Any film that includes Patricia Clarkson in its cast has the cinematic equivalent of the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. She is that good, that committed, that versatile. Her credits run the gamut from well-loved indies like Lars and the Real Girl, The Station Agent and Dogville to mainstream hits like The Untouchables and TV series, including Six Feet Under, which earned her two Emmy Awards. Her latest release is Monica, about a transgender woman coming to terms with her dying mother. Leonard and Jessie had a ball talking with an actress who loves what she does and has an unquenchable zest for life.
Oscar-winning actress, mother, championship archer, film festival director, memoirist, founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media…Geena Davis has many hats but wears them lightly. The star of such enduring films as Beetlejuice, A League of their Own, and Thelma & Louise is a cut-up at heart, as Leonard and Jessie quickly learned. It’s easy to see how she has accomplished so much, especially in the area of female representation in media. She’s smart and talented but also endearing…and happy to talk about the people she’s worked with (from Penny Marshall to Tim Burton) as well as her history as a creator of whimsical inventions.
David Keith has been out of the spotlight in recent years but when he hit it big in An Officer and a Gentleman he became a hot property. Many movies followed, including The Lords of Discipline, Firestarter, Heartbreak Hotel (in which he played Elvis Presley), and The Indian in the Cupboard, to name just a few. He’s kept busy doing episodic television and directing a handful of genre films. Now he’s working as a creative executive producer, and in his new horror-thriller Walden (available on VOD beginning December 12) he’s given himself a good part as a judge. He sat on his front porch in Knoxville, Tennessee and reminisced with Leonard and Jessie for a cozy, comfortable conversation.
A lifetime of acting, mostly on stage, finally paid off for Paul Raci when he earned an Oscar nomination for a part he was born to play in Sound of Metal. It has changed the trajectory of his career, and he is happy to talk about working with Nicolas Cage, Jennifer Lopez, and Colman Domingo on recent projects. But what Leonard and Jessie took away from our conversation is Paul’s admirable work ethic and total dedication to his craft.
If you weren’t among the seven million people watching Melvin Gregg’s 7-second Vine videos online you may know him from such films and TV shows as Nine Perfect Strangers and the brand-new feature Share alongside Bradley Whitford and Alice Braga, now available on VOD. His acting ambitions brought him to Hollywood but unlike other young, struggling thespians, he devised a game plan to get him in the door with A-list filmmakers. Leonard and Jessie advise you to keep an eye on Melvin: he’s going places.
Tony Anselmo’s face may not be familiar, but the whole world knows his voice—that is, when he speaks as his alter ego, Donald Duck! Tony inherited this unique job from its creator, Clarence Nash, and he feels very protective of the famously furious mallard. He is also a graduate of Cal Arts and has been an animator at the Walt Disney studio since 1980. Leonard and Jessie are longtime fans and friends, as they share a love of all things Disney.
Elizabeth Daley has served as the Dean of the USC School for Cinematic Arts for 30 years, which means she’s been Leonard’s boss for 25 of those years. Leonard and Jessie realized that they’d never sat and just talked to her for an hour—until now. Elizabeth studied theater and migrated to television early in her career, then answered the call from academia for what she thought would be a temporary assignment. Now she consults worldwide based on her vast experience dealing with students, teachers, and such alumni as George Lucas, who laid the foundation (literally) to rebuild the school in downtown Los Angeles. You’ll hear other names appropriately dropped, from Hitchcock to Zemeckis in the course of this wide-ranging conversation.
Just in time for Halloween, we reconnected with director and film aficionado John Landis for a wide-ranging, clearly spontaneous conversation about horror films past and present. John’s Halloween bona fides: he directed An American Werewolf in London, the underappreciated Innocent Blood, and Michael Jackson’s Thriller, about which Jessie was particularly curious. Leonard is always impressed with John’s vast knowledge of film history, especially in the horror/sci-fi/fantasy genres. Jessie’s nearly two-year-old daughter Daisy make a cameo appearance near the end of this episode.
The actor you know and love from the Evil Dead movies was an animated guest when Leonard and Jessie spoke to him in front of a lively audience at Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas back in 2016.
Having just wrapped Fantastic Fest 2023, Leonard and Jessie are thinking about past experiences at this unique gathering in Austin, Texas. Step back six years to enjoy an episode recorded at the Alamo Drafthouse Lamar’s lively Highball Lounge with the late, great comedian Gilbert Gottfried. He was one of a kind, and so is this raucous hour-long interview.
Writer-director Greg Nava made his reputation with the unforgettable 1983 film El Norte, and then gave the world an exceptional musical biopic, Selena. He is happy to recount the stories behind those memorable films for Leonard, who witnessed El Norte’s breakout screening at the Telluride Film Festival, and Jessie, who has committed Selena to memory. This long-overdue conversation follows a happy reunion at this year’s Telluride fest.
Harold Lloyd dangling from the hands of a clock on the side of a building is arguably the most famous single image from the silent-film era. The movie in which that scene appears, Safety Last, was made in 1923 and is being screened Sunday at 2pm at the Academy Museum, with a 27-piece orchestra playing the late Carl Davis’s original score. Leonard and Jessie are delighted to welcome back Suzanne Lloyd, who was raised by her grandfather and grandmother, and her longtime friend Rich Correll, who as a teenager began the process of preserving Harold Lloyd’s film collection. We owe them both a debt of thanks for keeping these movies safe for current and future generations to enjoy.
