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January 25, 2020
Pulitzer Prize-winning 'Washington Post' reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker did over 200 interviews with Trump administration insiders. Their new book, 'A Very Stable Genius,' details presidential rages, erratic decision-making and other troubling tendencies of the Trump presidency.Ken Tucker reviews Marcus King's solo album, 'El Dorado.'British actor Tim Roth can be seen in the Tarantino films 'Reservoir Dogs,' 'The Hateful Eight' and 'Pulp Fiction. His new movie is 'The Song of Names.'
January 24, 2020
To mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp, we're revisiting archival interviews with Auschwitz survivor and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel, and Holocaust historian Laurence Rees.
January 23, 2020
'New Yorker' editor David Rohde says Barr acts as Trump's political "sword and shield," which has made him the most feared, criticized and effective member of the president's cabinet. He talks about the attorney general with contributor Dave Davies. Also, TV critic David Bianculli reviews 'Star Trek: Picard,' dropping today on CBS All Access.
January 22, 2020
Pulitzer Prize-winning 'Washington Post' reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker did over 200 interviews with Trump administration insiders. Their new book, 'A Very Stable Genius,' details presidential rages, erratic decision-making and other troubling tendencies of the Trump presidency.Also, we remember Monty Python co-founder Terry Jones. He died yesterday at 77. He spoke with Terry Gross in 1987.
January 21, 2020
The British actor can be seen in the Tarantino films 'Reservoir Dogs,' 'The Hateful Eight' and 'Pulp Fiction,' and the new movie 'The Song of Names.' His first onscreen role was a white supremacist skinhead in the 1982 TV movie 'Made in Britain.' "There were questions asked about it in Parliament," Roth says. "It took me by surprise. I got chased by skinheads down the road in London."Also, Ken Tucker reviews Marcus King's solo album, 'El Dorado.'
January 20, 2020
Public interest attorney Bryan Stevenson is the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, which represents people who have been illegally convicted, unfairly sentenced or abused in state jails and prisons. In 2018, EJI founded a museum and monument in Montgomery, Ala., to address the atrocities of slavery, lynching and segregation. "We need to create institutions in this country that motivate more people to say 'Never again,'" he says. Stevenson's 2014 memoir 'Just Mercy' is now a movie starring Michael B. Jordan.
January 18, 2020
Martin Scorsese's latest film, 'The Irishman,' is up for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. He spoke with Terry Gross about childhood, redemption and getting kicked out of seminary school.Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews, 'Ow!,' a newly resurfaced live recording of saxophonists Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis and Johnny Griffin.Peggy Orenstein's new book, 'Boys & Sex,' is based on extensive interviews with more than 100 college and college-bound boys between the ages of 16 and 22. "When I was doing ['Girls & Sex'] the kind of core issue with girls was that they were being cut off from their bodies and not understanding their bodies' response and their needs and their limits and their desires," she says. "With boys, it felt like they were being cut off from their hearts."
January 17, 2020
Religion scholar Elaine Pagels lost her young son to terminal illness and her husband a year later in an accident. Her book, 'Why Religion?,' combines memoir and biblical scholarship to reflect on loss and faith. It's now out in paperback. Also, we remember late spiritual leader Ram Dass. In the '60s and '70s, Dass, along with Timothy Leary, became interested in the religious potential of LSD. He was a practitioner of Eastern-inspired philosophy, and was careful to distance himself from corruption and cult-like behavior of other gurus. Dass spoke with Terry Gross in 1990. John Powers marks the 100th anniversary of Italian neorealist director Federico Fellini's birth.
January 16, 2020
'Intercept' Senior National Security Correspondent James Risen says new documents show how Iran has embedded itself in the politics of its neighbor, Iraq — and that the late Gen. Soleimani oversaw Iran's proxy wars in Iraq and Syria.Also, TV critic David Bianculli reviews 'Seven Worlds, One Planet,' a BBC nature docuseries.
January 15, 2020
Scorsese's latest film, 'The Irishman,' is up for 10 Academy Awards, including best picture and best director. He spoke with Terry Gross about death, redemption and his biggest flop. Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews the WWI epic '1917.'
January 14, 2020
Reporters Joe Palazzolo and Michael Rothfeld won a Pulitzer for their investigation of Trump's 2016 hush money payments to Karen McDougal and porn star Stormy Daniels. Their new book is 'The Fixers: The Bottom-feeders, Crooked Lawyers, Gossipmongers, and Porn Stars Who Created the 45th President.'Also, book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews 'American Dirt,' Jeanine Cummins' literary thriller about the treacherous journey a migrant mother takes with her son.
January 13, 2020
In the 1890s, Wilmington, N.C. was a mixed-race community with a thriving black middle class, black aldermen and police officers, and a black newspaper. White supremacists saw this as an abomination, and plotted a bloody purge around the 1898 election. They rampaged through the streets, killing 60 black men, and banished prominent black people and their white allies from the city. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Zucchino tells the story in his new book, 'Wilmington's Lie.' Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews, 'Ow!,' a newly resurfaced live recording of saxophonists Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis and Johnny Griffin.
