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.
Guest of Honor
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.
Rebecca Hall first made a name for herself on the British stage, winning awards in plays by Shaw and Shakespeare. Her latest role is in the indie film "Christine" she plays a real-life local news reporter and host who, in 1974, committed suicide during a live broadcast. The actor details how she crafted her haunting performance in the biographical drama, before telling us what it was like to work for her dad (and Shakespeare).
Seth Meyers spent a decade at "Saturday Night Live," eventually becoming that show's head writer and the anchor of its satirical news segment "Weekend Update." He left the show in February 2014 to take the helm at "Late Night" on NBC, a spot made famous by David Letterman. He explains his favorite part of his job, what it’s like to have “beef” with Donald Trump, and why he’s the ultimate indoorsman.
America Ferrera is best known for starring as the homely office assistant with a heart in the ABC comedy "Ugly Betty." That role earned her an Emmy, a Golden Globe, and a Screen Actor's Guild award. Now she stars in the NBC sitcom "Superstore," and she talks to us about what drew her back to TV, what a lack of on-screen representation meant to her, and the one "Ugly Betty" question she can't stand.