How Tekashi 6ix9ine Became a ‘Human Meme’ (Podcast)

How did rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine go from a nice kid working in a New York bodega to a rainbow-headed, face-tatted “human meme” to a defendant in a RICO case? We try to make sense of it in the latest episode of the “Shoot This Now”…

How did rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine go from a nice kid working in a New York bodega to a rainbow-headed, face-tatted “human meme” to a defendant in a RICO case? We try to make sense of it in the latest episode of the “Shoot This Now” podcast, which you can listen to on Apple or right here:

This week, our guests are New York Times reporters Joe Coscarelli and Ali Watkins, who wrote the definitive account of Tekashi’s short, intense career.

He was born Daniel Hernandez, and raised, in part, by the Internet. They call him a “human meme” because of his gift for capturing online attention with everything from his tattoos (including at least dozens of the number 69) to videos filled with Bloods imagery to apparent references to Harmony Korine.

Coscarelli and Watkins wrote: “His first viral ‘moment,’ he recalled, was an Instagram photo of himself on a city street, wearing a robelike sweatshirt emblazoned with racial and sexual slurs.”

Is it art? Provocation? Does he care?

His career has somehow survived the kind of sex charges that could easily have ended his career and sent him to prison.

Tekashi has pleaded guilty to a charge of using a child in a sexual performance because of a 2015 video with a 13-year-old girl — posted to his Instagram — in which other men had sex with the girl while he touched her and mugged for his audience.

He told police he believed the girl was 19, and that he only did it “for my image,” Coscarelli and Watkins reported.

Soon after, he entered into a business relationship with Kifano Jordan, also known as Shotti, or Shottie.

“6ix9ine needed the street cred and security that Mr. Jordan and his friends could offer; for Mr. Jordan, 6ix9ine represented a rainbow-headed cash cow,” Coscarelli and Watkins wrote.

The bid for street cred included the video for “Gummo,” in which 6ix9ine and friends wear red bandanas like those of the Bloods. It scored more than 300 million views on YouTube.

Soon, he had 10 singles on the Billboard Hot 100. But he also fell out with Jordan.

Now, he faces prison, thanks to federal racketeering charges, along with several former associates. He has pleaded not guilty, and said his “scumbag persona is just for shock value.”

There’s much more to the story, both in the podcast and in Coscarelli and Watkins’ full story, which you can read in its entirety here.

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'Missing Richard Simmons' and 'Surviving Y2K' Host Dan Taberski Hints at What's Next (Podcast)

Hollywood Wants the 'Surviving Y2K' Podcast: 'We're Definitely Getting Calls'

‘Missing Richard Simmons’ and ‘Surviving Y2K’ Host Dan Taberski Hints at What’s Next (Podcast)

Dan Taberski, host of the “Missing Richard Simmons” and “Surviving Y2K” podcasts, is quieting plotting new ways to make your head spin. You can hear all about his plans for his next story on the latest “Shoot This Now” podcast, which you can listen to on Apple or right here:



Taberski’s show, Headlong, offers a different take each season on an event in our culture that Taberski thinks everyone has gotten wrong. In Season 1, he searched for his former friend, fitness hero Richard Simmons. In Season 2, which is now gorgeously underway, he examines how vibrant characters from a bank robber to a family of Biblical searchers prepped for the turn of the millennium.

Also Read: Hollywood Wants the ‘Surviving Y2K’ Podcast: ‘We’re Definitely Getting Calls’

Season 3, which is coming in March, will address another cultural touchpoint he thinks people have totally misunderstood.

And no, of course we aren’t going to tell you what it is. But you can listen to the podcast above for hints.

Okay, fine: Here are a few hints from Taberski.

“The whole thing about Headlong is it’s looking at a person, a place, an event, a time in popular culture or culture in general that I think we’re getting wrong. And Y2K falls into that category and ‘Missing Richard Simmons’ absolutely fell into that category. And the next one falls into that category as well,” Taberski said.

He later added: “It is something that anybody can watch and that you would normally ignore. But I actually think it’s really important. And it touches on a lot of social issues.”

Also: You will never, ever guess what it is.

That’s all we’re sharing from the interview, but you can listen to the part about Season 3 at the 34-minute mark, above.

When we spoke to Taberski last week, “Surviving Y2K” had included a brilliant conspiracy theorist, a family trying to emulate Biblical times, a man planning to survive on hamster meat, and Taberski’s own difficult journey to find himself. Since then, the show has added a spectacular kidnapping, a bank robbery, a race to give birth, and so, so much more. You should check it out.

In our interview, we talked with Taberski about how he could turn “Surviving Y2K” into a movie, his experiences as a producer on “The Daily Show,” and whether he knows what happened to those hamsters.

One last thing: While we can’t tell you what Season 3 of the Headlong podcast is about, we can promise that it is not about Nick Nolte.

We don’t think.

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Richard Simmons Makes First Public Statement in 3 Years: ‘I’m Not Missing’

Dan Taberski, host of the “Missing Richard Simmons” and “Surviving Y2K” podcasts, is quieting plotting new ways to make your head spin. You can hear all about his plans for his next story on the latest “Shoot This Now” podcast, which you can listen to on Apple or right here:

Taberski’s show, Headlong, offers a different take each season on an event in our culture that Taberski thinks everyone has gotten wrong. In Season 1, he searched for his former friend, fitness hero Richard Simmons. In Season 2, which is now gorgeously underway, he examines how vibrant characters from a bank robber to a family of Biblical searchers prepped for the turn of the millennium.

Season 3, which is coming in March, will address another cultural touchpoint he thinks people have totally misunderstood.

And no, of course we aren’t going to tell you what it is. But you can listen to the podcast above for hints.

Okay, fine: Here are a few hints from Taberski.

“The whole thing about Headlong is it’s looking at a person, a place, an event, a time in popular culture or culture in general that I think we’re getting wrong. And Y2K falls into that category and ‘Missing Richard Simmons’ absolutely fell into that category. And the next one falls into that category as well,” Taberski said.

He later added: “It is something that anybody can watch and that you would normally ignore. But I actually think it’s really important. And it touches on a lot of social issues.”

Also: You will never, ever guess what it is.

That’s all we’re sharing from the interview, but you can listen to the part about Season 3 at the 34-minute mark, above.

When we spoke to Taberski last week, “Surviving Y2K” had included a brilliant conspiracy theorist, a family trying to emulate Biblical times, a man planning to survive on hamster meat, and Taberski’s own difficult journey to find himself. Since then, the show has added a spectacular kidnapping, a bank robbery, a race to give birth, and so, so much more. You should check it out.

In our interview, we talked with Taberski about how he could turn “Surviving Y2K” into a movie, his experiences as a producer on “The Daily Show,” and whether he knows what happened to those hamsters.

One last thing: While we can’t tell you what Season 3 of the Headlong podcast is about, we can promise that it is not about Nick Nolte.

We don’t think.

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Hollywood Wants the ‘Surviving Y2K’ Podcast: ‘We’re Definitely Getting Calls’

“Missing Richard Simmons” creator Dan Taberski’s new podcast, “Surviving Y2K,” features a family of real-life raiders of the lost ark, a man raising hamsters for meat, and a painful and gorgeous coming-out story. It should…

“Missing Richard Simmons” creator Dan Taberski’s new podcast, “Surviving Y2K,” features a family of real-life raiders of the lost ark, a man raising hamsters for meat, and a painful and gorgeous coming-out story. It should be no surprise that Hollywood is calling, and Taberski talks about how his story could come to the screen in our new “Shoot This Now” podcast, which you can listen to on Apple or right here:

“Surviving Y2K” is the second season of Taberski’s Headlong podcast, which looks at cultural moments he thinks society has gotten wrong, or misunderstood. (“Missing Richard Simmons” was the first season.)

Taberski thinks most people wrongly remember Y2K fears as a joke. But for many people — including him — the new millennium was a time of change, both good and bad, and intense emotion.

Almost no one he talked to for “Surviving Y2K” tried to party like it was 1999. Some tried to make peace with God, or prepare for Day One of the post-civilized world. One man was determined to prove it was all a fraud.

Taberski blends their stories movingly in a podcast that feels like a pre-apocalyptic version of Garry Marshall’s trio of holiday-themed rom-coms — “Valentine’s Day,” “New Year’s Eve” and “Mother’s Day.”

But his storytelling feels authentic, with no preconceptions or need to pattern his narratives to a familiar Hollywood formula. His stories are, more than anything else, surprising. There’s an authenticity you can’t fake.

