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FROM THIS EPISODE

Actor Cliff Curtis is a Maori New Zealander who's played a wide range of ethnicities -- Latino, Middle Eastern, African American. Now he stars in two projects where he plays characters who are Maori. He teIls us how he's seen Hollywood casting practices evolve for the better. Then, Irish writer and actress Sharon Horgan and American comedian Rob Delaney first met on Twitter. They later teamed up to create the British sitcom Catastrophe, now back for its second season on Amazon.

Photo: Cliff Curtis stars as Genesis Potini in Broad Green Pictures release, The Darkhorse © Broad Green Pictures

Producers:
Kaitlin Parker

Hollywood News Banter 6 MIN, 45 SEC

Matt Belloni, executive editor of the Hollywood Reporter joins Kim Masters to discuss top entertainment news stories of the week.

  • Last year, Thomas Staggs was named Bob Iger's heir apparent at Disney. His sudden departure from the company means the line of succession is now up in the air.
  • The corporate drama at Viacom concerning Sumner Redstone's competency seems to be settled...for now.
  • Batman vs. Superman opened big, but had a 69% drop-off the following week. The film was so expensive to make that it needs to bring in a billion dollars to be considered a success for Warner Bros., but it looks like it may be a struggle to get there.

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

Cliff Curtis on 'The Dark Horse' 11 MIN, 15 SEC

Actor Cliff Curtis has played a wide range of ethnicities in his career -- everything from an African American drug dealer in Bringing Out the Dead, to an Iraqi rebel in Three Kings, to the Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar in Blow. In reality, Curtis is Maori -- as in, the Maori who are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand.

After decades of playing terrorists and gang members, Curtis is at last finding more complex and nuanced roles. Recently he even played Jesus in Sony's movie Risen.

And now there are two leading-man projects where he gets to play his own ethnicity. In the AMC drama Fear the Walking Dead, he appears as Maori-American high school teacher Travis Manawa. In the new bio-pic The Dark Horse, he portrays the late Maori speed chess champion and teacher Genesis Potini, who triumphed despite extreme bouts of bipolar disorder.

When Curtis sat down with KCRW's Matt Holzman, he said that while he's spent much of his career avoiding roles that were ethnic stereotypes, opportunities for non-white actors in Hollywood have been getting better.

Guests:
Cliff Curtis, actor and producer

Creators and Stars of 'Catastrophe' 9 MIN, 6 SEC

American comedian Rob Delaney and Irish writer and actress Sharon Horgan created and star in the British sitcom Catastrophe.

In the show, they play Rob and Sharon, an American man and Irish woman who meet in a bar while Rob's on a business trip to London. They have what both expect to be the briefest of flings. But when Sharon finds out she's pregnant, Rob returns to the UK -- initially just to help her through the pregnancy. But of course, it doesn't end there.

Charming and profane, Catastrophe drew raves on UK's Channel 4, which co-produced it with Amazon Studios .

Now in its second season, Catastrophe jumps ahead, with Rob and Sharon -- now parents -- still trying to navigate their relationship.

When Horgan and Delaney were back in the US briefly, they spoke to The Business contributor Michael Schneider, and explained that despite their surprise success with season one, there was still some serious anxiety about season two.

Guests:
Rob Delaney, writer and actor (@robdelaney)
Sharon Horgan, actress, writer, director and producer (@SharonHorgan)

Catastrophe Season 1

Sharon Horgan

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