Bullseye with Jesse Thorn

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Rosie Perez

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Bullseye
Guests: 
Rosie Perez

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.


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Rosie Perez on her groundbreaking career

Rosie Perez is one of the most fascinating people we've had on Bullseye!

She's had truly iconic roles in films like White Men Can't Jump and Do The Right Thing, where she was introduced with an electrifying opening credits scene that is still talked about to this day. She was nominated for an Academy Award for her role in 1993's Fearless where she played a young woman dealing with guilt and trauma following a deadly plane crash and she's performed on stage and screen in countless other projects.

She's been a host on ABC's The View, and co-founded the Urban Arts Partnership—a long-running New York nonprofit that works in education and the arts. She's served as Grand Marshal for the International Boxing Hall of Fame— make no mistake, she knows her stuff— and as if all of that weren't enough, she was a powerhouse choreographer for In Living Color where she helped introduce hip hop acts like Heavy D to the mainstream.

A native of Bushwick, Brooklyn, she grew up in a convent, overcoming abject poverty and emotional abuse. She got her first big break on Soul Train as a dancer and was one of the first to bring a hip hop style of dancing to television back when most were still doing the hustle.

Rosie chats with Jesse about surviving her difficult childhood, living with PTSD and why she'll always have a soft spot for the suburbs. Plus, she'll tell us why she prefers the New York hustle and bustle over sunny Los Angeles. Rosie speaks with us from the heart and we're so happy to have her on the show.

You can catch Rosie in the much-anticipated Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn in 2020 but in the meantime go back and watch some of her past performances like her turn as a crooked cop in Pineapple Express and her work on TBS's darkly comedy Search Party where she steals every scene that she's in.

You can also click here to support her non-profit, Urban Arts Partnership.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Megan Mullally

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Bullseye
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Megan Mullally

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.


Photo by Chris Haston. Courtesy NBC.

Megan Mullally

Comedy legend, Megan Mullally has been performing her whole life. Or as she likes to put it, popped out of the womb with a top hat and tap shoes on. Megan is not afraid to be ridiculous, in fact she embraces this proclivity in her over-the-top characters. You’ve seen her as the librarian seductress on Parks and Rec and heard her as the cat-loving eccentric Aunt Gayle on Bob’s Burgers.

Megan got her big break playing perhaps her most wacky character, the martini-toting socialite Karen Walker on the groundbreaking sitcom Will and Grace. Even if you don’t follow the show chances are you know Karen’s voice: high-pitched, sometimes grating and always inescapable. Whether you find this annoying or hilarious, or a little of both, one thing is for sure her character is unforgettable. Megan won an Emmy for her performance on Will and Grace in 2006.

The Will and Grace reboot is in its last and final season so make sure to catch it on NBC.

Beyond the realm of television and film you can find Mullally performing in her “punk-vaudeville” duo Nancy and Beth. You can also hear her give an intimate and comedic performance with husband Nick Offerman in The Greatest Love Story Ever Told: An Oral History.

On Bullseye Megan talks to us about how she developed her character Karen Walker, her not-so usual upbringing, and oddly enough, winning an Emmy Idol with Donald Trump.

Click here to listen to Megan Mullally's interview on YouTube.

This interview originally aired in August of 2018.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Antonio Banderas

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Bullseye
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Antonio Banderas

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Photo by Manolo Pavón. Courtesy Sony Pictures Classics.

Antonio Banderas

Antonio Banderas. Need we say more? The man has been acting for nearly forty years, yet his role in Pain and Glory is one of his most challenging to date. But what could challenge a man that fought for his life, guitar in hand and learned how to wield a sword from a whip-cracking Anthony Hopkins?

The film is directed by Banderas' long-time friend, acclaimed filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar. The two started working together in Madrid. Banderas was a regular in Almodóvar's eccentric dramas throughout the 80s. But by the 90s Banderas had relocated to Los Angeles and was making his way into American films like The Mambo Kings. Over the years he became the Banderas we all know; the Banderas that is a household name.

