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Here's The Thing with Alec Baldwin

Award-winning actor Alec Baldwin takes listeners into the lives of artists, policy makers and performers. Alec sidesteps the predictable by going inside the dressing rooms, apartments, and offices of people we want to understand better: Ira Glass, Lena Dunham, David Letterman, Barbara Streisand, Tom Yorke, Chris Rock and others. Hear what happens when an inveterate guest becomes a host.

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Brian De Palma on Scarface, Mission: Impossible, and the Movie He Made in College

Brian De Palma's astonishingly diverse hits as a director include Blow Out, Scarface, The Untouchables, The Bonfire of the Vanities, Raising Cain, Carlito’s Way, and Mission: Impossible. He wrote many of those screenplays, too. With his distinctive visual style and proven box office success, he's among the undeniable greats of both auteur and commercial filmmaking. In this live interview, he tells Alec about getting his start in directing as an undergrad at Columbia, and has stories from Blow Out, Scarface and Mission: Impossible. In 2019, the Hamptons International Film Festival gave De Palma its Lifetime Achievement Award; this conversation was part of the ceremony. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

38mins

5 May 2020

Rank #1

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Farmer Hoggett in the Slammer

From the humane wisdom of Farmer Hoggett in Babe to the simmering evil of Captain Dudley Smith in L.A. Confidential, James Cromwell realizes his roles with unmatched emotional honesty. He brings that same openness to a wonderful, sprawling conversation with Alec: Cromwell is a natural storyteller who’s had a remarkable life in theater, TV, and the movies. The two actors swap stories about shared teachers, loves, and frustrations – and political protest. Cromwell might be the most committed activist in Hollywood: his civil disobedience has led to multiple arrests and even a stint in state prison. And throughout the interview, you can hear the explicit and implicit influences of Cromwell’s father, a major Hollywood director who split from the family when James was six. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

51mins

26 Dec 2017

Rank #2

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The Oscars Series, Day 5: For Sama, This Year's Most Powerful Documentary

This week, in honor of the upcoming Academy Awards, Here's the Thing brings you a collection of conversations with Oscar-winners -- and, today, with a pair of 2020 nominees. They are Waad Al-Kateab and Edward Watts, the co-directors of For Sama, which is up for Best Documentary Feature. It's a movie pieced together from more than 500 hours of footage shot by Al-Kateab, a young mother in rebel-controlled Aleppo, Syria, as government troops closed in. For Sama is about what it's like for an ordinary, middle-class family to conceive and raise a child in a city under siege.  As the San Francisco Chronicle puts it, "For Sama is a film made with the instincts of a journalist, the passion of a revolutionary, and the beating heart of a mother." Watts, Waad, and Waad's husband, Dr. Hamza Al-Kateab, joined Alec at a live taping of Here's the Thing at the Hamptons International Film Festival. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

38mins

7 Feb 2020

Rank #3

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Itzhak Perlman Cracks Wise

The legendary violinist talks about his difficult childhood, stricken by polio in the war-torn early days of Israeli statehood -- and laughs about his early success, whisked away to the United States at 13 to perform on the Ed Sullivan Show. Plus, what makes a truly great instrumentalist? What makes a great teacher? Later, his wife Toby Perlman weighs in, too, so the interview becomes a family affair, topped with a spectacular Mendelssohn performance by eight students from the Perlman Music Program. Toby founded that summer school on idyllic Shelter Island to provide a safe space for young musical geniuses to develop their talents, and themselves. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

47mins

5 Mar 2019

Rank #4

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On a Zoom Call with Woody Allen

Woody Allen's new book, Apropos of Nothing, starts with a portrait of his father, a tough-guy World War One Navy veteran and onetime gunman in a firing squad. It's the first of a series of surprising, fascinating stories from a life that went from working-class Jewish Brooklyn in the 1940s to movie sets in Rome and Paris.  The book also addresses the accusation of an incident of sexual abuse leveled by Dylan Farrow.  Allen and Alec cover it all -- plus how he's doing in the age of coronavirus -- in this candid and wide-ranging interview. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

