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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: John Turturro

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Bullseye
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John Turturro

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John Turturro on 'Do the Right Thing,' 'The Big Lebowski,' his new film 'Gloria Bell' and more

Acting legend John Turturro joins us to chat about his latest project Gloria Bell. It's a movie about a relationship between two people who've both already been through a lot. Turturro plays Arnold, a retired Navy officer. He stars opposite Julianne Moore, who plays Gloria.

It's filled with both the highs and lows that come with new relationships. They're both divorced. And things are especially complicated for Arnold. His adult children still turn to him for money. Gloria, on the other hand, is more free-spirited and for the most part is independent from her family. She's never really had a reason to settle down. She works a regular nine to five, and spends her nights at clubs around Los Angeles dancing to Earth, Wind and Fire and Anita Ward.

It's a love story that's messy and nuanced. The performances from both Turturro and Moore are touching, emotional and engrossing. Turturro will tell us how he nailed down the subtleties and complexities of playing a character that might seem like an average joe. Plus, he'll share stories from his time working on some true classics – Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing and the Coen Brothers The Big Lebowski.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Bill Hader

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Bill Hader

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Season 2 of Barry premiers March 31

You know Bill Hader from his time on Saturday Night Live. He was kind of an impressions guy - he did a mean Vincent Price. His most famous character was Stefon, from the Weekend Update sketches. He left the show in 2013 and went on to perform in movies like Trainwreck, Inside Out and the smash hit Sausage Party. Along with Fred Armisen, he also starred in the IFC show, Documentary Now!.

His latest project is an HBO TV show called Barry, which enters its second season later this month. Hader stars as the show's title character, Barry Berkman. Barry's an ex-marine, turned low rent hitman in Ohio, turned aspiring actor in Los Angeles. Bill tells Jesse about working as a production assistant when he first came out to Los Angeles, the influence his parents had on his taste in film, and the struggle he had to project his voice.

This interview originally aired in April of 2018.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Stephen Root

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Bullseye
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Stephen Root

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Photo: Jesse Thorn

Stephen Root on HBO's 'Barry,' 'King of the Hill,' 'Newsradio' and more

Character actor Stephen Root joins us to discuss some of his most memorable roles. He's been in over 200 films since he got his start in the late '80s.

Stephen works in a lot of acclaimed films and TV shows. There's "Office Space," where he played the meek, mumbling, stapler-obsessed Milton. Then there's "Newsradio," where he played billionaire Jimmy James, a role he'll talk about at length in this interview. His most recent work can be seen on HBO's "Barry." On the series he plays Fuches, a hitman's screwball boss.

Odds are you've seen his work in "Get Out," "O Brother Where Art Thou," "Star Trek: The Next Generation," or "King of The Hill." Stephen voiced a bunch of parts on "King of the Hill," and it's some of our favorite work of his. He's probably most famously for voicing Bill, Hank Hill's kinda sad neighbor. He'll tell us why this voiceover role was one of his favorite gigs. Plus, he'll tell us how he got the part in HBO's "Barry," and how he helped flesh out his character's role.

Academy Award nominated filmmaker Nicole Holofcener

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Nicole Holofcener

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Writer and director Nicole Holofcener on her new film: 'The Land of Steady Habits'

Filmmaker Nicole Holofcener recently received an Academy-Award nomination for best adapted screenplay and won the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for the film "Can You Ever Forgive Me?." We'll revisit our conversation with Nicole – when she stopped by we talked about another one of her recent projects, "The Land of Steady Habits."

Nicole is probably best known for her films "Friends with Money" and "Enough Said." She's also worked on TV shows like "Parks and Recreation," "Orange is the New Black" and "Sex and the City."

Nicole's projects are intimate and always feature strong female leads. For the first time, her movie centers on a man. "The Land of Steady Habits" is about a middle-aged, retired finance guy, named Andres played by Ben Mendelsohn. Anders is going through kind of a late midlife crisis. He just left his wife, Helene, played by Edie Falco. And his relationship with his adult son is drifting away – Anders is losing him to drug use. It's safe to say that Anders has trouble figuring out where he fits in these days.

Nicole will tell us how she adapted the novel by Ted Thompson into this very poignant film, and why she felt this was an important story to tell. Plus, she'll reflect on her childhood – when she moved to Los Angeles as a early teenager she couldn't believe that the guys on the Metro bus would be exactly like the jerks on the New York subway.

