Tavis Smiley

Tavis Smiley92 posts
19 Sep, 2014
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Tavis Smiley interview

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Riley discusses  working with Yo-Yo Ma and “jookin”, the style of street dancing that’s getting him called Baryshnikov.

I was like I ever heard of Yo-Yo was in middle school bathrooms, yeah. I looked him up and found out all the amazing things he was a part of and all the awards he’s won and how he was this prodigy at a very young age playing for all our presidents. And I just thought it was amazing.

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Tavis Smiley interview

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Copeland discusses her life as a ballerina and the boundaries she breaks daily in this interview for PBS.

Ballet found me, I guess you could say. I was discovered by a teacher in middle school. I always danced my whole life. I never had any training, never was exposed to seeing dance, but I always had something inside of me. I would love to choreograph and dance around.

18 Sep, 2014
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Tavis Smiley interview

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Baryshnikov discusses his career and his position as a mentor and leader in the dance world in this interview for PBS.

Well, introducing a new generation of the dancers to the theater because you have an opportunity to audition people for your company. In your mind, you’re having already kind of a perception what kind of look of a dancer, what kind of stature, what kind of proportions, just purely physical first.

17 Sep, 2014
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Tavis Smiley interview

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Moreno discusses her life and career on stage and screen, focusing on West Side Story, in this interview for PBS.

I did the audition with my heart in my throat. A friend of mine had taught me some steps in advance in case those were the steps to America that were going to be taught me in an audition. Most people don’t know that dancing auditions, you learn the steps right now.

16 Sep, 2014
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Tavis Smiley interview

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Hines discusses his life and career, including latest project Tappin’ Thru Life, in this interview for PBS.

And in my show, my show really has evolved into a love letter to my mother. Because it was my mother that really nurtured Gregory and I, and she had the vision. She had the vision for her sons. I say that in my show. At the show, I sing a song – and my father went along for the ride now. He did, but she had the vision. I sing, “You’re Just Too Marvelous” to her picture.

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Tavis Smiley interview

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Rivera discusses her six decade spanning career and current one woman show, Chita: A Legendary Celebration, in this interview for PBS.

I have a blessed life. I really do. I have a great family, a great daughter. I love life. I love living. I love people. I love all the blessings that God’s given me, you know. I appreciate it and I work at it and it’s all work, you know. And I love the spirit of dance. It’s an amazing thing when the body and the spirit meet, you know. It’s a good thing.

15 Sep, 2014
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Tavis Smiley interview

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Jamison discusses her dance career and being artistic director for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in this interview for PBS.

The idea that dance can move people not just here in this country, but as we are cultural ambassadors for our country, the idea is that you’re there in a theater in a live performance where your eyes can do and go where they want to go. And where they go is usually to the heart and soul of that dancer.

12 Sep, 2014
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Tavis Smiley interview

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Jones discusses his new movie, Keep on Keepin’ On, a documentary about the mentoring relationship between jazz legend Clark Terry and a blind piano prodigy in this interview for PBS.

And just everything there is – and that’s what touches me so much about it is there’s so many coincidental situations there that the whole film is about divine intervention. I always loved that phrase when they say that coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous. Very true ’cause, man, there’s so many coincidental things that are going on in that film.

11 Sep, 2014
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Tavis Smiley interview

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Harris discusses Frontera, his latest film, in this interview for PBS.

Well, it is a topic very much in the news, for sure. We shot this film about a year and a half ago, I guess, in New Mexico. Michael Berry, who wrote it and directed it, grew up in southern Arizona and his co-writer, Louis. It’s a subject matter he wanted to deal with and I think he deals with it really well. I mean, it’s not a preaching kind of deal. It doesn’t really take sides. It just kinds of presents a situation that the country’s trying to deal with right now.

10 Sep, 2014
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Tavis Smiley interview

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Kem discusses his newest CD, Promise to Love, in this interview for PBS.

Love is the universal language, man, and being expressed through another universal language, music, has been a treat to be able to form a wish list of the things that I hope for in relationship to testify. You know, my music is a testimony. It’s a wish list and, you know, I take pride in crafting a great love song. I think there’s no greater topic to be talked about.

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Tavis Smiley interview

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Kennedy discusses her newest documentary, Last Days in Vietnam, and how her family connections there informed the movie in this interview for PBS.

