doing (thank god).

Jared: New York City is a garbage fire.

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

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C'mon Fellas

A Man Mansplains To Men

Why Baroness von Sketch Show is a must-see.

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Mansplaining is when a man takes it upon himself to explain something to a woman that she already knows. It happens a lot, but it’s not going to happen here. Ladies, go ahead and skip to the end of this post to watch a free episode of IFC’s latest addition, Baroness von Sketch Show.

However, if you’re a man, you might actually benefit from a good mansplanation. So take a knee, lean in, and absorb the following wisdom.

No Dicks

Baroness von Sketch Show is made entirely by women, therefore this show isn’t focused on men. Can you believe it? I know what you’re thinking: how will we know when to laugh if the jokes aren’t viewed through the dusty lens of the patriarchy? Where are the thinly veiled penis jokes? Am I a bad person? In order: you will, nowhere, and yes.

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Huge Balls

Did you know that there’s more to life than poop jokes, sex jokes, body part jokes? I mean, those things are all really good things, natch, and totally edgy. But Baroness von Sketch Show does something even edgier. It holds up a brutal funhouse mirror to our everyday life. This is a bulls**t world we made, fellas.

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Oh Canada

After you watch the Canadian powerhouses of Baroness von Sketch Show and think to yourself “Dear god, this is so real” and “I’ve gotta talk about this,” do yourself a favor and think a-boot your options: Refrain from sharing your sage wisdom with any woman anywhere (believe us, she gets it). Instead, tell a fellow bro and get the mansplaining out of your system while also spreading the word about a great show.

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Dudes, that’s the deal.
Women, start reading again here:


Check out the preview episode of Baroness von Sketch Show and watch the series premiere August 2 on IFC.

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Happy Tears

Binge Don’t Cringe

Catch up on episodes of Documentary Now! and Portlandia.

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Photo Credit: GIFs via GIPHY

A brain can only take so much.

Every five minutes, all day, every day, ludicrously stressful headlines push our mental limits as we struggle to adapt to a reality that seems increasingly less real. What’s a mind to do when simple denial just isn’t good enough anymore?

Radical suggestion: repeal and replace. And by that we mean take all the bad news that keeps you up at night, press pause, and substitute it with some genuine (not nervous, for a change) laughter. Here are some of the issues on our mind.

Gender Inequality

Feminist bookstore owners by day, still feminist bookstore owners by night, Toni and Candace show the male gaze who’s boss. Learn about their origin story (SPOILER: there’s an epic dance battle) and see what happens when their own brand of empowerment gets out of hand.

Healthcare

From Candace’s heart attack to the rise of the rawvolution, this Portlandia episode proves that healthcare is vital.

Peaceful Protests

Too many online petitions, too little time? Get WOKE with Fred and Carrie when they learn how to protest.

What Could Have Been

Can’t say the name “Clinton” without bursting into tears? Documentary Now!’s masterfully political “The Bunker” sheds a cozy new light on the house that Bill and Hill built. Just pretend you don’t know how the story really ends.

Fake News

A healthy way to break the high-drama news cycle is to switch over to “Dronez”, which has all the thrills of ubiquitous adventure journalism without any of the customary depression.

The more you watch, the better you feel. So get started on past episodes of Documentary Now! and Portlandia right now at IFC.com and the IFC app.

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