Taberski, a documentary filmmaker and former “Daily Show” producer, has many ideas of how to make the podcast into a TV show or film — and Hollywood is interested in both possibilities, he says.

“We’re definitely getting calls,” he told “Shoot This Now.”

As for the details, such as what his level of involvement might be, we’ll let you listen to the podcast above.

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How C. Delores Tucker Became the Most-Hated Woman in Hip-Hop (Podcast)

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How C. Delores Tucker Became the Most-Hated Woman in Hip-Hop (Podcast)

C. Dolores Tucker was known most of her life as a civil rights activist and feminist who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. So how did she become, in her 60s, perhaps the most-hated woman in hip-hop, humiliated by the likes of Tupac Shakur and Su…

C. Dolores Tucker was known most of her life as a civil rights activist and feminist who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. So how did she become, in her 60s, perhaps the most-hated woman in hip-hop, humiliated by the likes of Tupac Shakur and Suge Knight? That question is the subject of our new “Shoot This Now” podcast, which you can listen to on Apple or right here:

Every week on “Shoot This Now,” we talk about stories that should be made into movies. We think a C. Delores Tucker movie could be the flip side of “Straight Outta Compton” — a movie about the rise of gangsta rap from the perspective of an African-American woman who only seems to see the downside.

Our guest this week on “Shoot This Now” is Eric Steuer, who, like me, grew up with hip-hop and believed the 1990s hype that Tucker was a killjoy who wanted to silence rappers’ voices and ruin music we loved. We knew her by lines like this one from Tupac: “Delores Tucker you’s a mother—er/Instead of trying to help a n—a you destroy a brother.”

She suffered similar critiques and outright insults from artists ranging from Jay-Z to KRS-One to Eminem. To many hip-hop fans, she was better known as the butt of emcees’ one-liners than for marching arm-in-arm with King in Selma.

But with two decades of hindsight, Eric and I look back this week to ask: What if she had a point? Was there a middle ground in which she could have supported the positive side of hip-hop — the political expression, the musical genius — while convincing artists to drop, for example, misogynistic lyrics?

We don’t agree with many of the things she did — but we think, like Roy Cohn, Dick Cheney, and countless others whose lives have become films, she has a compelling story whether you love or disdain her.

Eric would focus on the time she tried to turn Death Row Records founder Suge Knight into an ally — but he instead proved himself a go-for-the-kneecaps enemy. We talk about it on the podcast.

We also talk about an A-list Hollywood director who Eric thinks would be perfect to direct the film. One hint: She used to be a great emcee herself, part of a legendary L.A. underground crew that still informs and inspires great hip-hop today.

C. Delores Tucker died in 2005, at age 78. Whatever you think of her, she deserves a movie.

Check out Eric’s new song here. It’s about Los Angeles and it’s infectious as hell.

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We Pitched Emily Ratajkowski and Aaron Paul a Couple Movie Ideas – Here’s How It Went (Podcast)

Aaron Paul and Emily Ratajkowski are so well-matched in the new drama “Welcome Home” that we wanted to see them reunite onscreen again. So we pitched them a few ideas.

Paul and Ratajkowski said one of our ideas was “sexy,” and that the other sounded like something you’d watch while falling asleep on a long flight. They explain more in the new “Shoot This Now” podcast, which you can listen to on Apple or directly above or right here.

“Welcome Home,” as Paul told us, follows “a couple struggling to keep things together, and then they’re put in a really scary situation in a setting where they’re not really comfortable.”

Also Read: Emily Ratajkowski Says ‘Feminism Is Great for Everyone, Misogyny Is Bad for Everyone’ (Video)

Ratajkowski signed on to the film first, in part because she was intrigued by her character, Cassie — who turns out to be more complicated than she initially seems.

“All of the assumptions that you’ve made about her kind of get turned on their head, and she turns out to be a pretty dark, complex character, which is important,” she said.

“Welcome Home” is now available exclusively on DirecTV, and comes to theaters on Friday, Nov. 16.

Every week on “Shoot This Now,” we talk about stories we think should be made into movies. But, full disclosure, it’s just an excuse to talk about stories we find fascinating.

Also Read: ‘Breaking Bad’ Movie Will Follow Jesse Pinkman After 2013 Series Finale (Report)

We pitched Paul and Ratajkowski two stories about two extremely complex female characters, one of whom was responsible for one of the first great photo ops of the 20th century, and the other of whom lives on in countless poems.

Any guesses? We’ll hint that one involves Planned Parenthood, and leave it at that. Listen to the podcast to see which one Ratajkowski and Paul liked better.

Don’t worry: We also talked about “Breaking Bad” and Paul’s level of interest in reprising his Emmy-winning role as Jesse Pinkman, Ratajkowski’s use of social media to share a feminist message, and the historical significance of her spectacular Halloween costume.

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Aaron Paul and Emily Ratajkowski are so well-matched in the new drama “Welcome Home” that we wanted to see them reunite onscreen again. So we pitched them a few ideas.

Paul and Ratajkowski said one of our ideas was “sexy,” and that the other sounded like something you’d watch while falling asleep on a long flight. They explain more in the new “Shoot This Now” podcast, which you can listen to on Apple or directly above or right here.

“Welcome Home,” as Paul told us, follows “a couple struggling to keep things together, and then they’re put in a really scary situation in a setting where they’re not really comfortable.”

Ratajkowski signed on to the film first, in part because she was intrigued by her character, Cassie — who turns out to be more complicated than she initially seems.

“All of the assumptions that you’ve made about her kind of get turned on their head, and she turns out to be a pretty dark, complex character, which is important,” she said.

“Welcome Home” is now available exclusively on DirecTV, and comes to theaters on Friday, Nov. 16.

Every week on “Shoot This Now,” we talk about stories we think should be made into movies. But, full disclosure, it’s just an excuse to talk about stories we find fascinating.

We pitched Paul and Ratajkowski two stories about two extremely complex female characters, one of whom was responsible for one of the first great photo ops of the 20th century, and the other of whom lives on in countless poems.

Any guesses? We’ll hint that one involves Planned Parenthood, and leave it at that. Listen to the podcast to see which one Ratajkowski and Paul liked better.

Don’t worry: We also talked about “Breaking Bad” and Paul’s level of interest in reprising his Emmy-winning role as Jesse Pinkman, Ratajkowski’s use of social media to share a feminist message, and the historical significance of her spectacular Halloween costume.

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Let’s Talk About Hazel Drew, Whose Murder Inspired Laura Palmer’s on ‘Twin Peaks’ (Podcast)

The world is about to learn much more about Hazel Drew, the 20-year-old whose death in 1908 inspired Laura Palmer’s demise on “Twin Peaks.”
Drew is the subject of an upcoming mulitmedia project from Metabook, “Blonde, Beautiful …

The world is about to learn much more about Hazel Drew, the 20-year-old whose death in 1908 inspired Laura Palmer’s demise on “Twin Peaks.”

Drew is the subject of an upcoming mulitmedia project from Metabook, “Blonde, Beautiful and Dead.” Metabook creative director Benjamin Alfonsi talked about it in the latest “Shoot This Now” podcast, which you can listen to on Apple or above or right here.

“Twin Peaks” is most often linked to David Lynch, but it was the show’s co-creator, Mark Frost, who felt a personal connection to Drew, Alfonsi explained.

Frost’s grandmother, Betty Calhoun, used to tell him stories about Drew, who was found dead in the waters of Teal’s Pond in Sand Lake, a small community in upstate New York. Like Laura Palmer, she was said to have a double life that included multiple lovers.

And as was the case with Laura Palmer, the list of potential suspects was long.

“Blonde, Beautiful and Dead,” from co-authors David Bushman and Mark Givens, has been in the works for months and is due out next year. But Alfonsi gave us some new details about what to expect.

Metabook reimagines book by adding films, movies and art to the text, creating a more immersive storytelling experience. Alfonsi explains the concept during the podcast, which is largely focused on the story of Harry Eastlack, a man with a rare illness that burdened him with a second skeleton.

Our talk about Hazel Drew and Laura Palmer begins around the 31-minute mark.

Sheryl Lee played Laura Palmer on the original “Twin Peaks,” which premiered on ABC in 1990, 82 years after Hazel Drew died. Lee returned in the 1992 film “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me” and in Showtime’s 2017 limited-series “Twin Peaks” revival.

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We Need a Movie About Harry Eastlack, the Man With Two Skeletons

Harry Eastlack was only a child when he broke a bone that wouldn’t heal. Instead, his skeleton began to grow abnormally, his bones doubling over one another, until he suffocated from his own bones.