But all his Hollywood know-how had to be set aside when preparing for his character in Pain and Glory. Banderas plays Salvador Mallo, a director crippled by his many maladies: headaches, back pain, asthma. As a result Mallo's career is at a standstill. He's stuck, yet he still has this yearning to create. All of which has been a very real struggle for Almodóvar, who has lived with chronic pain for much of his life.

The film debuted at Cannes Film Festival where Banderas won a much deserved award for Best Actor — his performance is beautiful. He doesn't try to channel Almodóvar, but rather personifies the director's pain. But don't take our word for it, go see it yourself.

On Bullseye, Banderas talks to us about about how his heart attack has informed his acting, reuniting with Almodóvar and coming-of-age in Spain.

Pain and Glory is in theaters now.

Click here to listen to this interview on Youtube.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Robert Eggers, director of The Lighhouse

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Bullseye
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Robert Eggers

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Director Robert Eggers on his new film "The Lighthouse"

Robert Eggers is a filmmaker who's made a name for himself making beautiful horror films that linger with you. Long after you've left the theater.

The writer, director was born in New England and cut his teeth in New York designing and directing theater productions. He made his feature film debut with 2015's The Witch which
premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival to near universal acclaim. Set in 17th century New England, a family of settlers are haunted by an evil force that threatens to destroy them. The film received critical praise.

His latest film, The Lighthouse, is just as haunting.

It's about two old-timey sailor men living on an island off of New England in the 1800s. One is old. The other is young. It's all in black and white. The wind howls outside. The old man, played by Willem Dafoe, doesn't like the young one. He's played by Robert Pattinson. They drink a lot. Somewhere, off the shore, there's a mermaid. A storm comes. The two men, slowly, lose their sanity. We don't want to give too much of it away. You really have to see if for yourself!

The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and has since received rave reviews. Robert talks to Bullseye about the joys of research down to the finest historical detail, about the uniqueness of the New England landscape and provoking questions in his films. Plus, we find out what scares him the most.

The Lighthouse is in theaters now.

Click here to listen to Robert Eggers' interview on YouTube!

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Soprano Renée Fleming

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Bullseye
Guests: 
Renée Fleming

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.


Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

"America's Diva," Soprano Renée Fleming on acting in musical theater

Known as "America's Diva," Renée Fleming has performed in venues all over the world, singing in acclaimed productions of operas composed by Mozart, Puccini, Verdi, Dvorak and more. If you're no expert in the world of cabelettas, cavatinas and coloraturas, fear not! Renée has mastered jazz, country and just about every other music genre as well.

She grew up in a musical household, the child of two music teachers and she knew from a rather early age that music was her destiny. As a teen, she took chorus classes and music theory. A few years later she attended college at the Crane School of Music at the State University of New York at Postdam. There, she joined a jazz trio. An invitation was extended for her to go on tour with the band but she had other dreams in mind.

She was awarded a Fulbright scholarship and attended graduate school at Julliard while performing professionally in the 1980s. Since then, she's performed with the New York City Opera in La bohème, with the Royal Opera in London in Cherubini's Médée and with the Metropolitan Opera and San Francisco Opera alike as Countess Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro. She's appeared on popular movie soundtracks including The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and The Shape of Water.

She's also performed under truly unique circumstances like singing the National Anthem at the 2014 Super Bowl while 50 million people watched from home and Black Hawk helicopters flew overhead! There was also her performance at President Barack Obama's 2009 inauguration. It was...amazing!

Lately, she's been working on stage in musicals. Her latest, The Light in the Piazza just wrapped up in Los Angeles, with productions in Chicago and Sydney on the horizon.

Renée talk to Bullseye about managing acoustics, growing up in a musical home and not only cultivating her talent but her image, too. Plus, she gives Jesse some pretty solid music advice. What an episode!

Renée sings the music of Brahms, Schumann and Mahler. You can listen to the album here.

