British breakout Jessie Mei Li joins Present Company to discuss “Shadow and Bone,” the phenomenon based on Leigh Bardugo’s best-selling fantasy series, in which the 25 year-old stars as Alina Starkov, an orphan mapmaker with an extraordinary power. Jessie discusses how the show first came to her, how her personal experiences helped her relate to the character, and her onscreen chemistry with co-star Archie Renaux. She also talks about how her acting instincts have helped her navigate challenging moments in her life, and how her parents are handling the show’s success.
At 26 years-old, Kelvin Harrison Jr. has already delivered a series of critically lauded, commanding performances, in films like “Luce,” for which he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award, “Waves, and “The Trial of the Chicago Seven.” In this episode, he discusses “Monster,” a film based on the acclaimed book by Walter Dean Myers, and directed by Anthony Mandler, the celebrated music video director who has worked with stars like Rihanna and Beyonce. Harrison Jr. plays Steve Harmon, a seventeen-year-old honor student whose world comes crashing down when he is charged with felony murder. Harrison Jr. talks about how the film first came to him, how he connected to his character, and he shares his experiences working with the cast that includes Jeffrey Wright, Jennifer Hudson, John David Washington, A$AP Rocky, and Nas. He also shares his advice for young actors trying to make their own way.
In this episode, Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer sit down to discuss their new action comedy “Thunder Force,” in which the duo suit up as superheroes. Written and directed by Ben Falcone, who also happens to be McCarthy’s husband as well as her fellow producer on the project, the cast includes Jason Bateman, Bobby Cannavale, Pom Klementieff, and the brilliant newcomer Taylor Mosby. At the center of the film, is a heartfelt story about two women and the kind of friendship that lasts a lifetime, a theme with special resonance for McCarthy and Spencer who have been friends for more than two decades. They talk about the history of that friendship, the joys of working together, how it felt to put on those suits for the first time, the best part of being a superhero (and the more disgusting challenges), and they share their advice for the next generation of Hollywood hopefuls.
Jennifer Garner joins the show to discuss “Yes Day,” the hit family comedy based on the book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, directed by Miguel Arteta, and co-starring Edgar Ramirez. Garner, who is also a producer on the movie, talks about the Yes Days she does with her own children, why she wanted to beckon loveliness into her life, and her terror at shooting the rollercoaster scene. She also reflects on the remarkable arc of her career, which has seen her find success across almost every genre, from “Alias” and “Daredevil” to “13 Going on 30” and “Dallas Buyers Club.” And she talks about her passion for causes and projects far beyond Hollywood, including Save the Children and her organic food company Once Upon a Farm.
Eve Hewson joins host Krista Smith to discuss “Behind Her Eyes,” the mind-bending limited series created by Steve Lightfoot and based on the novel by Sarah Pinborough, which has transfixed and shocked its legion of fans. Hewson discusses how she came to the role, what she found most challenging, and she shares her own experience with astral projection. The actress, whose star has steadily risen thanks to performances in such shows as “The Knick” and “The Luminaries,” also discusses her career path to date, why formal acting training was so important to her, and she shares what she’s learned from working with Hollywood greats like Steven Soderbergh and Steven Spielberg.
Over the course of her 33 year career, Viola Davis’ body of work has been celebrated from stage to screen, making her an Oscar winner, a Tony winner, and an Emmy winner, to name just a few of her accolades. She also runs JuVee Productions alongside husband Julius Tennon, and she’s a philanthropist and a leader in the Hollywood community. In this interview, Davis discusses her latest acclaimed performance in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” based on the play by August Wilson and directed by George C. Wolfe. She talks about the fears she faced in embracing the role, how she prepared to play Ma, and her experience working with Chadwick Boseman. She also reflects on the arc of her career, the significance of playing Annalise Keating in “How to Get Away with Murder,” how her definition of success has evolved over time, and she shares her advice for the next generation pursuing a life in the arts.
Priyanka Chopra Jonas joins the show from London to discuss her latest feature film “The White Tiger," written and directed by Ramin Bahrani and based on the New York Times bestseller and 2008 Man Booker Prize-winning novel. In addition to starring in the film, Chopra Jonas serves as an Executive Producer. Having established herself as a hugely successful and acclaimed star in the Indian film industry, Chopra Jonas turned her sights to Hollywood and became the first Indian-born actor ever to lead an American network TV series, starring in the ABC dramatic series "Quantico." In this interview, she talks about that extraordinary career arc, and she explains why she was so passionate about being involved with “The White Tiger,” and how the film aligned with her mission as a producer. She also talks about the confidence instilled in her by her upbringing, her long-time commitment to philanthropic endeavors, and the support and partnership of husband Nick Jonas.
Emma Corrin’s acting career had only just begun when she landed the role of Princess Diana in The Crown, and prepared to play one of the most iconic and scrutinized women of the modern age. The young British breakout more than met the challenge, capturing Diana’s innate vulnerability and quiet strength, mastering her posture and mannerisms, and even the lilt of her voice. In this interview, Corrin discusses her nail-biting audition process, her intensive research and preparation, and her favorite and most challenging scenes. She’ll also share her advice for actors starting out, including how important it is to move beyond the fear of rejection and to keep your faith and determination.
Academy Award winner Gary Oldman joins the show to discuss his extraordinary performance in David Fincher’s new film “Mank,” which was written by the auteur’s late father Jack Fincher. Oldman plays Herman J. Mankiewicz, otherwise known as Mank, the celebrated screenwriter who worked on everything from “The Wizard of Oz” to Marx Brothers comedies and co-wrote “Citizen Kane” with Orson Welles. In this interview, Oldman shares his initial reaction to the project, why he was daunted by Fincher’s directive not to transform physically for the role, and how his own experience with alcoholism informed his performance. He also discusses his deep admiration for Fincher’s approach to the work. And he shares his advice for young actors coming up in the profession today.
Vanessa Kirby joins the show to discuss her haunting portrayal of a young mother who experiences an unfathomable loss in “Pieces of a Woman,” directed by Kornél Mundruczó and written by Kata Wéber. The role marks Kirby’s first lead in a feature film, and her performance was awarded the Best Actress Volpi Cup at this year’s Venice Film Festival. Kirby began her career in the theater, later made her television debut in “The Hours,” delivered scene-stealing work in the action franchises “Mission Impossible” and “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw,” and her critically acclaimed performance as Princess Margaret in “The Crown” made her a BAFTA winner and Emmy nominee. In this interview, she shares the intensive research she undertook to prepare for “Pieces of a Woman,” what she was focused on getting right in her performance, and her experience shooting the film’s astonishing 23 minute opening sequence that was shot in one take. She also reflects on the beginning of her career, the kind of characters she’s been drawn to, and she shares her advice for young actors.