But with his final, heroic act, he did something to try to save anyone else from suffering as he did. You can hear his story in our latest “Shoot This Now” podcast, which you can listen to on Apple or at this link or above.

Eastlack’s skeleton is now displayed in Philadelphia’s Mutter Museum, where scientists study it to search for a cure to the rare disease he suffered, Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva.

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It is also the subject of “The Face Phantom,” a new project from Metabook. Metabook is a company trying to reinvent and expand the definition of books. It creates stories as well as accompanying films, music and art inspired by those stories.

For “The Face Phantom,” author Kathleen R. Sands told twelve stories inspired by exhibits in the Mutter Museum. The museum, part of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, is not only a resource for researchers but also a site that draws tourists because of its focus on bizarre medical problems and how they were treated throughout history.

The Metabook also includes music and short films by our podcast guest, Metabooks creator and creative director Benjamin Alfonsi.

Alfonsi made two films about Eastlack: a documentary short, and a short film, “Reve Fantastique,” that imagines young Eastlack meeting his future skeleton in the museum.

You can watch Rêve Fantastique here, for the first time:

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Harry Eastlack was only a child when he broke a bone that wouldn’t heal. Instead, his skeleton began to grow abnormally, his bones doubling over one another, until he suffocated from his own bones.

But with his final, heroic act, he did something to try to save anyone else from suffering as he did. You can hear his story in our latest “Shoot This Now” podcast, which you can listen to on Apple or at this link or above.

Eastlack’s skeleton is now displayed in Philadelphia’s Mutter Museum, where scientists study it to search for a cure to the rare disease he suffered, Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva.

It is also the subject of “The Face Phantom,” a new project from Metabook. Metabook is a company trying to reinvent and expand the definition of books. It creates stories as well as accompanying films, music and art inspired by those stories.

For “The Face Phantom,” author Kathleen R. Sands told twelve stories inspired by exhibits in the Mutter Museum. The museum, part of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, is not only a resource for researchers but also a site that draws tourists because of its focus on bizarre medical problems and how they were treated throughout history.

The Metabook also includes music and short films by our podcast guest, Metabooks creator and creative director Benjamin Alfonsi.

Alfonsi made two films about Eastlack: a documentary short, and a short film, “Reve Fantastique,” that imagines young Eastlack meeting his future skeleton in the museum.

You can watch Rêve Fantastique here, for the first time:

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What If Death is a Disco? Watch ‘Rêve Fantastique,’ About a Boy’s Reunion With a Skeleton (Exclusive)

Harry Eastlack died in 1973, before disco caught on in America. He was barely 40, and since the age of five he had battled a disease that caused his skeleton to grow over itself, fusing his body together and limiting his movements until he could only move his mouth.

But in one of his final acts, he used his mouth to do something heroic: He asked that his body be given to science to help cure the rare disease he suffered, Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva.

For the short film “Rêve Fantastique,” director Benjamin Alfonsi imagined a meeting between a young Harry and his adult skeleton. And he imagined a delirious afterlife in which heaven is a disco, and Harry could dance.

Watch “Rêve Fantastique” here:

The film is part of the new project “The Face Phantom,” from Metabook. Metabook is a company trying to reinvent and expand the definition of books. It creates stories as well as accompanying films, music and art inspired by those stories.

Also Read: How a 30-Year-Old’s Eviction by His Parents Turned Into an Attack on Millennials (Podcast)

For “The Face Phantom,” author Kathleen R. Sands told twelve stories inspired by exhibits in the Mutter Museum, where Eastlack’s museum resides.

The museum, part of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, is not only a resource for researchers but also a site that draws tourists because of its focus on rare medical problems and how they were treated throughout history.

I spoke with Alfonsi on the “Shoot This Now” podcast about Eastlack and Metabook. You can listen on Apple or right here:

Related stories from TheWrap:

How a 30-Year-Old’s Eviction by His Parents Turned Into an Attack on Millennials (Podcast)

Harry Eastlack died in 1973, before disco caught on in America. He was barely 40, and since the age of five he had battled a disease that caused his skeleton to grow over itself, fusing his body together and limiting his movements until he could only move his mouth.

But in one of his final acts, he used his mouth to do something heroic: He asked that his body be given to science to help cure the rare disease he suffered, Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva.

For the short film “Rêve Fantastique,” director Benjamin Alfonsi imagined a meeting between a young Harry and his adult skeleton. And he imagined a delirious afterlife in which heaven is a disco, and Harry could dance.

Watch “Rêve Fantastique” here:

The film is part of the new project “The Face Phantom,” from Metabook. Metabook is a company trying to reinvent and expand the definition of books. It creates stories as well as accompanying films, music and art inspired by those stories.

For “The Face Phantom,” author Kathleen R. Sands told twelve stories inspired by exhibits in the Mutter Museum, where Eastlack’s museum resides.

The museum, part of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, is not only a resource for researchers but also a site that draws tourists because of its focus on rare medical problems and how they were treated throughout history.

I spoke with Alfonsi on the “Shoot This Now” podcast about Eastlack and Metabook. You can listen on Apple or right here:


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Why ‘Watergate’ Doesn’t Mention President Trump

Charles Ferguson’s new documentary “Watergate – Or: How We Learned to Stop an Out of Control President” doesn’t mention the current inhabitant of the White House — because it doesn’t need to.
You can listen to …

Charles Ferguson’s new documentary “Watergate – Or: How We Learned to Stop an Out of Control President” doesn’t mention the current inhabitant of the White House — because it doesn’t need to.

You can listen to Ferguson explain why in our “Shoot This Now” podcast interview on Apple or above.

In an interview with Ferguson last month, we asked him if Sen. John McCain, a longtime critic of Trump, spoke on camera for “Watergate” to send a message to Trump that you can take down an out-of-control president.

“Absolutely. No question. I very deliberately did not ask him about Donald Trump,” Ferguson said. “For similar reasons, the name Donald Trump does not appear anywhere in the film. There’s no direct allusion to our current situation. But it was very obviously on Mr. McCain’s mind.”

Ferguson’s film, which enjoyed an Oscar qualifying run in theaters before coming to the History Channel, has not linked Nixon to Trump because many viewers have drawn their own parallels.

Ferguson elaborated in a statement on History’s website. It reads in part:

Regardless of one’s views about Donald J. Trump, it is inescapable that the United States is now gripped by a crisis whose parallels with Watergate grow closer every day. A country divided by social and racial tension; a President at war with the media; illegal eavesdropping by Russian hackers of Democratic candidates and campaigns; attempted subversion of a Presidential election via fake news; investigations by special prosecutors; firings of those in charge of investigating the President; secret tapes of Presidential conversations; former advisors turning witness under pressure from prosecutors – the echoes of Watergate are undeniable.

I could not ignore these parallels, but I also felt strongly (and still feel) that I shouldn’t pander to them either. Watergate does not contain a single word about Donald Trump, Russian hacking, the Mueller investigation, Michael Cohen’s tapes, or any reference to current events. But what I did do was show how the American system worked and did not work, and why.

History’s three-night event begins tonight, Nov. 2, at 9/8c. 

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‘Avengers’ Star Karen Gillan Details Hilarious Secrecy Protocols: ‘We Didn’t Even Get a Script’ (Podcast)

Karen Gillan has wrapped “Avengers 4,” but can’t tell us much about it: She says the film’s directors, the Russo brothers, went to extremes to keep secrets, even from the film’s stars.

Gillan, who plays the Guardians of the Galaxy’s powerful Nebula, details their  security precautions in the new “Shoot This Now” podcast. You can listen on Apple or right here:



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“We didn’t even get a script. There was no script,” she said. “Just my scenes. I’d sometimes get them just in the morning, do them, hand them back over at the end of the day.”

Wait, you may be asking. How do you act in a movie without actually knowing what happens in the movie?

Don’t worry: Gillan explains in the interview. (We start talking about the “Guardians of the Galaxy” films and “Avengers 4” around the 15-minute mark.)

The interview focuses mostly, however, on Gillan’s debut as a writer-director, “The Party’s Just Beginning.” The film is set in Gillan’s hometown, in the Scottish Highlands, and she plays Liusaidh (pronounced Lucy), a young woman coping with the suicide of her best friend (Matthew Beard).

Lee Pace, one of her “Guardians of the Galaxy” co-stars, also stars. Gillan and Pace met on the set of the first “Guardians,” in which he played Ronan the Accuser.

“We were villains together,” she recalled.

Withholding scripts wouldn’t be the only security precaution by Joe and Anthony Russo. They celebrated the wrap of the film by posting a mysterious image that few fans seem to understand.

