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Bullet in the Face — Photos, press release, première date and controversy !

When Evan Shapiro (IFC & Sundance Channel president) departed his post in April, the forthcoming IFC original comedy Bullet in the Face lost its biggest champion. And champions are exactly what a show like Bullet needs considering that the broad, over-the-top half-hour may be the most violent comedy in television history. According to sources, when IFC execs screened the 6-episode series, there was shock and nervousness in the room. And now the controversial Bullet, which was not mentioned during IFC’s upfront presentation in March, is being scheduled in a very odd pattern : 3 episodes back-to-back on 2 consecutive nights : August 16 and August 17, from 10 PM-11:30 PM.

The uncertainty of what to do with Bullet in the Face is understandable. While its first 3 screened episodes show it to be uproarious and twisted, it’s also rife with cinematic-level violence and wildly politically incorrect imagery. It stars Max Williams as Gunter Vogler, a brutally psychopathic, deliriously misogynistic German assassin-turned-cop. The character is utterly without conscience or filter, shooting people indiscriminately and accompanying it with radically offensive invective. The blood spurts freely and often. But here is the kind of stuff that may have spooked IFC into turning Bullet into a 2-night event rather than a weekly series : we see Gunter in a church using a crucifix as a backscratcher and casually lumping former VP Dick Cheney with Hitler and Stalin in conversation. He mows down basketball players on a court as if taking target practice. It isn’t difficult to see watchdog groups taking offense at the material and using it to demonize IFC.

Bullet in the Face comes from the mind of creator-exec producer Alan Spencer, the mastermind behind the 1980s ABC classic Sledge Hammer. In announcing the project last year, IFC hinted at its unusual nature. When they ordered the series, Debbie DeMontreux, SVP Original Programming, said : “Bullet in the Face melds the best of the action/thriller genre with IFC’s comedic sensibility. This is television like viewers have never seen before”. The last statement, usually a PR cliché, may prove to be exactly right this time. Still, the network probably expected something more in the mocking and gentler vein of Spencer’s Sledge Hammer. Instead, they got an outrageous bloodfest.

Alan Spencer, creator of the show, said : “IFC came to me about developing a half-hour action comedy and it somehow turned into the most violent sitcom ever made. But the IFC team has been very supportive. One episode featured beheadings and their only note was that the heads be tastefully handled. The show did make some people nervous, but mostly over how to position it. A show where people get shot in the face multiple times isn’t compatible with repeats of Malcolm in the Middle”.

Jennifer Caserta, IFC's new president, said : “We're standing by Bullet in the Face, no one feels uneasy about putting the show on the air. We think we’ve given it a really great airing window (after a broadcast of Sin City), designed to take advantage of the comedy’s manic, barbaric sensibility. This is a concept that only a network like IFC would take a chance on. We’re calling it pulp comedy. Alan was able to create a world and a cast of characters and real dialogue to fit this new genre we felt we were creating together. It’s incredibly unique in its execution, and that will fit very well with the way we’re scheduling it. This doesn’t represent an attempt to bury the show so it wouldn’t be widely seen. We’ve never run away from content like this before, and we’re not now. We embrace it and laugh at it and celebrate the absurdity".

Source : Deadline.

Here's the original press release announcing the show :

Production began on October 6, 2011 in Montréal on IFC's newest original scripted series, Bullet in the Face, a six-part, half-hour comedic action thriller.

Alan Spencer developed the series with producers Jesse Prupas and Evi Regev. The series is directed by Erik Canuel and will début on IFC in summer 2012.

The cast includes Max Williams (as Gunter Vogler), Neil Napier (as Lieutenant Karl Hagerman), Jessica Steen (as Commissioner Eva Braden) and Kate Kelton (as Martine Mahler), alongside Eddie Izzard & Eric Roberts as crime lords.

Following a botched jewel heist, sociopath criminal Gunter Vogler awakens in a hospital, surrounded by cops, his head wrapped in bandages. When the bandages come off Gunter's new face is revealed and police force him to work undercover to take down the city's crime lords.

Debbie DeMontreux, senior VP of original programming at IFC, said : "Bullet in the Face melds the best of the action/thriller genre with IFC's comedic sensibility. This is television like viewers have never seen before and Alan Spencer is the perfect 'slightly off' talent to help us bring this new format to audiences. "We are proud to say that Bullet in the Face is unlike anything else out there, combining hilarity, thrills and non-stop action", say executive producers Michael Prupas and Bruce Hills. "I am very happy to be doing this show for a network that is 'slightly off' as I have been off my whole life", commented Alan Spencer.

Other IFC (semi-)scripted original comedy series include The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, The Onion News Network, Portlandia and Comedy Bang Bang and Bunk.

Source : TVBTN.

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