January 11, 2020
'Joker' is an origin story for the villain in the Batman series, but director Todd Phillips says it's not a comic book movie. "It really started as an experiment, so to speak. ... Maybe you could get one of those deep-dive character study movies done nowadays in the studio system if you disguise it as a comic book film." Author Andrea Bernstein, co-host of the podcast 'Trump, Inc.' and the author of the new book 'American Oligarchs,' talks with Terry Gross about the family histories of both the Trumps and the Kushners — and their "marriage of money and power."John Powers reviews HBO's adaptation of Stephen King's thriller 'The Outsider.'
January 10, 2020
Buck Henry, who died Jan. 8, co-wrote the film 'Get Smart' with Mel Brooks and made regular appearances as a guest host on 'Saturday Night Live' in the show's early years. He spoke with Terry Gross in 1997 at the New York Film Forum about his masterpiece, 'The Graduate.' Also, we remember jazz trumpeter Jack Sheldon. He sang with Benny Goodman and was bandleader and sidekick for Merv Griffin's talk show for many years. He spoke with 'Fresh Air' in 1993. John Powers reviews HBO's adaptation of Stephen King's thriller 'The Outsider.'
January 9, 2020
'New Yorker' staff writer Evan Osnos says that China is building up its military, and Pentagon analysts now believe it could defeat U.S. forces in a confrontation along its borders. "China is the big story we don't talk about every day," Osnos says. "It's the fact of American political and diplomatic life we'll be contending with for most of the rest of this century."
January 8, 2020
Author Andrea Bernstein, co-host of the podcast 'Trump, Inc.' and the author of the new book 'American Oligarchs' talks with Terry Gross about the family histories of both the Trumps and the Kushners, and their "marriage of money and power."Also, Maureen Corrigan reviews a new anthology of Jean Stafford novels.
January 7, 2020
Peggy Orenstein's new book, 'Boys & Sex,' is based on extensive interviews with more than 100 college and college-bound boys between the ages of 16 and 22. "When I was doing ['Girls & Sex'] the kind of core issue with girls was that they were being cut off from their bodies and not understanding their bodies' response and their needs and their limits and their desires," she says. "With boys, it felt like they were being cut off from their hearts." Orenstein talks about hookup culture, homophobia, and the effects of internet porn.Also, TV critic David Bianculli reviews 'Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist' on NBC.
January 6, 2020
'Joker' is an origin story for the villain in the Batman series, but director Todd Phillips says it's not a comic book movie. "It really started as an experiment, so to speak. ... Maybe you could get one of those deep-dive character study movies done nowadays in the studio system if you disguise it as a comic book film." Phillips talks about the score, working with Joaquin Phoenix, and the divisive reaction to the movie.
January 4, 2020
We close out our 'Best of the Decade' series with two of our favorite film directors. Jordan Peele made his directorial debut in 2017 with the "social thriller" 'Get Out.' Francis Ford Coppola, also spoke with Terry Gross in 2017 about the studio battle that went on behind-the-scenes of his 1972 movie 'The Godfather.'
January 3, 2020
Our Best of the Decade series continues with two music icons. First, Patti Smith spoke with Terry Gross in 2010 about 'Just Kids,' her memoir about her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. And then we listen back to part of Bruce Springsteen's 2016 conversation about his memoir, 'Born to Run.'
January 2, 2020
Our Best of the Decade series continues with two of the most influential writers of our time. In 2015, Coates discussed his book 'Between the World and Me.' Formatted as a letter to his son, Coates writes about the different forms of violence young African Americans face on the street, in school and from the police. Morrison, who died in 2019, spoke with Terry Gross in 2015 about aging and regret.
January 1, 2020
Our Best of the Decade series continues with three music interviews. Carolina Chocolate Drops are a old-time string band from Durham, N.C. Jazz singer Catherine Russell sang back-up for Paul Simon, David Bowie and Jackson Browne. Jon Batiste is the bandleader for 'The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.'
December 31, 2019
Our Best of the Decade series continues with two irreverent New Yorkers. Stern, the "King of All Media," spoke with Terry Gross this year about how he evolved from his early shock-jock days. Also, we listen back to a 2010 interview with the late comic Joan Rivers about being a pioneer for women in comedy.
December 30, 2019
Our Best of the Decade series continues with two giants of the media world we lost too soon. Chef-turned-travel-host Anthony Bourdain took us around the world with CNN's 'Parts Unknown.' He died in 2018. David Carr was the media columnist for 'The New York Times.' He died in 2015. And linguist Geoff Nunberg reveals his word of the year.
December 30, 2019
Adam Sandler plays a jewelry store owner who's deep in debt in a new thriller, 'Uncut Gems,' by writer/directors Josh and Benny Safdie. The movie was inspired by the brothers' father, who worked in the NYC diamond district. John Powers shares his "Ghost List" of things he wished he reviewed during the year. Also, TV critic David Bianculli talks with Terry Gross about his favorite TV of 2019.
December 27, 2019
As part of our Best of the Decade series, we listen back to interviews about two Broadway phenomena. First we hear from 'Hamilton' creator Lin-Manuel Miranda about how his "mixed tape" musical came together. And we revisit to our interview with 'South Park' creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone about their outrageous show about Mormon missionaries in Uganda.
December 26, 2019
This week, we are listening back to some of our favorite interviews from the past decade. We listen back to our 2012 and 2016 interviews with Meryl Streep. Also, Carrie Fisher spoke with Terry Gross about 'The Princess Diarist,' her memoir based on the journal she kept while filming the 'Star Wars' movies.
