Bullseye with Jesse Thorn
Bullseye from NPR is your curated guide to culture. Jesse Thorn hosts in-depth interviews with brilliant creators, culture picks from our favorite critics and irreverent original comedy. Bullseye has been featured in Time, The New York Times, GQ and McSweeney's, which called it "the kind of show people listen to in a more perfect world." (Formerly known as The Sound of Young America.)

This week, some heavy hitters! First, Forest Whitaker. He's of course the star of *countless* great movies. He's got this knack for taking huge figures from history and portraying them complex, fascinating, sometimes really fragile people. He played Charlie Parker in Bird, won an Academy Award for playing  Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland. Now, he's starring as Archbishop Desmond Tutu in the new film The Forgiven. He talks with Jesse about getting to know Archbishop Tutu as a character and a friend over the years. Plus, hot takes on Battlefield Earth!


Then, Armando Iannucci. He's a brilliant comic writer - he created Veep, In The Loop, The Thick of It. And  in all of those projects, he's found most of his material in the vain, ambitious and insecure people who run democracies - UK cabinet ministers in The Thick of It, presidential wannabes in Veep.  His latest project is called "The Death of Stalin" and it's about, well, Stalin. How do you make a comedy based on a guy like that? Listen to find out!


Finally, Jesse tells you about The Coup, a group that puts a human side to hard line, radical political rap.

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This week we're bringing you two of our favorite interviews from the Bullseye vault. First, Rachel Bloom, creator and star of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the hit CW musical romantic comedy. She talks about the show's roots, overcoming social anxiety and what it's like to go be suspended mid-air on a giant pretzel.


Then, Gloria Calderon Kellett and Mike Royce, co-creators of Netflix's One Day at a Time. They collaborated with TV legend Norman Lear to create a late-teens version of his classic sitcom. Mike and Gloria talk about the show's creative process, the value of diversity and the excitement (and drudgery) of having a Quinceañera.


Finally, you ever feel like a silly movie? Like the kind where critically acclaimed vocalist Seal gets attacked by a pack of wolves? Well, have we got a flick for you!

Direct download: Rachel_Bloom__One_Day_at_a_Time.mp3
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Two great actors on this week's show! First up: David Oyelowo. He cut his teeth at the Royal Shakespeare company in London. Had smaller parts on British TV and in movies like The Help and Jack Reacher. He broke though when he starred as Martin Luther King in Selma, the Oscar nominated biopic.  Now, he's starring in Gringo, a new THC-tinged action comedy. Oyelowo talks about his love of acting, being nearly killed by Tom Cruise in a car and his terrific bit part on HBO's the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency.


Then, Heather Graham. You probably know her for her iconic roles in Boogie Nights, Swingers, Drugstore Cowboy and more. These days she's working behind the camera. She directed and wrote Half Magic - a comedy about love, sexism, spirituality, and Hollywood.


Finally, for this week's outshot: need a gritty detective movie with heart? Jeff Garlin's Handsome has you covered.

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First up, a Bullseye fav: Jesse chats with Kim Deal of The Breeders about their new album "All Nerve," which drops this week. Also discussed: the Pixies' breakup, best Italian restaurants for live music in Dayton, Ohio, advancements in personal amplification technology in live music.

Then, Raoul Peck. The director of "The Young Karl Marx" talks about bringing the personal story of the writer of "The Communist Manifesto" to life. Plus: how to make a narrative film about one of the most consequential philosophies in recent history. Finally, on this week's Outshot, Jesse talks about the work of Curtis Mayfield on his brilliant, underrated debut solo record "Curtis."

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It's an Academy Awards spectacular! First: Jesse talks with the amazing Laurie Metcalf. She's up for the best supporting actress Oscar for her role in the great Lady Bird. It's her first ever nomination! Laurie's a sincere actor's actor. She was a founding member of the legendary Steppenwolf Theater Company in Chicago. On the hit TV sitcom Roseanne, she played Jackie, Roseanne's sister. She's also starring in an upcoming Broadway rendition of Edward Albee's Three Tall Women.


Then, two Oscar winners: Kristen Anderson Lopez and Robert Lopez! Together they wrote the song "Remember Me," from the hit Disney film Coco. Before that, Kristen and Robert wrote the songs for Disney's Frozen - including the Academy Award winning "Let it Go." They talk with Jesse about how they met, how they collaborate and keep a happy marriage and how Robert is one of only 12 people to win an Emmy, a Grammy, and Oscar and a Tony.


