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The Fretts on Film Interview: Alex Karpovsky on “Girls,” “Red Flag” and The Coen Bros.

January 11, 2013

Season 2 of HBO’s buzzworthy comedy Girls launches Sunday, January 13, and this time, it’s all about the guys. Well, not really, but the first few episodes are dominated by two moonlighting NBC sitcom stars—Community‘s Donald Glover (as Lena Dunham’s Republican boyfriend) and The New Normal‘s Andrew Rannells (as her bisexual ex)—as well as returning “love” interests played by Adam Driver, Jorma Taccone and Alex Karpovsky. At this week’s fabulous premiere party, my trusty TV Guide Magazine assistant, Elizabeth Wagmeister, spoke with Karpovsky about his own moonlighting on the big screen.

The gifted comic actor, who steals scenes as Ray, Zosia Mamet’s filter-free deflowerer on Girls, has written and directed a hilarious indie farce, Red Flag, which will hit theaters and VOD in February. In it, he plays “Alex Karpovsky,” a narcissistic indie filmmaker whose Southern road trip to promote his flick Woodpecker turns into an awkward triangle with a stalker-ish groupie and a children’s-book illustrator. Karpovsky and Driver also appear in the Coen Brothers’ upcoming ’60s folk-music opus Inside Llewyn Davis. Here’s what he had to say:

What inspired you to make Red Flag?

Fear of loneliness. I was committed to do this tour of another movie I made a few years ago across the South, and I was going to do it by myself. It’s kind of a lo-fi operation—you drive your rental car six hours a day from one screening to another. But it just seemed incredibly lonely and I was afraid of the loneliness. So I basically cobbled together some friends and wrote a quick screenplay and we shot it. But the main point of it was not to explore a theme or share a part of my life—it was just to hang with friends and hopefully make something constructive and worthwhile.

How was the experience creating the film with your friends?

So much fun. So much fun. Besides Girls, probably the most fun I’ve ever had doing something creatively.

Who is your character in Inside Llewyn Davis?

In the movie, there’s sort of an uptown and a downtown circle—it’s mostly downtown—but there’s a little uptown circle that sort of satellites the main planet of the downtown music scene. And the downtown scene is about the musicians and the music. And the uptown scene is about mostly academics and people who are curious about the groovy happenings downtown, but are too afraid or hesitant to actually go commit themselves to it so they just kind of like to glean information of what’s going on. I’m in the latter camp—I play an Upper West Side academic who is intrigued, but doesn’t get his hands too dirty.

In real life, what aspects would you be drawn to? Uptown or downtown?

I like to think of myself as a downtown man!

Was it a coincidence that you and Adam Driver are in it together or do you think someone liked you two on screen together from viewing Girls?

I think [it’s a coincidence] because we have no scenes together, and I didn’t know that he was in the movie until I saw a Polaroid of him in the makeup truck. I was like, ‘That’s not—wait, is that Adam Driver?’ They’re like, ‘Yeah, you know him?’ This was before Girls aired. So that’s how I found out.

Are you psyched for Girls‘ new season and Karpovsky’s movies? Post a comment!

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