December 25, 2019
To celebrate Christmas, we listen back to a concert given by the late singer and actress in 1997. Clooney spoke with Terry Gross about her childhood, being on the road as a young performer with her sister, and working with Bing Crosby.
December 24, 2019
Singer-songwriter JD McPherson never thought he'd make a Christmas album. Then, he says, "I got a bug in my ear." He and his band perform live in studio from 'Socks,' and McPherson talks about growing up on a cattle farm in Oklahoma. And critic Ken Tucker reviews Tyler Childers' album, 'Country Squire.'
December 23, 2019
TV critic David Bianculli and film critic Justin Chang sit down with Terry Gross to share their top 10 lists and talk about larger themes. And John Powers shares his "Ghost List," the books, TV, music and movies he didn't get to review in 2019.
December 21, 2019
Charlize Theron's new film, 'Bombshell,' follows the women of Fox News who accused then-CEO Roger Ailes of sexual harassment. She talks about playing former Fox anchor Megyn Kelly and growing up in apartheid-era South Africa. Rock critic Ken Tucker shares his favorite albums of 2019 — which all happen to be made by women. Julie Andrews talks about her career and family life with Terry Gross. "It was what it was: Chaotic, loving, crazy, wonderful, terrible," she says. She's joined by her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, who reflects on what it was like growing up with Mary Poppins as your mom. The mother/daughter duo chronicle Andrews' early years in Hollywood in a new memoir, 'Home Work.'
December 20, 2019
Jack Goldsmith's memoir 'In Hoffa's Shadow' centers on his investigation into his stepfather's involvement in the 1975 disappearance of mob-connected labor leader Jimmy Hoffa. Hoffa is portrayed by Al Pacino in Martin Scorsese's new Netflix film 'The Irishman.' (Originally broadcast Oct. 2019) Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews Greta Gerwig's new adaptation of 'Little Women.'
December 19, 2019
Sandler plays a jewelry store owner who's deep in debt in a new thriller by writer/directors Josh and Benny Safdie. The movie was inspired by the brothers' father, who worked in the NYC diamond district.
December 18, 2019
After a 3-year legal battle, 'The Washington Post' obtained a trove of government documents, unpublished notes and interviews that reveals U.S. officials misled the public about the course of the war. 'Post' reporter Craig Whitlock says candid comments by American military and diplomatic personnel depict muddled strategic thinking and jaw-dropping dysfunction in the war effort.
December 17, 2019
Andrews talks about her career and family life with Terry Gross. "It was what it was: Chaotic, loving, crazy, wonderful, terrible," she says. She's joined by her eldest daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, who reflects on what it was like growing up with Mary Poppins as your mom: "It was sometimes difficult to share her." The mother/daughter duo chronicle Andrews' early years in Hollywood in a new memoir, 'Home Work.' Also, we remember 'Do the Right Thing' actor Danny Aiello who died Dec. 12. He spoke with 'Fresh Air' in 1992.
December 16, 2019
Theron has direct experience with what she calls the "psychological damage" of sexual harassment. Her new film, 'Bombshell,' follows the women of Fox News who accused then-CEO Roger Ailes of inappropriate behavior. Theron talks about transforming her face to play anchor Megyn Kelly, confronting the man who harassed her earlier in her career, and growing up in apartheid-era South Africa.
December 14, 2019
"Your average thrift store in the United States only sells about one third of the stuff that ends up on its shelves," Adam Minter says. "The rest of the stuff ends up somewhere else." His book, 'Secondhand,' follows the things that don't sell — from cheap and soiled clothes to old gym equipment.Film critic Justin Chang reviews 'Uncut Gems.' Alex Borstein's won back-to-back Emmys for playing a tough, street-wise talent manager on the Amazon series, 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.' She says the character reminds her of her mother and grandmother.
December 13, 2019
Before Sykes became a comic, she worked at the NSA and had top security clearance. Now she takes on the president in her Emmy-nominated Netflix special 'Not Normal.' (Originally broadcast Aug. 2019.) Also, book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews Bernardine Evaristo's nuanced and entertaining Booker Prize-winning novel 'Girl, Woman, Other.'
December 12, 2019
'New York Times' investigative reporter Sarah Kliff talks about the costs and challenges of switching to a universal healthcare system — and what it might mean to eliminate private insurance entirely. "There's this whole infrastructure of healthcare that other countries didn't have to confront when they built their universal systems in the 1940s and '50s," Kliff says. Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews 'Uncut Gems,' starring Adam Sandler.
December 11, 2019
O'Brien recently switched up the format of his late-night show, and has launched the second season of his podcast, 'Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend.' He says the name of his podcast is a joke — sort of. "Sometimes when you're in the public eye, it can get murky as to who's really my friend. Who's going to come visit me in the hospital? Who's going to come over to my house when my dog dies and drink cocoa with me? Who are those people?" He also talks about his unusual career trajectory, and how his comedy has been driven in part by anxiety.Also, contributor Soraya Nadia McDonald reviews the movie 'Hala' on Apple TV+. It's a coming-of-age film about a Pakistani American teenager in Chicago.
