Entertainment

The Takeaway

The Growing Left, Australia’s Refugees, Florida Death Row

February 3, 2017:

What Progressives Can Learn from Right Wing Organizing (8 min) 
Capturing the Energy of the Left (7 min)
Re-Examining the Death Penalty in Florida (6 min)
Australia Asks America to Take Refugees (4 min)
Films to Catch and Skip at the Box Office This Weekend (5 min)
Turn It Up To Eleven With These Music Documentaries (4 min)
Life According to ‘Saved By the Bell’ (16 min)

The Takeaway

Machine Control, Citizen Scientists, Reality TV

May 18, 2016:

1. What Happens When The Machines Don’t Need Us Anymore (10 min)

2. Wealth, Poverty, and The Clinton Welfare Legacy (6 min)

3. While Congress Debates Zika, Citizen Scientists Fight Mosquitoes (9 min)

4. When Transparency is Abused (5 min)

5. As Reality TV Dies Off, Execs Look Towards the Future (7 min)

The Takeaway

Producer, Director of New O.J. Series on Racial Divisions, Then and Now

Click on the audio player above to hear this interview.

More than two decades have passed since a Los Angeles jury found O.J. Simpson not guilty in the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. But the new series “American Crime Story: The People Vs. O.J. Simpson” demonstrates that the race and class issues raised by the case still resonate today. 

Anthony Hemingway is co-executive producer of the series and directed a number of episodes. As he tells The Takeaway, the Simpson case “really highlighted race and privilege in America…we know that the justice system really favors rich white people, mostly men. And this was the first time, and really the only time, that a black man beat the system.”

Hemingway was just 19-years-old during the Simpson trial, and, growing up in a black community, he remembers O.J. as someone who “was a hero and a pillar in the community. I think we looked past whether he was guilty or not. It was really just about…here’s someone like me that actually won.”

The Takeaway

Becoming Mike Nichols: The Documentary

Click on the audio player above to hear this interview.

From Broadway to television and the big screen, Mike Nichols was a prolific director. His success put him in an elite group of people—he earned an Oscar, Grammy, Emmy, and Tony award, among numerous other accolades.  

His screen and stage career spanned decades. His early film classics included “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and “The Graduate,” which helped launch Dustin Hoffman’s big screen career.

On the stage, he directed Neil Simon’s comedies  like “The Odd Couple” and “Barefoot in the Park.”  He helped launch another career in 1984 with his one woman show called “Whoopi Goldberg.”  Nearly three decades later, at the age of 80, he would accept a Tony award for his direction of “Death of a Salesman.” 

The documentary “Becoming Mike Nichols,” which premieres tonight on HBO, is a tribute to Nichols’ career and legacy. Shot interview style over the course of two nights at Broadway’s Golden Theater, it’s a revealing look at the early life of Nichols, who died, at age 83 a few months after it was shot.

Directed by his friend and filmmaker Douglas McGrath, it’s an intimate look at Nichols talking about his earliest beginnings from childhood, to directing and his entertaining start as an improvisational actor with actress Elaine May.  

Check out a trailer for the film below.

The Takeaway

Trump 2016: The Ultimate Reality TV Show?

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On Saturday, American voters filled in another piece of the 2016 puzzle. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won the Democratic Caucus in Nevada, and billionaire businessman Donald Trump secured victory in the Republican primary in South Carolina.

The two parties will crisscross this week. Democratic voters will head to the polls in South Carolina on Saturday, and Republicans will cast their ballots tomorrow in Nevada.

America can’t take its eyes off Donald Trump. And even though we’re all watching, his shifting answers and half truths never seem to catch up with him. That’s the Donald Trump way—brushing off previous answers, and staying one step ahead of candidates by using his own standard of truthfulness.

Those are all skills he took time honing as a reality television star. Mark Singer, a staff writer for The New Yorker, first identified Trump as a performance artist in 1997. Eli Attie, a TV writer and producer known for shows like “The West Wing,” was once chief speech writer for Vice President Al Gore.

Singer and Attie join The Takeaway to examine Trump 2016 through the lens of political entertainment.

What you’ll learn from this segment:

Why Attie and Singer call Trump’s campaign the ultimate reality TV show.
How Trump has tailored his personality for entertainment and politics.
How the political landscape overall has evolved to be more like entertainment.

The Takeaway

Viola Davis: Diversity in Hollywood ‘Not Just a Hashtag’

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Actress Viola Davis grew up in Central Falls, Rhode Island by way of St. Matthews, South Carolina. She was born into a family with five siblings, and as a child, Davis says she often was just looking for a meal or a bar of soap. She has far exceeded those desires and achieved measures of success many of us couldn’t even imagine.

Viola Davis is a star. She’s won Tony Awards and has been nominated for an Oscar—twice. In 2015, she became the first African-American woman to win an Emmy for lead actress in a drama series for her role as Annalise Keating on ABC’s “How to Get Away with Murder.” You may remember that she made the most of her acceptance speech that year.

“The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity,” Davis told the audience.

In life there are few universal truths, except this one: Just because everything is going right for you, doesn’t mean it’s going right for everyone else in the world. That fact has pushed Davis into charity work with the The Vaseline Healing Project, which provides skin care and medical supplies to people living on the frontlines of poverty and disaster.

“We all want to be successful—that’s the goal in life—and then you reach it and there is a disillusionment that comes,” Davis tells The Takeaway. “There’s not one celebrity that I know who does not have that. I think people would be surprised by the lack of fulfillment that it brings you. Because I think the last step that we forget is significance, and that’s something thats much greater. That is, when I pass, what do I want to leave behind?”

What Viola Davis has already left in her wake is a will to push the Hollywood and the country to see the value in providing opportunity to women and minorities. 

The Takeaway

Viola Davis, Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards, VICE News

February 25, 2016: 1. Viola Davis: Diversity in Hollywood ‘Not Just a Hashtag’ | 2. Why America’s Money Men Won’t Fund Black Women | 3. Libya Struggles in The Fight Against ISIS | 4. Curing Blindness in the Developing World | 5. Planned Parenthood Chief Looks Ahead | 6. New Debate Model Could Actually Challenge Presidential Candidates

The Takeaway

Politics as Entertainment, Vets Fighting for Benefits, Remembering Mike Nichols

February 22, 2016: 1. Trump 2016: The Ultimate Reality TV Show? | 2. Vets Push for Change as PTSD Becomes a Weapon | 3. London Mayor Says Britain Should Leave the E.U. | 4. America’s Complicated Past Stirs Battle Over Monuments, Memorials | 5. New Film Captures the Legacy of Acclaimed Director Mike Nichols 

The Takeaway

A ‘Star Wars’ Virgin, Linda Ellerbee Signs Off, Hoverboards

December 15, 2015: 1. All Eyes on the Fed for a Interest Hike | 2. Following the Money on Tax Inversions | 3. Why Hoverboards Are Exploding | 4. Confessions of a ‘Star Wars’ Virgin | 5. Linda Ellerbee on The End of ‘Nick News’

The Takeaway

Parker Posey on Woody Allen, Christopher Guest, and Being a Woman In Hollywood

Actress Parker Posey sits down with The Takeaway to discuss her huge career, working with Woody Allen and Christopher Guest, and the challenges of being a woman in Hollywood today.