Before Yellowjackets introduced her to a new flock of fans, longtime admirers Leonard and Jessie sat down with Melanie Lynskey in 2017 to talk about her enduring career, which was jump-started when director Peter Jackson cast her and an equally unknown Kate Winslet in his exceptional film Heavenly Creatures. Seen by millions of viewers on the network comedy Two and a Half Men, she has never forsaken her indie roots, and we discussed her latest Sundance sleeper I Don’t Feel at Home In This World Anymore. And yes, Melanie is as nice as she is talented.
This week we wind the clock back seven years to a 2016 episode featuring the talented Bryan Cranston, who had completed his unforgettable five-year run as Walter White on Breaking Bad and was on to conquer new roles on stage and film. (This was long before his current Showtime series Your Honor was even in the planning stage.) Articulate and enthusiastic, he provides keen insights into the life of a working actor.
Bruce has taken his lifelong love of movies and turned it into a career. He responsible for the repertory programming at New York’s Film Forum and its special presentations: he has staged tributes to gimmick-master William Castle, silent film star Harold Lloyd and many others. He also runs Rialto Pictures, which circulates often-forgotten foreign-language films and brings them back to vivid life with beautiful prints and newly-translated subtitles. In other words, he’s a hero. Leonard and Jessie are longtime admirers and look forward to his annual trivia games at the TCM Classic Film Festival.
At one time she was known as the daughter of two top movie stars, Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh…but she quickly made a name for herself as the durable heroine of Halloween and star of such hit movies as Trading Places, A Fish Called Wanda, and True Lies. Now, after forty-five years in front of the camera she is an Academy Award nominee for Best Supporting Actress for her disarming and delightful performance in Everything Everywhere All at Once… and she is genuinely thrilled by the honor. She wears many hats, all of them well: actress, activist, author, and entrepreneur. Leonard recently interviewed her onstage at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and their easy rapport extended to this lively and candid conversation with him and Jessie.
Bob Gazzale is President and CEO of the American Film Institute. He is also one of the kindest men in Hollywood, as both Leonard and Jessie can attest. He oversees the AFI Conservatory, repeatedly ranked as the number-one film school in America…AFI Fest, a Fall gathering of the best and brightest new films from around the globe…the AFI Life Achievement Award, a classy show that sets a high bar for others to emulate…and the AFI Awards, a juried chronicle of outstanding films and television shows that culminates in a star-studded luncheon in January. We asked Bob to relate his “origin story” and he obliged. You’ll like what you hear.
Ben Model is a talented pianist who travels the world accompanying silent movies…but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. He’s a good guy who wears many hats: historian, proselytizer, promoter, preservationist, teacher, and distributor, to name just a few. He blew Leonard and Jessie’s minds when he unveiled his research about variable running times for silent films and proved how Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and others used the hand-cranking of the camera to their benefit. See for yourself at https://www.silentfilmmusic.
If you only think of Clint Howard as Ron Howard’s kid brother, it’s time to reassess. He and his older sibling recently wrote a joint autobiography called The Boys which explains their loving relationship and points to their actor-parents as lifelong role models. Early on, Clint embraced his destiny as a young-ish character actor; right now he’s appearing with Nicolas Cage in The Old Way, a Western playing in selected theaters and available on VOD. It’s Cage’s first Western but not Clint’s. There’s almost nothing he hasn’t done in his sixty-one years in show business, from the original Star Trek to The Cat in the Hat (one of many Ron Howard movies in which he appears.) He still lives in the San Fernando Valley not far from Leonard and Jessie, because he’s just folks—like his parents.
He’s got a new horror movie now playing on Digital and VOD called What’s Wrong with the Kids, but chances are you know Zach Gilford better for his work on television, from his memorable role in Friday Night Lights to the current season of Criminal Minds where he got to play opposite his real-life wife, Kiele Sanchez. He has a positive outlook and that is just one reason he’s always working: recent series include L.A.’s Finest, The Midnight Club, Midnight Mass, Good Girls, and The Family. He’s also co-hosting a podcast about Friday Night Lights with his pal Mae Whitman. Leonard and Jessie are admirers and feel certain he will continue to be a “working actor” for many years to come.
Keith Scott joins us from Down Under to talk about his lifelong fascination with Cartoon Voices, which is also the name of his new two-volume book about that subject, published by BearManor Media. Keith has spent decades ferreting out information, much of it from meeting the performers he writes about. Along the way, he became a stand-up comic and voice actor himself. You’ll hear some of his remarkable impressions over the course of our conversation and understand why the late, great June Foray (the original voice of Rocky the Flying Squirrel) was happy to work alongside him when he provided the voice of Bullwinkle J. Moose in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000). Leonard and Jessie never tire of talking to Keith, an old friend whose appearance on this podcast is long overdue.
Michael Barker and Tom Bernard are marking 30 years of running Sony Pictures Classics, but we moviegoers are the ones who ought to be celebrating. Thanks to their good taste and savvy salesmanship, films as diverse as The Fog of War, Blue Jasmine, and Frozen River have made their way into American theaters. They have championed such filmmakers as Pedro Almodóvar, Guillermo del Toro, Agnieszka Holland, and Susanne Bier, to name just a few. And they still believe that audiences want to see good films on a theater screen. Leonard and Jessie have known the illustrious pair for many years but never engaged them in an interview until now. They have a lot to say—and a lot to be proud of…including a new boxed set of Blu-ray discs including The Devil’s Backbone, Run Lola Run and their all-time biggest hit, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.