Damien Chazelle's latest movie, "La La Land," has been nominated for 14 Academy Awards, tying it with "All About Eve" and "Titanic" for the most nominations of all time. His previous movie was the Oscar-winning jazz-infused film "Whiplash." Chazelle explains what attracts him to art forms "on the precipice of extinction" and why the industry underestimates musicals.
Guest of Honor
Playwright/actor/rapper extraordinaire Lin-Manuel Miranda is our guest of honor this week. His latest Broadway musical, "Hamilton," broke box office records and earned him a bunch of Tonys, a Grammy and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. He also co-wrote songs for the Disney animated film "Moana," one of which is up for an Oscar. In a chat with Rico, the multi-hyphenate talks about his creative process for "Moana," shares how he honed his freestyle rap game, and explains why Bowie was the "uber-villain" of his childhood.
Brit Marling first attracted some attention when two movies she co-wrote and starred in premiered at Sundance in the same year. In her latest project, the Netflix drama "The OA," Brit plays Prairie, a blind woman who goes missing for years, then reappears with her sight restored, harboring secrets. She talks with Brendan about the cosmic questions in her art, emotional anthropology, and coral reefs.
In 2014, Ava DuVernay she earned raves for her civil rights drama "Selma," which was up for an Oscar for Best Picture. Her latest project is a documentary that's on the shortlist for Oscar consideration. It's called "13th," and it's a scathing primer on how America came to incarcerate more people than any other country on Earth, many of whom happen to be of color. The director examines why the criminal justice system captures her imagination, before revealing the surprising film she's seen many, many times.
Mike Mills got his start in the music biz, but he's probably best known for his feature film "Beginners." The director explains how his mother's life inspired Annette Bening's character in his latest film, shares lessons star Greta Gerwig learned from his sister and tells us how he's still trying to impress his wife.
Actor Zooey and acclaimed singer-songwriter M. Ward have put out several albums together under the name She & Him. Two of those happen to be holiday-themed, including their most recent, called "Christmas Party." Before share a holiday playlist, but first, Brendan chatted with them about their own special traditions.
Barry Jenkins's low-budget debut "A Medicine for Melancholy" put him on critics' radar. But his latest -- the meditative coming-of-age drama "Moonlight" -- is an indie hit and a major Oscar contender. It's already up for five Golden Globe awards. The director shares insight on film’s cinematography, tells us how he weighed positive portrayals vs. productive portrayals with certain characters, and hints at the many sides of his cinematic creativity.
Actor Mackenzie Davis plays the punk rock coding genius Cameron in the AMC series "Halt and Catch Fire." Her latest film is called "Always Shine." It's both a psychological thriller and a look at the sexist pressures of Hollywood. She talks with Brendan about the gender stories featured in the film and the trend of female characters that seem to be a little too perfect.
Nick Offerman starred as Ron Swanson on the sitcom "Parks and Recreation," delivering deadpan zingers through a lush mustache. He also stole scenes in the delightful "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl." But one of Nick's true passions is wood. This week, he released a book about it called "Good Clean Fun,” and chats with the guys about how his woodworking passion ties in with his acting, and more.
Director Kelly Reichardt's minimalist indie films like "Meek's Cutoff" have won loads of critical acclaim and a devout following. Most are shot in the Northwest, and focus on characters on the fringes of society. Her new movie "Certain Women" is no exception. She talks with Brendan about how a performance can change the tone of a scene from the page to the screen, why she's drawn to the picturesque Northwest, and more.