Oscar-winning filmmaker Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13) discusses his new documentary Pavarotti. He talks about the art of filmmaking and storytelling, how he approaches a documentary versus a narrative film about a real person, and how he got the idea to present Pavarotti’s story as an opera. We get into Pavarotti the romantic, how Ron got the various women of Pavarotti’s life to participate in the film, and why Pavarotti often compared his famous voice to a tempestuous lover. He tells the story of how the Three Tenors were formed, and how Pavarotti took opera into sports stadiums and the mainstream by collaborating with everyone from Steve Wonder to Sting. Plus we talk about Pavarotti’s enormous appetite, his even bigger heart for charity, and Ron’s own chance encounter with this opera legend.
Neil Gaiman talks about adapting his book Good Omens for television, the book’s long journey to the screen, and how he took the reins as show-runner in a promise to his late co-author Terry Pratchett. Neil recalls the origins of their book as a fable about nature vs nurture and opens up about the on screen cameo that was just too painful for him to film. He discusses his writing process, how he manages to avoid distractions, and why he chooses to write across many different mediums. Plus Neil shares the story of the time he and Michael Sheen accidentally dined on an endangered species and got a front row seat for a federal raid.
Neil Gaiman's six-part limited series Good Omens stars Michael Sheen and David Tennant and is available on Amazon Prime Video beginning Friday, May 31st. Keep up with Neil at www.neilgaiman.com and follow him on Twitter at @neilhimself. Today's podcast was sponsored by Udacity.
Liam Cunningham discusses his 7 epic seasons as Sir Davos Seaworth on Game of Thrones and going from fighting "White Walkers" to fighting Ebola in National Geographic Channel's limited series The Hot Zone. We also talk about his original audition for Game of Thrones, why he first thought he got the polite brush off from the series creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, and what it's like when he encounters hard-core GoT fans in person. Then Liam discusses the true story of America’s close call with Ebola in 1989, the very real threat of a new outbreak in the U.S. today, the danger of the modern anti-vaxxer movement, and the importance of striking the right balance between rational and irrational fears. He talks about filming The Hot Zone in the South African bush, his early years working as an electrician in neighboring Zimbabwe, and how the experience directly led to his pursuing a career in acting. Plus he reveals the secret to not getting killed off by Game of Thrones producers Benioff and Weiss, we debate whether a knight can really create another knight, and we attempt to figure out who was responsible for that infamous Starbucks cup!
The six-night television event The Hot Zone premieres on Memorial Day, May 27, at 9/8C on National Geographic Channel. Visit www.nationalgeographic.com for more info and behind-the-scenes extras, and follow Liam on Twitter at @liamcunningham1. Today's episode was sponsored by Hackable podcast. Subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts and leave us a review, follow us on Twitter at @KickassNewsPod, and take our listener survey at www.podsurvey.com/kick.
Bill Hader (SNL, Trainwreck, Barry) talks about his childhood love of film, his early days as a struggling production assistant in Hollywood, and how he's finally getting back to his cinematic roots with his dark comedy series Barry. He discusses directing the much talked about episode 5 this season, how he staged an epic 30 minute fight scene, and why he had to hire a construction crew to build him the perfect tree. Hader recalls his original audition for Saturday Night Live, his first meeting with Lorne Michaels, and a few of his favorite obscure impressions from SNL. He shares what he learned about story from his time in the writers room on South Park and how his love of cheesy true crime shows like Forensic Files and Snapped inform the grittier aspects of Barry.
Watch the season finale of Barry this Sunday May 19 on HBO. For more on Barry including out-takes and behind the scenes extras, Visit www.hbo.com/barry for more on Barry including outtakes and behind-the-scenes extras. Today's episode was sponsored by Kronos HR Solutions and BetterHelp.com. Subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts and leave us a review, follow us on Twitter at @KickassNewsPod, and take our listener survey at www.podsurvey.com/kick.
Oscar nominated actor and director Sir Kenneth Branagh is the greatest living interpreter of the works of William Shakespeare, and today he talks about his life long love of Shakespeare and stepping into the shoes of his hero for his new film All Is True. Branagh discusses why he chose to focus on the three years following Shakespeare’s retirement and why he wasn’t afraid to deviate from the accepted biography and embrace the mystery around the man. He talks about teaming up with writer Ben Elton, forgoing digital graphics in favor traditional matte painting techniques, and the makeup that transformed Kenneth Branagh into the bard himself. Plus he weighs in on the rumors that the mysterious "dark lady" in Shakespeare’s love sonnets might not have been a lady at all, the sex scandals that embroiled Shakespeare's family in his final years, and speculation that William Shakespeare wasn't the real author of his famous plays.
Kenneth Branagh's film All Is True opens in New York and LA on Friday, May 10 followed by a wide release. Check your local listings for showtimes. Subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts and leave us a review, follow us on Twitter at @KickassNewsPod, and take our short listener survey at www.podsurvey.com/kick.