48mins

2 Jun 2020

Rank #5

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James Caan: Last of the Tough-Guy Movie Stars

At the end of the 1950s, James Caan, son of a German-Jewish butcher, had been kicked out of ROTC and was too poor to finish college on his own. He started a job for his godfather unpacking meat along the docks of the Hudson River. Less than a decade later, he was starring alongside John Wayne and Robert Mitchum in El Dorado, just a few years from Coppola's giving him a lead in The Godfather. In his unmistakable Queens patois, Caan tells Alec the wonderful, unlikely story of his rise to stardom. That story includes his many marriages, even more fistfights, and heretofore untold details from the sometimes-violent set of The Godfather. Plus what sort of roles Caan wanted but didn't get because of typecasting. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

54mins

3 Sep 2019

Rank #6

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Noah Baumbach Gets Personal in Marriage Story

Director Noah Baumbach is known for messy and realistic family dramas. The Squid and The Whale chronicles divorce within a family; Margot at the Wedding explores the relationship between two sisters; The Meyerowitz Stories tells the story of 3 adult siblings – different mothers, same father – negotiating resentment and love. And there have been plenty of comparisons between Baumbach’s own life and his movies – especially so with his most recent film, Marriage Story. Baumbach and actress Jennifer Jason Leigh divorced soon after they had a child. But Baumbach is quick to say his films are not autobiographical. They are personal, he says, and as he tells Alec, the process of turning real life into films is part of how Baumbach makes sense of things around him. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

42mins

10 Dec 2019

Rank #7

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Billy Joel, Revisited

Billy Joel has sold more records than The Stones, Bruce Springsteen, and Madonna—though the “rock star thing” is something he can “take off.” Joel started playing piano when he was about four or five years old, but he admits that he doesn't remember how to read sheet music anymore. He says it’d be like reading Chinese. That doesn't stop the third best-selling solo artist of all time in the U.S. from plunking out a few tunes with Alec. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

1hr 5mins

25 Dec 2018

Rank #8

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Starbucks' Howard Schultz Doesn't Sleep—But Don't Blame the Coffee

Howard Schultz wasn't born into business. A Brooklyn boy whose father worked menial jobs to support the family, Schultz thought his way out would be through sport. That is, however, until he broke his jaw on the football field at 18 (an injury from which Schultz is still recovering). For the next three years, he made cold calls, a job he hated but which ultimately taught him about how to sell himself. He soon connected those selling chops with a small Seattle coffee roastery called Starbucks. He hoped to expand the chain to 100 stores; Starbucks now has 25,000 locations across the globe. Howard Schultz—who has been at the helm as CEO for most of the company's history—tells host Alec Baldwin that at the core of that success is a desire to build the kind of socially enlightened, employee-focused business that his father was never able to work for. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

41mins

27 Sep 2016

Rank #9

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Moby on Living Large and Falling Hard

Moby had already put out four studio albums when Play was released in 1999. He was solidly into his 30s, playing gigs in record stores and thinking about a career-change. But Play, against all expectations, started selling. Then it started selling out. There was champagne, then vodka, then cocaine. He swung between drug-induced euphoria and thoughts of suicide. The stories of stardom he tells Alec are both funny and troubling. But Moby saw his way out of the spiral. Now a decade without drugs or alcohol, he's remarkably open about his darkness, and the weird hippie childhood that laid the groundwork for it. He and Alec sat down last month and swapped stories of sobriety and celebrity. Moby's new memoir is Then It Fell Apart. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

55mins

28 May 2019

Rank #10

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Anthony Weiner on Term Limits and Text Messages

This interview was conducted in April 2016, prior to new reports that Anthony Weiner continued to be involved in explicit text and digital message exchanges.Anthony Weiner is charismatic, full of ideas, quick on his feet — he's a natural politician. These personal strengths were well suited to governance during his stint in the New York City Council, and as a U.S. Representative in Washington. But his personal flaws became very public, and very visible, during a series of well-publicized sexting scandals. The professional fallout was swift in both instances: Weiner resigned his House seat, and later suspended his candidacy in the 2013 race for mayor of New York City. He talks to host Alec Baldwin about the ways in which an elected official has to publicly atone for private misconduct, and considers his next professional move.  Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

