The Netflix series 'Unbelievable' is based on a true story about how one team of cops pursued a serial rapist while another disbelieved and bullied a victim. Showrunner Susannah Grant tells us about turning a Pulitzer Prize winning news story into a scripted series. She also shares her thoughts on how to depict rape on screen and talks about speaking with the victim whose story is at the heart of the series.
Hot off Toronto, where ‘Hustlers’ won raves, Lorene Scafaria tells us about her fight to direct the movie, which is based on her script about a real-life group of strippers who robbed their Wall Street clientele. She finally won that battle, then the picture got dropped by Annapurna and then saved by STX. Scafaria also talks Jennifer Lopez's intense training to do that insane pole dance.
Five months after firing their agents, members of the Writers Guild are still at war with the major agencies over packaging fees. In the heat of the ongoing union election, we explore a couple of perspectives on the two groups competing for Guild leadership.
For years, Ryan O’Connell was in the closet: not because he’s gay, which he is, but because he was ashamed of having cerebral palsy. His cover? He’d been hit by a car--which was true. But eventually, that lie took a toll. With his Netflix series ‘Special,’ O’Connell is out in a big way. He tells us about the 4-year struggle to find a home for his autobiographical comedy, which is now nominated for 4 Emmys.
When Ben Berman set out to make ‘The Amazing Johnathan Documentary,’ he figured it would be a poignant film about an ailing comedian and magician. But very quickly, Berman found himself wondering: was he making a movie about Jonathan, or was Johnathan roping him into a project of his own. Berman shares the crazy story of making ‘The Amazing Johnathan Documentary,’ which is now available on Hulu.
Julianne Moore joins us with her husband, writer-director Bart Freundlich, to talk about their careers and their new drama, ‘After the Wedding,’ the fourth film they’ve made together. Moore offers some advice to actors just starting out, tells us how she picks her projects, and she and Freundlich discuss the struggle that comes with trying to get an indie melodrama like ‘After the Wedding’ financed.
When Gurinder Chadha set out to make a movie based on journalist Sarfraz Manzoor’s memoir about the effect of Bruce Springsteen music on his life, she had one small problem. The movie couldn’t work without Springsteen’s songs. So when she and Manzoor snagged a moment with The Boss on a red carpet, they took their shot. Incredibly, it worked. Chadha and Manzoor tell the tale of their film ‘Blinded by the Light.'
When filmmaker Lulu Wang set out to write and direct a personal movie based on a real-life family saga, she had a clear vision for an American film, largely set in China, mostly in Mandarin. But buyers weren’t biting. Wang tells us about her circuitous route to finally making ‘The Farewell,’ which has turned into the indie success story of the summer.
In Lynn Shelton’s new comic caper film 'Sword of Trust,' Marc Maron plays a pawnbroker who gets caught up in a scheme to sell a Civil War artifact of dubious provenance. Shelton and Maron tell us about making the movie in 12 days in Alabama, and about shooting an extended, improvised, soul-baring monologue in the back of a sweltering box truck...for nine hours.
Sarah Scott was a working actress in Hollywood with the usual ups and downs of a life in the entertainment industry. But, last year while shooting a pilot, Scott says she was harassed and assaulted by a fellow actor. She took the case to her union and the result was not completely satisfying.
Filmmaker Reginald Hudlin recently directed the new documentary ‘The Black Godfather’ for Netflix, but he’s held a lot of other jobs, including writing ‘Black Panther’ comics and running BET...at the same time. He tells us about those years, plus, working with Quentin Tarantino. We’ve also got some goodies from cinematographer Caleb Deschanel on Disney’s new ‘Lion King.’
Actress, director, producer Elizabeth Banks is a member of a very small club: women who make commercial big-studio movies. After directing ‘Pitch Perfect 2’ and a ‘Charlie’s Angels’ reboot set for release this fall, plus producing the heartfelt Hulu comedy ‘Shrill,’ Banks has even bigger ambitions. She talks about getting bored with acting and moving into producing, directing, and making it in the mainstream.
In 1989, a young sailor named Tracy Edwards made history when she skippered the first all-female crew in a round-the-world race aboard a secondhand yacht named Maiden. Twenty-five years later, Edwards learned Maiden had been abandoned, and at the same time, someone wanted to make a film about her. Sailor Tracy Edwards and director Alex Holmes tell us about saving Maiden the boat, and making ‘Maiden’ the movie.
Over the course of its record-breaking 15 seasons, ABC's 'Grey's Anatomy' has never shied away from tough subjects. When a recent script included a scene of a patient undergoing a rape kit exam, the network wanted some changes. 'Grey's Anatomy' showrunner Krista Vernoff and writer Elisabeth Finch tell us how, with an assist from Shonda Rhimes, they got their powerful episode about consent to air as written.
Writer-producer Simon Kinberg has worked on the X-Men movie franchise since 2006. ‘Dark Phoenix’ was his directorial debut. The film got panned by critics and opened to only $33 million in the U.S. We talked to Kinberg a few days after that brutal weekend. He shares his perspective on what went wrong and tells us about the reshoots, release date changes, and working at Fox in the midst of Disney's takeover.
A week after TV writer Liz Feldman lost a family member unexpectedly and found out her fertility treatment had failed again, she took a meeting with some producers, having been told she didn’t need to come with ideas. So she was immersed in loss and blindsided when she was asked for ideas after all. A seasoned improvisor, Feldman delivered. That quick pitch turned into the Netflix series ‘Dead to Me,’ a funny show about grief.
You may have never heard of Clarence Avant, but this enigmatic manager, producer and record executive has touched the lives of a wide array of people you have heard of: Bill Withers, Hank Aaron, Barack Obama. Director Reginald Hudlin tells us about his new Netflix documentary ‘The Black Godfather,’ which profiles the now 88-year-old Clarence Avant, the ultimate unseen mover in music, movies, politics and more.
This week, Jemele Hill tells us about her years at ESPN, where she had a good career until she drew the wrath of the White House by tweeting that Trump is a white supremacist. She thought she was stating the obvious, but eventually, Trump tweeted about her. Jemele Hill tells us about her tumultuous final year at ESPN, becoming a "walking think piece," and what happened next: producing, podcasting and more.
Growing up in Rockford, Illinois, Bing Liu was obsessed with making skateboarding videos with his friends. Over the course of more than a decade, one of those mini-movies morphed into a feature-length documentary, ‘Minding the Gap.’ This week, as the film is being honored with a Peabody award, we’re revisiting Matt Holzman’s conversation with Liu.
It’s TV staffing season: when writers look for jobs. But this year, writers have fired their agents in their battle over packaging fees. Still, showrunners Mike Royce and Valentina Garza say the seats in the writers rooms will be filled. They tell us about building a writing staff without agents, and Royce gives us an update on 'One Day at a Time.'