Jeff Bridges discusses his 6 decades in Hollywood and what he learned about acting from dad Lloyd Bridges. He recalls the "Little Rascals" version of Tucker that he and Francis Ford Coppola made prior to filming, laughing it up with Robin Williams and Terry Gilliam on the set of The Fisher King, and how he and his brother Beau tested each other in The Fabulous Baker Boys. He shares stories about making The Last Picture Show, King Kong, Heaven's Gate, The Contender, and True Grit. He talks about his Big Lebowski fandom, how he feels about being identified with his iconic character "the Dude," and why he says the Dude is a zenmaster. Then Jeff Bridges gets zen about the environment with his new documentary Living in the Future's Past. He discusses how we can take a more global approach to climate change, explains the evolutionary roots of our energy consumption, and says humans collectively form a super-organism that is exhausting resources at a faster and faster pace. He calls for the removal of politics from the climate debate and suggests how everyone can make individual changes that can have a big impact.
Keep up with Jeff at www.jeffbridges.com and be sure to catch his film Living in the Future's Past. This podcast was sponsored by Heineken and Espresso Monster. Visit Kickass News at www.kickassnews.com, subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts, and follow us on twitter at @KickassNewsPod.
John C. Reilly and Steve Coogan discuss their childhood love of the Laurel & Hardy movies, stepping into the shoes of the legendary comedy duo for their new film Stan & Ollie, and the transformation that allowed John to step in the famously large pants of Oliver Hardy. They share how Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy's 35 year showbiz partnership was a lot like a marriage, what it was like for Steve and John to find that same chemistry (having never worked together before), and how their director's emergency apendactomy gave them an opportunity to bond during an impromptu pilgrimage to Stan Laurel's hometown in England. Plus John C. Reilly talks about being part of another famous comedy duo with Will Ferrell, Steve and John reveal how they recreated some of Laurel and Hardy's most iconic routines, and we debate the pros and cons of the old Hollywood studio system and the controversy over Oliver Hardy’s most memorable line.
Stan & Ollie which opens in theatres in New York and Los Angeles this Friday December 28. Visit www.sonyclassics.com/stanandollie for showtimes and more information. Today's podcast was sponsored by BetDSI.com. Subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts, visit our website at www.kickassnews.com, and follow us on twitter at @KickassNewsPod.
Paul Lieberstein (THE OFFICE) talks about his 20 year struggle with crippling back pain inspired his funny and moving directorial debut film SONG OF BACK AND NECK. He shares how the king of indie filmmaking Mark Duplass convinced him to make the movie himself rather than selling it to a Hollywood studio, how he made something as seemingly mundane as back pain visually interesting on the screen, and the complications that arise when you're directing yourself. We talk about his nine seasons playing Toby on THE OFFICE and what it was like to do double duty as actor and show runner. He reveals that NBC initially didn’t think the show would last more than a few episodes and weighs in recent talk of an OFFICE revival. Plus, he addresses how THE OFFICE’s Michael Scott might fare in the age of Me Too, whether there was more to Michael Scott’s visceral hatred for Toby, and some favorite fan theories including one that suggests that Toby was secretly the "Scranton killer."
Watch Paul Lieberstein's wonderful film SONG OF BACK AND NECK available on Video on Demand, and follow Paul on twitter at @PaulLieberstein. Today's podcast was sponsored by Espresso Monster, BetDSI.com, Zeel, and Ben Sasse's audiobook Them: Why We Hate Each Other and How to Heal. Subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts, visit our website at www.kickassnews.com, and follow us on twitter at @KickassNewsPod.
Oscar-nominated actor Willem Dafoe (Platoon, Spiderman, The Grand Budapest Hotel) shares how his beginnings in experimental theater inform his acting, what draws him to independent films, and what it’s like to make his 100th movie. He talks about how his latest film At Eternity's Gate challenges the image of Vincent Van Gogh as a unappreciated mad genius and rethinks the constructs of the traditional biopic. He reveals what it was like to immerse himself in Van Gogh’s world and find his inspiration in the very same scenery that inspired one of the greatest artists of all time. He discusses the pressure of having to recreate iconic works art in real time and in front of the camera, and how artist/director Julian Schnabel taught him to "paint the light." Plus we talk about the time Willem Dafoe tried to summon the ghost of Houdini and the beauty of "embracing the mystery in life."
See Willem Dafoe in At Eternity's Gate opening in theaters November 16. Today's episode was sponsored by National Security Agency Career Recruitment, Homecoming on Amazon Prime Video, and Loop Jewelry. Visit Kickass News at www.kickassnews.com, subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts, and follow us on twitter at @KickassNewsPod.
