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Off Camera with Sam Jones

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Episodes

168. Matt Damon

11/15/2018
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For those of you watching this week’s Off Camera episode, do not adjust your sets…that is me sitting across from Matt, humiliatingly dressed head to toe in a Red Sox uniform, having lost a bet to Matt when my beloved Dodgers lost in the world series for the second year in a row. And for those of you listening or reading, well, just imagine my shame. For as long as Matt Damon can remember, he wanted to be an actor. So much so that he started his college essay with those very words. But before...

Duration:01:07:30

167. Rosamund Pike

11/8/2018
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Early on, the stage was set for Rosamund Pike to pursue a career in the performing arts. Born to two opera singers, Rosamund had a front row seat to familial emoting. She tried her hand at both music and acting, but a bout of stage fright while playing the cello forced Rosamund to recognize that she really didn’t want to play herself on stage—she was much more interested in playing other people, where her imagination was free to roam and explore. “Acting was like diving into a place where...

Duration:00:56:45

166. Hasan Minhaj

11/1/2018
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Ten years ago, a timid and fearful Hasan Minhaj turned down the opportunity to go to his dream school, UCLA, and instead made the safe choice: to live at home and commute to UC Davis. A year after making this decision, Hasan sat under the Michael Jordan poster in his childhood bedroom despondently wondering, “What have I done? I had the golden ticket, and I just chucked it out the window.” As he watched his childhood friends spread their wings and grow, Hasan made an important decision—he...

Duration:00:59:23

165. Ryan Bingham

10/25/2018
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If you ask award-winning musician Ryan Bingham where he’s from, he’ll tell you that there really isn’t one right answer. Ryan spent most of his childhood bouncing from one small Texas town to another because his father had a hard time keeping a job for longer than six months at a time. Ryan kept a half-packed cardboard box by his bedside, just in case they had to leave at a moment’s notice. “We always knew it was time to move when we’d come home, and the lights wouldn’t come on.” “Home” was...

Duration:00:59:03

164. Mary Elizabeth Winstead

10/18/2018
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Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s first true love was the ballet, but her body had other plans, and she grew a bit too tall for the grande jeté. Luckily, her favorite parts about ballet—performing, telling a story, playing different characters—are all essential tenets of acting, and Mary found herself in love anew. Her early experiences acting reinforced her love of the craft, but as she got older, she struggled to find her artistic place in an industry where women are often saddled with...

Duration:00:57:17

163. Sissy Spacek

10/11/2018
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Growing up, award-winning actress Sissy Spacek sang and danced her way through small town Texas talent shows, eventually realizing she was too big a fish for her small pond. By the time she was a teenager, Sissy set her sights on the music industry in New York City at the expense of a college education. “I went on a trip to New York, and I made friends who, at 14 years old, were top models and already working. I thought, ‘Oh god, I’m missing the boat! I’m getting old—I’ve got to get...

Duration:01:04:42

162. Javier Bardem

10/4/2018
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Acclaimed Spanish actor Javier Bardem comes from a long line of artists and filmmakers, but his love of cinema officially took shape when his mother, a working actress herself, snuck him into a movie theater to see Bob Fosse’s All that Jazz when he was 6 years old. It wasn’t exactly a Disney movie, but that didn’t matter—Javier was in awe. He wondered, “What is this mechanism of people, feelings, dance, music, colors, drama, and comedy? I want to be a part of that.” His passion and...

Duration:01:02:43

161. Eric Idle

9/27/2018
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With Monty Python’s 50th anniversary coming up, Eric Idle thought it would be nice to put things in perspective for himself by writing a memoir, so he did, and the result, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sortabiography, is a comprehensive history of his life in comedy, and also a beautiful snapshot into the creative zeitgeist of London in the 1960s and 70s. But it also details the incredible hardships he overcame as a child and the double-edged sword that fame can be. Enlightenment...

Duration:01:03:19

160. Elizabeth Olsen

9/20/2018
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It’s safe to say that Elizabeth Olsen didn’t have a normal childhood. As the other sister to the Olsen twins, Elizabeth Olsen had a front row seat to her sisters’ experience in the spotlight, media circus included, and she also witnessed what it was like to be a working actor—something she wanted to be but was embarrassed to admit. “I had this fear that people would think I didn’t earn or deserve the things I worked for because of who I was naturally associated with.” The nepotism critique...

Duration:00:58:48

159. Chris Messina

9/13/2018
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If things turned out differently, Chris Messina might have been the next Baryshnikov. But growing up, the other kids in his small Long Island town wouldn’t let him dance without a fight—the ensuing nickname “Ballerina Boy” and other more graphic homophobic slurs followed him around for most of his adolescence, as did a persistent questioning of his own identity. By the time Chris was asked to be in his school’s rendition of the musical Pippin, he almost didn’t do it. As he explains, “I was...