Gillan’s “The Party’s Just Beginning” makes its theatrical debut on Dec. 7 and gets a digital release Dec. 12.

“Avengers 4” comes to theaters May 3, 2019.

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Karen Gillan has wrapped “Avengers 4,” but can’t tell us much about it: She says the film’s directors, the Russo brothers, went to extremes to keep secrets, even from the film’s stars.

Gillan, who plays the Guardians of the Galaxy’s powerful Nebula, details their  security precautions in the new “Shoot This Now” podcast. You can listen on Apple or right here:

“We didn’t even get a script. There was no script,” she said. “Just my scenes. I’d sometimes get them just in the morning, do them, hand them back over at the end of the day.”

Wait, you may be asking. How do you act in a movie without actually knowing what happens in the movie?

Don’t worry: Gillan explains in the interview. (We start talking about the “Guardians of the Galaxy” films and “Avengers 4” around the 15-minute mark.)

The interview focuses mostly, however, on Gillan’s debut as a writer-director, “The Party’s Just Beginning.” The film is set in Gillan’s hometown, in the Scottish Highlands, and she plays Liusaidh (pronounced Lucy), a young woman coping with the suicide of her best friend (Matthew Beard).

Lee Pace, one of her “Guardians of the Galaxy” co-stars, also stars. Gillan and Pace met on the set of the first “Guardians,” in which he played Ronan the Accuser.

“We were villains together,” she recalled.

Withholding scripts wouldn’t be the only security precaution by Joe and Anthony Russo. They celebrated the wrap of the film by posting a mysterious image that few fans seem to understand.

Gillan’s “The Party’s Just Beginning” makes its theatrical debut on Dec. 7 and gets a digital release Dec. 12.

“Avengers 4” comes to theaters May 3, 2019.

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‘Watergate’ Director Says John McCain Used His Film to Send a Message About Trump

Sen. John McCain knew his end was near when he spoke to “Watergate” director Charles Ferguson for Ferguson’s documentary about “how we learned to stop an out-of-control president.” The director believes McCain wanted to se…

Sen. John McCain knew his end was near when he spoke to “Watergate” director Charles Ferguson for Ferguson’s documentary about “how we learned to stop an out-of-control president.” The director believes McCain wanted to send a message about President Trump.

You can listen to our “Shoot This Now” podcast with Ferguson (who also directed the Oscar-winning “Inside Job”) on Apple or right here:


We asked Ferguson if he thought McCain was trying to send a message, through the documentary, that you can take down an out-of-control president.

“Absolutely. No question. I very deliberately did not ask him about Donald Trump,” Ferguson said. “For similar reasons, the name Donald Trump does not appear anywhere in the film. There’s no direct allusion to our current situation. But it was very obviously on Mr. McCain’s mind.”

Ferguson’s four-hour film, which is enjoying an Oscar qualifying run in theaters before coming to the History Channel in November, has the alternate title “How We Learned to Stop an Out-of-Control President.”

Ferguson hasn’t needed to link Nixon to Trump, because many viewers have drawn their own parallels.

Ferguson’s film offers a shaded, nuanced and surprisingly funny record of Nixon’s fall. Like last year’s “OJ: Made in America,” it starts with captivating details that establish a strong backstory before it dives into a narrative we all think we know well.

Ferguson said he wished he could have included more detail about McCain, especially when the film delved into how Vietnam pre-determined many of the failures of the Nixon presidency. Ferguson noted that McCain, who was shot down and held captive for six years, credited Nixon with bringing him and other POWs home in 1973.

“He felt an enormous debt of gratitude to Richard Nixon for bringing him and those prisoners back,” Ferguson said.

But McCain famously feuded with Trump, who once said of McCain, “He’s a war hero because he was captured… I like people that weren’t captured.”

In one of McCain’s last acts as a senator, he voted to kill his party’s attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. It was a significant setback for Trump.

McCain died of brain cancer in August.

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Tom Arnold Says He Gave Trump 'Elevator Tape' Details to a 'Real Journalist' (Podcast)

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Tom Arnold Says He Gave Trump ‘Elevator Tape’ Details to a ‘Real Journalist’ (Podcast)

Tom Arnold’s “The Hunt for the Trump Tapes” aired an episode Tuesday dedicated to a Trump “Elevator Tape” — even though there’s no proof such a tape exists.
Arnold, who cheerfully admits he has no credibility, …

Tom Arnold’s “The Hunt for the Trump Tapes” aired an episode Tuesday dedicated to a Trump “Elevator Tape” — even though there’s no proof such a tape exists.

Arnold, who cheerfully admits he has no credibility, told us on the “Shoot This Now” podcast that he’s turned over what he’s learned about the reputed tape to a “real journalist.” You can listen to it on Apple or right here.

There’s just one problem with Arnold telling a real journalist what he knows: As you’ll hear on our podcast, he’s very cagey about what, if anything, he conclusively knows.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Arnold’s show, which planned to air three episodes back-to-back Tuesday, is dedicated to tapes that have never been proven to exist, but the elevator tape may be the most elusive of all. One White House reporter has called it “every Trump reporter’s White Whale.”

Arnold is far from the only one who can’t prove the existence of a so-called “Elevator Tape.” A mention of some sort of Trump elevator video first surfaced in May in a Daily Beast article that detailed TMZ’s efforts to acquire it. The story said the Daily Beast had “no proof” the tape exists.

Since then, other news outlets have attempted legalistic write-arounds to explain what is said to be on the tape — if there is a tape. Here’s an example from July, in The Huffington Post:

The rumors vary from journalist to journalist, but the common understanding is that somewhere out there, a tape might exist of Trump doing something in an elevator, though exactly where that somewhere is and what that something might be, no one in media can say. That’s because no one in media seems to have seen the tape — or is even confident it exists.

The same article includes the May tweet in which CNBC White House reporter Christine Wilkie opined: “The elevator tape. Every Trump reporter’s White Whale.”

On Viceland’s “The Hunt for the Trump Tapes” on Tuesday, one HuffPo journalist, Ashley Feinberg, goes into much greater detail about what “this anonymous person with a throwaway Gmail account” told the Huffington Post’s reporters about the tape — again, without offering any proof of its existence.

The Daily Beast reported in May — and TMZ attorney Jason Beckerman confirmed to TheWrap on Tuesday — that before Election Day in 2016, an attorney reached out to TMZ, saying she represented a client who had an elevator tape of Donald and Melania Trump.

Though TMZ was ready to buy it, Beckerman told TheWrap, the lawyer canceled a planned meeting at the last minute.

“I got the impression that what she was conveying to me was that her source had sold the tape without her involvement and that she was no longer in communication with the client,” Beckerman said.

He stressed: “We never saw the tape, and we have no reason to believe that the tape ever existed.”

The Daily Beast reported in May that the attorney was Beverly Hills lawyer Melissa K. Dagodag. Asked about any elevator tape on Tuesday, Dagodag told TheWrap: “There’s nothing I have to say about that. It’s a wild-goose chase… and it’s attorney-client privilege even if I did have something to say.”

A spokesman for Vice said the show was thoroughly vetted, legally, before airing.

In our “Shoot This Now” interview with Arnold, we suggested to Arnold that many people will say that if he’s seen the elevator tape, he should provide proof.

“I don’t care what they say,” he said. “I don’t care what they say, at all.”

We pressed Arnold on the fact that the existence of a damaging elevator tape would be major news.

“I gave it to a real journalist,” Arnold said.

We then asked why he didn’t use an app like Signal, which provides added security to sources who want to contact journalists, to contact a reporter and get the tape to the public.

“What makes you think I didn’t?” Arnold said.

Arnold stresses on his show that he does not consider himself a true journalist. In his season finale, he explicitly states, “I don’t have to worry about my credibility, because I have none.”

But past episodes of his show have included real journalists, including New Yorker writer Jane Mayer, and David Corn, the Mother Jones writer who in 2012 broke news of the Mitt Romney “47 percent” video, which hurt Romney’s chances of beating President Obama. Arnold said he has also spoken to Mayer’s New Yorker colleague, Ronan Farrow.

Neither Corn nor the New Yorker immediately responded to requests for comment Tuesday.

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Tom Arnold Denies Mark Burnett Fight Was a PR Stunt (Podcast)

Here's What Tom Arnold Says Is on Trump's 'Apprentice' Tapes: 'He's Racist, He Says the N-Word'

Tom Arnold Denies Mark Burnett Fight Was a PR Stunt (Podcast)

Tom Arnold denies his fight with Mark Burnett before the Emmys was a publicity stunt, saying, “It was not a publicity stunt — by me.”

