On Story Episode 1643: Norman Lear

This episode of On Story, television legend Norman Lear discusses his experiences creating and running some of the greatest sitcoms of all time.

Norman Lear began his television career as a writer in the 1950’s and went on to create some of the most celebrated network television comedies in history, among them, All in the Family, Maude, Sanford and Son, Good Times, The Jeffersons, One Day at a Time and Mary Hartman Mary Hartman. We were honored to present Norman Lear with the 2015 Outstanding Television Writer Award at the 22nd Austin Film Festival where we also hosted a live reading of his un-produced pilot Guess Who Died. Everybody Loves Raymond creator Phil Rosenthal spoke with Norman Lear at the historic Driskill Hotel in Austin Texas on November 1st of last year. 

Direct download: NormanLear_Encore.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 8:21pm CST

On Story Episode 1642 Terry George and Jim Sheridan

This week’s On Story features two highly celebrated Irish filmmakers, Terry George and Jim Sheridan. First, Terry George discusses his collaboration with Sheridan and the second film in the pair’s Irish trilogy, In the name of the Father. Later, Jim Sheridan on his life, and work from the theatre stage to the big screen.

Filmmaker Terry George made his screenwriting debut in 1993 with the semi-biographical courtroom drama, In the Name of the Father. The film was the first of three collaborations between Terry George and writer-director Jim Sheridan depicting the ethno-nationalist conflict in Northern Ireland during the late 20th century, commonly referred to as The Troubles. 

In the Name of the Father is based on the true-life story of the Guilford Four, who were falsely convicted of the 1974 IRA bombings, which killed five people and was partly adapted from the autobiography of the film’s main character Gerry Conlon. In the Name of the Father received seven Academy Award® nominations including Best Actor for Daniel Day Lewis, Best Supporting Actor for the late Pete Postlethwaite, Best Supporting Actress for Emma Thompson, Best Director- Jim Sheridan and even Best Picture. 

Following a distinguished career in the theatre between the 1960s and the 1980s, Jim Sheridan wrote and directed his first critically acclaimed feature My Left Foot in 1989. He followed in 1990 with The Field, which he also wrote and directed and in the same year he wrote the screenplay Into The West. Jim Sheridan collaborated with today’s other guest, Terry George on three films, In the Name of the Father, Some Mother’s Son and The Boxer. His films have garnered a remarkable sixteen Academy Award nominations and two wins and his latest film, The Secret Scripture is slated for release later this year.

Direct download: TERRY_GEORGE__JIM_SHERIDAN.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 2:54pm CST

On Story Episode 1641: Die Hard Versus Lethal Weapon and Robert Kamen

The 1987 blockbuster Lethal Weapon is the first writing credit in Shane Black’s filmography. He went on to act in, write or write and direct over 30 films including The Long Kiss Goodnight, Iron Man 3 and The Nice Guys starring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling, slated for release in May of 2016. 

Jeb Stuart wrote the screenplay for the action classic, Die Hard. The film was nominated for 4 Academy Awards® and voted the Best Action Film of All Time by Entertainment Weekly in 2007. Jeb Stuart’s other credits include the screenplays for The Fugitive, nominated for 7 Academy Awards® including Best Picture and the action-comedy Another 48 Hrs.

Robert Mark Kamen’s screenwriting credits begin with the script for the 1981 film Taps which was adapted from Devery Freeman’s novel Father Sky, and which stars George C Scott, Timothy Hutton, Sean Penn and Tom Cruise in his first major role in a motion picture. He went on to create The Karate Kid, starring Pat Morita and Ralph Macchio, and collaborated with filmmaker Luc Besson on The Fifth Element, as well as the Transporter and Taken franchises.  

Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 12:17pm CST

On Story Episode 1640: Matthew Weiner and Vince Gilligan

Writer-producer-director Vince Gilligan got his start as an independent filmmaker before being invited to join the writing team on the X-Files. He went on to co-create the short run X-Files spinoff, The Lone Gunmen and later, created the hugely successful AMC series, Breaking Bad. Vince Gilligan’s current series, the Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul recently garnered multiple Emmy nominations including Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for Bob Odenkirk and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for Jonathan Banks. Producer Barry Josephson spoke with Vince Gilligan at the 20th Austin Film Festival, shortly after the release of the final episode of Breaking Bad.

Matthew Weiner is the creator and executive producer of the multiple Emmy Award-winning AMC drama, Mad Men, which concluded in 2015. 

Before Mad Men, Matthew Weiner was an executive producer and writer on HBO’s The Sopranos and produced various television series, including The Naked Truth, Becker, and Andy Richter Controls the Universe. New York Times Magazine Editor Robert Draper spoke with Matthew Weiner in 2014 at the 21st Austin Film Festival. We begin with Matthew Weiner reflecting on Mad Men, shortly after the end of production on the series.

Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 2:42pm CST

Emmy Episode Featuring Beau Willimon & John Ridley

In anticipation of the 2016 Emmy Awards, this week’s On Story from Austin Film Festival and Public Radio International features House of Cards Beau Willimon discussing his Netflix political drama which has garnered 13 nominations, followed by John Ridley, creator of ABC’s American Crime, which is nominated for 4 awards.

Beau Willimon is a screenwriter, playwright and show-runner of Netflix’s highly acclaimed political drama, House of Cards. His play Farragut North, became the basis for the motion picture screenplay Ides Of March, which he co-wrote with George Clooney and Grant Heslov. The film earned Willimon the Academy Award® nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. House of Cards is set in present day Washington DC. The show starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright as Frank and Claire Underwood is based on a novel by Lord Michael Dobbs and adapted from a BBC mini-series by the same name. House of Cards has racked up a total of 46 Emmy nominations in its four season run, including this year’s nominations for Outstanding Drama Series as well as Outstanding Lead Actor and Outstanding Lead Actress for Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, respectively. Steve Scheibal spoke with Beau Willimon at the 20th Austin Film Festival in 2013. 

