Rank #1: A tour through a transforming media world with analyst Rich Greenfield
With a flood of new streaming services set to launch and the industry in upheaval, we go deep with opinionated analyst Rich Greenfield. He says massive media companies all want hits on all platforms and it ain’t gonna be easy. Greenfield tells us why he thinks you the customer ultimately are better off without the cable bundle, no matter how many subscriptions to streaming services you have to buy.
Oct 12 2019
Rank #2: Director Simon Kinberg on the dark fate of ‘Dark Phoenix’
A big flop is painful even to the most successful filmmakers. That didn’t stop writer-producer Simon Kinberg from sharing exclusively with The Business his perspective on what went wrong with ‘Dark Phoenix.’ Kinberg has worked as a writer and producer on the X-Men movie franchise since 2006. ‘Dark Phoenix’ was his directorial debut. The film got panned by critics and opened to only $33 million in the U.S. We talked to Kinberg a few days after that brutal weekend. He tells us about the reshoots, release dates changes, and working at Fox as it was being swallowed by Disney.
Jun 14 2019
Rank #3: How Kevin Smith tried to rescue his hero Stan Lee
Now it can be told: how filmmaker and geek Kevin Smith set out to rescue his hero, the legendary Stan Lee. Last year, Smith began to fear that the elderly co-creator of Spider-Man, Iron Man and the X-Men was being abused. Smith acted, though he felt strongly that there could be no good outcome. This week, we bring you Part 2 of our interview with Kevin Smith. He tells us about his friendship with Lee and explains why he called Kim Masters to share his concern about what was happening to Lee following the death of his beloved wife Joan. Masters pulled in her colleague, Gary Baum, who went on to write an award-winning expose. Baum also joins us to talk about that. For Kevin Smith, as you’ll hear, the whole story was absolutely heartbreaking.
Oct 05 2019
Rank #4: Kevin Smith on Weinstein and indie filmmaking 25 years after ‘Clerks’
Twenty-five years after Harvey Weinstein bought Kevin Smith’s low-budget indie film ‘Clerks,’ so much has changed. But in spite of Smith’s insistence that he’s behind the times, he’s always found ways to get his movies made--including his newest, ‘Jay and Silent Bob Reboot.’ We sat down with Smith at his house in the Hollywood Hills as he was preparing to set out on a 60-stop, cross-country roadshow. He told us about so many things--his long relationship with Harvey Weinstein, the struggle of dealing with the serious drug problems of Jason Mewes, who plays Jay to Smith’s Silent Bob, and the heart attack that almost did Smith in last year.
Sep 28 2019
Rank #5: Showrunner Susannah Grant on making the Netflix series ‘Unbelievable’
The Harvey Weinstein revelations broke when writer and director Susannah Grant was working on her Netflix series ‘Unbelievable’--based on a true story about how one team of cops pursued a serial rapist while another disbelieved and bullied a victim. In the hectic aftermath of the Weinstein exposes, Netflix asked Grant: does this change anything about your project? She said no. Grant tells us about the challenge of turning a news story from ProPublica and The Marshall Project into a scripted series. She also shares her thoughts on how to depict rape on screen and talks about what she did and did not discuss with the victim whose story is at the heart of the series.
Sep 21 2019
Rank #6: Liz Feldman on ‘Dead to Me,’ a funny show about grief
When veteran TV writer Liz Feldman took a casual meeting with some producers a couple of years ago, she was told she didn’t need to bring along any specific ideas. The previous week a close family member had died unexpectedly and, after years of fertility treatments, Feldman had learned she was, once again, not pregnant. So when she showed up for the meeting, she was immersed in loss--and blindsided when she was asked to pitch some new ideas after all. A seasoned improvisor, Feldman delivered. That quick pitch eventually turned into the Netflix series ‘Dead to Me’--a funny show about grief and friendship. Feldman tells us about a twisty career path that led to her twisty turny new show.
Jun 07 2019
Rank #7: The Battle for the WGA
Five months after firing their agents, members of the Writers Guild are still at war with the major agencies over packaging fees. In the heat of the ongoing union election, we try to explore a couple of perspectives on the two groups competing for Guild leadership. We talked to WGA board member Angelina Burnett about why she thinks the Guild can ultimately win this fight. We had trouble getting anyone on the air to discuss the dissidents' point of view, but finally Guild member Rob Long--who's not running for anything, but does support the opposition--stepped up. But unlike many dissidents who think some change is needed, Long thinks the Guild's fight against packaging is pointless.
Sep 07 2019
Rank #8: Writer-director Lorene Scafaria on the fight to make ‘Hustlers’
Lorene Scafaria’s new movie 'Hustlers' is based on a real-life group of strippers who robbed their Wall Street clientele. Scafaria had only one person in mind to play the ringleader, Ramona, and she got her. Our question was--could that really be Jennifer Lopez doing that crazy pole dance? Apparently, yes. Hot off Toronto, where 'Hustlers' won raves, Scafaria talks her fight to direct the movie, which was based on her script. She finally won that battle, and then the picture got dropped by Annapurna and then saved by STX. Meanwhile, Scafaria got Cardi B, Lizzo and Usher to be in her stripper crime movie.
Sep 14 2019
Rank #9: Revisiting Elizabeth Banks on blazing a trail in the big leagues
Elizabeth Banks is a member of a small Hollywood club: women who make big studio movies. After directing ‘Pitch Perfect 2’ and a ‘Charlie’s Angels’ reboot set for release this fall, Banks has even bigger ambitions. This week we’re revisiting our conversation with Banks, who recently produced the heartful Hulu comedy ‘Shrill.’ She tells us about getting bored with acting and moving into producing and directing. Despite the industry-wide talk of opening opportunities to women, she says she’s still run up against some very closed minds.
Jul 05 2019
Rank #10: Lulu Wang on ‘The Farewell,’ the indie hit of the summer
When filmmaker Lulu Wang set out to make a personal movie--largely set in China, mostly in Mandarin--she had a clear pitch, but buyers weren’t biting. She tells us about the circuitous route to making ‘The Farewell,’ which went from public radio piece to Sundance success to indie hit of the summer. Wang also explains the vagaries of filming in China and why she felt so strongly that her film had to play in theaters rather than finding a home on a streaming service.
Aug 03 2019