Kate Winslet is all about learning on the job. She never trained to be an actor, she just observed her talented co-stars on set. She used her work in Contagion to prepare herself and her family at the onset of the COVID pandemic. And she learned that global fame wasn’t something she wanted after the success of Titanic. Now, with her new film Ammonite, she learned how to tell a universal love story that does away with heteronormative storytelling. Also, Kate tells Marc about reuniting with James Cameron for the next Avatar movies.
Nicole Kidman keeps going for a very simple reason: She feels like her job helps her understand the meaning of life. After winning pretty all the major film and television acting awards, after being one of the world’s biggest movie stars, and after becoming a major producer, Nicole says she’s still working because it allows her to explore what makes humans the way they are. Marc talks with Nicole about those explorations, including Eyes Wide Shut, To Die For, Big Little Lies, Destroyer, The Undoing and more. There’s also a cameo appearance by Keith Urban.
Thundercat thinks bass players run the world and not just because he’s a great one. The multi-talented singer-songwriter talks with Marc about growing up with music all around him, learning at the feet of his brother and his friends Kamasi Washington and Cameron Graves, and finding his own sound on the bass. They also talk about his work with Kendrick Lamar on To Pimp A Butterfly and Thundercat describes the three areas around which he has structured his life: music, Marvel and anime.
Mandy Patinkin is a renowned star of stage and screen, beloved for his roles in The Princess Bride and Homeland, admired for his mellifluous voice and impressive vocal range. But Mandy and Marc barely talk about any of that. Instead, they get deep into a discussion about life, death, love, religion, the Holocaust, depression, suicide, self-doubt, insecurity, and the meaning of this whole thing we’re all going through. And believe it or not, they find some answers! It’s the perfect talk for a new year as we head into the unknown.
David Ritz is one of the most prolific biographers of music industry titans, writing about the lives of artists from BB King to Willie Nelson to Janet Jackson. David tells Marc about his obsessive pursuit of Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye and Aretha Franklin and how chronicling their lives changed his. He also explains why he often enjoys ghost writing for a musician more than writing in his own voice. Plus, David talks with Marc about finding faith through the Blues and writing his own story for a change.
Patty Jenkins’s connection to superheroes runs deep. Long before she became the first woman to direct a major superhero film, Patty was relying on Superman to help her process the loss of her father. Marc talks with Patty about how she was intrigued by the romance of tragedy, as filtered through the type of mythic storytelling depicted in her two Wonder Woman movies. They also talk about her time as a punk rocker, her years working the camera on hip-hop videos, and how the Beatniks are responsible for her entry into the film business.
Sam Tallent felt compelled to write a book about the guy he was afraid to turn into. As a comedian plying his trade on the road, Sam did enough one-nighters and heard enough horror stories from other comics to know there’s a path to ruin while going from club to club. Marc is also familiar with that path, which is why he connected so strongly with Sam’s book, Running the Light. Marc and Sam talk about the book’s fictional (but all-too-real) protagonist Billy Ray Shafer, as well as the actual rogues and borderline criminals they’ve met in their industry. Sam also explains what it was like to bet on himself and publish the book on his own.
Andrew Bird’s music defies categorization, so much so that he’s not even sure how to categorize it himself. Andrew walks Marc through the process by which he developed his sound, from youthful obsessions with classical music and jazz to his days on the road doing Old-Time music in bars to the period of isolation and deprivation he put himself through in order to experience a musical breakthrough. They also talk about his love of whistling, which he did in a recent Muppet movie. Also, Andrew plays a song from his new holiday album Hark!
Bootsy Collins is one of the world’s preeminent practitioners of The Funk, although that might not be the case if he hadn’t snuck his brother’s guitar out of the closet when no one was around. Bootsy tells Marc about starting out with a homemade bass and graduating from the James Brown School of Hard Knocks as part of the Godfather of Soul’s band. Bootsy explains how he came out of that experience and shaped his own identity in the Parliament Funkadelic Universe, thanks to the freedom provided by George Clinton, and how it all ties in to his new album, The Power of the One.
Scott Glenn is convinced that every good thing that’s ever happened to him has been an accident. That includes serving in the Marines, getting his start in acting, meeting his wife, finding religion, gaining Lee Strasberg as a mentor, moving to Idaho, and getting the part in Apocalypse Now that kickstarted his confidence as an actor. Scott tells Marc about the serendipitous circumstances behind those moments in his life, as well as stories from the sets of The Right Stuff, Nashville, Urban Cowboy and Training Day.