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Edgar Wright, Guillermo Del Toro and the Wonderful Afterlife of “Scott Pilgrim”

Edgar Wright, Guillermo Del Toro and the Wonderful Afterlife of “Scott Pilgrim” (photo)

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If “Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World” died at the box office this past August, it’s enjoying the heavenly embrace of its true fans now. During election season, one of the fiercest campaigns waged hasn’t been led by any political candidate, but rather the cast and crew of “Scott Pilgrim” who have gone far beyond the call of duty to restore honor to Edgar Wright’s gloriously insane adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s graphic novel with a barnstorming tour of the country that began in Los Angeles last month at the New Beverly Cinema where everyone from star Michael Cera to director Edgar Wright showed up for the film’s first official midnight screening and will continue at a free screening the Bloor Cinema in Toronto on Friday, sold out dates at the Brattle Theatre in Boston this Saturday (where the 7:30 show is not yet sold out) and the Village East in New York on November 8th, before returning to Los Angeles for a encore weekend of midnight screenings at the New Bev on November 12th and 13th moderated by Doug Benson.

Surely, promoting the film’s DVD release on November 9th is a driving force behind these screenings, but for anyone that has been to one knows that a true phenomenon seems afoot. Just a few weeks ago, Rope of Silicon writer Bill Cody wondered, “Is Scott Pilgrim the New Lebowski?” and in a way few other films besides those contending for Oscars have, “Scott Pilgrim” has brought its followers, many of whom are quite famous, out of the woodwork to support the film.

11022010_ScottPilgrimPanel3.jpgArguably, this started even before the film was released when J.J. Abrams bestowed the “This is Your Life” treatment to Wright’s career at the L.A. Film Festival in June and continued through last night where Guillermo Del Toro held court at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood to interview Wright, O’Malley and Cera in front of a crowd that included co-stars Johnny Simmons, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Satya Bhabha, as well as others like the film’s fight choreographer Brad Allan and “Donnie Darko” director Richard Kelly. (Apparently, it was Allan who was an initial link between Del Toro and Wright – Del Toro invited Wright to the set of “Hellboy 2,” when Wright was looking for a fight choreographer and when Del Toro was in the editing bay, Wright showed him animatics for what would become “Pilgrim.”) With the fervor of an evangelist, Del Toro acknowledged shortly after the end credits rolled on the film that this wasn’t some mere screening but an invocation of sorts.

“To me, [this] is a really important screening because I think we all can go out to the world after this screening and tell every motherfucker out there to watch the movie,” said Del Toro. “Why? Because anyone that didn’t watch it is a motherfucker. We can tell them when they ask why does Hollywood make such shitty movies because when they do great ones, you don’t fucking show up.”

For Del Toro, “Scott Pilgrim” is the first movie that “articulates our pop culture,” which is why Monday evening’s Q & A was so interesting as it veered away from cute behind-the-scenes anecdotes (which there were in spades, including this nugget about the film’s cameos and how it took an entire year for a clearance producer to get the rights just for Scott Pilgrim’s many T-shirts) to a wider-ranging talk about the potential for paradigm shifts in storytelling and the eventuality of transmedia. Since the event was ostensibly a promotional event for “Scott Pilgrim”‘s DVD release, Universal quickly released some selected clips from the discussion that followed, a few of which will be embedded below, but we hope to fill that out with some of the more interesting parts of the conversation that weren’t on video (uncensored, if you will, since Del Toro frequently dropped the f-bomb).

11022010_GuillermodelToro.jpgGuillermo Del Toro’s introduction to the film:

Guillermo Del Toro: I’m here because I love the movie and I’m here as a fan. One of the reasons why I’m doing this event is one of the things that is…some people confuse with effortlessness with ease. One of the hardest things to simulate is something breezy and light and effortless and most people like to say that’s just somebody winging it or having a good time. It applies to writers, actors and directors. When they talk about an actor just playing himself on the screen, that’s absolutely not possible in the same way that getting a boner at home is easy, getting it hard in front of a film crew is pretty hard.

As a director, ultimately, you don’t have a boner on the set, but the director is the same thing – keeping the rhythm and the flow of the movie is one of the cardinal things in telling a story, an incredibly intricate practice. And as a writer, the same. When people say he writes like he speaks, that is a huge task, not to change the voice in your head to the page. Many times you hear dialogue, you think about great dialogue being improvised because it seems to flow effortlessly. One of the things that Edgar did that absolutely destroyed me was transitions. When you see the movie again, the transitions are absolutely incredibly effortless, fluid, smart and completely deliberate and apropos of the movie. They are not just feats of camera and storytelling that are the struggles that he has putting on his platform shoes and dancing – it’s none of that James Brown stuff. He’s doing it not as a showboat, but as part of the reason and the narrative behind the story.

Another one I’d like to direct your attention towards is the color palette. I think there’s a very deliberate use of saturated colors as the story advances and for good reason. Finally, when you go to Disneyland, they’re always telling you to pay attention for the hidden Mickeys because there are Mickey Mouses hidden all over Disneyland, including the urinals, I think. I’m not sure about that, but just as much being a movie about evil exes, I would love for this to be a drinking game because then the actors would be great. But try and spot all the exes in the film that are everywhere.

Edgar Wright on The Film’s Origins

Del Toro started this portion of the conversation by asking O’Malley whether he actually had to fight seven evil exes for the inspiration for the graphic novels, to which O’Malley replied that in real life his then-girlfriend had dated three guys named Matt and “I just thought three Matts was kind of a funny concept and what if they were evil. And to be honest, I was smoking a lot of pot at the time.” Del Toro suggested that “there is a reading of [the film] where it could all be happening in Scott’s mind” and Wright acknowledged that it was O’Malley’s observation that Scott Pilgrim “is the hero in the movie in his own head” that really clarified things for the director.

Edgar Wright: Once I had that information, it was a really great way of how to imagine the movies that this movie is playing inside Scott Pilgrim’s head and the real version of it would be like a 16mm Sundance indie comedy. But Scott Pilgrim has reinterpreted it as this thing with massive kung fu battles and musical sequences and the reality of it would be a quirky indie comedy minus the fight sequences.

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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.

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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…