Each week on the business, we talk to some of the most interesting people in hollywood. And sometimes they have so many interesting things to say that we can’t fit it all into one show. So this week we bring you leftovers--thanksgiving edition!--stuff that was too good to leave on the cutting-room floor, including insights from directors and actors facing distinct career challenges.
First up, Ethan Hawke. When he joined us to talk about his most recent project, ‘Blaze’--his film about the country singer-songwriter Blaze Foley, he told us how early in his career, he disappointed his agents at CAA by deciding that he was not focused on becoming a big movie star.
Instead, he wanted to pursue projects that interested him. That explains how he ended up spending more than 12 years as an actor in Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’--and why he made a documentary about a octogenarian classical piano teacher.
Next up, director George Tillman Jr. His newest film, ‘The Hate U Give,’ is still playing in some theaters. He also produced the ‘Barbershop’ franchise and directed ‘Men of Honor’--a drama about naval divers starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Robert De Niro.
Tillman grew up in Milwaukee and studied cinema in Chicago. But he still had no idea how to get to Hollywood. The answer came in the form of an idea that he eventually turned into the 1997 film ‘Soul Food’ with Vivica Fox and Vanessa Williams. That was the spark he needed but still, there were struggles ahead.
Then, when the thriller ‘Searching’ came out this summer, director Aneesh Chaganty and star John Cho stopped in at the studio and explained how they made this one-of-a-kind film---set entirely on computer screens. John Cho plays a father, distraught over his missing teenage daughter. He combs through every digital clue he can to locate her. Debra Messing plays against type as a no-nonsense cop assigned to the case.
When Cho first heard the pitch for ‘Searching’, he agreed it was a good story, but had a lot of doubts about the mechanics of the whole thing.
Finally, Kathy Griffin. The comedian joined us at the tail end of her Laugh Your Head Off world tour--so named because of the infamous photo of her holding what appeared to be Donald Trump’s decapitated head. After that image hit TMZ, Griffin’s career and life as she knew it changed forever.
She tells us how she’s worked her way back--by self-funding her own comedy tour, tweeting nonstop--and by selling merchandise...much of it with a particular political bent.