Click here to listen to Renée Fleming's interview on YouTube!

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Chris Morris on "The Day Shall Come" and more

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Bullseye
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Chris Morris

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Chris Morris on his new film The Day Shall Come

We're big fans of Chris Morris' absurdist works of satire – but he just doesn't make up that much, these days.The writer-director's new film, The Day Shall Come, is kind of a farce about terrorism and the FBI's efforts to fight it.

In the film, Morris examines how the Bureau tends to find eccentrics – guys who live in communes, that kind of thing. Then, with undercover agents and financing, the Bureau takes these eccentrics and turns them into bigger threats than they actually are. The film tells a complex and often bizarre story that is almost entirely based on real things that happened in the counter terrorism world.

In the mid-90s, Chris was the host and creator of The Day Today, the BBC news parody where he'd read headlines like "Sacked Chimney Sweep Pumps Boss Full of Mayonnaise." And, who could forget: "Where Now For Man Raised By Puffins?"

He followed up that with, Brass Eye, another brilliant news parody where he'd con elected officials into warning kids to stay away from a fake drug called "Cake." The fake drug, supposedly came in a giant yellow pill, roughly the size of a circular cake. Try swallowing that.

Chris Morris joins us to talk about his new movie. He'll chat about reading court transcripts, talking with journalists, even attending trials to really understand what goes on at the Bureau. Plus, we'll talk about The Day Today and Brass Eye, too!

You can stream or download The Day Shall Come on various platforms including Amazon and YouTube.

Click here to listen to Chris Morris' interview on YouTube!

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: The Righteous Gemstones' Edi Patterson

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Bullseye
Guests: 
Edi Patterson

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Edi Patterson on her hit show "The Righteous Gemstones"

Actor, comedian Edi Patterson got her start in improv. She's a veteran of the Groundlings sketch group and we can not stress this to you enough: she is super funny.

Edi's past television work includes roles on Californication, Partners and Black-ish. One of her most memorable roles was in Danny McBride's dark comedy Vice Principals where she played a jilted and emotionally unstable past lover of McBride's Neal Gamby.

She currently co stars alongside McBride, John Goodman, Walton Goggins and Adam Devine on HBO's The Righteous Gemstones where she plays the hilarious Judy Gemstone. The show is about the Gemstone family. They're pastors and owners of a massive megachurch with hundreds of thousands of followers. Think Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. The family centers around Dr. Eli Gemstone, the patriarch, who's been preaching on TV for decades. He's played by John Goodman. But the *show* centers around Eli's kids.Their power struggles, their scheming, their scandals and their hamfisted attempts to curry favor with their father.

On a show filled with some of the most talented people in comedy, Judy Gemstone is easily the funniest character on this show. She's got this kind of manic energy - she alternates between total confidence in everything she does to massive, crippling insecurities. She doesn't have much filter and she has a very, very short temper.

She steals every scene she's in.

Edi talks to Bullseye about reuniting with her Vice Principals costar, about her experience with televangelists and her love of horror films. Edi's a real horror buff!

Plus, we'll talk about "Misbehavin'" the catchy as heck Christian county tune she sings and helped write for the series.

HBO has renewed The Righteous Gemstones for season two. We can't wait to find out what Edi and the rest of the cast and crew have in store!

You can stream Season 1 on HBO.

Click here to listen to Edi Patterson's interview on YouTube!

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Daveed Diggs

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Bullseye
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Daveed Diggs

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Daveed Diggs on Hamilton, Blindspotting and Clipping's new record.

Daveed Diggs has one of the most varied resumes in entertainment.

He starred in the original cast of Hamilton – he won a Grammy and a Tony for his roles as Thomas Jefferson and the Marquis de Lafayette.

He's an actor on screen, too. You've seen him on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The Get Down, Black -ish. Every now and then, he's got a great role in the Elmo's World segment on Sesame Street. His latest can be seen on the Amazon series Undone.