That's right - we got an EGOT in the house!

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First up, a favorite here around the Bullseye office: David Wain! He's a comedy legend, an actor, too. And he just directed the new Netflix film “A Futile and Stupid Gesture.” He and Jesse talk about Doug Kenney, the movie’s subject, whose work changed the trajectory of American comedy.


Then: break out the 8mm cameras and the oversized sunglasses! It's time for Belle & Sebastian. Jesse talks with frontman Stuart Murdoch about their latest series of EPs - a trilogy called “How to Solve our Human Problems.” Also: Baseball. Turns out Stuart is Glasgow's biggest Mets fan!


Finally, on this week’s outshot, Jesse walks us through the career of rapper Scarface whose lyrics, more than most rappers, mulls over the fear, rage, and consequences of gang violence.

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First up: Matt Ingebretson and Jake Weisman. They created and star in the brand new Comedy Central show "Corporate."


Look. Technically, Corporate is a workplace comedy. But it's so much darker, weirder and universal than that. The show follows the lives of Matt and Jake, two junior executives in training at Hampton Deville, a hopeless megacorporation. They have just enough power and money to keep working there, but not enough to make any real impact in the company. The show tackles themes like the capitalism, art, suicide, and even the meaninglessness of life. They join Jesse in the studio to chat about getting the shows tone right, what it was like pitching the show to a corporation, and why they cast Lance Reddick, who played Cedric Daniels on <i>The Wire</i> to play the CEO of Hampton Deville. Plus, they talk about how magic mushrooms helped them write some of the episodes -- you don't wanna miss that!


Plus, cartoonist and writer Mimi Pond tells us about the craziest day of her entire career. And finally, Jesse tells us about  "Understanding Comics" by Scott McCloud -- a comic book  about understanding comic books. If you've never picked up a comic book before this is a good place to start, obv.

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One Bullseye episode. *Four* Oscar nominees! First up: Emily Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani. They co-wrote "The Big Sick" and you probably heard about it already - the Academy just nominated it for Best Original Screenplay. They're two fascinating, sincere and brilliant people, and the film is a unique, hilarious and subversive take on modern romance. Jesse talked with them earlier this year.


Then, the hits keep coming. Director Michel Gondry talks about the song that changed his life. Oscar-nominated actress Allison Janney (West Wing, I, Tonya, Mom) talks about how Paul Newman helped jump start her career. And Jesse tells you about the last movie Orson Welles ever directed.

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Have you heard of Another Period? It's a series on Comedy Central with a brilliant, simple premise: it's a reality show set in the gilded age - like the Keeping up with the Kardashians meets Downton Abbey. It's really fun to watch - over the top, subversive, weird and chock full of absinthe references! Its stars and co-creators are Natasha Leggero and Riki Lindhome and they talk with Jesse about the show, which is entering its third season this week.


Then, the one and only Egyptian Lover. Born Greg Broussard he's a DJ, a producer, a rapper sometimes, too. He came up with Uncle Jamm's Army, a hip-hop crew that featured promoter and DJ Rodger Clayton, Ice - T, and shared the bill with acts as big as Run-DMC back in the day. As a solo artist he's released 9 albums, mixing Kraftwerk, Prince, a little bit of G-Funk every now and then, too. He's about to kick off on a world tour with dates in Berlin, Cape Town and Long Beach. He talks with Jesse about the early days of LA hip hop and electro, what a 10,000 person dance party looks like and how he bonded with his future wife over a Kraftwerk record. The ultimate meet cute!

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Buckle up, y'all, we've got a dynamite lineup!  First off: Rian Johnson, writer and director of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which is discussed in extensive detail (don't say we didn't warn you). Besides directing a film in one of the biggest franchises in history, Rian's created the acclaimed movie Brick - kind of a Coen Bros inspired film noir starring teenagers in Orange County. He also wrote and directed the sci-fi thriller Looper, and a few of the most memorable Breaking Bad episodes, too.


Then, the Go! Team. Formed in the year 2000 in Brighton, England, the band's basically the brainchild of Ian Parton. He recorded a lot of the band's first album in his parent's kitchen and released it as Thunder, Lightning, Strike - a solid record. On that album you'll find the track "Huddle Formation" - AKA the Bullseye theme song. Their newest album just dropped - it's called Semicircle.


Finally: can you be super glamorous and deeply real at the same time? Of course you can, just ask Sylvester.

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