I’m so thrilled to be able to share this film and, you know, what we uncovered in researching this film and developing it further was that as these events took place and it got very chaotic during those last 24 hours, the Americans in Washington, the president and others, Kissinger said we just need to get the Americans out of the country. We’ve got to leave the Vietnamese behind.

9 Sep, 2014
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Tavis Smiley interview

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Glover discusses his career as a tap dancer and what he sees in the future for tap dance in this interview for PBS.

Man, this is my life, you know. At a very early age, as you know, I was introduced to some men and women who had dedicated their lives to this art form. And it’s my proud privilege to now dedicate my life to them and to the art form. So I have no choice, man. This is all I want to do. I’m thankful every moment and opportunity I get to share the information and, hopefully, I can continue on.

5 Sep, 2014
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Tavis Smiley interview

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D discusses current rap culture and his newest album, The Black in Man, in this interview for PBS.

And we’ve seen that the words that are spoken through song sometimes can actually give a universal law to people by challenging the things that are unjust and unfair. We didn’t make it up. But it’s also something that we have to learn that, before us, there’s a Curtis Mayfield, there’s a Pete Seeger. You know, people who we’ve lost in human life, but their spirit still lives.

4 Sep, 2014
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Tavis Smiley interview

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Mendes discusses his five decade spanning music career and his latest projects in this interview for PBS.

You know, I was playing Beethoven and Ravel, Debussy and things like that. All of a sudden, I hear this Dave Brubeck record, Take Five. I said, oh, man, I love that. So from that day on, I start, you know, learning those chords and listening to more jazz and, you know, being exposed to people like Bud Powell, Horace Silver, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker. I mean, so jazz was the love of my life.

3 Sep, 2014
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Tavis Smiley interview

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Childs discusses his career and his latest project, a tribute to singer-songwriter, Laura Nyro, in this interview for PBS.

Joni Mitchell’s a genius. I think she’s brilliant, you know. I think she and Laura Nyro are kind of like the two most important singer-songwriters, although the term singer-songwriter is kind of like a limiting description of what they are. And I think they’re kind of like, in my opinion, the two that stand out the most.

2 Sep, 2014
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Tavis Smiley interview

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Culbertson discusses his 20-year career and the remake of his debut CD in this interview for PBS.

I think it’s more about an experience of listening to music again. You know, we’ve gotten just sort of like music is going everywhere with the digital age and now to put vinyl on a record player and to actually sit down and listen to it, I think it brings you back to at least, you know, my early years and it’s a beautiful thing.

27 Aug, 2014
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Tavis Smiley interview

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O’Neill discusses his five seasons on Modern Family and 11 seasons on Married With Children in an interview with PBS.

I don’t know what to make of it. You know, the funny thing is that when they hired me in this one, in Modern Family, I’m not sure that they knew quite what to do with me because as it was written the guy was what I’m playing now, which is a very successful businessman. And I think they were thinking, “Al Bundy? Shoe salesman? Maybe we’ll…” The pilot, I was kind of like, you know, selling mufflers or something. They never said.

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Holliday discusses her career and latest CD, The Song Is You, in this interview for PBS.

So it’s a whole other life now and so I had to see if there was a time – and actually, that American Idol performance, I’m glad you mentioned it because it did give me courage to say, well, maybe I should sing something again.

25 Aug, 2014
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Tavis Smiley interview

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Sandoval discusses his career and current tour in this interview for PBS.

Music is the engine who move my soul, you know, and I’m happy when I’m working. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t say that. I shouldn’t say that, the working. That’s wrong. When I’m playing, when I writing, when I practicing, I’m happy. You know, you want to see me unhappy is when I no have nothing to do. And then my wife notice that and she tried to find something to entertain me.

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Tavis Smiley interview

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Parsons discusses his role in HBO’s The Normal Heart and  portraying the same role on Broadway in an interview with PBS.

It’s a beautiful cast, yes. Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts, Matt Bomer, Taylor Kitsch, myself, Joe Mantello, who was in the play version with me. It goes on. Everybody in it. The thing that startled me most when seeing it, the screening of the movie for the first time, was how grounded every performance was in it. A lot of that credit goes to Ryan Murphy, obviously – the direction he gave, the direction he didn’t give, and just sheerly for casting it.

20 Aug, 2014
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Tavis Smiley interview

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Sorvino discusses her newest project, a  BBC America production titled Intruders, in this interview for PBS.

