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The Next Big Thing in Movies: Film Director Biopics

The Next Big Thing in Movies: Film Director Biopics (photo)

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The hottest directors in Hollywood right now have been dead for decades. Yesterday it was announced that two different filmmakers are currently developing projects based on the lives of two other (and slightly more unalive) filmmakers. First, the Los Angeles Times reported that Sacha Gervasi, the director of the hilarious rock doc “Anvil! The Story of Anvil” is in discussions to write and direct a biopic about The Master of Suspense himself, Alfred Hitchcock. The film would be based on Stephen Rebello’s book “Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of ‘Psycho,'” and focus primarily on Hitchcock’s work on that production. According to The Times Steven Zeitchik:

“Among Rebello’s many insights is that the 1960 hit ‘Psycho’ was a departure for the ‘North by Northwest’ director, a more explicitly shocking film that was meant to compete with other low-budget horror pictures — ‘The Blair Witch Project’ of its day.”

That’s all absolutely true: after “North by Northwest,” Hitchcock decided to switch up his usual working routine and make a small horror film with the crew of his television series, “Alfred Hitchcock Presents.” I read Rebello’s book as a teenager — actually I read it several times because it was one of only a handful of film books I owned — and it’s a good read. In my memory, the best stuff in it were all the details about the battles over the film’s then-taboo subject matter: seeing star Janet Leigh in her (GASP!) bra and slip, for example. Presumably, if Gervasi wanted to, he could play a lot of that stuff for comedy: showing how this incredibly tame material was so absolutely scandalous back in 1960.

The other directorial biopic in the works comes from “The Usual Suspects” and “Superman Returns” director Bryan Singer, who, according to The Hollywood Reporter, is attached to direct an adaptation of “Bye, Bye Life: The Loves and Deaths of Bob Fosse” by historian Sam Wasson. Fosse directed his own interpretation of his life back in 1979, and the film that sprung from it “All That Jazz” is one of the most interesting biopics (or maybe autobiopics) of all time. Roy Scheider played Fosse (named Joe Gideon in the film) as a guy with a lot of creativity and a lot more flaws. The film is heavily stylized and deeply hallucinatory (Fosse imagines himself dying, then actually is dying, then is watching himself dying on a soundstage in the middle of a tap dance) and it gets stranger and stranger as it goes along; the title of Wasson’s book comes the film’s final showstopping musical number in which the Fosse character (SPOILER ALERT!) dies and ascends to musical theater heaven (or simply gets zipped up in a body bag). Singer’s biopic will certainly be compared to Fosse’s own version, so it will be interesting to see where he goes with the material.

So is this a new trend in Hollywood? Almost; the unwritten rule is you need three movies before you can write a trend piece. And these films aren’t exactly trailblazers; there have been other biopics and docudramas about filmmakers. Robert Downey Jr. played Chaplin and at least seven different men have played Orson Welles, most recently Christian McKay in Richard Linklater’s 2009 film “Me and Orson Welles.”

Hitchcock and Fosse are both fine subjects for movies, but the number one guy I’d like to see a directorial biopic about? Werner Herzog. Kinski, “Fitzcarraldo,” saving Joaquin Phoenix from a near-fatal car crash. It would be the greatest movie of all time.

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Give Back

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…

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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.


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: 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.


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).


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.


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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