A celebrated actor and man of the theater whose films include Amadeus, Shakespeare in Love, and Four Weddings and a Funeral, Simon Callow is also a master biographer, having written a great book about Charles Laughton and a magnum opus on Orson Welles which has extended to four volumes! And yes, he was also the bad guy in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls. Charming and witty, he regaled Leonard and Jessie with stories from his extensive career and will do the same for you.
Master cinematographer Caleb Deschanel earned the first of six Oscar nominations for The Black Stallion, and the latest just last year for the brilliant German film Never Look Away. Since then he’s ventured into the newest form of storytelling, virtual reality, to shoot The Lion King. But his best stories aren’t about craft—they’re about life lessons he’s learned since attending film school at USC with the likes of George Lucas. Leonard and Jessie sat spellbound as Caleb regaled them with priceless anecdotes: tune in and hear for yourself.
Jessie fell in love with Phil LaMarr during his long run on MADTV, but that’s just one of hundreds of credits on his resume. He’s a charter member of The Black Version, a hilarious show at Los Angeles’s Groundlings Theatre and one of the busiest voice actors around. You’ve heard him on The Family Guy, Futurama, DC Super Hero Girls, Bojack Horseman, and scores of other animated shows and movies. He’s also appeared onscreen in Veep, Get Shorty, and Pulp Fiction, to cite just a few highlights. He has great stories to share, and Leonard and Jessie were especially blown away by his uncanny impressions. Have you ever heard anyone imitate Chris Rock and Don Cheadle?
A born storyteller and natural entrepreneur, Ava DuVernay has achieved many milestones: the first black woman to be named Best Director at the Sundance Film Festival (for Middle of Nowhere), the first to have a feature nominated for Best Picture (Selma), and the first to pilot a big-budget blockbuster, A Wrinkle in Time. She created the hit series Queen Sugar and directed the powerful Netflix miniseries When They See Us. How she found time in her schedule to chat with Leonard and Jessie we’ll never know, but they discovered that aside from her great achievements, Ava is equally happy to talk about her early inspirations and lifelong love of movies.
Most people know Lesley Manville for her Oscar-nominated performance as Daniel Day-Lewis’s sister in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread or her many films for British filmmaker Mike Leigh including Secrets & Lies, Topsy-Turvy and Another Year. She’s also the star of the irresistible TV comedy Mum, which just launched its third and final season on BritBox. Leonard and Jessie are unabashed fans of the show and enjoyed discussing it and Lesley’s wide-ranging career in theater, film and television.