It’s like if you’re watching a Hitchcock film in the first eighth, think of this as like if you thought of it like a Hitchcock film. Each episode is an eighth of the film. So in the first eighth or two-eighths of the film, he would never give away what you’re going to find out later.

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Tavis Smiley interview

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Takei discusses his family’s internment during WWII, his musical Allegiance, a dramatization of that internment, and To Be Takei, a new documentary about his life, in an interview with PBS.

Well, we want them to know about that dark chapter of American history, but what that taught me, that experience and my father’s guidance, taught me is that in our democracy you’ve got to be actively engaged and bring support to those people that cherish the ideals of our democracy. All men are created equal, endowed with an inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and to be engaged and support that.

28 Jul, 2014
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Bailey discusses his musical career and new memoir, Shining Star, in this interview for PBS.

Well, I’m from Denver, grew up loving jazz, but listening to country and Elvis Presley and pop and folk, Carole King, Three Dog Night, you know, singing in bands and stuff that were mixed, and singing all those different genres of music. So when I got into the band, I was the one that recommended doing the song, Make It With You, Where Have All The Flowers Gone because that was the stuff that, you know, I was hearing.

25 Jul, 2014
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Tavis Smiley interview

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Crews discusses what drives his current and upcoming projects, including hosting Who Wants to be a Millionaire? and writing a book, in an interview with PBS.

Now for me, you know, every label that someone tries to put on you is a stamp so that they can put you in a box and put you over here. Well, I have totally decided you will never be able to label me. You will never be able to define me. Every individual on this earth is way too complex to put in whatever box it is. It’s kind of funny because we as African Americans tend to do that to ourselves.

23 Jul, 2014
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Tavis Smiley interview

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Blades discusses his career in music and his new CD, Tangos, in this interview for PBS.

We thought about it, Carlos Franzetti and I – Carlos is the arranger and producer – about doing this for about 39 years, the first time we spoke about it, and it had to do with the lyrics basically. I was very curious about how the lyrics would be affected by the tango atmosphere and instrumentation. What would happen to the lyric? I think that was the main source of the interest for me. How would the lyric be affected by the atmosphere that tango provided?

18 Jul, 2014
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Tavis Smiley interview

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Butler discusses his career and his new CD, Living My Dream, in this interview for PBS.

Man, you know, I really didn’t think that I had this record in me. But one is, it’s a declaration. I mean, at 52 years old, I’ve been singing and traveling since I was seven years old. You know, that’s how I felt.

9 Jul, 2014
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Tavis Smiley interview

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Bridges discusses his career and his current shows, CBS sitcom The Millers and Showtime drama Masters of Sex, in this interview for PBS.

Well, you know, one of the wonderful things about show business is the unpredictability of it all. I mean, I had no idea and these two great opportunities came, The Millers by my friend, Greg Garcia, who is the show runner and he did My Name is Earl. I played Earl’s dad on that, so I know Greg. He’s one of the best show runners going. And then Masters of Sex is, you know, the total opposite of that, a full-on drama.

7 Jul, 2014
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Tavis Smiley interview

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Biggs discusses his role in the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black in this interview for PBS.

You know, before anyone has watched this show, I think it’s safe to say for the most part there’s a stigma associated with prisoners, you know. So it’s hard to, you know, relate, certainly. So what I think has been so incredibly captivating, certainly for me, you know, I’ve watched those prison scenes and I watch these characters. And part of it is the diversity of the cast as well and these amazingly beautiful, diverse women characters that we have in there.

3 Jul, 2014
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Ebert discusses her involvement in the new documentary, Life Itself, about her late husband,  film critic Roger Ebert.

But I think that his philosophy on life, on empathy, on walking in another person’s shoes, you know, trying to get into the head of a person of a different race, a different gender, different circumstances, different economic situation, having empathy, you know, being your brother’s keeper, your sister’s sister, that’s what I hope. I mean, things like that are really the things that I think are the most important.

1 Jul, 2014
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Tavis Smiley interview

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Laurie discusses his newest CD, Didn’t It Rain, a collection of jazz and blues songs, in an interview with PBS.

Muddy Waters, I suppose, was my first great hero. You know, every boy wants to be a guitar player and Muddy Waters was just the king. He was the King Bee. He was it.

20 Jun, 2014
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Tavis Smiley interview

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Puck discusses his career and healthy eating tips in this interview for PBS.