December 10, 2019
CNN analyst Peter Bergen reflects on Trump's soured relationships with Generals Mattis, McMaster and Kelly. "He's gotten rid of the most competent people he had in his circle," Bergen says. "Trump is now running his cabinet like he ran his real estate company. ... It's a bunch of yes men supporting a one-man show." His book is 'Trump and His Generals: The Cost of Chaos.' Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews 'Trio Plus,' from Todd Marcus.
December 9, 2019
Borstein's won back-to-back Emmys for playing a tough, street-wise talent manager on the Amazon series, 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.' She says the character reminds her of her mother and grandmother. She talks about her roles on 'Mad TV,' 'Getting On,' and being the comic relief in her family. Also, critic Ken Tucker picks his top 10 albums of 2019 — all by women.
December 7, 2019
Edward Norton wrote, directed and stars in the film noir 'Motherless Brooklyn,' about a private investigator with Tourette's syndrome who discovers corruption in the world of New York City planning. He talks about the movie and his own personal connection to the world of urban planning.Also, book critic Maureen Corrigan picks her top 10 books of 2019.David Harbour talks about working alongside teen actors in 'Stranger Things,' and his bipolar disorder. "Acting allowed me to channel this neurosis into a character," he tells 'Fresh Air' producer Sam Briger.
December 6, 2019
This weekend Tilson Thomas will receive the Kennedy Center Lifetime Artistic Achievement award. He spoke with Terry Gross in 1995 and 2012 about his work and growing up in the theater. Also we remember Mary Previte, who worked for 30 years with teenagers in detention in Camden, NJ where the center she ran became a model for others across the country. "We took terror out of their lives," she says, "When boys and girls come in, one of the first messages the officers will say is, 'We will not let you hurt somebody while you're here, and we will not let anyone hurt you.'" Previte died last month at the age of 87.
December 5, 2019
After six months in office, Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelensky is "quite cynical" and feels "there are no reliable allies," journalist Simon Shuster says. Shuster recently interviewed Zelensky for 'Time.'Also, John Powers reviews the French film, 'Portrait of a Lady on Fire.'
December 4, 2019
"Your average thrift store in the United States only sells about one third of the stuff that ends up on its shelves," Adam Minter says. "The rest of the stuff ends up somewhere else." His book, 'Secondhand,' follows the things that don't sell — from cheap and soiled clothes to old gym equipment. Also, Ken Tucker reviews a new album from Hootie & the Blowfish, their first in over a decade.The best way to support Fresh Air is by donating to your local station. Go to donate.npr.org/freshair.
December 3, 2019
When BJ Miller was a college sophomore he was out late with some friends and climbed onto a parked commuter train. In a freak accident, he was electrocuted and eventually lost both legs below the knee and half of one arm. The experience led him to pursue a career in end-of-life care and palliative medicine, which he describes as "the treatment of suffering." He talks about how he draws inspiration from his disability, and how he helps patients in their final moments. His book is 'A Beginners Guide to the End.' Also, book critic Maureen Corrigan picks her top 10 books of 2019.The best way to support Fresh Air is by donating to your local station. Go to donate.npr.org/freshair.
December 2, 2019
Harbour talks about working alongside teen actors in 'Stranger Things,' and his bipolar disorder. "Acting allowed me to channel this neurosis into a character," he tells 'Fresh Air' producer Sam Briger. Harbour plays the skeptical police chief of a sleepy town besieged by supernatural events in the Netflix series.Also, we remember late 'New Yorker' cartoonist Gahan Wilson. When Terry Gross spoke with Wilson in 1986, he told her he was fascinated by monsters and thought they were great metaphors for human fears and weaknesses.
November 30, 2019
For novelist Kevin Wilson, Tourette's syndrome means living with intrusive thoughts that flash disturbing images without warning. His novel, 'Nothing to See Here,' was inspired by visions of people bursting into flames. Wilson talks about his experience of Tourette's and how writing gives him a reprieve from his tics.Also, Kevin Whitehead reviews some reissues of music performed by the late jazz pianist Erroll Garner.Willem Dafoe has played villains, soldiers, van Gogh and Jesus. He's earned four Oscar nominations and appeared in more than 100 films — including, most recently, 'Motherless Brooklyn' and 'The Lighthouse.' He talks about being a 'good bad guy.'
November 29, 2019
"He wasn't afraid of any of the hardest parts of childhood," Marielle Heller says. Her film, 'A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,' centers on Fred Rogers' unlikely friendship with a cynical journalist. Heller talks about casting Tom Hanks as Rogers, capturing his slow style of speaking, and a profound experience she had with her young son because of the show. (Originally aired Nov. 20, 2019)
November 28, 2019
Prince died in 2016, leaving behind an unfinished memoir. Dan Piepenbring, his co-writer, recalls the moment he knew he could make 'The Beautiful Ones' happen — even in Prince's absence. (Originally aired Oct 28, 2019)
November 27, 2019
Norton wrote, directed and stars in the film noir 'Motherless Brooklyn,' about a private investigator with Tourette's syndrome who discovers corruption in the world of New York City planning. Urban planning is a subject Norton is passionate about. His grandfather was the idealistic developer and planner James Rouse, who designed Faneuil Hall in Boston, and the Baltimore Inner Harbor. Norton talks about his film and his grandfather's legacy with Terry Gross.
