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The Business


The Business is a weekly podcast featuring lively banter about entertainment industry news and in-depth interviews with directors, producers, writers and actors. The show is hosted by award-winning journalist Kim Masters of The Hollywood Reporter and produced by KCRW. Past guests include Norman Lear, Ava DuVernay, Matt Damon and Ice Cube.

The Business is a weekly podcast featuring lively banter about entertainment industry news and in-depth interviews with directors, producers, writers and actors. The show is hosted by award-winning journalist Kim Masters of The Hollywood Reporter and produced by KCRW. Past guests include Norman Lear, Ava DuVernay, Matt Damon and Ice Cube.


Santa Monica, CA




The Business is a weekly podcast featuring lively banter about entertainment industry news and in-depth interviews with directors, producers, writers and actors. The show is hosted by award-winning journalist Kim Masters of The Hollywood Reporter and produced by KCRW. Past guests include Norman Lear, Ava DuVernay, Matt Damon and Ice Cube.






1900 Pico Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90405 310-450-5183


Pakistani actor Kumail Nanjiani was unprepared for US cultural shock

When actor, writer, and producer Kumail Nanjiani was 18, he moved from Karachi, Pakistan - a city of more than 9 million people - to the United States to attend Grinnell College, a small, private liberal arts college in Iowa in 1997. The town of Grinnell’s population was about 9,000 then. Though he had visited New York as a teenager, and “sort of knew America the way it is in movies,” he was not prepared for the cultural shock.


Actor Kumail Nanjiani on accepting a non-comedic role

After writing and starring in the film “The Big Sick” in 2017, actor and comedian Kumail Nanjiani says writer-director and producer Robert Siegel (“Pam and Tommy,” “Big Fan,” “The Wrestler”) approached him with an idea to make a drama film about the American stripper troupe Chippandales. At the time, Nanjiani turned it down.


Director James Gray, Peter Kujawski discuss ‘Armageddon Time’

For Peter Kujawski, chairman of Focus Features, it was “very simple and easy” to greenlight James Gray’s drama “Armageddon Time.” Gray had written the script before the pandemic shut down of March 2020. By that Summer, Kujawski got a call from Roeg Sutherland, a talent agent from CAA, saying he had something that he should look at. Sutherland knew Kujawski was a “gigantic fan” of Gray’s work and he was in a position to say yes to the project. “I was predisposed because of my fanship,”...


Larry Wilmore on defying stereotypes, building sprawling career

Actor, comedian, writer, and producer Larry Wilmore has been in show biz for four decades. He has written for dozens of iconic TV shows, including “In Living Color,” “The Office,” and “Black-ish.” But early in his career, he says a Black comedian who didn’t fit a stereotype didn’t have a job.


Replay: Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy shares her path from making docs to directing ‘Ms. Marvel’

This week, The Business revisits a conversation with filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, who is now being tapped to direct an upcoming “Star Wars” movie, along with Damon Lindelof, who will develop and co-write it. Obaid-Chinoy will be the first woman and person of color at the helm of this movie franchise. Recently, the two-time Academy Award winner directed two episodes of Disney’s limited series “Ms. Marvel.” She shares with Kim Masters her path from making intimate documentary shorts in her...


Documentary filmmaker absorbs the American South’s history in ‘Descendant’

Documentary filmmaker Margaret Brown was born and raised in Mobile, Ala., and has had an absorbing interest in the American South, including her 2004 documentary “Be Here to Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt.” But only while filming “The Order of Myths,” in 2008, she learned of the last known slave ship brought to the United States in the late 1850s, and the nearby community former slaves formed. “I didn't remember learning about that in school. That was the first time I had heard of...


Ronan Farrow and Kim Masters on whether Hollywood has changed since #MeToo broke five years ago

It’s been five years since The New York Times and Ronan Farrow, contributing writer for The New Yorker, broke Havey Weinstein’s story of criminal conduct. “There was a lot of frustration in the national conversation about gender and sexual violence, and then, Harvey's place in Hollywood changed, and maybe in some subtle ways Hollywood started to change,” he says.


‘Interview with the Vampire’: ‘AMC has grand plans for the Anne Rice world’

After AMC acquired the rights to Anne Rice’s major literary works in 2020, the network tasked producer Mark Johnson (“Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul”) to oversee its ambitious new project of making shows out of the author’s 18 supernatural novels. First is “Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire” on AMC+, telling the love story of two vampires, Louis de Pointe du Lac (Jacob Anderson) and Lestat de Lioncourt (Sam Reid) in early 20th century New Orleans. For the more sensual scenes, an...


A show about showbiz: Steven Levitan's comedy ‘Reboot' follows a dysfunctional cast

Steven Levitan was still working on his ABC’s hit-show “Modern Family'' when the network decided to revive the sitcom “Roseanne” after a 20-year hiatus. But after finishing its 10th season, the show was canceled under a cloud of internal rift between cast members and turmoil with ABC executives. That incident made Levitan reflect on the industry. “It made me think about what an interesting situation it is for people to come back together again after many years, and [how] in this business,...