Arnold spoke to the “Shoot This Now” podcast about his new show “The Hunt for The Trump Tapes.” You can listen on Apple or right here.



Also Read: Here’s What Tom Arnold Says Is on Trump’s ‘Apprentice’ Tapes: ‘He’s Racist, He Says the N-Word’

Arnold filed battery charges against Burnett last month after accusing the “Apprentice” executive producer of choking him at an Emmys party.

Burnett’s wife, Roma Downey, said that it was actually Arnold who ambushed her husband at the event. She tweeted an image of her hand, which she said was bruised.

“Got this bruise tonight when Tom Arnold tried to ambush my husband Mark and me at a charity event. Is your TV show worth it Tom?” she wrote. “Please stop.”

In his interview with “Shoot This Now,” Arnold called the photo a “bulls— picture of a fake bruise.”

Arnold has pursued Burnett for months, accusing him of concealing damaging tapes of Trump from his years hosting “The Apprentice.” Arnold said he has friends who worked on the NBC reality show for all 15 seasons of its run — and that they recorded now-missing footage of Trump sexually harassing employees and using the N-word.

Trump has denied an N-word tape exists. Burnett declined to comment, but MGM previously released the following statement:

Mark Burnett does not own The Apprentice or its footage. MGM Studios owns The Apprentice and all its materials, including all footage.  Mr. Burnett is an employee of MGM and does not personally have the right to release unused footage from The Apprentice. While MGM owns all footage, various contractual and legal requirements also restrict MGM’s ability to release such material.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Despite the level of detail Arnold describes, he said he cannot reveal the names of the sources who told him about the contents of the tapes.

Arnold is not alone in his contention that Trump has been recorded saying the “N-word” — or in his inability, so far, to provide proof. Former “Apprentice” contestant and White House aide Omarosa Manigault-Newman said in August that she has heard “the tape,” without producing it.

Arnold is also searching for other damaging tapes that he believes exist, including one of Donald and Melania Trump in an elevator in Trump Tower. We talked about it at length for the podcast, though he was cagey about what he professes to know about a Trump elevator tape.

For some, Arnold’s failure to produce any Trump tapes relegates his show to the category of entertainment. But he says at the conclusion of our interview: “This isn’t a bulls— reality show no matter what these a–holes think.”

Tom Arnold denies his fight with Mark Burnett before the Emmys was a publicity stunt, saying, “It was not a publicity stunt — by me.”

Arnold spoke to the “Shoot This Now” podcast about his new show “The Hunt for The Trump Tapes.” You can listen on Apple or right here.

Arnold filed battery charges against Burnett last month after accusing the “Apprentice” executive producer of choking him at an Emmys party.

Burnett’s wife, Roma Downey, said that it was actually Arnold who ambushed her husband at the event. She tweeted an image of her hand, which she said was bruised.

“Got this bruise tonight when Tom Arnold tried to ambush my husband Mark and me at a charity event. Is your TV show worth it Tom?” she wrote. “Please stop.”

In his interview with “Shoot This Now,” Arnold called the photo a “bulls— picture of a fake bruise.”

Arnold has pursued Burnett for months, accusing him of concealing damaging tapes of Trump from his years hosting “The Apprentice.” Arnold said he has friends who worked on the NBC reality show for all 15 seasons of its run — and that they recorded now-missing footage of Trump sexually harassing employees and using the N-word.

Trump has denied an N-word tape exists. Burnett declined to comment, but MGM previously released the following statement:

Mark Burnett does not own The Apprentice or its footage. MGM Studios owns The Apprentice and all its materials, including all footage.  Mr. Burnett is an employee of MGM and does not personally have the right to release unused footage from The Apprentice. While MGM owns all footage, various contractual and legal requirements also restrict MGM’s ability to release such material.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Despite the level of detail Arnold describes, he said he cannot reveal the names of the sources who told him about the contents of the tapes.

Arnold is also searching for other damaging tapes that he believes exist, including one of Donald and Melania Trump in an elevator in Trump Tower. We talked about it at length for the podcast, though he was cagey about what he professes to know about a Trump elevator tape.

For some, Arnold’s failure to produce any Trump tapes relegates his show to the category of entertainment. But he says at the conclusion of our interview: “This isn’t a bulls— reality show no matter what these a–holes think.”

Jeff Bridges Wants a ‘Starman’ Reunion: ‘Karen Allen and I Have Been Jammin’ on Different Ideas’ (Exclusive)

Jeff Bridges has two movies in theaters this weekend, including the brand-new “Bad Times at the El Royale.” But “Starman,” the 1984 John Carpenter film he starred in with Karen Allen, also remains in his thoughts.
We chatted wit…

Jeff Bridges has two movies in theaters this weekend, including the brand-new “Bad Times at the El Royale.” But “Starman,” the 1984 John Carpenter film he starred in with Karen Allen, also remains in his thoughts.

We chatted with Bridges about his hopes for a “Starman” reunion (among many other things) in our new “Shoot This Now” podcast, which you can listen to on Apple or right here.

As Bridges has said before, he thinks a “Starman” sequel could be pretty straightforward since the sci-fi romance, like “The Big Lebowski,” ends with his character about to become a dad.

“It’s all set up, very much like ‘Lebowski,’ like the Little Dude. The Dude in the oven,” he said. “In ‘Starman,’ Karen Allen, she’s got a bun in the oven as well.”

We mentioned to Bridges that we had an interview coming up with Carpenter, the director of “Starman,” about the sequel to Carpenter’s horror classic “Halloween.” Anything he wanted us to pass along?

“Just say that Karen Allen and I have been jammin’ on different ideas,” Bridges said.

He added that he was “a little disappointed” to learn that another “Starman” project has been announced. He said the people behind the new film, from “Stranger Things” veteran Shawn Levy, apparently have not reached out to him.

“I was a little disappointed to hear that they’re making a sequel to it already, I think it’s underway… or they’re redoing it or something. … I don’t think we’ve been contacted. I don’t now if John has, but I’d be curious.”

We contacted Levy, who said in a statement: “‘Starman’ is very much in the script development stage still and the timeline for if and when it will go into production is still unclear. As a huge fan of the original film and these incredible actors, I would absolutely do everything in my power to involve them in some meaningful way, should I get the privilege of telling a new version of this amazing and poignant story.”

The “Starman” talk on “Shoot This Now” begins around the 18-minute mark.

Bridges’ “Bad Times at the El Royale” just opened in theaters. Last week marked the premiere of the new environmental documentary, “Living in the Future Past,” narrated by Bridges and directed by Susan Kucera.

The film looks at the subconscious motivations for our decisions, and how they may unintentionally hurt the world around us.

That’s no good for anyone — from Little Lebowskis to Starbabies.

Bridges, who won an Oscar for his role as alcoholic country-music star Bad Blake in “Crazy Heart,” also talks with us about the Coen Brothers, White Russians — and why you should never drink one through a plastic straw.

Watch Jeff Bridges Talk ‘Bad Times’ and a Brighter Future (Video)

Jeff Bridges knows you’re weary of Hollywood types telling people to save the environment. So he only tries to make small changes… which may lead to bigger ones.
But we’ll let him explain. You can watch the Oscar winner in our video, …

Jeff Bridges knows you’re weary of Hollywood types telling people to save the environment. So he only tries to make small changes… which may lead to bigger ones.

But we’ll let him explain. You can watch the Oscar winner in our video, above, or listen to our full interview for the “Shoot This Now” podcast. It’s available on Apple or right here.

Bridges narrates the new environmental documentary “Living in the Future Past,” directed by Susan Kucera, which looks at the subconscious motivations for our decisions, and how they may unintentionally hurt the world around us. The film opened last week. Bridges’ other new film, “Bad Times at the El Royale,” opens Friday.

In our interview, Bridges talks about “The Big Lebowski,” “Star Man,” his first acting job as a child — and architect Bucky Fuller.

As Bridges explains, Fuller introduced the metaphor of the “trim tab” to explain how small changes can force large ones. Fuller noted that the rudder of a massive ship has a rudder of its own, called a “trim tab,” that moves the larger rudder, and in turn the entire ship.

“Bucky Fuller says that this is a great metaphor for how the individual affects society — that we are all connected to other groups of people who are likeminded, want to go in that direction,” Bridges said. “And as a matter of fact on Bucky’s gravestone he’s carved in there ‘Call Me Trim Tab.’ And that’s always been an inspiration to me.”

