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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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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

via GIPHY

Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

IFC_Comedy-Crib_Sisters-Weekend-Series-Image

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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GIFs via Giphy

Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.

via GIPHY

IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

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IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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