He's also a writer. Diggs co-wrote the screenplay for Blindspotting, a movie about violence and gentrification in Oakland, his hometown. Diggs also co-stars in the film, and it's brilliant.

And, if that wasn't enough he's a very talented musician. He's a member of the rap group Clipping. He serves as the MC, and producer alongside William Hutson and Jonathan Snipes. They create their beats out of weird samples: beer bottles, alarm clocks. They collaborate with noise artists, and Daveed never raps in the first person. Their newest record, There Existed An Addiction to Blood is a study in horror – horror movies, horror soundtracks, and horror rap.

Diggs joins us to talk about Clipping's new record, his various acting roles, and of course, Hamilton. Diggs reflects on his favorite music from his teenage years, and growing up in Oakland. Plus, what it's like to be recognized as a Sesame Street character.

Clipping's new album There Existed an Addiction to Blood is available October 18.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Taylor McFerrin

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Bullseye
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Taylor McFerrin

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Photo: Jesse Thorn

Taylor McFerrin on bringing his vocals to the forefront in his new album

Taylor McFerrin is a gifted musician. He got his start as a beatboxer, making beats and producing tracks for others. He's also made music as a keyboardist, a DJ and a composer. As an instrumentalist, McFerrin is brilliant. He creates these lush, kind of swirling songs. He blends jazz, electronic and hip-hop in a way reminiscent of Flying Lotus. In fact, his first album, Early Riser was put out on Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder label.

The son of American jazz vocalist Bobby McFerrin (yes, the "Don't Worry, Be Happy" singer), Taylor grew up with a comprehensive understanding of song construction and an ear for melody. You can hear the influence of his father's use of vocal percussion in Taylor's earlier work as a beatboxer as well as the rich production value that he brings into every track.

Taylor has a new album called Love’s Last Chance. The album represents something of a first for the musician: his first time as lead vocalist on most of the tracks. Each song conjures up the feeling of two past lovers reminiscing about a relationship that once was. The lyrics are timeless but also have a modern feel to them, like scrolling through photos of an ex you've "forgotten" to erase from the Cloud. Taylor's voice is confident and sensual but he also knows when to sit back and let his voice ride the melody.

Taylor joins us to talk about his love of the process of making music, experimenting with 808s and how his new album came together. Plus, we'll talk to him about his work with other artists like Robert Glasper, Thundercat, Emily King and his own father. Don't miss our chat with the talented artist.

Love’s Last Chance is available now.

Catch Taylor on tour across the US
here.

Click here to listen to Taylor McFerrin's interview on YouTube!

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Peter Sarsgaard

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Bullseye
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Peter Sarsgaard

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Peter Sarsgaard on his love for soccer and his new film 'The Sound of Silence'

We're joined by Peter Sarsgaard. Peter is an enigmatic actor who has appeared in over 60 different roles in films like An Education, The Magnificent Seven and Green Lantern. He got his start in film back in 1995 when he appeared in Dead Man Walking. From there he has obtained critical acclaim for his roles in films such as Boys Don't Cry as well as Kinsey. In 2004 he was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance in Shattered Glass as real-life journalist Charles Lane.

Peter's new film is called The Sound of Silence. In it, Peter plays Peter Lucian. He stars opposite Rashida Jones. Peter's a NYC house tuner, meaning he is a sort of scientific guy who goes around studying ambient sound. He lives in New York, one of the loudest, busiest cities in the world. And he's made a business out of creating harmony by finding ways to match the ambient sounds in everyone's apartments. Say you're feeling tired, and down. And the hum of traffic outside your apparent sounds like an A on the piano, why not buy a microwave that cooks in a C Sharp? And a toaster that hums a E?

It's a beautiful, quiet, kind of strange movie. Peter's really captivating in it.

Peter talks to Bullseye about his career, his approach to acting and his love of the game of soccer. No kidding around, here. Peter is really into the sport. Plus, Jesse and Peter dig deeper into the film's study of sound and its impact on human emotion.

Click here to listen to Peter Sarsgaard's interview on YouTube!

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