Bridges tried to be a trim tab on the set of “Bad Times,” asking for a small, environmentally friendly change. It turns out he didn’t need to, as he explains on the podcast.

Bridges, who won an Oscar for his role on alcoholic country-music star Bad Blake in “Crazy Heart,” also talks with us about the Coen Brothers, White Russians — and why you should never drink one through a plastic straw.

You can learn more about “Living in the Future’s Past” here.

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Jeff Bridges Gives Us Some Good Advice About Straws (Podcast)

Jeff Bridges presents and narrates the new environmental documentary “Living in the Future’s Past,” which is about how the small decisions we make affect the entire planet. So we asked him about straws.

Specifically, California’s new rules on plastic straws. Bridges had a good idea — one that will make all your drinks tastier — and the Oscar winner talks about it on our latest “Shoot This Now” podcast. Listen on Apple or right here.



You haven’t heard about the straw thing? Last month, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that “prohibits dine-in restaurants from automatically providing plastic straws” and carries a $25 fine. The idea is that this small change — eliminating one source of plastic waste — will have a big cumulative benefit.

Also Read: Jeff Bridges Tells Us the Meaning of the Curious Epitaph ‘Call Me Trim Tab’ (Podcast)

Bridges’ good idea is based on the fact that straws don’t have to be made of plastic, which is harmful to the environment, or paper, which is less harmful, but prone to sogginess.

Rather, he noted, we could all be drinking from straws made of something else. Something that everyone loves.

You can probably guess that this is a loose, freewheeling, Jeff Bridges-style Jeff Bridges interview in which we talk about whatever comes into our heads. He explains the concept of a “trim tab” as a metaphor for change, whether he’ll do another “Starman,” and how he tried to change the set of his other new film, “Bad Times at the El Royale,” which comes out next week.

He also tells us about his stint in the Coast Guard reserves, about acting with his father, Lloyd Bridges, on “Sea Hunt,” and says what he does to avoid criticism of Hollywood elites who push for environmental change.

Do we mention “Crazy Heart” and “The Big Lebowski” and drinking White Russians? Of course we do.

Just don’t think about drinking one from a plastic straw.

You can learn more about “Living in the Future’s Past,” directed by Susan Kucera, right here.

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Jeff Bridges presents and narrates the new environmental documentary “Living in the Future’s Past,” which is about how the small decisions we make affect the entire planet. So we asked him about straws.

Specifically, California’s new rules on plastic straws. Bridges had a good idea — one that will make all your drinks tastier — and the Oscar winner talks about it on our latest “Shoot This Now” podcast. Listen on Apple or right here.

You haven’t heard about the straw thing? Last month, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that “prohibits dine-in restaurants from automatically providing plastic straws” and carries a $25 fine. The idea is that this small change — eliminating one source of plastic waste — will have a big cumulative benefit.

Bridges’ good idea is based on the fact that straws don’t have to be made of plastic, which is harmful to the environment, or paper, which is less harmful, but prone to sogginess.

Rather, he noted, we could all be drinking from straws made of something else. Something that everyone loves.

You can probably guess that this is a loose, freewheeling, Jeff Bridges-style Jeff Bridges interview in which we talk about whatever comes into our heads. He explains the concept of a “trim tab” as a metaphor for change, whether he’ll do another “Starman,” and how he tried to change the set of his other new film, “Bad Times at the El Royale,” which comes out next week.

He also tells us about his stint in the Coast Guard reserves, about acting with his father, Lloyd Bridges, on “Sea Hunt,” and says what he does to avoid criticism of Hollywood elites who push for environmental change.

Do we mention “Crazy Heart” and “The Big Lebowski” and drinking White Russians? Of course we do.

Just don’t think about drinking one from a plastic straw.

You can learn more about “Living in the Future’s Past,” directed by Susan Kucera, right here.

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Jeff Bridges Tells Us the Meaning of the Curious Epitaph 'Call Me Trim Tab' (Podcast)

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Jeff Bridges Tells Us the Meaning of the Curious Epitaph ‘Call Me Trim Tab’ (Podcast)

When you sit down to talk with Jeff Bridges, prepare to be surprised by how quickly the conversation may turn to Bucky Fuller, an architect whose innovations include the geodesic dome.

Fuller came up surprisingly quickly when the Oscar-winning actor stopped by our “Shoot This Now” podcast for a talk about his new environmental documentary “Living in the Future’s Past.” You can listen on Apple or right here.



Bridges tells us how Fuller, one of his heroes, introduced the metaphor of the “trim tab” to explain how small changes can force large ones. Fuller noted that the rudder of a massive ship has a rudder of its own, called a “trim tab,” that moves the larger rudder, and in turn the entire ship.

Also Read: Jeff Bridges Channels The Dude to Call for Peace in Donald Trump’s America

“Bucky Fuller says that this is a great metaphor for how the individual affects society — that we are all connected to other groups of people who are likeminded, want to go in that direction,” Bridges said. “And as a matter of fact on Bucky’s gravestone he’s carved in there ‘Call Me Trim Tab.’ And that’s always been an inspiration to me.”

“Living in the Future Past,” which is presented by Bridges and directed by Susan Kucera, looks at the subconscious motivations for our decisions, and how they may unintentionally hurt the world around us. The film opens Friday, a week before Bridges’ other new film, “Bad Times at the El Royale.”

Bridges tried to be a trim tab on the set of “Bad Times,” asking for a small, environmentally friendly change. It turns out he didn’t need to, as he explains on the podcast.

Pauline Kael said Bridges “may be the most natural and least self-conscious screen actor who ever lived.” That shines through in his chat with us, which also covers “Starman,” why birds fly the way they do, and why we may all want to re-think the kinds of straws we use.

And yes, of course we mention White Russians.

You can learn more about “Living in the Future’s Past” here.

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Jeff Bridges Channels The Dude to Call for Peace in Donald Trump’s America

When you sit down to talk with Jeff Bridges, prepare to be surprised by how quickly the conversation may turn to Bucky Fuller, an architect whose innovations include the geodesic dome.

Fuller came up surprisingly quickly when the Oscar-winning actor stopped by our “Shoot This Now” podcast for a talk about his new environmental documentary “Living in the Future’s Past.” You can listen on Apple or right here.

Bridges tells us how Fuller, one of his heroes, introduced the metaphor of the “trim tab” to explain how small changes can force large ones. Fuller noted that the rudder of a massive ship has a rudder of its own, called a “trim tab,” that moves the larger rudder, and in turn the entire ship.

“Bucky Fuller says that this is a great metaphor for how the individual affects society — that we are all connected to other groups of people who are likeminded, want to go in that direction,” Bridges said. “And as a matter of fact on Bucky’s gravestone he’s carved in there ‘Call Me Trim Tab.’ And that’s always been an inspiration to me.”

“Living in the Future Past,” which is presented by Bridges and directed by Susan Kucera, looks at the subconscious motivations for our decisions, and how they may unintentionally hurt the world around us. The film opens Friday, a week before Bridges’ other new film, “Bad Times at the El Royale.”

Bridges tried to be a trim tab on the set of “Bad Times,” asking for a small, environmentally friendly change. It turns out he didn’t need to, as he explains on the podcast.

Pauline Kael said Bridges “may be the most natural and least self-conscious screen actor who ever lived.” That shines through in his chat with us, which also covers “Starman,” why birds fly the way they do, and why we may all want to re-think the kinds of straws we use.

And yes, of course we mention White Russians.

You can learn more about “Living in the Future’s Past” here.

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What If Bill Clinton Had Resigned and Handed the Presidency to Al Gore? (Podcast)

Leon Neyfakh’s “Slow Burn” podcast examines President Clinton’s desperate, legalistic attempts to hold on to the presidency after news broke of his affair with Monica Lewinsky. But would we all be better off now if he’d ju…

Leon Neyfakh’s “Slow Burn” podcast examines President Clinton’s desperate, legalistic attempts to hold on to the presidency after news broke of his affair with Monica Lewinsky. But would we all be better off now if he’d just handed over the presidency to Al Gore?

That’s one of the questions we ask Neyfakh in the new “Shoot This Now” podcast, You can listen on Apple or right here:


In 1998, many Democrats found themselves fighting hard to keep Bill Clinton in office, even if they were disgusted by his conduct. Clinton’s resignation would have felt like a massive win for Republicans.

But would it have been? Vice President Al Gore would have taken over as president, which would have given him the advantage of incumbency in the 2000 presidential election — one of the closest election in history. A swing of a few hundred votes in Florida would have left us with President Gore instead of President Bush.

