He’s enjoying the success and acclaim he rightly deserves for The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix’s most-watched scripted miniseries), but Scott Frank is not just a flavor of the month. He’s written movies like Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Minority Report, Logan, and our favorite sleeper The Lookout, which marked his directing debut. Scott has a wealth of observations about screenwriting and moviemaking which he shares with Leonard and Jessie, who have belatedly discovered Godless, the exceptional Western miniseries he made for Netflix in 2017. It’s another must-see.
His new biography Mike Nichols: A Life is garnering rave reviews, but that’s no surprise. Mark Harris’s other two books, Pictures at a Revolution and Five Came Back are required reading for anyone who loves films. A native New Yorker, Mark spent many years writing for Entertainment Weekly, which put him on the front lines of pop culture. He continues to cover the film scene for New York magazine. A diligent researcher as well as a fan, Mark has much to say about digging deep in order to tell a good (and accurate) story, as you will hear.
Listen up! When Quincy Jones speaks he may be imparting Yoda-like wisdom or talking about his collaborations with Steven Spielberg, Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, or Hal Ashby, to name just a few. His film credits range from The Pawnbroker and In Cold Blood to The Color Purpleand the must-see documentary Keep on Keepin’ On. As a musician, arranger, film composer, and entrepreneur he is without peer, and arguably the coolest guy on the planet. It’s been four years since Leonard and Jessie spent a lively hour with him and they still marvel at the experience. Keep On Keepin’ On, is now streaming on Amazon Prime, iTunes and other platforms.
If you’re in your 30s like Jessie, you grew up with Thomas Nicholas onscreen. He starred in Rookie of the Year and A Kid in King Arthur’s Court, then—a little older—he appeared the hugely popular American Pie series. He’s led a band for many years and has never forsaken acting, but with the release of Adverse on VOD he officially joins the ranks of producers. Leonard and Jessie enjoyed meeting him and recalling some of the highlights of an enduring career.
Whatever you may think of the Golden Globes, their voters hit a bull’s-eye when they gave a special award to Norman Lear, the youngest 98-year-old in Hollywood. He could easily coast along on his many accomplishments as a writer, producer, director, and political activist; instead he is engaged in new projects on a daily basis. He also penned a candid, entertaining autobiography called Even This I Get to Experience.
Jessie and I were privileged to spend an hour with him as he was just settling into his new office suite on the Sony Pictures lot two and a half years ago. He gave birth to such TV series as All in the Family, Maude, and The Jeffersons and was then busily involved in a reboot of One Day at a Time. He’s worked in television since 1950, but no one seems to talk to him about the movies he wrote, produced, and/or directed, like Cold Turkey, or those for which he was a midwife (like The Princess Bride). We relished spending time with this highly amusing, soft-spoken giant—even when he fielded a cell phone call from a political fundraiser in the midst of our interview!
A familiar and welcome face as one of the hosts on Turner Classic Movies, Dave Karger has paid his dues as a working journalist for many years. He spent 17 of those years as a senior writer at Entertainment Weekly, and has made frequent appearances on The Today Show, E! and Access Hollywood. Chronicling celebrity culture requires diplomacy and savvy in equal measures, and Dave is more than up to the task. Jessie and Leonard are admirers and welcomed this opportunity to talk to him.
Hi, it’s Leonard Maltin. Jessie and I are taking some time off but we want to share another of our favorite episodes of Maltin on Movies. Whether you know her best as Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast, Jessica Fletcher on Murder She Wrote, or the scheming mother from hell in The Manchurian Candidate, you’ll be glad to know that the real Angela Lansbury is alive and well at age 95. She was merely 93 when we recorded this conversation in her lovely Los Angeles home. Enjoy.
Leonard and Jessie spend quality time with the one and only Mel Brooks, who’s as spry as ever and bursting with great stories. He reveals the name of the funniest comedy he ever saw, talks about Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, and The Producers, and explains how he and his pal Carl Reiner screen movies together almost every night. You don’t want to miss this one.
Two of the world’s foremost authorities on movie music—whom we also count as good friends—join in a buoyant conversation filled with insight and laughter. Jon Burlingame writes for Variety and teaches film scoring at USC; his books include The Music of James Bond. Steven Smith’s latest book is Music by Max Steiner: The Epic Life of Hollywood’s Most Influential Composer. Together they represent an unbeatable storehouse of knowledge which they are eager to share with all of us.
As the granddaughter of animation pioneer Ub Iwerks and daughter of longtime Imagineer Don Iwerks, Leslie Iwerks automatically earns a niche in film history… but she’s forged a great reputation of her own, with Oscar and Emmy nominations to show for it. Her six-part series The Imagineering Story helped launch Disney+, while her provocative profile of hackers from Macedonia, Selling Lies, earned critical praise this past year. She’s chronicled the history of Pixar and Industrial Light and Magic and pursued a wide variety of topics that pique her interest. Leonard and Jessie are admirers of her work—and her family.
He’s earned immortality as that guy from Ghostbusters (and you’ll see him in the forthcoming sequel) but Ernie Hudson is everywhere you look: as the star and executive producer of BET’s The Family Business, as Lily Tomlin’s love interest in Netlflix’s Grace and Frankie, and Gary Dourdan’s father in the new movie Redemption Day, opening in theaters today and on VOD next week. He’s been in scores of movies and TV shows, from Oz to The Crow but the nicest thing about this nice (and talented) guy is that he still loves acting.
Jessie grew up with such popular movies as Little Giants, Casper, and Now and Then so naturally she’s a fan of their star Devon Sawa. Now in his 40s, he’s the father of two young children and pursuing a career with renewed interest and energy. His latest feature, Hunter Hunter, costarring Nick Stahl, is now playing on demand. Luckily, Devon is aware of his loyal fan base from his years as a child actor and chooses to embrace it. Leonard and Jessie had fun hearing his stories and indulging in a bit of nostalgia.
Any actress who would title her book I Don’t Know What You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-Star is certain to be fun to talk to and Judy Greer is just that: a versatile actress who’s done a little bit of everything in show business but isn’t jaded or disengaged. She loves acting and relishes each new challenge, from voice acting (as a costar of the hit series Archer) to joining an ensemble of her peers in the new indie drama Uncle Frank. She has an irresistible sense of humor, and Leonard and Jessie had a great time talking to her about her indestructible (and unpredictable) career.