FROM Douglas McGrath
Douglas McGrath: Becoming Mike Nichols When sevn-year-old Mikhail Igor Peschkowsky arrived in America in 1939, fleeing Nazi Germany, he knew only one English phrase: "I don't speak English, please don't kiss me." Eventually that child not only learned English, but became a master of the language -- an award-winning comedian, director and producer. The new HBO documentary Becoming Mike Nichols , covers two interviews with the director -- the last he would ever record. In it, Nichols recalls his early collaboration with fellow comedian Elaine May and his transition to directing, including Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park and The Odd Couple on Broadway, before moving on to Nichol's first film, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? The 1966 movie was nominated for 13 Oscars, including for leads Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. Nichols won an Oscar for directing his second film, The Graduate, starring the then-unknown Dustin Hoffman. Douglas McGrath, the director of the Nichols documentary, is himself a multi-faceted talent: a writer, actor and director. He co-wrote the script for Woody Allen's Bullets over Broadway and directed Emma, based on the novel by Jane Austen. McGrath's involvement in Becoming Mike Nichols started with a phone call from columnist Frank Rich, who is an executive producer on the film. When Rich asked if he wanted to direct the doc, he couldn't say yes fast enough. McGrath tells us why they decided to keep the focus of the film on Nichols' early work, and the lessons he learned from the famous director, who died only four months after taping the interviews featured in the film. Becoming Mike Nichols premieres on HBO on February 22.
Industry insights and lessons learned from memorable guests We have interesting guests on The Business, and sometimes our conversations are too long to fit into one show. This week we give you stories that were too good to leave on the cutting room floor, including some sharp insights on making it in the industry from David Mandel, David Simon, Shawn Levy and Matt Reeves.
Hua Hsu: A Floating Chinaman Author Hua Hsu stops by to discuss his book A Floating Chinaman, recounting the life of 1930's actor/writer H.T. Tsiang and his struggles entering the American literary world.
In 'Speechless,' Scott Silveri combines comedy, family & disability Scott Silveri has written and produced sitcoms for more than 20 years. In all that time, he never encountered a TV family that looked anything like the one he grew up in -- with a mom, a dad...and a brother with cerebral palsy. He changed that with his show Speechless on ABC. Silveri tells us about looking to his own past for stories, and why he was determined to make a family comedy and not just a "disability show."