Think of all the countless ways Gore’s agenda would have differed from Bush’s — on the environment, on taxation, on foreign policy. If we assume the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks would still have occurred under a Gore Administration, would Gore have invaded Iraq? There are interesting arguments that Gore would have and that he wouldn’t have.

I’m not sure. On Sept. 23, 2002 — months before the invasion — Gore criticized the Bush Administration’s ramp up to war, and predicted, interestingly, that if the U.S. did not commit to properly rebuilding Iraq after the invasion, “the resulting chaos could easily pose a far greater danger to the United States than we presently face from Saddam [Hussein].” You could argue that Gore was correct, given that ISIS rose up to replace Hussein. Whether ISIS poses a greater danger to the U.S. than Hussein would have is yet another area for debate.

The way one hypothetical leads to another is part of the fun — and frustration — of imagining realities different from our own. It’s impossible to guess how Hurricane Katrina, Iraq, the financial crisis and other historic events might have played out under a President Gore, if they would have occurred at all.  (Hurricane Katrina, almost definitely would have happened; Gore was good on the environment, but probably not good enough to prevent a hurricane. So the question is whether he would have done a better “heckuva job” than the Bush Administration.)

A 2011 episode of the show “Community” introduced for a mainstream audience the concept of “The Darkest Timeline” — the worst of several possible realities.

It may seem futile, except as a thought experiment, to consider how our reality could have been different. But for people who think we now inhabit the Darkest Timeline, it can be comforting to indulge in what Neyfakh describes as the “liberal fantasy” of a President Gore. (During our “Shoot This Now” interview, I kick around the idea of a movie that would cater to this exact fantasy.)

But there’s greater value in trying to foresee potential long-term negatives born of today’s apparent wins. No piece of fiction illustrates this point more clearly than “Game of Thrones,” where every loss brings a win and every win a loss. It’s the best political show on television.

“Slow Burn” teaches the same lesson as “Game of Thrones” every time we recognize a character from Season 1 (Watergate) or the current season, Season 2 (Clinton-Lewinsky). “Slow Burn” can feel like an origin story for the likes of Roger Stone, Ann Coulter and Brett Kavanaugh. The breaking news of today rhymes unerringly with the scandals and cover-ups of old.

The past isn’t ours to change, but it is ours to learn from. Just ask President Gore.

‘Slow Burn’ Host Leon Neyfakh: Before You Try to Impeach Trump, Remember One Thing (Podcast)

Leon Neyfakh’s “Slow Burn” podcast has dug deeply into the impeachments of Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton — and has a warning for people who want to impeach President Trump.

Neyfakh spoke to us on the “Shoot This Now” podcast, and you can listen on Apple or right here:

Removing President Trump from office is the dream of many on the left — and perhaps even within the Trump administration. On Friday, the New York Times reported that Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein floated the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office, by contending that he is unfit.

Also Read: ‘Slow Burn’ Host Leon Neyfakh: ‘We’ve Had Some Conversations’ About Turning the Political Scandal Podcast Into a TV Show

Season 1 of “Slow Burn” focused on the Watergate scandal that brought down President Richard Nixon. Season 2 focuses on the Clinton-Lewinsky affair, which wasn’t enough to drive President Clinton from office — despite the best efforts of Congressional Republicans and independent counsel Kenneth Starr.

While Nixon’s popularity plummeted during the drip-drip-drip of damaging Watergate disclosures, Clinton’s popularity actually spiked after the initial shock of the Lewinsky revelations. “Slow Burn” addresses that surprising turn of events in its latest episode, entitled “God Mode.” You can listen to it — and every episode of Slate’s “Slow Burn” — right here.

During our “Shoot This Now” interview, we asked Neyfakh if he had any advice for Democrats thinking of trying to force Trump from the White House. (We spoke to Neyfakh on Wednesday, two days before the Rosenstein story broke.)

Neyfakh said that while he wouldn’t use the word “advice,” he did think it was important to remember the importance of both major parties supporting impeachment for it to be effective. When Republicans abandoned Nixon, his fate was sealed, and he resigned. But Democrats stood by Clinton.

Trump seems well aware of the importance of keeping Republicans on his side. He has raised the possibility that Democrats might impeach him to try to fire up his base and make his enemies look extreme. On Sept. 11, he called Rep. Maxine Waters “crazy” while saying she wanted to impeach him and Vice President Mike Pence.

Apparently addressing Fox News, Trump added: “Where are the Democrats coming from? The best Economy in the history of our country would totally collapse if they ever took control!”

Crazy Maxine Waters: “After we impeach Trump, we’ll go after Mike Pence. We’ll get him.” @FoxNews Where are the Democrats coming from? The best Economy in the history of our country would totally collapse if they ever took control!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 12, 2018

Impeachment isn’t easy — which is one reason no president has ever been forced out by that means.

The process requires that the House of Representatives pass articles of impeachment by a simple majority, and that the Senate must then try the accused. A conviction requires a two-thirds majority.

Given that Republicans hold majorities in both the House and Senate, Trump’s impeachment is currently a non-starter. That may change if Democrats win a majority in the House in the mid-term elections in November. But even if Democrats also won a majority in the Senate, it would be difficult to rally two-thirds of senators to vote to remove Trump from office.

That’s one of the factors that has led to talk of finding Trump unfit for office under the 25th Amendment, which lays out the unusual conditions that would allow for the removal of a president. It reads, in part:

Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

The 25th Amendment has been used in the past when the president temporarily handed off his powers to the Vice President because the president was in the midst of a medical procedure that left him temporarily incapacitated. But it has never been used in a case in which the president’s underlings determined he was too mentally unstable to hold office, though that is the idea that Rosenstein entertained, according to the Times.

Rosenstein, however, disputed the newspaper’s account.

“The New York Times’s story is inaccurate and factually incorrect,” he said in a statement Friday. “I will not further comment on a story based on anonymous sources who are obviously biased against the department and are advancing their own personal agenda. But let me be clear about this: Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Slow Burn’ Host Leon Neyfakh: ‘We’ve Had Some Conversations’ About Turning the Political Scandal Podcast Into a TV Show

How a 30-Year-Old’s Eviction by His Parents Turned Into an Attack on Millennials (Podcast)

Hollywood Flirting With True Love Story of Adopted Son Who Reunited His Birth Parents (Podcast)

Leon Neyfakh’s “Slow Burn” podcast has dug deeply into the impeachments of Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton — and has a warning for people who want to impeach President Trump.

Neyfakh spoke to us on the “Shoot This Now” podcast, and you can listen on Apple or right here:

Removing President Trump from office is the dream of many on the left — and perhaps even within the Trump administration. On Friday, the New York Times reported that Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein floated the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office, by contending that he is unfit.

Season 1 of “Slow Burn” focused on the Watergate scandal that brought down President Richard Nixon. Season 2 focuses on the Clinton-Lewinsky affair, which wasn’t enough to drive President Clinton from office — despite the best efforts of Congressional Republicans and independent counsel Kenneth Starr.

While Nixon’s popularity plummeted during the drip-drip-drip of damaging Watergate disclosures, Clinton’s popularity actually spiked after the initial shock of the Lewinsky revelations. “Slow Burn” addresses that surprising turn of events in its latest episode, entitled “God Mode.” You can listen to it — and every episode of Slate’s “Slow Burn” — right here.

During our “Shoot This Now” interview, we asked Neyfakh if he had any advice for Democrats thinking of trying to force Trump from the White House. (We spoke to Neyfakh on Wednesday, two days before the Rosenstein story broke.)

Neyfakh said that while he wouldn’t use the word “advice,” he did think it was important to remember the importance of both major parties supporting impeachment for it to be effective. When Republicans abandoned Nixon, his fate was sealed, and he resigned. But Democrats stood by Clinton.

Trump seems well aware of the importance of keeping Republicans on his side. He has raised the possibility that Democrats might impeach him to try to fire up his base and make his enemies look extreme. On Sept. 11, he called Rep. Maxine Waters “crazy” while saying she wanted to impeach him and Vice President Mike Pence.

Apparently addressing Fox News, Trump added: “Where are the Democrats coming from? The best Economy in the history of our country would totally collapse if they ever took control!”

Impeachment isn’t easy — which is one reason no president has ever been forced out by that means.

The process requires that the House of Representatives pass articles of impeachment by a simple majority, and that the Senate must then try the accused. A conviction requires a two-thirds majority.

Given that Republicans hold majorities in both the House and Senate, Trump’s impeachment is currently a non-starter. That may change if Democrats win a majority in the House in the mid-term elections in November. But even if Democrats also won a majority in the Senate, it would be difficult to rally two-thirds of senators to vote to remove Trump from office.