55mins

10 May 2016

Rank #11

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Roseanne's Laurie Metcalf on Lady Bird and Lady Barr

Note: this interview was recorded before Roseanne's tweet and the subsequent cancellation of the show.Alec says he has never enjoyed being on-stage with a fellow actor more than when he performed with Laurie Metcalf in Arthur Miller's All My Sons. Her genius is on full display in the new production of Albee's Three Tall Women, currently on Broadway, for which she just won a Tony. On Here's the Thing, Metcalf and Alec discuss her evolution into an accomplished actor from her days as an aspiring German-English translator who'd never considered a career in the arts. She recounts the early days of Steppenwolf, the legendary Chicago theater company she founded with John Malkovich, Gary Sinise, whom she met while she was still in college. We learn what it was like working with Greta Gerwig on Lady Bird -- and toiling through the grueling "publicity circus train you have to get on for three months" when you're in a hit movie. And finally, Metcalf shares stories from both sets of Roseanne: her insecurity about the show's staying-power in 1989, and the political dynamic on set for the reboot alongside her Trump-supporting friend. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

46mins

19 Jun 2018

Rank #12

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Molly Ringwald: 'These Films No Longer Belong to Me'

For movie fans who came of age in the 1980s, Molly Ringwald is the definitive "it" girl. As the creative inspiration for director John Hughes, Ringwald was the de facto center of generationally-significant films like 'The Breakfast Club,' 'Sixteen Candles,' and 'Pretty in Pink' (written by Hughes and directed by Howard Deutch). Her red hair and sardonic wit became cultural icons all their own, and made Ringwald one of the greatest teen stars in film history. But she tells host Alec Baldwin that these films, as important as they are to a whole generation of movie fans, are passing moments in her growth as an artist and an actor: she's written two books, acted in numerous films and television shows, and released a jazz record, 'Except Sometimes,' in 2013.  Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

45mins

16 Feb 2016

Rank #13

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Jeff Daniels Was Supposed to Take Over the Family Lumber Business

By 1976, college student Jeff Daniels was pretty sure he didn't want to follow his father into the Michigan lumber trade. But he wasn't sure he could make it as a working actor -- until one of the founders of Manhattan's legendary Circle Repertory Company spotted him at Eastern Michigan University. It was a short hop from Circle Rep to his screen breakthrough in Terms of Endearment, but Daniels' commitment to the stage has never waned. That commitment bore a Tony nomination this year (Daniels' third) for his magnificent performance in Aaron Sorkin's To Kill a Mockingbird adaptation on Broadway. Daniels and Alec discuss the craft required to play Atticus Finch, the very different craft required to play alongside Jim Carrey in Dumb & Dumber, and Daniels' unusual decision to move back to his Michigan hometown with his wife and child while building a Hollywood career. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

55mins

14 May 2019

Rank #14

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Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman Take it Slow in Work and in Love

Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman are famous for creating iconic TV characters on two beloved sitcoms, "Will & Grace" and "Parks and Recreation." But they also have a life together off screen. They've been married since 2003, and Playboy magazine compared their comic chemistry to "that of a hyper-sexualized Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara." They talk to Here's the Thing host Alec Baldwin about struggling to launch their careers, why it took them so long to kiss, and how jigsaw puzzles, audio books, and carpentry keep their marriage strong. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

54mins

21 Mar 2017

Rank #15

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Jane Mayer on Thomas, Trump, and Twitter

The New Yorker’s marquee investigative journalist, Jane Mayer has been a thorn in the side of three presidents, two Supreme Court justices, and, most recently, Fox News. She tells Alec stories from her investigations into Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas, and talks about what drew her to the rigors of reporting. Plus she reveals details about her process, including why she often leaves victim-interviews to her co-authors. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

44mins

30 Apr 2019

Rank #16

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How to Run a Small-Town Paper When Your Town Is East Hampton