Gifted and versatile are two adjectives that describe the women responsible for creating costumes for Netflix’s Emily in Paris (Marylin Fitoussi, who spoke to us from Paris), Queen Charlotte (Lyn Paolo and Laura Frecon) and the esteemed Colleen Atwood (Wednesday), who with this show continues her long partnership with filmmaker Tim Burton.
Several contributors to the Netflix series Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities discuss their collaboration: prosthetic makeup designers Sean Sansom and Mike Hill, production designer Tamara Deverell, and cinematographer Anastas Michos.
Two talented women talk about working on the long-running Netflix series The Crown: costume designer Amy Roberts and hair and makeup specialist Cate Hall. How does the challenge of replicating well-known figures from recent history affect their approach? Listen and find out.
Today we talk to some of the talented people who worked on the Netflix series Beef: costume designer Helen Huang, casting directors Charlene Lee and Claire Koonce, and editors Laura Zempel and Nat Fuller. You don’t have to be familiar with the show to enjoy hearing them describe their work and the passion they bring to each new project.
Alan Silvestri’s credits as a film composer are a bit overwhelming: Forrest Gump, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Abyss, The Avengers, and on and on. He has just hatched his first Broadway show, a musical version of Back to the Future that will soon open in London as well. And when John Williams was unable to compose the music for Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One, Alan was the one chosen to fill his shoes. (It’s a great story…) Leonard and Jessie knew this would be an exceptional interview because Alan and Leonard share a history: they graduated from high school in the same class!
He acted in George Lucas’ first student film. He directed Honey, We Shrunk the Audience for Disney theme parks in 70mm 3-D. He made a virtual reality television series. He studied at USC with actress Nina Foch and “total filmmaker” Jerry Lewis. But as long as he lives, Randal Kleiser will be best known as the guy who directed Grease. He has a new book called Drawing Directors, based on his close encounters with notable colleagues, and has completed a documentary about his high school graduating class called Baby Boomer Yearbook. As Leonard and Jessie learned, Randal lives in the present, looking toward the future.
His name may be most closely associated with Laugh-In, the television comedy phenom of the late 1960s/early 70s, but George Schlatter has spent a lifetime in show business, with countless credentials and friendships to show for it At the age of 94 he’s Still Laughing—which is the name of his newly published autobiography. He kept Leonard and Jessie laughing as he spun tales of working with Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, and the stars he launched on Laugh-In like Goldie Hawn and Lily Tomlin. The stories never stop…...
As president of Duplass Brothers Productions, Mel Eslyn has her finger in a number of creative pies. (She’s an executive producer of the underappreciated HBO series Somebody, Somewhere). The new theatrical release Biosphere bears her stamp as co-writer and director; she even got to direct her “boss,” Mark Duplass, who costars in this provocative comedy with Sterling K. Brown. Leonard and Jessie admire the way Mel and her colleagues work: offering opportunities and a helping hand to deserving beginners.
In this bonus episode, Jessie talks to actors Molly C. Quinn and Jennifer Holland and writer-director Natasha Halevi about their film Give Me An A. In the wake of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, a number of actors, writers and crew joined forces to create this anthology feature about body autonomy. It’s raw and real, alternately serious and ridiculous, expressing genuine feelings about this startling reality.
The League is the latest documentary directed by Sam Pollard, and like most of his other work it is first-rate: a fascinating history of the Negro League and its often-overlooked contribution to baseball in America. Pollard has won almost every prize imaginable in his field and edited six features with his friend and contemporary Spike Lee. As Leonard and Jessie learned, he is also a major cinephile whose influences are wide-ranging. The League opens in selected theaters on July 7 and heads to VOD one week later, July 14. You don’t have to be a baseball fan to appreciate this slice of Americana: it is not to be missed.
Matthew Jeffers is a little person who possesses major talent. At one time his options in show business would have been limited, but witnessing the success of Peter Dinklage inspired him to pursue an acting career. Leonard and Jessie are among those cheering him on, as his costarring role in the 2022 sleeper Unidentified Objects has earned him a following. You also may have seen him on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel or FBI. One thing is certain: his future is unlimited.
This long-married, theater-trained couple has been writing and producing popular television shows for some time, including Madam Secretary, Gray’s Anatomy, and Fire Country, but their newest creation is in a class by itself: A Small Light tells the story of Miep Gries, the remarkable young woman who hid Anne Frank and her family for two years during World War II. This emotionally charged eight-part series is a must-see, and you can find it on NatGeo, Disney+ and Hulu. Leonard and Jessie appreciated the chance to discuss it with Joan and Tony, who spent years researching and filming this exceptional show.
While he may be best known for his role on the hit show The Walking Dead, Chad L. Coleman has made indelible impression on many TV series, including It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, I Hate my Teenage Daughter, and Superman and Lois, to name just a few. His presence in the groundbreaking show The Wire still inspires him—and us. Leonard and Jessie were amazed at the breadth of his life experiences, which have surely contributed to his rich performances on stage and screen. His latest film is another unique endeavor, The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster. The film will be exclusively in Theaters on June 9th, and on Digital and on Demand on June 23rd.