November 26, 2019
During the 2016 campaign, Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch hired former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele to investigate Donald Trump's involvement with Russia. Their new book is 'Crime in Progress.'Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews the thriller 'Knives Out.'
November 25, 2019
A new PBS documentary series follows prisoners who earn college degrees from the Bard Prison Initiative while serving time in maximum security. Director Lynn Novick and graduates Sebastian Yoon and Dyjuan Tatro talk about how the program changes lives.
November 23, 2019
"[Fred Rogers] wasn't afraid of any of the hardest parts of childhood," Marielle Heller says. Her film, 'A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,' centers on Fred Rogers' unlikely friendship with a cynical journalist. Heller talks about casting Tom Hanks as Rogers and a profound experience she had with her young son because of the show.Robert Pattinson is best known for his role in the 'Twilight' saga, where he played the vampire Edward Cullen – a bloodsucking teen heartthrob. "I think Edward basically is Nosferatu, but, at the same time, he still cares about doing his hair and stuff." After becoming a success in big box office films, he pivoted to indie art house films, like his new one, 'The Lighthouse.'
November 22, 2019
Leonard Cohen died in 2016, leaving behind many unpublished poems and lyrics. His son Adam Cohen discusses 'The Flame,' a collection of some of Leonard's final works. Adam remembers when his father was composing his best known song, Hallelujah. "It took him 12 years. It started when I was very, very young. I'd hear verses, I think there are 84 verses to that song," Adam says. 'Thanks for the Dance,' a new posthumous album of Leonard Cohen songs produced by Adam, is now available. Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews 'A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.'
November 21, 2019
The Trump administration's pressure on Ukraine is the center of the impeachment inquiry, but foreign influence expert Ben Freeman says the influence also worked in the opposite direction. "I think in 2020 we are going to see a level of foreign influence on the election that's even higher than what we saw in 2016," he says. Executive producer Lisa Henson (daughter of legendary puppeteer Jim Henson) and design supervisor Toby Froud talk about their Netflix fantasy series 'The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance,' and creating a cast of handmade, sculpted puppets. The series is a prequel to Jim Henson's 1982 cult classic. They spoke with 'Fresh Air' producer Sam Briger.
November 20, 2019
"He wasn't afraid of any of the hardest parts of childhood," Marielle Heller says. Her film, 'A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,' centers on Fred Rogers' unlikely friendship with a cynical journalist. Heller talks about casting Tom Hanks as Rogers, capturing his slow style of speaking, and a profound experience she had with her young son because of the show.
November 19, 2019
BuzzFeed News Editor Heidi Blake and her team uncovered evidence connecting Russian hitmen to 14 deaths on British soil — killings that attracted little interest from British authorities anxious to maintain ties with the Russian government. "In one case, an individual directly in the crosshairs of the Kremlin ... had apparently stabbed himself to death repeatedly with two knives. And there had been no investigation. It had immediately been treated as a suicide." Knowing that journalists in Russia have been murdered, Blake and her reporting team had to watch their backs. "This was a dicey ride, investigating this story, and we had a number of fairly disturbing incidences along the way." Her new book is 'From Russia with Blood.'Also, Kevin Whitehead reviews some reissues of music performed by the late jazz pianist Erroll Garner.
November 18, 2019
Pattinson is best known for his role in the 'Twilight' saga, where he played the vampire Edward Cullen – a bloodsucking teen heartthrob. "I think Edward basically is Nosferatu, but, at the same time, he still cares about doing his hair and stuff." After becoming a success in big box office films, he pivoted to indie art house films, like his new one, 'The Lighthouse.' He co-stars with Willem Defoe as increasingly unhinged lighthouse keepers in 19th century New England.
November 16, 2019
Frustrated by the lack of leading roles for women in Hollywood, Reese Witherspoon decided to start her own production company. Her new project, 'The Morning Show,' takes on sexual harassment in the news industry. Ken Tucker reviews the album 'Kirk' from hip-hop artist DaBaby. Filmmaker and producer Judd Apatow talks about his late mentor, stand-up legend Garry Shandling, and the personal trauma that informed his comedy. Apatow explores Shandling's life and legacy in the HBO documentary 'The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling' and the accompanying book, 'It's Garry Shandling's Book.'
November 15, 2019
Season 3 of the the historical drama about Queen Elizabeth II and the royal family begins Sunday. We listen back to our interview with series creator Peter Morgan. He says he tries to get as close as possible to the truth about life inside the Royal family, based on extensive research and using his own imagination. "We pretty much know for every day of their lives where they were and what they were allegedly doing," Morgan says. "What we don't know is what they were feeling, what they were thinking. And so it's my job to draw the line between those two in as responsible a way as possible." And critic John Powers reviews the new season, starring Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II. Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews 'Waves,' a film by Trey Edward Shults.
November 14, 2019
Frustrated by the lack of good leading roles for women, Witherspoon decided to start her own production company. Her new project, 'The Morning Show,' takes on sexual harassment in the broadcast news industry. She spoke with Terry Gross about the #MeToo movement, studying with a vocal coach to play June Carter Cash in 'Walk the Line,' and why 'Wild' was a turning point for her.