That’s one of the factors that has led to talk of finding Trump unfit for office under the 25th Amendment, which lays out the unusual conditions that would allow for the removal of a president. It reads, in part:

Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

The 25th Amendment has been used in the past when the president temporarily handed off his powers to the Vice President because the president was in the midst of a medical procedure that left him temporarily incapacitated. But it has never been used in a case in which the president’s underlings determined he was too mentally unstable to hold office, though that is the idea that Rosenstein entertained, according to the Times.

Rosenstein, however, disputed the newspaper’s account.

“The New York Times’s story is inaccurate and factually incorrect,” he said in a statement Friday. “I will not further comment on a story based on anonymous sources who are obviously biased against the department and are advancing their own personal agenda. But let me be clear about this: Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Slow Burn' Host Leon Neyfakh: 'We've Had Some Conversations' About Turning the Political Scandal Podcast Into a TV Show

How a 30-Year-Old's Eviction by His Parents Turned Into an Attack on Millennials (Podcast)

Hollywood Flirting With True Love Story of Adopted Son Who Reunited His Birth Parents (Podcast)

How a 30-Year-Old’s Eviction by His Parents Turned Into an Attack on Millennials (Podcast)

In May of this year, a 30-year-old man named Michael Rotondo got evicted — by his parents. He had lived with them for eight years, and when he refused to move out, they took him to court.
Then things got weirder. Rotondo’s eviction — …

In May of this year, a 30-year-old man named Michael Rotondo got evicted — by his parents. He had lived with them for eight years, and when he refused to move out, they took him to court.

Then things got weirder. Rotondo’s eviction — and how it turned into a wildly unfair referendum on Millennials — is the subject of our new “Shoot This Now” podcast, which you can listen to on Apple or right here.


Every week on “Shoot This Now,” we talk about stories that should be made into movies. This week, we think Michael Rotondo’s story could be a great film — though maybe not the kind of film you’d expect.

Many people did not find Rotondo to be a sympathetic figure. The New York Post called him a “deadbeat,” “a freeloader” and an “unemployed millennial.”

In an excellent essay for Vice, Eve Peyser wrote: “Long haired and bearded with unadorned glasses, Rotondo resembles a sad, twisted version of David Foster Wallace — ‘infinite guest,’ one Twitter user quipped — his gaze vexed in an adolescent sort of way, exuding a vague emptiness.”

Why did his unfortunate situation become a national — and even international — news story, covered by the Washington Post, CNN, and the BBC? Because he played into an unfair stereotype that Millennials are entitled and lazy. Other outlets also noted that he was a Millennial, without explaining why that was relevant to his odd situation.

On national television, CNN’s Brooke Baldwin asked Rotondo for his answer to a question she said many critics were asking: “What is up with this Millennial generation that you guys seem so entitled?’ What would you say to those critics?”

But as Peyser noted in her piece for Vice:

Complaints about millennial laziness and entitlement fail to take into account the financial burdens unique to the generation–the crippling student debt, the fact that the median income for people 25-34 is 20 percent less than it was in the 1980s, and the lack of the same high-paying job opportunities available to past generations. Census data also shows that as of 2017, almost one in five 25-to-34 year old men lived at their parents’ homes, while only 12.5 percent of women in the same demographic still resided with their parents.

In a conversation that spans the films of Richard Linklater, Adam McKay and Nicole Holofcener, we spend this episode of “Shoot This Now” talking about how cross-generational attacks distract from the real economic problems in this country. We mention crabs in a barrel a lot, and why the Haves profit so much from internecine fights between Have Nots. And we talk about a Gen X stereotype that is 100 percent true.

You can read Peyser’s piece in its entirety here.

And here’s the David Leonhardt New York Times story we cite.

Finally, here’s Michelle Singletary’s great financial advice for Millennials in the Washington Post, which we mention late in the podcast.

Please send any compliments to me at @TimAMolloy and any criticism to @MattDonnelly, or say whatever you need to say to both of us at @ShootThisNowPod.

And if you like this episode, don’t be shy about saying so on iTunes.

(Millennials, you can also listen on Spotify.)

Related stories from TheWrap:

Hollywood Flirting With True Love Story of Adopted Son Who Reunited His Birth Parents (Podcast)

'Better Call Saul' Boss Peter Gould Wrote a Clinton-Lewinsky Movie – With Shadow Puppets (Podcast)

'Up and Vanished' Is Like 'Twin Peaks' – But Scarier (Podcast)

Hollywood Flirting With True Love Story of Adopted Son Who Reunited His Birth Parents (Podcast)

Thirty-six years ago, Martin Schmidt’s teenage parents put him up for adoption. A month ago, he officiated their wedding — after reuniting the former high school sweethearts.

In our latest “Shoot This Now” podcast, we argue that the story should be a movie. And Schmidt says Hollywood is starting to come around to our way of thinking. You can listen to the podcast on Apple or right here.



“We have had a few calls, mostly Lifetime or Hallmark-type films,” Schmidt told TheWrap. “We have not committed to anything yet. … We are shopping for representation as well but have not signed onto anyone yet. We really had no idea this story would create such a buzz.”

Also Read: ‘Better Call Saul’ Boss Peter Gould: ‘Not Every Story Has to Have a Baby Tied to the Railroad Tracks’ (Podcast)

On the “Shoot This Now” podcast, though, Matt Donnelly and I talk about why this is a true love story made for the big screen. It’s a love story in every sense, full of romantic love, the love between parents and children — and the love we should all have for adoptees, parents who love their children enough to put them up for adoption, and parents who adopt.

Even before Schmidt reunited his birth parents, he felt loved and protected by the couple who adopted him, William and Cynthia Schmidt.

“They absolutely loved me like I was biologically born,” Schmidt told The New York  Times. “I have a great family.”

Oh — and there’s a “Big Lebowski” connection. The reason Martin Schmidt was able to unite his parents in holy matrimony was because he is ordained, years ago, by the Church of the Latter Day Dude. The religion is inspired by “The Big Lebowski,” an abiding Coen Brothers film starring Jeff Bridges as Jeff “The Dude” Leboswki, a zen master of slacking at its best who becomes caught in a tale of intrigue and — you’ve seen it, right? If you haven’t seen it please skip out silly podcast and go see it.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Martin Schmidt’s Teenage Parents Put Him Up for Adoption. He Reunited Them – and Officiated Their Wedding (Podcast)

‘Better Call Saul’ Boss Peter Gould Wrote a Clinton-Lewinsky Movie – With Shadow Puppets (Podcast)

‘Up and Vanished’ Is Like ‘Twin Peaks’ – But Scarier (Podcast)

Thirty-six years ago, Martin Schmidt’s teenage parents put him up for adoption. A month ago, he officiated their wedding — after reuniting the former high school sweethearts.

In our latest “Shoot This Now” podcast, we argue that the story should be a movie. And Schmidt says Hollywood is starting to come around to our way of thinking. You can listen to the podcast on Apple or right here.

“We have had a few calls, mostly Lifetime or Hallmark-type films,” Schmidt told TheWrap. “We have not committed to anything yet. … We are shopping for representation as well but have not signed onto anyone yet. We really had no idea this story would create such a buzz.”

On the “Shoot This Now” podcast, though, Matt Donnelly and I talk about why this is a true love story made for the big screen. It’s a love story in every sense, full of romantic love, the love between parents and children — and the love we should all have for adoptees, parents who love their children enough to put them up for adoption, and parents who adopt.

Even before Schmidt reunited his birth parents, he felt loved and protected by the couple who adopted him, William and Cynthia Schmidt.

“They absolutely loved me like I was biologically born,” Schmidt told The New York  Times. “I have a great family.”

Oh — and there’s a “Big Lebowski” connection. The reason Martin Schmidt was able to unite his parents in holy matrimony was because he is ordained, years ago, by the Church of the Latter Day Dude. The religion is inspired by “The Big Lebowski,” an abiding Coen Brothers film starring Jeff Bridges as Jeff “The Dude” Leboswki, a zen master of slacking at its best who becomes caught in a tale of intrigue and — you’ve seen it, right? If you haven’t seen it please skip out silly podcast and go see it.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Martin Schmidt's Teenage Parents Put Him Up for Adoption. He Reunited Them – and Officiated Their Wedding (Podcast)

'Better Call Saul' Boss Peter Gould Wrote a Clinton-Lewinsky Movie – With Shadow Puppets (Podcast)

'Up and Vanished' Is Like 'Twin Peaks' – But Scarier (Podcast)