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LAFF: “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” cast ponders the apocalypse


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We won’t know for sure that the Mayans were wrong about 2012 being the year of the apocalypse until the we reach the end of December, which means we still have six more months to speculate about how it will all go down. Will an asteroid blow us all to bits? Will there be a surprise nuclear holocaust? Will some big man in the clouds come down and pluck us away into nonexistence?

And how will we all act when we know that our lives will end shortly, and there’s nothing we can do to stop it? That’s the question that Lorene Scafaria’s latest film “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” asks its audience, and that’s the question we put to the stars of the film when we saw them at its Los Angeles Film Festival red carpet.

“Hopefully I wouldn’t just be sitting there crying the whole time. That would be terrible,” Melanie Lynskey told IFC. Taking a second to think about the idea of the apocalypse, she added, “It’s a crazy thing. You sort of like shrug your shoulders and you’re like, ‘Whatever,’ but then there’s a part of me that’s like, ‘What if that happens? What if that’s real?'”

“Seeking a Friend” is, in many ways, a light, comedic take on the end of the world. It shows how people can come together in a time of crisis, even if there really is no point. And they literally come together in the movie. All most of the stars of the flick could talk about at the red carpet was the orgy that Steve Carell, Keira Knightley, Gillian Jacobs, TJ Miller and some extras get into at a T.G.I. Friday’s-style restaurant called Friendly’s.

When asked to describe filming the scene, Jacobs answered, “Very exuberant, I would say, with a lot of tactile elements. It was really fun. It was so silly.”

But apparently it took several tries to actually get right.

“It was the politest orgy you’ve ever seen for the first three takes and then Lorene came over and said, ‘You guys, we do not have this time. This is an independent film. We do not have the budget to ease into this. Let’s see an orgy.’ And then she went off and the next take I think was a little too much,” Miller said. “I may have done some things to Steve Carell’s calves and ankles that I’m not proud of.”

Jacobs had the unique opportunity to make out with both Carell and Knightley, as well as some other lucky extras. When asked which smooch was her favorite, she couldn’t decide.

“Guys, come on! Sophie’s choice! I can’t answer these questions! Don’t play hardball with me,” she said.

Though sex and drugs (the orgy occurs while everyone is high on ecstasy) might not be the ways in which Miller chooses to go out during the apocalypse, he did joke that he spent plenty of time preparing for his big scene in “Seeking a Friend” by taking a method approach to it.

“I took ecstasy for two and a half years in the Mojave desert, just straight, right up until the day that we filmed, and then I went directly insane,” he deadpanned. “They call me the young uglier Harvey Keitel.”

When asked why she thought that pop culture has continued to return to the end of the world scenario over time, Jacobs had several explanations. “I think it’s something that people are always obsessed with,” she said. “I mean, uncertain times, climate change, Mayan calendar, knowing that everything can’t go on forever. I think it’s always bubbling sort of under the surface of our consciousness.”

But fans might be surprised to find out that Scafaria’s inspiration for the film didn’t stem from the Mayan prophecy at all. Instead, it was a certain event that occurred 11 years ago that affected her life — and all of the United States — forever.

“9/11 happened, and I’d moved from New York to LA a week before it and had no friends there and was so desperate for human contact and thought a lot about how this global event could have a really personal impact on me, my behavior and my relationships with people,” she explained. “That stayed with me for a long time and yeah, we end up here.”

She continued, “That kind of event happened and it really did change people for the better for a little while. I felt like New York was a place that people were finally looking each other in the eyes for a little bit. Sometimes it takes something like that to bring out the best in people.”

For Scafaria, the decision to have “Seeking a Friend” be a light-hearted take on what’s typically an action-packed or dramatic genre was intentional.

“I think when you take forever off the table, it does something really interesting to what you think is important,” she said. “There’s something a little freeing about it.”

“Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” hit theaters June 22.

What would you do if you found out the world was ending in a few weeks? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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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

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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

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