Leonard and Jessie took their show on the road and broadcast for a live audience at Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival. Their conversation ranges far and wide; one hot topic is the critic’s quandary of swimming against the tide, when everyone seems to like a film more than you do. Audience members chime in with questions, as well, in this lively hour of movie talk.
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau has become world-famous on the wildly popular Game of Thrones, but as you’ll learn, his seemingly overnight success has been more than twenty years in the making. (He costarred with Mick Jagger and a little-known Jude Law in Bent back in 1997.) Leonard and Jessie discover a hard-working, self-effacing actor with a great sense of humor and a ready supply of anecdotes about his experiences making movies around the globe.
Jenny Slate is smart and funny in equal measure. She’s made her mark on television (on shows ranging from SNL to Parks and Recreation), movies (the award-winning Obvious Child), the Internet (with her creation Marcel the Shell with Shoes On) and even the New York Times best-seller list (thanks again to Marcel). Leonard and Jessie discuss her new movie Landline and a wide range of topics relating to comedy, careers, and real life.
We’ve all been watching Bruce Davison for years—tending to his pet rats in Willard in the early 70s, earning an Oscar nomination for Longtime Companion in 1989, defying the X-Men as a Senator in 2000, and making his mark in an endless variety of roles on stage, television and movies. It turns out he is also a world-class raconteur. Leonard and Jessie were held in rapt attention as he imitated Burt Lancaster, Henry Fonda and a host of others while spinning a series of unforgettable anecdotes. Don’t miss this episode!
Meet the third member of the Maltin Triumvirate: Alice. Wife of Leonard, mother of Jessie, she is an outspoken, lifelong movie fan and has played a key role in Leonard’s life for the past 42 years as both booster and critic. When she was growing up in the Bronx she never dreamed she would wind up in Hollywood, meeting so many people she grew up watching from afar. Leonard and Jessie decided it was time to share her inimitable personality with their listeners. Enjoy!
Billy Bob Thornton is in a class by himself. If you haven’t seen his Amazon series Goliath, you’re missing a great acting showcase…a perfect follow-up to his unforgettable turn on the first season of Fargo. Leonard and Jessie are longtime fans and delight in talking to him about finding his place in Hollywood, working with the Coen Brothers, playing the President of the United States in Love, Actually, and much, much more.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead just delivered a knockout performance as a femme fatale on this season of Fargo, but for many fans she’ll always be Ramona Flowers in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. As Leonard and Jessie discover, she doesn’t mind at all. She has a knack for choosing cool projects like 10 Cloverfield Lane and Swiss Army Man…and shares stories of her experiences on those films and working with the inimitable Quentin Tarantino.
Kumail Nanjiani has parlayed his success as a stand-up comic into an acting career, notably on Silicon Valley. Now he and his wife Emily have written a movie that was the runaway hit at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, The Big Sick. Everybody knows (and loves) Ray Romano, who plays the father of Kumail’s girlfriend. Leonard and Jessie ask the two comedians to compare their experiences in the standup world and learn how they made the transition to acting…but it’s clear that being funny comes naturally to both of them.
Director Miguel Arteta (Chuck and Buck, Cedar Rapids) and writer-actor Mike White (School of Rock, The Good Girl) are longtime friends and collaborators with many experiences to share—and a new film opening in theaters starring Salma Hayek, Beatriz at Dinner. Leonard and Jessie hear what they have to say about working with everyone from Jennifer Aniston to Martin Scorsese in this entertaining conversation.
Nick Kroll is on a roll: the hit Broadway show he performed with John Mulaney, Oh, Hello, is coming to Netflix. Kroll Show helped build his reputation as a chameleon-like sketch comedian. He’s provided animated voices for such movies as Sing, Sausage Party, and Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie… and made his big-screen dramatic debut in Loving. Somehow he found time to chat with Leonard and Jessie about his multifaceted career—and his comedy heroes.
Leonard’s recent post at leonardmaltin.com about the death of vhs—and what we’ve lost in the process—inspired him and Jessie to discuss the parade of movie and video formats they’ve enjoyed over the years. From 8mm film (yes, film) to Betamax tape and beyond, it’s likely you will relate to at least one facet of this wide-ranging conversation. (P.S. You’d better listen to this episode soon; it only exists in a digital format and who knows how long that will last?)
Michael Giacchino is the hottest—and arguably the nicest—composer in Hollywood. He got his start scoring video games and went on to earn an Oscar for Pixar’s Up. He’s provided the music for The Incredibles, Star Wars: Rogue One, Star Trek, Jurassic World, Zootopia and countless other movies (including the upcoming War for the Planet of the Apes and Spiderman: Homecoming). But as Leonard and Jessie can affirm, his talent is matched only by his enthusiasm and sense of humor. And you’ll never guess what he listens to when he’s driving around L.A.!