The Simpsons's longest-serving writer/producer Mike Reiss celebrates the 30th anniversary of the longest running show in TV history and shares stories, scandals, and gossip about working with America’s most iconic cartoon family. He talks about his early days writing for the Harvard Lampoon and why Lampoon alums make up half the writers rooms in Hollywood. He recalls working on The Tonight Show, how his only meeting with Johnny Carson was just like being a guest on his show, and a Carnac joke taught him that there’s just no science to comedy. He discusses coming on board the first episode of The Simpsons, why Fox had little faith in the first primetime cartoon since The Flintstones, and why The Simpsons became a cultural phenomenon right out of the gate. He reveals that Simpsons characters are just bad impersonations of old movie stars, how the writers add special guest roles into the script just to meet their childhood heroes, and Mike shares a few of favorite celebrity guests and some of the ones that got away. He talks about the fans' love/hate relationship with the show, some of the crazier conspiracy theories swirling around The Simpsons, and the show's complicated relationship with Seth McFarlane's Family Guy. Plus Mike Reiss tells me which countries have actually banned and even sued The Simpsons and how his own popular children's book got boycotted by the Texas Board of Education.
Order Springfield Confidential: Jokes, Secrets, and Outright Lies from a Lifetime Writing for The Simpsons on Amazon or Audible. Watch The Simpsons every Sunday night on Fox and follow Mike Reiss on Twitter at @MikeReissWriter. Today's podcast is sponsored by Michelin Premiere Tires and Dollar Shave Club.
New York Times culture reporter Dave Itzkoff talks about the surprisingly patrician upbringing of Robin Williams, his time studying to be a serious actor at Julliard, and Robin's early influences as a comedian. Dave reveals how Star Wars helped Williams land the role of Mork the Ork, and why his shenangigans on Mork and Mindy might have landed him in hot water in the age of #MeToo. He discusses Robin’s gradual evolution as a movie star, and why Hollywood didn’t really know what to do with him at first. Dave shares how John Belushi’s overdose scared Robin Williams straight, what eventually caused him to fall back into addiction some 20 years later, and how a rare disease led to his tragic suicide. Plus Dave Itzkoff recalls his own favorite personal encounters with the comedian, and why Robin always wanted to give total strangers what he called “an authentic Robin Williams experience.”
Order Dave Itzkoff's book Robin on Amazon or Audible. Read more by Dave Itzkoff in the New York Times and follow Dave on Twitter at @ditzkoff. Today's podcast is sponsored by The Daily Show w/ Trevor Noah: Ears Edition, LegalShield, and Dollar Shave Club.
The cast and creator of THE DEATH OF STALIN talk about mining one of Russia’s darkest chapters for comedy and some of absurd but true stories that make into THE DEATH OF STALIN. Writer/director Armando Ianucci (VEEP, THE THICK OF IT) talks about how fighting ruthless authoritarians is a family tradition for him, why Russian officials think his movie is part of a western plot destabilize that country, and why the creator of VEEP is finally ready to give politics a break for a while.
Steve Buscemi (BOARDWALK EMPIRE, RESERVOIR DOGS, FARGO) discusses playing Nikita Kruschev in THE DEATH OF STALIN, his early career in standup comedy, how he says Stalin’s inner circle was more like The Three Stooges, and why his old AOL account is the best insurance against Russia hackers. Andrea Riseborough (BIRDMAN, OBLIVION)who portrays Svetlana Stalina talks about the illusive relationship between the ruthless dictator and his daughter and some of her favorite British comedies.
THE DEATH OF STALIN opens in theaters on Friday, March 9. For more information, visit www.DeathOfStalin.co.uk or www.ifcfilms.com. Today’s podcast was sponsored by Grasshopper, ZQuiet, Hulu's The Looming Tower, Google Cloud Platform Podcast, and the VMWare Executive Perspective Podcast.
Chris Cantwell and Chris Rogers are the creators, show-runners, and executive producers of AMC's Halt and Catch Fire, and today they talk about the real stories and personalities that inspired them to create the fictional series about the personal computer revolution that came out of the Texas "Silicon Prairie" in the 1980's.
We discuss the constant tug of war between the programmers and the visionaries in the tech industry and which Steve they'd rather be (Wozniak or Jobs). They hint at what we can expect in season 3 including moving the show's setting to Silicon Valley and a shift in focus from the PC boom to the birth of the internet. Plus, our collective love of dysfunctional 80's robots.
Be sure to watch the 2-hour season premiere of Halt and Catch Fire at 9PM Eastern on Tuesday (8/23) on AMC. For more information, visit www.AMC.com. You can follow Chris Cantwell on Twitter at @ifyoucantwell and Chris Rogers at @CCR.
Please subscribe to Kickass News and leave us a review. And support the show by donating at www.patreon.com/kickassnews or www.gofundme.com/kickassnews. Visit www.kickassnewspodcast.com for more fun stuff. Thanks for listening!