I Think You're Interesting
I Think You're Interesting
The entertainment industry is brimming with interesting people who are responsible for your favorite movies, TV shows, and more. Join Vox’s critic-at-large Emily VanDerWerff every Thursday as she speaks with the very well known, up-and-coming and need to know folks responsible for the most exciting projects in art, entertainment, and pop culture – diving deep into their influences, inspirations, and careers in a frank, uncensored fashion. The series finale aired in December 2018.
Mahershala Ali, from Moonlight to True Detective
Few actors have had as surprising a past few years as Mahershala Ali. Known for his parts on TV shows like The 4400 and House of Cards and in movies like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and the Hunger Games films, Ali went from steadily working actor to legitimate star with his 2016 role in Moonlight. He’s only in the film’s first half-hour, playing Juan, a drug dealer who can tell that a sensitive young boy needs a space to just be himself, but he’s magnetic and warm, caring and thoughtful, in a role Hollywood rarely allows to have much care and thought. Ali won an Oscar for Supporting Actor, and from there, he’s charted an eclectic, fascinating past couple of years. He’s getting Oscar buzz again for his Golden Globe-nominated role in Green Book, and he voices a pivotal character in the highly acclaimed Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Then in January, he’ll be playing the lead character in the long-awaited third season of True Detective. The role, originally written for a white actor, spoke to Ali, and he convinced showrunner Nic Pizzolatto to reconceive the part so he could play it. Ali joined Todd to chat about his remarkable rise to stardom, taking the role in True Detective, and what he thinks art can do to help heal society in the 2010s. And stick around after Todd and Ali’s conversation for some of our favorite I Think You’re Interesting moments from over the years!  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Dec 20, 2018
58 min
What do The Good Place, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and Parks and Rec have in common? Michael Schur.
Michael Schur is one of the most adept minds in TV comedy. From his early days producing the Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon-era Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live, to his work as one of the key writers on The Office, he charted a career that touched some of the best TV comedy of the 2000s. But in the 2010s, he’s become perhaps the principal figure in network TV comedy, with his shows Parks and Recreation and The Good Place. (He’s also co-creator of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, though his fellow co-creator Dan Goor is the showrunner on that series.) Parks was a tribute to the idea of a kinder, more loving America, just barely holding off a dark and horrifying one, while The Good Place is the only show in TV archives that balances advanced lessons in ethics and philosophy with elaborate jokes about shrimp. That’s what made Todd want to talk with Schur not just about his shows, but about his overall philosophy of comedy. They delve into questions of what makes a good comedic premise, what makes a good character relationship to build a comedy around, and what the best comedic actors have in common. And maybe they’ll even answer that age-old question: Why is it so much easier to set a successful sitcom in a bar than it is to set one in a restaurant? Notes from our sponsors: LEGO: In today's show you heard advertising content from The LEGO Store. With LEGO, every gift has a story. Start your story today at https://LEGO.build/Vox-Ship  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Dec 13, 2018
1 hr 9 min
Christmas music you won't get sick of, with R&B star PJ Morton
If you've talked to Todd at all, you know how much he enjoys Christmas music. And, sure, he enjoys the stuff that gets overplayed year after year, but he gets why you're sick of it. Finding good music often means going a little off the beaten path. That's why Todd talked to PJ Morton, a musician who's recorded with Stevie Wonder and was a member of Maroon 5, and who has his own successful, Grammy-nominated solo career. He asked Morton both about his new Christmas album (Christmas with PJ Morton) and to pick his five favorite Christmas albums of all time. Morton's choices are great, not so hyper-obscure as to be impossible to find but also not overplayed to death (save for Mariah Carey, but you gotta have Mariah Carey on a list like this). And along the way, he and Todd chat about why these songs endure, what it means to put your own spins on them, and what it's like to sing songs about snowy white Christmases when you grew up in New Orleans. Notes from our sponsors:LEGO: In today's show you heard advertising content from The LEGO Store. With LEGO, every gift has a story. Start your story today at https://LEGO.build/Vox-Pop  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Dec 6, 2018
56 min
Losing is hard. But comedian Chris Gethard says it’s necessary.
The Chris Gethard Show might have been Todd’s favorite talk show of the decade, a weird, tossed-off calamity that emerged every week like an odd magic trick. It made the trip from New York public access TV to more traditional networks. And then earlier this year, it ended, as its network, TruTV, and comedian Gethard opted not to continue with it. It ended up being the most weirdly appropriate promotion for Gethard’s new book imaginable. Lose Well, published in October, is a self-help book with a twist, a tome that is meant to help people figure out not how to avoid losing but how to lean into it, how to learn from it, how to change thanks to it. It compiles the stories Gethard has collected over a long career peppered with high-profile failures (and, yes, some high-profile successes), mixed with his signature blend of earnest, sincere humor. And here’s the paragraph where we’d put some of the stuff Gethard and Todd talk about in this episode, but honestly, it’s one of Todd’s favorite interviews he’s ever done, and he couldn’t narrow it down. So just listen to it already.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Nov 29, 2018
1 hr 11 min
How to not screw up Thanksgiving dinner, with Salt Fat Acid Heat's Samin Nosrat
This episode originally ran in November of 2017. It’s almost Thanksgiving, which means home chefs all around the United States (Todd among them) are trying to find a way to hew to tradition without turning their plates into a giant pile of indistinguishable starches. In this Thanksgiving Spectacular, we’ve invited Samin Nosrat to join us and offer her hints and tips for a successful Thanksgiving meal. Samin’s book, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, is one of the best cookbooks Todd’s ever read, and the information it provides about how the four elements in the title interact to make delicious food will help any chef — no matter how experienced — cook even better food. But it can also help brighten up that Thanksgiving plate, and Samin offered Todd advice on making tastier turkey, zingier mashed potatoes, and sharper Thanksgiving salads. She also stuck around to talk about writing a cookbook, devouring delicious food she didn’t cook, and enjoying the perfect vegan holiday season. Pull a chair up to the table and dig in.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Nov 22, 2018
1 hr 4 min
Hollywood’s past can help us understand its present. Karina Longworth shows us how.