Duration:01:01:45

158. Paul Feig

9/6/2018
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Writer and director Paul Feig has an uncanny ability to reflect humanity. He showed us the cringe-y and torturous moments of adolescence in the cult television show Freaks and Geeks, and in his female-centric, hit comedies Bridesmaids, Ghostbusters, and Spy, his characters are honest and realistic, in addition to hilarious. Paul’s at it again with his newest foray into the art of self-examination in A Simple Favor, a film starring Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively that examines the unsettling,...

Duration:01:04:14

157. Uzo Aduba

8/30/2018
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After a particularly disheartening audition, Uzo Aduba sat on the NYC subway in tears, resigning herself to the fact that she’d never be a working television actor. “Uzo, acting is not for you. This is the universe telling you that this will never be yours,” she said to herself. So, with sushi takeout and a bottle of wine in hand, Uzo made her decision to quit, praying, “God, if you can figure out a way for me to go back to school and become a lawyer, I will go.” Of course, the universe had...

Duration:00:59:59

156. Awkwafina

8/23/2018
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Awkwafina (also known as Nora Lum) is having quite a moment. She's a part of the impressive cast of female icons (Sandra Bullock, Rihanna, Cate Blanchett, and more) in Ocean’s 8, and she’s so hilarious in Crazy Rich Asians that you’ll barely hear her next line over the sound of your own laughter. What does this moment in the spotlight feel like? Awkwafina likens it to this: “I compare it to a wall opening up and transporting you to an alternate dimension where there is no gravity, and...

Duration:01:05:38

155. Chris O'Dowd

8/16/2018
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Since his role in Bridesmaids as the charming and lovable cop who really hates littering and broken taillights, Irish-born actor Chris O’Dowd has taken audiences by storm. There was his captivating Tony award-winning performance on Broadway as Lenny in John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, and Moone Boy, a show about his upbringing that he wrote, produced, and starred in. Most recently, he’s kicking butt and taking names (and scripts and meetings) as an Irish-mobster-turned-Hollywood-producer...

Duration:01:02:55

154. Rose Byrne

8/9/2018
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Even with all of her success, Rose Byrne still spent years of her career wailing and breaking down in audition rooms. As she says, “Women often have to start with a break down scene in auditions. Do guys have to do this? No. It’s such a cliché, but it’s always crying…or she’s got her top off. The classic hits of what the female character’s doing.” Luckily, Rose hasn’t been limited to those “classic hits.” Her break out performance in America came opposite Glenn Close in FX’s thrilling legal...

Duration:01:02:13

153. Betty Gilpin

7/5/2018
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Before she was body slamming opponents as her wrestling alter-ego Liberty Belle in GLOW, Betty Gilpin was coming to terms with her own self-perception—the beta personality who sat with the bugs and observed human behavior as a kid wasn’t matching with what the industry saw on the outside. They noticed her beauty and her body, but failed to notice her “monster soup.” She pulls no punches about her own career, describing many of the parts she got as one-dimensional female stereotypes, or...

Duration:00:58:35

152. Keri Russell

6/28/2018
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After an exhausting 16-hour workday on the set of Felicity, Keri Russell treated herself to a matinée at a movie theater in Santa Monica, and a group of girls her age caught her eye. She remembers, "They were just a group of friends going on a fun road trip together, and I cried because I wanted that life. I just wanted to be a teenager." Fame and the responsibilities of work are not without their challenges, especially for a girl whose childhood was put on hold after being cast in Disney's...

Duration:00:58:01

151. Alison Brie

6/20/2018
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After spending seven years on AMC’s Mad Men and NBC’s Community, Alison Brie decided to take some time off from television. It wasn’t until she read a script based on the 80’s female wrestling show G.L.O.W. (“Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling”), that Alison decided to dive back into TV. Problem was—even with her past success, the show’s executives just weren’t convinced she could do it. Alison had to fight for the role of Ruth and endure a drawn out, emotional rollercoaster ride of an audition...

Duration:01:03:40

150. Rachel Brosnahan

6/14/2018
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Ever since she was a little girl traveling back and forth between Chicago and London with a carry-on bag filled with books, Rachel Brosnahan has been a lover of storytelling. Eventually, the joy of entering the world of fantasy and exploring her imagination opened Rachel’s eyes to the performing arts. By the time she applied to college, becoming an actress was her goal, despite the concerns of her parents. As Rachel says, “Nobody wants their kid to come home and say, ‘Mom, Dad, I’m going to...

Duration:01:03:28

149. Sarah Paulson

6/7/2018
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From the outside, it would appear that Sarah Paulson, after her Emmy award-winning performance as prosecutor Marcia Clark in The People v. O.J. Simpson, has "made it." She's got a role in Ocean's 8, her first "big sh**-kicker, popcorn movie,” and has the luxury of sifting through multiple film and television offers to choose a part that “sparks something inside of her.” What more could an actor want? But that's exactly the problem for Sarah. She wants the want. Without it, she finds herself...

Duration:01:05:28