Exactly. I want people to eat a little bit with their head too. So when they go shopping, for example, I have two small children at home. I mean, they’re seven and eight. But, you know, we go to the farmers market. We buy really good things and then cook them simple.

18 Jun, 2014
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Wyle discusses his career and his TNT series, Falling Skies, in this interview for PBS.

Television is this sort of ongoing narrative that you never really know what’s coming around the corner, and you have to keep your own continuity. You have to keep it fresh for yourself. You have to keep the character evolving and maturing in a way that may not be even reflective in the writing. So I’ve always felt that creatively I’ve been more challenged having a career in television than I may have had elsewhere.

17 Jun, 2014
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Tavis Smiley interview

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Leifer discusses her career and new book, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Crying, in this interview for PBS.

Well, you know, when you have a passion to want to be in comedy, there is no stopping you. Whatever sex you are, whatever anything is, you are just going to go for it. You know, they say that peoples’ greatest fear is talking in front of large groups of people? I always say that a comedian’s greatest fear is not speaking in front of large groups of people because it’s got to be in your DNA to want to get out there.

16 Jun, 2014
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Braxton discusses her career and memoir, Unbreak My Heart, in this interview for PBS.

I didn’t figure it out. I just said I’m just going to write what I feel and I talked to my mom about it. Because a lot of it is my parental situations for me. It’s not as much about my sisters and my siblings. I’m being raised the way I was raised, a PK, a preacher’s kid and the guilt you always feel associated with religion and trying to find your own way. It’s kind of challenging to find your own way because you’re bogged down with – it’s a sin to do that, so it’s hard to differentiate what’s real for you, your own reality.

11 Jun, 2014
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Gregg discusses his career and newest project, independent movie Trust Me, in this interview for PBS.

I was writing a bigger piece after my first film about children who kind of were acting like grownups and grownups who were acting like children in Los Angeles. But it was about eight stories and it was gonna be an epic that probably would never have moved out of my computer. There was one of them in particular that felt different. It felt like a kind of unusual mash-up between kind of a show biz comedy of desperation and a film noir.

10 Jun, 2014
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Tavis Smiley interview

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Janney discusses her two, very different, current roles: Bonny Plunkett on the CBS sitcom Mom and Margaret Scully on the Showtime drama Masters of Sex, in an interview with PBS.

It was so funny. My mother, when I told her I was doing this way back before it came out, she couldn’t even – she was just mortified by the title. Her friends were saying, “What’s your daughter up to in there?” “Oh, she’s doing this lovely show for CBS called Mom and then she’s doing this other show that’s called – well, it’s with Beau Bridges.”

5 Jun, 2014
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Tavis Smiley interview

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Maslany discusses her career and series Orphan Black in this interview for PBS.

They kind of work with the blank slate of me, but then get to, how can they change how my face looks, how can they change the structure of things, how can they help me express these people differently. It’s very much a collaboration with all of us.

3 Jun, 2014
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Tavis Smiley interview

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Via an ASL interpreter, Matlin discusses her career and role in the series, Switched at Birth, in this interview for PBS.

I grew up watching television with my family, not understanding what was going on, not understanding what was being said, and my parents and my brothers would laugh at certain things that were being said or they would watch, watching a cop show, and I would have to ask someone to interpret for me. So when Closed Captioning came along, just the beginnings of it, before it became law for all networks to have to closed caption, I just had to sort of make up lines with what people were saying, whatever they were saying on television.

30 May, 2014
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Tavis Smiley interview

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Huffington discusses her career and latest book, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom and Wonder, in this interview for PBS.

When we connect with the fact that it’s not just about money and power and our jobs, but that we have this incredible source of strength and wisdom in us, but we don’t take the time to connect with it, then you realize that whatever your circumstances, whether you’re at the top of the world or struggling to make ends meet, we need to reconnect with ourselves. And that requires disconnecting from our devices.

28 May, 2014
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Tavis Smiley interview

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Marley discusses his career and his newest CD, Fly Rasta, and his debut children’s book, I Love You Too, in this interview for PBS.

Yeah, you have to be creative with it. And it’s like that was one of the things I thought about when I was writing that song in particular. In general, the whole album, you have to be creative. You have to think outside of the box and you have to just use your imagination, metaphors and things like that.

23 May, 2014
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Weiner discusses his career and the upcoming final season of Mad Men in this interview for PBS.

