Guest of Honor


LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 11:  Damien Chazelle attends a pre BAFTA party hosted by Charles Finch and Chanel at Annabel's on February 11, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by John Phillips/John Phillips/Getty Images)

Damien Chazelle on Weaving Fantasy and Reality in ‘La La Land’

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.


(Photo Credit: Brian Bowen Smith. © 2016 Brian Bowen Smith.)

Lin-Manuel Miranda on ‘I Want’ Songs, Going Method for ‘Moana’ and Fearing David Bowie

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.


(Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Sundance Film Festival)

Brit Marling Meditates on Life and (Near) Death in ‘The OA’

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.


(Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Ava DuVernay Unpacks the Issues at Play in ’13th’

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.


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Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward Share Their Holiday Traditions

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.


Photo Credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Barry Jenkins Dives Into the Depths of ‘Moonlight’

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.


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Mackenzie Davis Worries About the Next ‘Manic Pixie Dream Girl’

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.


Photo Credit: Emily Shur

Nick Offerman Carves Out His Own Niche

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.


(Photo Credit: ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)

Kelly Reichardt’s Labor of Love

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.