November 13, 2019
Dafoe has played villains, soldiers, van Gogh and Jesus. He's earned four Oscar nominations and appeared in more than 100 films — including, most recently, 'Motherless Brooklyn' and 'The Lighthouse.' He talks about being a 'good bad guy.' Also, Ken Tucker reviews DaBaby's new album 'Kirk,' and book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews 'The Great Pretender,' by Susannah Cahalan, author of the best-selling memoir 'Brain on Fire.'
November 12, 2019
'New Yorker' staff writer Andrew Marantz spent years with far-right online extremists, embedding with them and watching them spread false news by exploiting social media. His new book is 'Antisocial.' Also, TV critic David Bianculli reviews the new streaming service Disney+.
November 11, 2019
Filmmaker and producer Judd Apatow (Superbad, Girls, The 40-Year-Old Virgin) talks about his late mentor, stand-up legend Garry Shandling, and the personal trauma that formed him. "Garry was a wounded person. He was a neurotic man," Apatow says. "He was a guy constantly attempting to evolve and heal. I felt like there's so many lessons that people can get from learning about how he lived his life." Apatow explores Shandling's life and legacy in the HBO documentary 'The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling' and the accompanying book, 'It's Garry Shandling's Book.'
November 9, 2019
When Allison Moorer was 14, her father shot and killed her mother and then took his own life. Moorer, a country singer-songwriter, has a new memoir and accompanying album (both entitled 'Blood') about the incident and her road to healing. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews a reissue of early recordings by Nat King Cole."It was perilous to be a black gay boy in America," Saeed Jones says of the fear and isolation he experienced growing up in Texas in the 1990s. Jones, a former culture editor and LGBTQ editor at BuzzFeed, talks about his search for identity and being "mad as hell and gay as hell." His new memoir is 'How We Fight for Our Lives.'
November 8, 2019
Historian Andrew Delbanco says the 1850 law paved the way for the Civil War by endangering the lives of both escaped slaves and free black men and women in the North. His book, 'The War Before The War,' is now out in paperback. Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews 'Marriage Story,' Noah Baumbach's new drama starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson as a couple going through a divorce.
November 7, 2019
The leaders of the impeachment inquiry in the House have issued subpoenas to several members of the Trump administration—and the White House lawyer has told them not to comply. In our system of checks and balances, what power does Congress have to force them to comply? 'New York Times Magazine' staff writer Emily Bazelon says, "The question is, what it really means to be held in contempt of Congress these days." In the past, "Congress would hold you in contempt; they'd send the Sergeant at Arms to come arrest you and you could be jailed, but we haven't seen Congress take that kind of aggressive enforcement action since 1935."
November 6, 2019
"It was perilous to be a black gay boy in America," Jones says of the fear and isolation he experienced growing up in Texas in the 1990s. Jones, a former culture editor and LGBTQ editor at BuzzFeed, talks about his search for identity and being "mad as hell and gay as hell." His new memoir is 'How We Fight for Our Lives.' Also, classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz reviews two contemporary operas.
November 5, 2019
From lawn mowers to rock concerts, our deafening world is hurting our ears. Writer David Owen talks about why it's hard to follow conversation in a loud restaurant, the cause of tinnitus, and breakthroughs in hearing aid technology. His book is 'Volume Control.' Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews a reissue of early recordings by Nat King Cole.
November 4, 2019
When Moorer was 14, her father shot and killed her mother and then took his own life. Moorer, a country singer-songwriter, has a new memoir and accompanying album (both entitled 'Blood') about the incident and her road to healing. Moorer brought her guitar to the interview.
November 2, 2019
Prince died in 2016, leaving behind an unfinished memoir. Dan Piepenbring, his co-writer, recalls what it was like collaborating with the pop music icon. The book is 'The Beautiful Ones.' In college, Sam Esmail shied away from parties and instead took refuge in the the computer lab, where he experimented with hacking. He later drew on those experiences to create his USA Network show, 'Mr. Robot,' starring Rami Malek.
November 1, 2019
Robert Evans ran Paramount Studios from the late '60s to early '70s and brought 'Chinatown,' 'Rosemary's Baby,' and 'The Godfather' to the big screen. He talked about making some of those iconic films with Terry Gross in 1994. Evans died Saturday at 89. TV critic David Bianculli reviews Apple's new streaming service. Viv Albertine was the guitarist and lyricist for The Slits, one of the first all-women British punk bands. She spoke with Terry Gross last year about her early years in the punk scene, fighting the patriarchy and finding herself onstage. Albertine's memoir, 'To Throw Away Unopened,' is now out in paperback.
October 31, 2019
'New York Times' reporter Andrew Kramer says impeachment puts Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a tough spot: "He may be dealing with a President Biden next year, or he may be dealing with President Trump." Also, Ken Tucker reviews country musician Jon Pardi's new album 'Heartache Medication,' and film critic Justin Chang reviews Martin Scorsese's new film 'The Irishman,' starring Al Pacino, Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro.
October 30, 2019
In college, Sam Esmail shied away from parties and instead took refuge in the the computer lab, where he experimented with hacking. He later drew on those experiences to create his USA Network show, 'Mr. Robot,' starring Rami Malek. We'll also talk about growing up Egyptian American, his first job in film (editing amateur porn), and his love of movies.
