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FROM THIS EPISODE

Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu isn't known for light-hearted films. When he wanted to try funny with Birdman, investors were not so sure. Iñárritu talks about how he works as an independent filmmaker in a world where popularity is king, and what he fears could be a grim, superhero-based future for the world of cinema.

Photo: Director Alejandro González Iñárritu on the set of Birdman. Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight 

Producers:
Kaitlin Parker

Hollywood News Banter 7 MIN, 14 SEC

Matt Belloni joins Kim Masters and Michael Schneider to discuss top entertainment news stories of the week.

- Looking ahead to what could be some of the bigger stories of 2015.
- Will there be a long-term chilling effect at the studios following the Sony hack? And what's the future for Sony itself?
- China's got a lot of money, and they're looking for places to invest in Hollywood. Their continued clout has already started to influence content, and that's a trend that's likely to continue.
- The TV broadcast networks are looking to recapture a little bit of the magic following a down year. And all eyes are on Fox to see which direction they'll go following a regime change in 2014.
- Late night will look a little different this year. Stephen Colbert moving to CBS, Larry Wilmore coming to Comedy Central and Chelsea Handler will premiere her new show on Netflix.

Guests:
Matthew Belloni, Hollywood Reporter, Billboard (@THRMattBelloni)

'Birdman' 20 MIN, 41 SEC

Mexican filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu ventured black comedy, new territory for him, when he co-wrote and directed Birdman.

Birdman is a very self-aware film, and he casting comes with a big wink. Michael Keaton, who years ago played a winged superhero, plays Riggan Thomson, a washed-up actor known for playing a winged superhero. Now well past his prime, he tries to redeem himself and revive his career by mounting a meaningful play on broadway. Emma Stone plays his troubled daughter Sam, and Edward Norton plays an actor brought in to give the play some clout.

Iñárritu is an award-winning director whose previous films -- including 21 Grams, Babel and Biutiful -- are dark and dramatic. The idea for this lighter film actually came out of a time of reflection, following the director's fiftieth birthday.

When it came to funding the film, Iñárritu didn't even bother going to the studios. He tells Kim Masters how to he eventually got the money, as well as the craziness that ensued from working with three other writers in multiple locations.

He also talks about his upcoming film, The Revenant, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio, and why he doesn't have a problem being known as a "difficult" filmmaker.

And as for the real-life superhero franchises that are raking in big grosses today -- they all but drive Iñárritu to despair. The director shares his thoughts on what the future of film could look like if money and popularity continue to take priority at the box office.

Guests:
Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu, filmmaker

Birdman

Naomi Watts

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