Listen to this interview on YouTube!

Academy Award nominated director Debra Granik

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Debra Granik


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Debra Granik on her new film 'Leave No Trace'

Debra Granik, wrote and directed the acclaimed 2010 film "Winter's Bone." The film was sort of a modern film noir, except instead of LA or New York, it was set in the Ozarks. It followed a 17-year-old girl as she pieced together the story behind her father's disappearance. Ree Dolly walked through burned out meth labs, negotiated with crime families, bail bondsmen and cops. And, of course: Ree Dolly was played by Jennifer Lawrence. It was her first ever starring role.

After 8 years, Granik just released her follow up - it's called "Leave No Trace," which is available to stream on Amazon now. Like "Winter's Bone," her new film "Leave No Trace" puts a compelling but compassionate focus on marginalized groups - one of the main threads is a combat veteran's struggle with trauma and homelessness.

It tells the story of a father and daughter who live entirely off the grid in a nature reserve not far from Portland, Oregon. The film details regular life for Will (Ben Foster) and his daughter Tom (Thomasin McKenzie). They forage and cook mushrooms. Will teaches Tom to play chess. They build fires for warmth. The way they live is peaceful, but not exactly legal. They are discovered in the woods by the police and social workers get involved, offering housing, work, school. But as you might imagine, it's a tough transition – especially for Will.

Debra Granik talks about the process of making her new film at length. Debra is also working on a film based on the book "Nickeled and Dimed," which is a thoroughly investigated, brilliant work of nonfiction about the impact of the 1996 welfare reform act on the working poor in the US. She'll tell us how she plans to turn that into a narrative film. Plus, she explain what she learned about film making from being wedding videographer long before she was a film director.

This interview originally aired in July of 2018

Listen to this interview on YouTube!

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: John David Washington

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Bullseye
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John David Washington

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John David Washington on his role in Spike Lee's 'BlacKkKlansman'

Before John David Washington was an actor, he was lacing up the pads every week for a career in professional football. He spanned the globe from Sacramento to Dusseldorf, Germany trying to make it work. It seems fitting that when he decided to pick up a career in acting that his breakthrough role was the portrayal of an NFL player on HBO's "Ballers." He definitely had the experience. In fact, he was injured from his hard work on the field when he auditioned for the role. He's been part of the main cast of "Ballers" for four seasons, and it's safe to say you'll be seeing a lot more of him soon.

This week, he chats about his portrayal of Ron Stallworth in Spike Lee's "BlacKkKlansman." It's a fantastic performance – his role in the film earned him a Golden Globe nomination earlier this year. It's a compelling and complex look at the life of the first African-American police officer and detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department. The film is based on Stallworth's 2014 memoir, which details his experience investigating the local chapter of the KKK with the help of a white undercover officer.

John David Washington tells us about the insane amount of times he had to audition for his role on "Ballers," and what it was like to chase a career in the NFL when your dad is superstar Denzel Washington. Plus, the challenges of portraying Ron Stallworth, and what it was like to getting stunning offer to play Stallworth via a text message from Spike Lee.

Listen to this interview on YouTube!

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Tony Shalhoub

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Tony Shalhoub

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Tony Shalhoub on the legacy of 'Monk' and the latest season of 'Mrs. Maisel'

Tony Shalhoub is a veteran of both the big and small screens. He's had unforgettable parts in movies like "Barton Fink," "Men in Black" and "Quick Change." He's starred in movies like "Big Night," and TV shows like "Wings."

Tony is probably best known for his work on the hit detective series "Monk." For eight seasons, he played Adrian Monk. In the show, his character had an extreme case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and a bunch of phobias, including rodeos, snakes, crowds, heights, glaciers and milk. Despite the challenges he often faced, it only made him better a better detective consultant for the San Francisco Police Department.

These days he's a regular on the Amazon series "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel." In the series, Tony plays Abe Weissman, a mathematics professor at Columbia, and Midge Maisel's father. He's the kind of guy that's not very stern, but kinda serious. He's also kind of a traditional guy, and he likes sticking to routines.

Tony joins us to talk about the latest season of "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel." Plus, we take a deep dive into his time on "Monk," and he'll tell us about the film that inspired him to pursue a career in acting.