Karina Longworth’s Hollywood history podcast, You Must Remember This, is one of the most essential shows out there for movie fans. Each week, Longworth dives into a story from the film industry’s past, revealing the truth behind legends, the hidden stories that weren’t reported at the time, and the often corrupt systems Hollywood has always been built upon. Long a terrific film critic, Longworth turned what was initially an extreme DIY operation into one of the top film podcasts. Now Longworth has brought her fascination with old Hollywood to her brand new book, Seduction. It's simultaneously the story of producer, aviator, and tycoon Howard Hughes and the many women he slept with (and often ruined the careers of). The book subverts Hughes’s playboy image, questioning just what the effect of his cruelty could be on the women he strung along — and often kept imprisoned later in his life. Longworth joins Todd this week to talk about the legacy of Hughes in Hollywood, what draws her to the stories of old Hollywood, and why it’s important to talk about how the film industry has always treated women to understand how that can be changed today.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Nov 15, 2018
49 min
Writer Diablo Cody, on Jennifer's Body, Juno, and Jagged Little Pill (the musical)
Diablo Cody's career took off into the stratosphere when her very first produced script — 2007's quirky comedy Juno — led to a massive box office hit that also won her the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Since Juno, she's written numerous movies, including the cult favorite horror flick Jennifer's Body, the moody comedy Young Adult (one of Todd's favorite movies of the decade), and this year's twisty comedy Tully, which stars Charlize Theron as a mother of three who hires a night nanny to just get some sleep already, only to find there's more to the picture. Cody is one of our most incisive writers when it comes to gender and class, and the ways those two things intersect and diverge, especially when you're a woman who can't quite seem to make ends meet. She's also prolific in the world of television (she created the Showtime series The United States of Tara). And her very first musical, an adaptation of the Alanis Morissette album Jagged Little Pill, debuted over the summer and will soon be making its way to Broadway. Cody joins Todd to talk about the inspiration for Tully, just how many hits were on Jagged Little Pill, and what reality shows she's watching on Netflix.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Nov 8, 2018
59 min
How to build a civilization from scratch
Imagine you're a time traveler whose time machine has functioned somewhere in Earth's past — after humans have evolved but before they've, say, invented language or agriculture or any of the other pillars civilization was built upon. How might you try to kickstart that process with all these hominids you keep meeting? And how would you avoid rebuilding civilization with all of the flaws of our current world? That question is the basis of Ryan North's new book How to Invent Everything, a hugely enjoyable book that really does come close to achieving what's promised in the title. (You'll even learn how to invent a computer using a river!) North is probably best known to this point as the writer of comics like Adventure Time and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, as well as the creator and writer of Dinosaur Comics, a webcomic that has run since 2003 using the exact same clip art (of dinosaurs, of course) in all six panels for 15 years. Todd and North talk about the foundations of society, what you learn writing a comic whose art doesn't change from day to day, and why the best meals are sometimes those you can never have again. Then: Todd is joined by astronauts Mae Jemison and Leland Melvin to talk about leaving behind Earth's orbit — and how we just might find humanity's future on our next-door neighbor Mars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Nov 1, 2018
1 hr 19 min
What great horror looks and sounds like, with the makers of The Terror and A Quiet Place
With Halloween right around the corner, we felt it's as timely as ever to revisit this episode from earlier this year. Sometimes, the scariest thing is what you don’t see onscreen. It’s a lesson taken to heart by the folks behind two of the best horror projects of the first half of 2018 — the AMC miniseries The Terror and the gigantic hit movie A Quiet Place. In this special horror showcase episode, Todd talks to Soo Hugh and David Kajganich, the showrunners and head writers of The Terror; and then with Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn, the sound designers of A Quiet Place. All four talk about how to build horror unconventionally — The Terror by starting from a real, historical event that didn’t actually involve supernatural interference (though the TV show adds a fearsome creature to chow down on stranded sailors) and A Quiet Place by stripping out almost all spoken dialogue. It’s a great time for horror, and Soo, David, Erik, and Ethan bring unique perspectives to what’s made the genre boom so much and where it might be headed. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Oct 25, 2018
58 min
Why Yeardley Smith, the voice of Lisa Simpson, launched a true crime podcast
Yeardley Smith is one of the most famous women on Earth — though you might not know it if you just bumped into her somewhere, at least until she said something. See, Smith is the voice of Lisa Simpson, the precocious 8-year-old middle child of the Simpson family and the center of some of the show’s very best episodes. (“Lisa’s Substitute”! Sob!) But Smith is more than the famous kid she’s played for more than 30 years now. She’s starred in numerous films and other TV shows, including the infamous Herman’s Head (sadly, she wasn't one of the people inside Herman’s head) and the Oscar-winning film As Good as It Gets. She’s even made shoes. But it’s her most recent project that might seem most outside her wheelhouse. It’s a true crime podcast that examines crimes from the point-of-view of the people who solved them, then sends Smith and her co-host Zibby Allen to cover around the country looking into these crimes. It’s an engaging and thoughtful look at how crimes can rock tiny little towns where everybody knows everybody. Smith joins Todd this week to talk about the national fascination with true crime, her wide-ranging slate of interests, and, yes, Lisa Simpson. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Oct 18, 2018
1 hr
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