KCRW's The Business Support KCRW's public radio podcasts. Join online at KCRW.com or call 800-600-5279. The Business is the show about the business of show business. It goes beyond the glitz and glamour to the who, what, why and how of making movies and TV. The Business is hosted by respected entertainment industry journalist Kim Masters of the Hollywood Reporter and produced by KCRW. Each week The Business features an analysis of top Hollywood news with John Horn of the Los Angeles Times, in-depth interviews and the occasional feature story.
KCRW's The Business

KCRW's The Business

From KCRW

Support KCRW's public radio podcasts. Join online at KCRW.com or call 800-600-5279. The Business is the show about the business of show business. It goes beyond the glitz and glamour to the who, what, why and how of making movies and TV. The Business is hosted by respected entertainment industry journalist Kim Masters of the Hollywood Reporter and produced by KCRW. Each week The Business features an analysis of top Hollywood news with John Horn of the Los Angeles Times, in-depth interviews and the occasional feature story.

Most Recent Episodes

Peter Medak's 'The Ghost of Peter Sellers'

In the early 1970s, Hungarian-born director Peter Medak was an up-and-coming filmmaker. He couldn't believe his luck when comedy legend Peter Sellers asked him to direct his next film, "Ghost in the Noonday Sun." But this pirate comedy quickly ran into trouble — an unfinished script, bad weather, and a literally sinking ship. The biggest problem was Sellers himself. The star fired the film's producers, and at one point even faked a heart attack to get time off. From the minute the crew arrived in Cyprus, the shoot was such a disaster that the experience haunts Medak to this day. He revisits that history in the new documentary, "The Ghost of Peter Sellers."

David France's 'Welcome to Chechnya'

David France's new HBO documentary, "Welcome to Chechnya," looks at the ongoing campaign to eradicate gay people in the Chechen Republic. France worked on the ground with activists in Moscow and Chechnya to chronicle the extraction of individuals fleeing the brutal autocracy. To share this footage without putting his subjects in danger, France worked with a team to digitally swap out their faces. France talks about how he protected himself while making the movie, getting into Russia on a tourist visa, filming on iPhones and GoPros, and even finding a fake Russian girlfriend.

Laverne Cox and Sam Feder on their Netflix documentary 'Disclosure'

Laverne Cox made history as the first transgender person nominated for an acting Emmy for her role in "Orange is the New Black." She's been a vocal advocate for more diversity in Hollywood — with a focus on trans people of color. Now she's executive producer of the new film "Disclosure," which explores Hollywood's portrayal of trans people. While often negative, sometimes film depictions were inspiring. Cox talks about how she found herself through watching movies, and possibly not the ones you might expect. Now streaming on Netflix, "Disclosure" explores how some on-screen portrayals over the years have stoked fears about gender nonconformity. Think about the cross-dressing serial killers in "Silence of the Lambs" and "Psycho." But the movies can still be a home for young trans people who are figuring out who they are. Cox and director Sam Feder discuss the making of the film, which included an almost all trans crew. They also talk about J.K. Rowling's recent transphobic remarks.

Judd Apatow's 'The King of Staten Island'

Judd Apatow's latest film is "The King of Staten Island," which stars comedian Pete Davidson in a story inspired by Davidson's real life. Apatow is a comedy icon, but he has a decidedly unfunny presence on Twitter. As his more than 2 million followers know, Apatow regularly rains scorn not only on Trump, but on Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch, whose news network relentlessly bolsters the administration. And Apatow wonders why others in the entertainment industry don't do the same. Apatow explains why he has no fear about taking a stand on political issues and talks about why he thinks comedies still have a place on the big screen. He also shares why he is fine with "The King of Staten Island" coming out on video on demand, even though that wasn't the original plan.

Policing on television

As protests continue across the country, we talk about a topic very much under discussion right now: the way policing is depicted on television. dream hampton, the executive producer of "Surviving R. Kelly," has spent years thinking about that and worked on a recent report on the issue. The report showed that even good cops are shown trampling the rules, which is often presented as heroism. But when that kind of policing happens in real life, the consequences can be tragic. Then, Dan Taberski made a podcast devoted to the reality show "Cops." What he found was disturbing. Taberski also looked at the show's spiritual successor, "Live PD," where officers became reality stars with devoted followings. Now, both shows have been canceled.

AMC's 'Quiz,' plus Hollywood's response to protests

James Graham wrote the play "Quiz" — about an alleged cheating scandal on the British version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" — before he adapted it for TV. It's now airing as a three-part limited series on AMC. The current global pandemic and protests should provide a lot of material for Graham, who often writes about big cultural and political moments. But he says it's tough to get started when there's no indication that theaters in London will re-open any time soon. Graham talks about doubting the conventional wisdom about Charles and Diana Ingram, the couple accused of cheating on the popular game show in 2001 and in effect stealing a million pounds in front of a studio audience. And he wonders whether his 2019 film "Brexit: The Uncivil War" inadvertently gave a career boost to the then little-known Boris Johnson advisor Dominic Cummings, the force behind the "Vote Leave" campaign. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Cummings in the movie. Plus, how is Hollywood responding to a week of protests and police brutality?

'On the Record' filmmakers talk behind-the-scenes drama of their Russell Simmons documentary

Veteran documentary filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering lived the dream of having Oprah Winfrey sign on as executive producer of their film "On the Record," which focuses on several women who say they were raped by music mogul Russell Simmons. But the dream turned dark just days before "On the Record" was set to premiere at Sundance. Oprah withdrew her support and Apple dropped its deal to release the movie. Dick and Ziering remember the shock of that setback and explain their decision to go to Sundance anyway. They say they still don't know exactly why Oprah bailed on the film, which is now streaming on the newly launched HBO Max.

'On the Record' filmmakers talk behind-the-scenes drama of their Russell Simmons documentary

ESPN's 'The Last Dance' chronicles Michael Jordan and Chicago Bulls

ESPN's Michael Jordan docuseries "The Last Dance" has wrapped. The series has drawn record-breaking ratings and given ESPN something to celebrate in a world without live sports. Hayes Permar — a radio host and a sports fanatic, and an old friend of Kim Masters — speaks with director Jason Hehir. Permar asks Hehir whether Jordan finally released never-before-seen footage for the series to position himself above LeBron James as the greatest of all time. Hehir insists that's not the reason. Hehir tells Permar about sitting with the inscrutable Michael Jordan for hours and hustling to get episodes done months earlier than planned because of the pandemic.

Alice Wu's 'The Half of It'

The new Netflix film "The Half of It" is a coming-of-age dramedy that tackles love, friendship, self-discovery and tolerance. It's writer-director Alice Wu's second movie — 15 years after her first. She wanted a deadline, so she wrote a $1000 check to the NRA, an organization she does not support, and told her friends if the script wasn't done in five weeks, that check was going in the mail. Wu explains why she picked Netflix as the home for "The Half of It," despite her love of the old-school theatrical release. And she explains her on-again, off-again relationship with the industry, which started when she quit her job at Microsoft to make the groundbreaking 2005 indie "Saving Face."

Hollywood prop maker turns to fabricating face shields

Rob West usually spends his days building sets and making props. But when the pandemic hit, he started using his skills to devise and manufacture reusable face shields for medical personnel. He got other Hollywood freelancers on board and created LA Face Shields. It's a volunteer effort, and West would like to get back to paid work soon. But he's not sure the industry is ready. West talks about running his face shield-making operation out of a well-stocked American Legion bar, and explains how he's been able to get vital PPE to more than 40 LA-area medical facilities.

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