Since 2004, 1300 towns across America have lost local newspaper coverage. 2004 was also the first full year David Rattray, the third generation of his family to own the East Hampton Star, served as the paper's editor. It's a job for which Rattray gave up a very different life and career in New York City. That was a good choice: thanks in part to his stewardship, the Star thrives.  It covers East Hampton's seasonal transformation into the center of an elite New York social universe, but other than that, the venerable weekly operates much as it always has. Rattray makes sure Town Board meetings get covered and that the Fishing Report is up to date -- as did his parents, and his grandfather before them. Alec has been spending time in East Hampton for almost 40 years, so he and Rattray have much to discuss about the paper, and the changes they've witnessed in town. They also discuss the Star's long-term project to research and confront the Hamptons' slaveholding past -- a past in which Rattray's own ancestors played a part. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

40mins

27 Aug 2019

Rank #17

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Michael Eisner Wants a Good Movie to End Quickly

Michael Eisner started out in show business the same way everybody else does: by taking tickets at the studio door. But most ticket takers don't end up as epochal media magnates. Eisner rose to prominence at ABC as a protege of Barry Diller, helping to take the television network to the top of the ratings with programs like Roots and Happy Days. He jumped (also with Diller) to Paramount Pictures, and during his eight year stint as president and CEO, the studio produced hit film after hit film, including Raiders of the Lost Ark, Saturday Night Fever, Beverly Hills Cop, and many more. Eisner then spent the next two decades leading The Walt Disney Company, reinvigorating the animation studio with experiments like Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and dozens of musical successes, starting with The Little Mermaid. But it wasn't just cartoons: Eisner vastly expanded the company's signature amusement parks, and spearheaded numerous media acquisitions, with Disney eventually absorbing ABC, ESPN, and launching cruise lines and sports teams. Eisner continues to experiment with new ideas and formats; his production company makes, among other things, a Netflix cartoon for adults about an alcoholic horse. Eisner walks host Alec Baldwin through his expansive film career, and explains how he views risk and reward.   Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

56mins

5 Jul 2016

Rank #18

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Michael Pollan Tried to Blow Up a Woodchuck

Michael Pollan says that every writer has a "final question," an irreducible topic to which all their work tends. For Pollan, that topic has always been nature — specifically, the ways in which the natural world and humans have co-evolved to mutual benefit. So it's funny to hear Pollan talk about his failed attempt at incinerating an animal that was giving his garden a hard time. He tells host Alec Baldwin how this experience disabused him of the pastoral notions of nature found in Emerson and Thoreau, and goes on to talk about drunk elephants, his new Netflix series Cooked, the failed Bloomberg soda ban, and psychedelic drugs. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

48mins

24 May 2016

Rank #19

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A Fresh Look at the Death and Life of RFK

June 5th is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. It was one of the formative events in Alec's childhood, and in the life of his father. The release of Dawn Porter's brilliant new Netflix documentary series, Bobby Kennedy for President, was timed to coincide with this difficult milestone. The movie is about his life and legacy, but its origins are in the killing and subsequent trial: lawyers for Sirhan Sirhan, the man convicted of the killing tried to interest Porter in a doc proclaiming his innocence. She hired an investigator to review every shred of remaining evidence, and she herself (she's a Georgetown-trained lawyer) dug deep into the serious problems with his trial. RFK, she says, would have been horrified at the witness-tampering, destruction of evidence, and abysmal defense.  But (despite Alec's lively, VERY informed questioning), Porter has no conclusion about his ultimate guilt or innocence. The balance of the film, then, shows how the man lived, and what he might have accomplished. It features never-before seen footage of Kennedy, and new interviews with civil rights heroes and Kennedy-friends Marian Wright Edelman, Harry Belafonte, Dolores Huerta, and John Lewis. Together, Alec and Porter plumb RFK's rich family life and his political evolution, and mourn the historical and personal loss of his killing. But first they trace Porter's own life from early years in her father's photography studio, to corporate power, to documentarian shining a light on one social-justice issue after another. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

42mins

5 Jun 2018

Rank #20