October 29, 2019
For novelist Kevin Wilson, Tourette's syndrome means living with intrusive thoughts that flash disturbing images without warning. His novel, 'Nothing to See Here,' was inspired by visions of people bursting into flames. Wilson talks about his experience of Tourette's and how writing gives him a reprieve from his tics. Also, critic John Powers reviews the second season of 'Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan' on Amazon.
October 28, 2019
Prince died in 2016, leaving behind an unfinished memoir. Dan Piepenbring, his co-writer, recalls the moment he knew he could make 'The Beautiful Ones' happen — even in Prince's absence.
October 26, 2019
Onstage, Janis Joplin oozed confidence, sexuality and exuberance, but biographer Holly George-Warren describes the singer as a bookworm who worked hard to create her "blues feelin' mama" persona. Her new biography of the '60s counterculture icon is 'Janis.'Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews the psychological thriller 'The Lighthouse,' starring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson.Kathryn Hahn stars in the new HBO series 'Mrs. Fletcher' as a divorced mom grappling with her son going away to college. Hahn is known for her roles in 'Transparent,' 'Parks and Recreation,' 'I Love Dick,' and 'Private Life.'
October 25, 2019
Mrs. Fletcher tells the story of Eve, a single mother whose only child, Brendan, has left for college. Perrotta says the book was inspired by the upheaval he experienced when his own kids moved out. The novel has been adapted into an HBO series starring Kathryn Hahn It begins this weekend. Perrotta spoke with Terry Gross last year. Also, we listen back to our 2007 interview with musician Booker T. Jones. He's the frontman of the soul band Booker T. & the MG's and has a new memoir about his career, 'Time is Tight: My Life, Note by Note.'
October 24, 2019
Hahn stars in the new HBO series 'Mrs. Fletcher' as a divorced mom grappling with her son going away to college. Hahn is known for her roles in 'Transparent,' 'Parks and Recreation,' 'I Love Dick,' and 'Private Life.' She says her best roles have been in her 40s. "The most complicated and messy roles I've been able to get have been offered through women," she says. "I'm just so buoyed and galvanized that the juiciest part of [my career] has been post-kids." Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews the album 'Good Hope' from the Crosscurrents Trio — Dave Holland, Zakir Hussain and Chris Potter.
October 23, 2019
Journalist James Verini offers a first-hand account of the 2017 battle to drive ISIS from Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq. The fighting left thousands dead, and the oldest part of the city in ruin: "The west side looked as though some vengeful deity had wiped his hand across the city. It was miles and miles of rubble." His new book is 'They Will Have to Die Now.' Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews the psychological thriller 'The Lighthouse,' starring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson.
October 22, 2019
'Washington Post' Beirut Bureau Chief Liz Sly has covered the Syrian civil war since it began in 2011. She discusses Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. forces and her experience reporting in war zones. "The idea that nothing will happen to you is something that goes away the more experience you have, because you see the narrow escapes and you see all the things that do happen to people you knew." Sly is receiving an award for courage in journalism from the International Women's Media Foundation. Also, book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews 'Ecstasy and Terror: From the Greeks to Game of Thrones,' a book of essays by Daniel Mendelsohn.
October 21, 2019
Onstage, Joplin oozed confidence, sexuality and exuberance, but biographer Holly George-Warren describes the singer as a bookworm who worked hard to create her "blues feelin' mama" persona. Her new biography of the '60s counterculture icon is 'Janis.' Also, TV critic David Bianculli reviews HBO's miniseries 'Catherine the Great,' starring Helen Mirren.
October 19, 2019
Elton John says his father's early misgivings about his chosen career became a source of motivation: "He gave me the determination to make something of myself." He talks about his volatile childhood, addiction, and fame. His new memoir is 'Me.'Also, Justin Chang reviews the satirical Nazi film 'Jojo Rabbit.' Attica Locke says her new novel, 'Heaven, My Home,' "was about place before it was about a character." The story centers on a black Texas ranger who patrols Highway 59 searching for the missing son of an Aryan Brotherhood leader. Locke spoke with 'Fresh Air' producer Sam Briger.
October 18, 2019
Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead offers an appreciation of singer Anita O'Day, who was born 100 years ago today. O'Day, who died in 2006, inspired the so-called cool jazz singers of the '50s. In her autobiography 'High Times, Hard Times,' O'Day explained that her last name was Colton, but she changed it to "O'Day," because in pig Latin that meant dough, and she hoped to make plenty of it. She spoke with Terry Gross in 1987. Also, we remember actor Robert Forster who died last Friday at 78. He appeared in close to 200 films and TV shows. After decades in the business, his career was revived when Quentin Tarantino cast him as a good-hearted bail-bondsman in 'Jackie Brown.' Film critic Justin Chang reviews the satirical Nazi film, 'Jojo Rabbit.'
October 17, 2019
Journalist Gilbert Gaul says federal subsidies encourage developers to keep building on the coasts — despite accelerating and increasing risks from climate change. His book is 'The Geography of Risk.' Also, John Powers reviews 'Watchmen,' an adaptation of the comic for HBO, starring Regina King.
October 16, 2019
Attica Locke says her new novel, 'Heaven, My Home,' "was about place before it was about a character." The story centers on a black Texas ranger who patrols Highway 59 searching for the missing son of an Aryan Brotherhood leader. Locke spoke with 'Fresh Air' producer Sam Briger. The new satirical film 'Jojo Rabbit' centers on a 10-year-old boy who joins the Hitler Youth. Writer and director Waititi, who is from New Zealand, is half-Jewish and half-Maori. He plays the boy's imaginary friend, Hitler.