Check out this interview on Youtube

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Karyn Kusama on directing genre films and her new film 'Destroyer'

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Karyn Kusama

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Karyn Kusama on directing genre films and her new film 'Destroyer'

Karyn Kusama is a director. Her debut was the critically acclaimed drama "Girlfight," a movie about a female boxer that Kusama based on her own time in the ring. Since then, she's established herself as autere of genre films: in 2005 she directed the science fiction film "Aeon Flux," and has worked on horror movies like "Jennifer's Body" and "The Invitation."

She just directed the new film "Destroyer." It's a dark and complex crime drama, told in mostly flashbacks. It stars Nicole Kidman, who plays Erin Bell, an LAPD detective. As a young cop, Bell was placed undercover with a gang in the California desert. Things didn't end well, and the case she was on was never put to rest. When the leader of that gang re-emerges over a decade later, Bell goes rogue reopens the case on her own terms. Kidman's character is haunted by her memory of the past. And it's put a strain on her relationship with her daughter, Shelby.

Karyn discusses why it's important to portray complex female characters in film and media. She'll tell us about the look book she drew inspiration from when she directed 2009's "Jennifer's Body," and why she thinks the film struggled to find an audience when it was first released. Plus, how she finds pleasure in horror movies. And , sure, a lot of people find pleasure in horror films, but Karyn's response will truly surprise you.

If you'd like to hear even more from Karyn Kusama, she did a great interview on the Max Fun podcast Switchblade Sisters with the film critic April Wolfe. You can listen to that interview here.

Listen to this Bullseye interview on YouTube!

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Chris and Bridey Elliott on the new horror comedy 'Clara's Ghost'

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Chris Elliott
Guests: 
Bridey Elliott

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Photo: Jesse Thorn

Chris and Bridey Elliott on 'Clara's Ghost'

Chris Elliott got his start in showbiz as a production assistant on "Late Night with David Letterman," before becoming an iconic writer and performer on that show. One of our favorite bits from him on Letterman included a parody of Marlon Brando – in the skit he'd dump bananas out of a sack and slowly dance around them to the tune "The Alley Cat."

After his stint with Letterman, he went on to star in the cult sitcom "Get A Life" and the equally bizarre film "Cabin Boy." Both works have cemented him as an absurdist comedy legend. While those projects are not for everyone; they're a real treat if you can sit though some really cringe worthy moments.

You've definitely seen him in "There's Something About Mary," "Groundhog Day," and "Scary Movie" and in many TV shows, including "The King of Queens," "How I Met Your Mother," and "Everybody Loves Raymond." Most recently, he can be seen as Roland Schitt, the mayor of the small town on Pop Tv's "Schitt's Creek."

Bridey Elliott, his daughter, wrote and directed a new movie called "Clara's Ghost." It's a family collaboration: Bridey also stars in the movie, along with Chris, her sister Abby, and her mother Paula.

The movie takes place over one night. It tells the story of the Reynolds family, who live in a secluded mansion in New England. Chris' character Ted is the patriarch, a comedian past his prime. His daughters work in showbiz, too, but like their dad, haven't gotten a callback in a long time. Then there's Clara, played by Paula Elliott. Clara's discovered a ghost that only she can see.

We'll chat with Chris Elliott about his time on Letterman, and what it was like to work on the strange film "Cabin Boy." Plus, he'll tell us why he doesn't use social media. Bridey will explain how she tried to make horror film that had significant elements of comedy, and how "Cabin Boy" was kind of a horror film when she saw it as a kid. Plus, what it's like when people find out who her dad is, which often garners one of two very different reactions.

Listen to this interview on YouTube!

Bullseye With Jesse Thorn: End of Year 2018 Comedy Special

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New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

It's that time of year again! The Bullseye team listened to hours of comedy from the past year and picked the absolute best for you to enjoy in one convenient episode. There was a lot of great stuff this year. This was no easy task -- please let us know who else should have made the cut @Bullseye or on Facebook!

Like what you hear? Click through to learn more information on these comedians. For your convenience links to buy their albums have also been provided below:

Gina Yashere - Ticking Boxes
Laura House - Mouth Punch
Adam Cayton-Holland - Adam Cayton-Holland Performs His Signature Bits
Sara Hennessey - They Know Too Much
Louie Anderson - Big Underwear
Kimberly Clark - Live at Max Fun Con 2018
Emily Heller - Pasta
Nore Davis - Too Woke
Jo Firestone - The Hits
Dino Archie - Live at Max Fun Con 2018
Jen Kirkman - Just Keep Livin'?
Nato Green - The Whiteness Album

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