×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Coogan continues Spirit’s irreverence

Kudocast touts new emcee and zero waste

Film Independent’s tented, beachfront Spirit Awards may have matured to a polished kudocast — one that recently won a WGA Award — but exec producer Diana Zahn-Storey realizes the event’s success still lies in its spontaneity.

“I’ve always thought of us as being the cheap stepchild to the big awards shows,” Zahn-Storey says. “I want people on television to feel what everyone feels in the room.”

The Spirits will again air live and uncut on IFC, which the organizers seem to regard as a dare when picking a host. Few taped shows can offer up the kinds of risque moments as former host Sarah Silverman’s cheese sex grind or Rainn Wilson’s tranny-prostitute conversion by Dennis Hopper.

And, with Brit comedian Steve Coogan emceeing this year’s honors, auds can bet the edited version of the show — airing in a later timeslot on AMC — may be a bit shorter.

“I don’t particularly like awards shows,” Coogan admits. “They can be so boring, can’t they? There’s so many of them. When I’ve done them, it’s usually because I’ve been coerced. But the Spirit Awards’ irreverent nature is a bit more palatable. If I go down, I’ll go down in flames.”

Coogan, whose recent pic credits include “Tropic Thunder” and “Hamlet 2,” just finished a live tour in the fall. “I’m pretty used to standing in front of an audience and taking my life in my hands.”

To prepare for the Spirits gig, he’s watched tapes of prior kudocasts to see what’s been covered and how far he can go. “I won’t try to tread on Sarah Silverman’s vagina, if I can use that metaphor,” he says, referring to another infamous Silverman moment from the 2007 show.

“The host sets the tone for the day, so you want someone in that room who has credibility and can really be funny and charming — Steve is all of those things,” says Zahn-Storey.

“Besides, everyone else was hiring someone from outside the country,” she adds, referring to this year’s Oscarcast host Hugh Jackman.

Now in her 15th year with the Spirits, Zahn-Storey has worked on many of the show’s milestones. Along with IFC signing on in 1994, she’s overseen the greening of the kudocast. This year’s gathering again will be a zero-waste event: Biodiesel powers the generators, and the 1,500 guests will feast on food that comes from a 150-mile radius.

Meanwhile, liquor sponsors will be literally lubricating awards revelers as soon as they arrive. “The task is to keep people loose,” Zahn-Storey explains.

IFC and Elle magazine will host tent-adjacent lounges along with Australia.com, which is bringing in a live kangaroo for photo ops. A backstage gifting lounge, hosted by On 3 Prods., will be showering VIPs with goodies, including the brand-new Palm Pre, Koolaburra boots and Sakroots eco-totes. For each celeb who gets swagged up, Palm will make a contribution to Film Independent’s mentoring program Project:Involve.

In these rocky economic times, there have been discussions about slimming the show down, but Zahn-Storey says the Spirits are already a lean ship. The kudos are also Film Independent’s biggest fund-raiser of the year. “I’m very aware that every penny I spend is one less they have for programs,” she says.

This year the show’s famous song parodies will feature the voice talents of Christina Applegate, Teri Hatcher and Taraji P. Henson. Robyn Hitchcock will sing a track from “Rachel Getting Married,” and 2008 host Wilson will return to perform a song for “The Wrestler.”

The producers have just one requirement for the show: All the trophies must be given away within two hours — otherwise, everything is game. Well, almost everything.

“We had this idea for this joke from Steve’s act,” says Zahn-Storey. “We went to the networks with it and realized it just wouldn’t work because it would be bleeped too much. It was a song called ‘Everyone’s a Bit of a Cunt Sometimes.’ “

More Film

  • Ventana Sur: 10 or So Takes

    Ventana Sur: Drilling Down on This Year’s Edition

    BUENOS AIRES —  11 takes on the biggest Ventana Sur yet, in initiatives and initial business announcements: 1.CANNES’ MOST DARING MOVE? Over the last decade, film festivals two biggest growth roadmaps have run through strengthening their industry heft, aiding an ever more challenged independent film business, and to morph into all-year-round structures. The Cannes Festival [...]

  • Ian Schrager Ian Schrager, New York,

    Studio 54 Co-Creator Ian Schrager Wants to 'Set the Record Straight'

    In the 1970s, Studio 54 was the epicenter of New York nightlife. With wildly theatrical sets, a guest list of celebs, and jet-setters that included everyone from Andy Warhol to Grace Jones, and a pulsating disco beat, the nightclub helped define the Me Decade. But its reign was short lived. In 1980, founders Steve Rubell [...]

  • 'The Favourite,' 'Black Panther' Lead Critics'

    'The Favourite,' 'Black Panther,' 'First Man' Lead Critics' Choice Movie Nominations

    Fox Searchlight’s “The Favourite,” directed by rising art-house star Yorgos Lanthimos, led the field of film nominees for the 24th annual Critics’ Choice Awards, the Broadcast Film Critics Assn. announced Monday. The period comedy, a biting send-up of the court of Queen Anne, received 14 nominations including best picture, director, actress (Olivia Colman), supporting actress [...]

  • Blood Window, BIFFF Partner On TV

    Blood Window, Brussels International Fantastic Film Fest Partner on TV Initiative

    Argentina’s Ventana Sur, certainly one of Latin America’s most important meet-marts, announced today that its Blood Window sidebar will collaborate with INCAA – the country’s national film-TV body, which co-runs Ventana Sur with Cannes – and the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival (BIFFF) on the B2 Genre TV project, the first such program aimed at [...]

  • Film Factory Boards Andrés Wood’s Fox-Distributed

    Film Factory Boards Andres Wood’s Fox-Distributed ‘Arana’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    BUENOS AIRES — Vicente Canales’ Film Factory Entertainment has boarded “Araña,” directed by one of Chile’s foremost filmmakers, Andrés Wood, and distributed in North and Latin America by 20th Century Fox. Produced by Alejandra García at Santiago de Chile’s Wood Producciones, “Araña” is co-produced by Brazil’s BossaNovaFilms and Argentina’s Magma Cine, two of Southern America’s [...]

  • Tim Roth, Thierry Fremaux and Gaspar

    Tim Roth, Gaspar Noe Join Thierry Fremaux at Cannes Festival Cinema Week

    BUENOS AIRES — Kicking off with the Cannes Festival’s Palme d’Or winner, Hirokazu Kor-eda’s “Shoplifters,” and framing  multiple Cannes winners, the 10th Cannes Festival Cinema Week will feature a masterclass by Tim Roth, before a projection of “Reservoir Dogs,” and a presentation by Gaspar Noé of his Directors’ Fortnight hit “Climax.” Curated and M.C-ed by [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content