Christopher Meloni is an incredibly busy guy: he’s playing comedy on the big screen in Snatched while costarring on Underground and a new season of Hot Wet American Summer on TV. Then there are those Law & Order: SVU reruns. Leonard and Jessie learn why he works so hard: he loves what he does. Although he’s completely down-to-earth, Christopher is quite eloquent about what acting has meant to him. You’ll come away impressed…and you’ll even learn how he wound up in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle.
Best-selling author Michael Connelly is that rare bird: a writer who is fully involved in the TV adaptation of his work. Based on his hard-hitting, deeply researched novels about an LAPD detective, Bosch is now in its third season, and is the top-rated show on Amazon. Michael is also a good storyteller in person, as you’ll hear for yourself. Leonard and Jessie talk about his movie influences and his past experiences with Hollywood.
Actor and standup comedian Baron Vaughn was Leonard’s original co-host on the podcast. He returns to the fold to talk about his roles on Grace & Frankie and the reboot of Mystery Science Theater 3000 as well as a new documentary that’s close to his heart: Fatherless. Baron has a knack for being able to be serious one moment and silly the next. Jessie and Leonard are suckers for this, and you may find yourself reacting the same way.
Leonard and Jessie discuss film festivals they’ve recently attended—large and small—and the phenomenon they represent for filmmakers and moviegoers alike. From the TCM Classic Film Festival to hometown events in San Luis Obispo and Sonoma, California, you’ll learn the ins and outs of these cinematic gatherings. Along the way they recommend some movies worth watching that you can now find online to create your own festival at home.
You all know J.K. Simmons: he’s the Oscar-winning actor who browbeat Miles Teller in Whiplash. He’s Ellen Page’s father in Juno. He’s costarred in such TV series as Oz and The Closer and sells insurance on the side. And for twenty years he’s been the voice of the yellow M&M in those TV commercials. In real life, he’s a hard-working actor with years of experience and lots of great stories. You’ll share Leonard’s interest in this engaging professional who loves what he does.
Hayley Mills was earmarked for stardom by Walt Disney more than fifty years ago. She endeared herself to a generation of fans in such unforgettable films as Pollyanna and The Parent Trap. Meeting this charming and unpretentious woman you’d never know she was friendly with the Beatles or came from British show-business royalty. Leonard and Jessie try to remain nonchalant as they chat with the nicest living legend imaginable.
Kevin Feige rules the Marvel Cinematic Universe—but the President of Marvel Studios wears his crown lightly. A real movie lover and comic fan, he can hold his own with the fanboys while simultaneously juggling multimillion dollar productions. He attended USC because that’s where his cinematic heroes went to school and remains loyal to his alma mater, visiting Leonard’s class on a regular basis. Jessie and Leonard don’t have to prod him to talk about any of these things--it's his passion. That's what makes him perfect for the job.
Dax Shepard has loved cars since he was a kid. Now he gets to race and crash them as the director, writer and star of CHIPS, the new movie that teams him with Michael Peña in a rousing reprise of the vintage TV series. Leonard and Jessie go into high gear with the star of TV’s Parenthood—and creator of the unappreciated feature Hit and Run—in this entertaining episode.
The eloquent Nick Offerman leaves his much-loved Ron Swanson character behind as he costars with Sam Elliott in the new movie The Hero. Leonard and Jessie interview him and writer-director Brett Haley at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, where the film debuted. A live audience didn’t let a steady downpour of rain dampen their enthusiasm.
Edgar Wright is the ultimate fanboy-turned-filmmaker. He has parlayed his love and knowledge into a thriving career, from Shaun of the Dead to Scott Pilgrim and The World’s End, with Baby Driver on its way to theaters soon (after a sneak preview at South by Southwest). He’s as articulate as he is passionate, and shares his enthusiasm for movies with Leonard and Jessie.
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 Purple and 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. Leonard and Jessie are clearly in awe.
From her amazing debut in Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures to her long run on the TV sitcom Two and a Half Men, Melanie Lynskey has created unforgettable characters. Her latest is in the Sundance Grand Jury prize-winner I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore, which debuts today on Netflix. Leonard and Jessie discover that Melanie is as engaging in person as she’s always been onscreen…and you’ll hear the Kiwi accent she’s so good at disguising.
You know his face from 30 Rock and Veep, among countless other TV shows and movies. You may also know him as the voice of Baymax from Big Hero 6. Now meet Second City graduate Scott Adsit, improv actor supreme and longtime movie buff. Leonard and Jessie learn about his career and his long association with animation, as voice actor and producer, in this interesting chat.