October 15, 2019
Farrow's 2017 report on Harvey Weinstein helped spark the #MeToo movement and earned him a Pulitzer Prize. He says in the course of his reporting Weinstein had him followed and his house bugged. Farrow talks about the systemic ways in which top institutions aid and abet powerful people accused of crimes, silence witnesses, and stifle the First Amendment. His new book is 'Catch and Kill.'
October 14, 2019
Elton John says his father's early misgivings about his chosen career became a source of motivation: "He gave me the determination to make something of myself." He talks about his volatile childhood, addiction, and fame. Elton John's new memoir is called 'Me.' Also, classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz reviews a documentary about the iconic opera singer Maria Callas.
October 12, 2019
Anthony Roth Costanzo is a countertenor, meaning he sings in a high range that's associated with women's voices. He knows all about the history of countertenors and their predecessors, castrati. He's about to star in the Metropolitan Opera's production of 'Akhnaten,' by Philip Glass. Costanzo plays the titular Pharaoh, who many people now think was gender fluid.Film critic Justin Chang reviews the thriller 'Parasite.'Growing up in the notorious Westboro Baptist Church, Megan Phelps-Roper was told that God killed soldiers as punishment for America's sins and its tolerance of homosexuality. She started to question her beliefs after she began running the church's Twitter account. Her memoir about her decision to leave the church is 'Unfollow.'
October 11, 2019
Netflix just dropped the 'Breaking Bad' movie 'El Camino,' which picks up where the AMC series left off. TV critic David Bianculli reviews it, and we'll listen back to our interviews with series creator and writer Vince Gilligan and actor Aaron Paul.
October 10, 2019
Growing up in the notorious Westboro Baptist Church, Megan Phelps-Roper was told that God killed soldiers as punishment for America's sins and its tolerance of homosexuality. She started to question her beliefs after she began running the church's Twitter account. Her memoir about her decision to leave the church is 'Unfollow.' Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews 'Parasite,' which he calls "the most deviously entertaining con-artist thriller" he's seen in years.
October 9, 2019
'Bloomberg Businessweek' columnist Joshua Green explains how President Trump fell for a media campaign that was designed to help him: "The irony is that the target was supposed to be the Bidens, not the president," he says.Also, Maureen Corrigan reviews the new memoir 'How We Fight For Our Lives' by Saeed Jones, about growing up gay and black in Texas.And Kevin Whitehead reviews the new album 'The Ambiguity Manifesto' by cornet player and composer Taylor Ho Bynum.
October 8, 2019
Wylie exposed Cambridge Analytica's role in Brexit and the Trump presidential campaign. Cambridge Analytica collected personal data from millions of Facebook users, and used it to target people susceptible to conspiracy theories and disinformation. Wylie was the research director at Cambridge Analytica, before leaving in protest over the direction it had taken. His new book is 'Mindf*ck: Cambridge Analytica and the Plot to Break America.'Also, Ken Tucker reviews 'Jaime,' the new album by Alabama Shakes lead singer Brittany Howard.
October 7, 2019
Costanzo is a countertenor, meaning he sings in a high range that's associated with women's voices. He knows all about the history of countertenors and their predecessors, castrati. He's about to star in the Metropolitan Opera's production of 'Akhnaten,' by Philip Glass. Costanzo plays the titular Pharaoh, who many people now think was gender fluid.
October 5, 2019
Antonio Banderas stars in Pedro Almodóvar's new film 'Pain and Glory' as a screenwriter and director suffering with physical pain, and pain of the soul. Banderas had a heart attack a few years ago, and talks about how the experience informed his performance. Conan O'Brien recently switched up the format of his late-night show, and is about to launch the second season of his podcast, 'Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend.' He talks about how his comedy has been driven in part by anxiety. Also, he sings a song!
October 4, 2019
After writing biographies of Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, and Mary Wollstonecraft, Tomalin turned to memoir. Her new work tells of her conflicting desires to have children and to lead a meaningful working life, her first husband's infidelity, and how long it took to find herself professionally.Also, we remember opera star Jessye Norman, who died Monday. She was first exposed to opera as a child listening to live broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera. "I was intrigued by it and I loved it," she told Terry Gross in 1987.
October 3, 2019
President Trump made building a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico a cornerstone of his 2016 presidential campaign. But when, after the election, efforts to build the wall stalled, he turned to other possible options — including constructing a trench filled with snakes and alligators — according to 'New York Times' journalists Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Michael Shear. Their new book chronicling the president's attempts to upend the nation's immigration system is 'Border Wars: Inside Trump's Assault on Immigration.'
October 2, 2019
Conan O'Brien recently switched up the format of his late-night show, and is about to launch the second season of his podcast, 'Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend.' He says the name of his podcast is a joke — sort of. "Sometimes when you're in the public eye, it can get murky as to who's really my friend. Who's going to come visit me in the hospital? Who's going to come over to my house when my dog dies and drink cocoa with me? Who are those people?" He also talks about his unusual career trajectory, and how his comedy has been driven in part by anxiety. Also, he sings a song.
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