Millions of people around the globe have experienced the creativity of Julie Taymor in her groundbreaking stage production of Disney’s The Lion King. Her films include the Beatles homage Across the Universe, Frida, and Titus. Now she’s tackled the life and times of Gloria Steinem in The Glorias. She fell in love with theater as a girl growing up in the suburbs of Boston and traveled the world, soaking up different cultures and theatrical techniques using masks and puppetry, which she’s drawn on ever since. Leonard and Jessie avoid current events on this podcast, but listeners should know that Julie Taymor’s conversation is politically charged.
Whether you know him best from Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket (just reissued in Ultra-High-Definition) or such memorable films as Birdy, Orphans, Short Cuts, or The Dark Knight Rises or if you just discovered him on Stranger Things, Matthew Modine is a talented and versatile actor who’s been working steadily since the 1980s. What’s more, he grew up in the rarefied setting of drive-in movie theaters, which his father managed. Charming, articulate and easy to talk to, Matthew proved to be a wonderful conversationalist for Leonard and Jessie to engage with.
Be sure to check out the Full Metal Jacket Diary in the Apple iPad App Store!
Jay Baruchel first caught Jessie’s eye in Almost Famous, which led to him being cast in Judd Apatow’s short-lived but well-loved TV series Undeclared. That put him in the same orbit as Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, Evan Goldberg and other young talents he’s worked with ever since. He made an impression in such movies as Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby, which contributed to his ultimate goal: becoming a filmmaker himself. He wrote, directed and stars in Goon: Last of the Enforcers and its sequel. His latest endeavor, Random Acts of Violence is now streaming online. A lifelong movie buff and hockey fanatic, like so many Canadians; he’s also great fun to talk to, as you will hear.
He’s been a familiar face on TV and in movies for decades—Jessie first saw him in Rush Hour—but lately Tzi Ma has come into his own playing fathers in Lulu Wang’s The Farewell, Alan Yang’s Tigertail and Niki Caro’s epic new production of Disney’s Mulan, which debuts today on Disney+. In fact, he grew up on Staten Island and fell in love with the theater, as he tells Leonard and Jessie in a fascinating review of his life and career. This charming man will reach an even bigger audience in the upcoming CW reboot of Kung Fu—where once again he’ll play a father to a female protagonist.