I had a litmus test when I was casting the pilot and I was given the luxury by AMC of getting to pick someone who was not famous yet. And I knew that they would be that character of people. They wouldn’t have previous associations or anything.

22 May, 2014
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Tavis Smiley interview

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Favreau discusses moving back and forth between blockbuster movies such as Iron Man and indies such as Chef in this interview for PBS.

But the big ones are about escape and the big ones are about spectacle, and the big ones have to travel around the world and be a ride. To make a movie specific about our culture and about real life and real life problems and real life humor based on our culture, that’s not something the studios are greenlighting anymore. So I had to pull back to my independent roots and do something with limited resources. But what it is is it’s a throwback to my independent comedies, where it could be about – Swingers is about dating, it’s about Hollywood.

13 May, 2014
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Tavis Smiley interview

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Britton discusses playing a country music superstar in the ABC drama Nashville in this interview for PBS.

Well the character is, Rayna Jaymes is the queen of country music, as we like to say, and she has had a very illustrious career which – and that’s so much fun to play too, to try to play somebody the likes of, I don’t know, I think of Bruce Springsteen or somebody like that, who’s really kind of legendary.

12 May, 2014
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Tavis Smiley interview

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Slattery discusses his directorial debut, God’s Pocket, and working with Philip Seymour Hoffman in one of his last screen appearances in this interview for PBS.

Well the bottom line is he was extremely proud of the movie, pleased with it. We were partners, producing partners on the thing, and he had been there at rough cuts and gave notes, extensive notes.

8 May, 2014
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Tavis Smiley interview

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Dancy discusses his career and role in the NBC thriller Hannibal in this interview for PBS.

Straight off the bat in that first script there was something going on that was different to me from a character point of view. Then after that, Mads, who plays Hannibal, Laurence Fishburne, who plays the other lead character in the show, got attached, and it just got a stronger and stronger package, really.

5 May, 2014
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Tavis Smiley interview

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Bruni discusses her first North American tour and fourth CD, Little French Songs, in this interview for PBS.

It’s wonderful to be able to be in America and to play my French music in America. But so music has no language, right, so yeah, I feel a lot freer and very happy, because we have time for the family, a lot less pressure.

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Tavis Smiley interview

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Senator Sanders discusses the minimum wage debate, poverty in the United States, and presidential politics in this interview for PBS.

Well first of all, let’s be very clear. You have many, many Republicans, and I don’t think most Americans know this, but you have many Republicans from the Koch brothers on down who not only do not want to raise the minimum wage, their view is that we should abolish the concept of the minimum wage. That means if you’re in a high unemployment area and an employer offers you three bucks an hour, then that’s what the wage will be. But the bottom line for the Republicans in general, it’s the same old story.

1 May, 2014
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Tavis Smiley interview

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Hamlin discusses joining the cast of the AMC drama, Mad Men, in this interview for PBS.

In this case I went in to read for a swinger boss, which was another smaller character, and they said it was one or two days’ work. I thought I did a good job, and then I got the call that I didn’t get the part. I went, “Aw, shucks. Well, there goes Mad Men.” Then three months later I get the call to come in and play this guy. I don’t know, I think it’s – however Matt Weiner works, there’s a particular kind of genius going on there.

30 Apr, 2014
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Tavis Smiley interview

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Roberts discusses her career, her bout with cancer, and her new memoir, Everybody’s Got Something, in this interview for PBS.

And yes, when I was a little kid playing in Mississippi and somebody would hurt my feelings or something and I’d come in, and Mama said, “Oh, honey, everybody’s got something.” When I got older and the challenges became a little bit more than someone just picking on me, I remember in 2007 when I was diagnosed with cancer, and she sweetly said, “Honey, everybody’s got something.”  That’s what I tried to impart in this book, the life lessons that I learned, to help me get through my something and hopefully get people on the road to something better.

29 Apr, 2014
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Tavis Smiley interview

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King discusses his six decade spanning career, the Donald Sterling scandal, racism, and segregation in this interview for PBS.

I’ve never understood prejudice, which means to pre-judge. To pre-judge is stupid. I don’t like this; I won’t read that, I won’t look at this – that’s insane. Even if I looked at it just from a standpoint of monetarily, as Ross Perot told me once: “Forget morality. The insanity in the South of building two bathrooms when you only needed one.”

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