By admin | April 1, 2008 - 4:52 pm - Posted in Interviews, News, Published, The Huffington Post

Gene Wilder Willy Wonka


I never would have thought that I’d have the chance to interview Willy Wonka. But my editors were kind enough to give me the golden ticket!

A Silver Streak in His Golden Years: Gene Wilder’s Latest Novella

Gene Wilder is out with a new book. The Hollywood icon beloved for the characters he played in “The Producers,” “Young Frankenstein,” and “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” not to mention the series of comic escapades he made with the late Richard Pryor through the 1970s and 80s, published his first book in 2005. The autobiography, “Kiss Me Like A Stranger,” (2005) is a short, breezy read, free from the “he said, she said”s one expects from celebrity tell-alls. The book was a success: his combination of honesty and gracious acceptance meant that it was never vicious, even as it candidly chronicled his tumultuous relationships.

His next effort, “My French Whore,” (2007) was an even shorter read but was packed with action. It’s hero Paul Peachy, a simpleton from Milwaukee, discovers unexplored depths when he is captured by German soldiers in the First World War and passes himself off as top spy Harry Stroller. The Germans give him Annie Breton, the “French Whore” in question, as a prize and Peachy promptly falls in love. Just like his memoir, “My French Whore” unabashedly describes sexual desire and revels in the thrill of a budding relationship. Wilder brings the same sensibility to his latest novella, “The Woman Who Wouldn’t“. The year is 1904 and Jeremy Webb, a famous violinist, is at a retreat in Badenweider, Germany, recovering from a nervous breakdown he had mid-concert. There he meets a beautiful Belgian, Clara Mulpas, who rebuffs his every attempt to flirt with her. Clara, it turns out, is carrying her own dark secret.

I spoke with Gene Wilder about this new book which, in a way, is a romantic re-imagining of his marriage to “Saturday Night Live” actress Gilda Radner who died of cancer in 1989.

***(Warning: Spoilers Follow)***
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John Adams


Not to mention David Morse, Tom Hooper and David McCullough!

‘John Adams’ Premiere: Talking To Paul Giamatti, Tom Hanks And David McCullough

The long-awaited HBO adaptation of David McCullough’s Pulitzer Prize winning John Adams got the green light a year ago, and the seven-part mini series will be premiering this Sunday, March 16th, at 8:00 PM (EST).

The second episode of “John Adams” had a special screening at the Museum of Modern Art last week with Davis McCullough, Director Tom Hooper, Executive Producer Tom Hanks and stars Paul Giamatti (John Adams) and David Morse (George Washington). Here is what they told Huffington Post about the making of the film, how our current candidates wouldn’t last a day in the 16th century, and how 2008 may be our most historic year yet.

David McCullough (Author) on 2008 vs. 1797:

“This year, very historic. Very. You’re seeing history made right now and there’s not enough appreciation of that. It’s truly… something phenomenal is happening right now. They (John Adams and his peers) didn’t know how it was going to turn out, but they knew that they were involved in one of the most important revolutions in all of history. And they said so. Adams says so. He says so in the film. And what he says in the film is what he really said. That’s a very important point because he, because these lines are again again and again exactly what he said. They’re not made up.”

“I’ll tell you. Deceased politicians are my specialty, not the living ones. Because I think you have to wait about 50 years for the dust to settle. You have to know what comes afterward in order to make a fair appraisal. When Harry Truman left office, he had a rating lower than what President Bush has now. And we now see that he was a very great president. Now that doesn’t guarantee that someone with a low rating always winds up having a great… being perceived as an important and great president. But you don’t know what’s going to come next. Nor did they then anymore than we do now.”

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By admin | March 31, 2008 - 12:33 pm - Posted in Interviews, Published, Salon.com

Sopranos


I’m only getting into “The Sopranos” now, and I finally understand why people were getting so emotional about the series finale last year*. Putting together a Salon.com prediction pool, again with Thomas, was one of my most fun assignments. Speculation was rampant — Berkley Breathed even drew a cartoon ending. But the coup de grace, getting a soundbyte from Tucker Carlson!Click here to see the post with predictions from Heather Havrilesky, Berkeley Breathed, Jennifer Egan, Stephen Elliott, Erica Jong, Rich Cohen, Jonathan Ames, Anthony Gottlieb, Laura Lippman, Franch Rich, Tom Tomorrow, Tucker Carlson, Steve Almond, Lisa Lutz, Regina Barreca and David Handler.

And here’s the pdf:

Sopranos Cover

*I was kind of miffed that “The Wire” finale this year wasn’t as big of a deal, but one has to give credit where credit is due. “The Wire” was good, but “The Sopranos” is epic.

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By admin | - 11:48 am - Posted in Interviews, Published, Salon.com

Don ImusDon Imus’ getting kicked off the air, ironically, got me one of my first major(ish) assignments at Salon.com. My NYU classmate Thomas Rogers and I — Salon being a hothouse for NYU grads — put together a roundtable on “Safe Speech” featuring some of the site’s favorite personalities.

It took a LONG TIME. To begin with, it was kind of last minute. To make matters worse, any actor/ singer/ writer/ blogger/ New York City resident of note has an agent. Having to go through middlemen took up the better part of 2 days.

The final panel included Floyd Abrams, John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats, Greg Gutfield, Brian Lehrer, Michael Musto, Scott Simon and comedienne Sandra Tsing Loh.

But we eventually got something together. You can see it here.

Or download a pdf version here:

Salon Safe Speech Visual

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