Scientology defector Mike Rinder on his memoir ‘A Billion Years’

Mike Rinder spent most of his life as a member of the Church of Scientology International. He joined as a child, and by the age of 18, he signed the organization's Sea Org contract, pledging loyalty and allegiance to the church, while committing all of his future lifetimes to it as well. But after years of emotional and physical abuse, he left the organization in 2007. “I didn't make it all the way through to the end, that's for sure,” he says. Now, Rinder discusses his just released memoir...


Actor Billy Eichner on co-writing and starring in the gay rom-com ‘Bros’

Comedy is not exactly in vogue among big studios, so when filmmakers Judd Apatow and Nicholas Stoller approached actor Billy Eichner about making ‘Bros,’ the first big-studio, big-screen LGBTQ+ rom-com for Universal Pictures, he was skeptical. “I have an openly gay man in comedy for over 20 years,” he said, “and I am telling you that even the most gay-friendly execs at a major studio are not going to greenlight this movie. And even if they do, they're not going to let me tell it in an...


Aubrey Plaza, John Patton Ford on the student-loan anxiety thriller ‘Emily the Criminal’

When Aubrey Plaza’s colleague handed her the script for “Emily the Criminal,” she was immediately struck by it. “It was just one of those scripts that I started to read, and I just flew through it,” she says. “It's so readable and fun…it has this momentum that propels you forward.” While Plaza had found her next great project, director John Patton Ford explains why it took 12 years to write the story. With Plaza, they discuss the struggles of making “Emily The Criminal” and independent...


Filmmaker Kevin Smith talks ‘Clerks III’ and industry changes

In 1994 Kevin Smith wrote, produced, and directed his first feature “Clerks.” The movie became a cult classic, and Smith introduced the audience to Jay and Silent Bob, the fictional friends portrayed by Jason Mewes and Smith, respectively. Despite the film’s success, the filmmaker reveals he didn’t necessarily have a plan moving forward. “There's never been a career path,” he says. “There's never been, ‘One day I'll get to the Oscar.’ No, not at all.” Almost three decades later, Smith...


‘The Territory’ director on making a documentary in the Amazon rainforest

Documentarian Alex Pritz didn’t have a background in film. He studied environmental science in college and was certain he wanted to be a scientist to “work on these big problems plaguing our planet,” he says. But at the end of his time at university, he realized that film was a better way to engage with big issues. “I have always been interested in participatory video working with communities that are experiencing conflicts and challenges to help them use film as a method of advocacy and...


Replay: Writer Danny Strong on his quest to make Hulu’s ‘Dopesick’

This week, The Business revisits a conversation with Danny Strong, writer, producer, and creator of “Dopesick,” which has 14 Emmy nominations for the portrayal of the evils of Purdue Pharma. Before co-creating the hit show “Empire,” Strong won accolades for writing two HBO movies based on real events: “Recount” and “Game Change,” as well as “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.” So when he decided to make a series about the opioid epidemic based on Beth Macy’s book “Dopesick,” he thought he’d be met...


'Yellowjackets' creators on collaborating to make their hit Showtime series

Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson are co-creators and co-executive producers of the series “Yellowjackets” on Showtime. The married team say they bonded over a revision class and have been collaborating ever since, but they write the series from the retreat of their own spaces. “We definitely cannot be in the same room when we're working,” Lyle quips. Writing this complex show is a joint effort where they pick a different starting point, and repeatedly review each other’s work. But their...


Peter Jackson: ‘I can talk about The Beatles till the cows come home’

Filmmaker Peter Jackson was 3 years old when The Beatles first appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show” on February 9,1964. His family didn’t own a television and he didn’t see the original airing because he believes New Zealand didn’t broadcast the TV show. “Even though I was born in 1961, I kind of don't really have a story or any memory of The Beatles in the ‘60s, which is crazy because I lived all the way through that period,” Jackson remarks. His parents were not “rock and rollers,” he says,...


Steve Martin can't imagine 'Only Murders in the Building' without Selena Gomez

Actor, comedian, musician, and producer Steve Martin had been invited to one of talent manager’s Sandy Gallin’s showbiz parties in New York. There, he recalls seeing a lot of actors, including three older ones, when Gallin suggested he should write something for them. “I thought, ‘That's a good idea: three older guys who live in a building and solve murders because they don't have anything else to do,’” Martin recalls. His premise was: “They're too tired to go downtown to investigate things,...


Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic on career-defining film 'Murina'

Filmmaker Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic’s debut feature “Murina” won best first film at Cannes last year. Though it may seem like a story of instant success, the Croatian director says she spent years educating and establishing herself. When something happens “out of the blue and overnight, it's actually ten years of work behind it,” she explains. Kusijanovic had worked at different film companies and affirms those connections helped her finance the 2017 short film “Into the Blue.” The path to...


B.J. Novak reflects on his career from comedy to directing his debut film “Vengeance”

B.J. Novak knows a thing or two about comedic writing. He spent a lot of time in the writers’ room and starred as Ryan Howard on NBC’s hit series “The Office.” Now, he’s taking his writing skills to the big screen, debuting as a director in the comedy-thriller, “Vengeance.” “When you realize someone has a little regret in their eyes… you could be very careful with an actor and see how you could capture that in a shot,” he says. For him, it’s all the same, but “being able to learn how to...