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Kristen Stewart gets a warm “Welcome to the Rileys” in L.A.

Kristen Stewart gets a warm “Welcome to the Rileys” in L.A. (photo)

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If the “Twilight: Eclipse” premiere was the tough ticket of this year’s L.A. Film Festival, drawing roughly 5,000 fans from all corners of the U.S. in order to get a glimpse of Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner at the Nokia Theater, then “Welcome to the Rileys” proved to be damn near impossible.

Kristen Stewart fans gambled on the ability to sit less than ten feet away from the star inside one of the smaller Regal Cinemas at L.A. Live, but having to contend with the fact that seven of the 15 rows in the theater were already roped off for VIPs of one kind or another.

LAFF director Rebecca Yeldham came out to introduce the film and moderate the post-screening Q & A (a job usually handled by programmers or volunteers), and before the film started, Melissa Leo spoke on behalf of herself and co-stars Stewart and James Gandolfini, who stood off to the side, a reminder that “Welcome to the Rileys” not only boasts a talented ensemble, but one of the most spotlight-weary as well.

For those who have been following the film’s distribution drama since Sundance, it was unveiled with a brand spankin’ new Samuel Goldwyn/Destination Films logo in front, replacing Apparition as the distributor, who will bring the film to theaters in October. But the real drama was on screen, with the idiosyncratic tale of a wholesale plumbing supply salesman (Gandolfini) who attempts to drown his sorrows in the Big Easy during a trade show and encounters a stripper/prostitute (Stewart) who reminds him of his late daughter who died in an accident. Leo plays Gandolfini’s distant wife.

Gandolfini, Stewart, Leo, writer Ken Hixon and producer Michael Costigan took to the front of the theater to discuss the origins of the film. Naturally, Stewart received the bulk of the questions, being asked in particular about playing a role so different than her most famous creation in “Twilight.”

06262010_WelcometotheRileysLAFilmFest.jpgStewart admitted that she wasn’t necessarily afraid of playing a stripper, but “I was terrified because it was written really well” and expressed pride in learning some of the film’s stripper moves, though mostly they happened off-camera. “The silhouette in the beginning?” Stewart rhetorically asked almost giddily, “Thanks. That’s me.”

Saying she would “jump off a bridge” for director Jake Scott, Stewart found talking to the working women of the Dixie Divas strip club in New Orleans where the film was shot was key to finding her character, noticing the many lost women like the one she played with “dead eyes” and “open wounds.” When prodded by an audience member, Gandolfini confirmed that the toughest scene in the film for him to shoot was a scene where Stewart is particularly vulnerable in the lot of a motel parking lot. Gandolfini said, turning to Stewart, “I remember that was a long evening because you had to fall apart so many times.”

Stewart lightened the mood when asked about whether she had any issue with some of the tough language her character uses, confessing that during a scene where the character gets a urinary tract infection, she “felt really weird saying ‘pussy'” in front of Leo.

In order to achieve the perfect pitch for the scene, Leo improvised off-camera, saying “make pee pee,” a comment that somehow gave Stewart the inspiration to carry on, though she wondered whether Leo felt strange about it. “I’m a mother, Kristen,” Leo fired back, getting the night’s biggest laugh. “It’s not weird to say ‘make pee pee’ for me.”

On a more serious note, a fan pointed out that Stewart had said in previous interviews that her turn in “Welcome to the Rileys” was the role she liked playing the most, a statement she clarified by saying, “Maybe it just affected me the most…Sometimes you can leave shit at work or you can’t.” Of “Rileys,” she said, “this is undeniably in you.”

[Photos: “Welcome to the Rileys,” Samuel Goldwyn Films, 2010; James Gandolfini, Kristen Stewart and Melissa Leo at the L.A. Film Festival, Stephen Saito/IFC.com]

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

Uncle-Buck

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…