Writer-Director John Ridley’s credits include the novels Those Who Walk in Darkness, A Conversation with the Man, and Stray Dogs, the graphic novel The American Way and the screenplays for the films Red Tails, U Turn, Three Kings, and Undercover Brother.  His script for 12 Years A Slave won the 2014 Academy Award® for Best Adapted Screenplay and he’s the creator of the ABC series, American Crime. The series has garnered three Emmy nominations this year including one for Outstanding Limited Series, a second for Outstanding Supporting Actress for Regina King and a third for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series for Felicity Huffman. This conversation was recorded at the 21st Austin Film Festival in 2014 and was moderated by screenwriter Alvaro Rodriguez. 

Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 3:45pm CST

Luke Wilson and Texas Mavericks

This episode of On Story, actor Luke Wilson, followed by Castaway screenwriter Bill Broyles, Lonesome Dove screenwriter and producer Bill Wittliff and Saving Mr Banks filmmaker John Lee Hancock.

Actor Luke Wilson is known for his roles in Bottle Rocket, Idiocracy, Old School, The Royal Tenenbaums, Legally Blond, and this summer’s Showtime series Roadies. Screenwriter Fred Strype spoke with Luke Wilson in 2014 at the 21st Austin Film Festival. 

Bill Broyles co-created the Emmy-Award-winning television series China Beach, and wrote or co-wrote the screenplays for Apollo 13, Cast Away, Jarhead, Unfaithful, The Polar Express, and Flags of Our Fathers. 

John Lee Hancock is the writer/director of The Blind Side and The Alamo, and the director behind The Founder, Saving Mr. Banks, and The Rookie, as well as the screenwriter behind Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, A Perfect World, and Snow White and the Huntsman. 

Bill Wittliff’s screenwriting and producing credits include The Perfect Storm, The Black Stallion, and Legends of the Fall, as well as the groundbreaking Lonesome Dove mini-series, for which he won a Writers Guild of America Award. 

Direct download: TEX_MAVS_LUKE_WILSON.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 9:20am CST

Oliver Stone and John Milius

This episode of On Story, we hear from Oliver Stone on his life from Vietnam veteran to activist filmmaker and later, screenwriting legend John Milius joins Oliver Stone to go deep into the genre of war films.

Academy Award-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone has written and directed over 20 feature films, including Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, JFK, Natural Born Killers, Nixon, and The Doors. Before attending NYU film school, Stone served in the US Army 25th Infantry Division, having requested combat duty in Vietnam. He won his first Academy Award in 1979 for his adaptation of MidnightExpress, and has since garnered several nominations as well as wins for Best Director for both Platoon and Born on the 4th of July. His other films include Any Given Sunday, Alexander, W., Wall Street, U Turn and Savages. Oliver Stone’s latest film is the biographical political thriller, Snowden. The film depicts the events surrounding its eponymous main character’s leaking of classified information from the National Security Agency to The Guardian newspaper in 2013. The following segment was recorded in 2007 at the 14th Austin Film Festival where Oliver Stone spoke with film programmer Jesse Trussell.

John Milius wrote the legendary screenplay Apocalypse Now, which was released to theaters in 1979.  Apocalypse Now was nominated for the 1980 Academy Award for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.  Apocalypse Now was also honored as one of the Writers Guild of America’s 101 Greatest Screenplays. Milius also wrote Jeremiah Johnson, The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, The Wind and the Lion, Big Wednesday, Clear and Present Danger, The Hunt for Red October, Flight of the Intruder, and Geronimo.  In 1982, Milius co-wrote and directed the cult classic Conan the Barbarian, and his other film credits include Red Dawn and Farewell to the King. Film programmer Jesse Trussell spoke with John Milius and Oliver Stone at a panel titled Writing the War Film in 2007 at the 14thAustin Film Festival.

Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 6:31pm CST

Dog Day Afternoon and Se7en

This episode of On Story, filmmakers Robin Swicord and Peter Craig deconstruct the bank heist classic, Dog Day Afternoon, followed by Andrew Kevin Walker taking his screenplay for the noir thriller Se7en from script to screen.

The 1975 bank heist classic Dog Day Afternoon remains one of the most influential films of all time. Frank Pierson’s screenplay has been studied by generations of screenwriters and the film, directed by Sidney Lumet, stands as one the most talked-about portrayals of gritty 1970’s New York City ever produced.

The screenplay was inspired by a Life Magazine article describing the events of August 22nd 1972 when John Wojtowicz attempted to rob a Brooklyn branch of Chase Manhattan Bank, resulting in a 14-hour hostage stand off with police. Prior to shooting the film, director Sydney Lumet is said to have conducted extensive rehearsals with the cast including Al Pacino and John Cazale. These rehearsals were incorporated into the final drafts of the film by screenwriter Frank Pierson, earning him the Academy Award® for Best original Screenplay.

Memoirs of a Geisha screenwriter Robin Swicord and Hunger Games screenwriter Peter Craig deconstructed Dog Day Afternoon with moderator Scot Meyers in front of a live audience at the 20th Austin Film Festival in 2013. Clips used in this portion of our program, courtesy Warner Brothers Inc. A word to our listeners, the following discussion includes strong themes related to crime, violence and sexual identity.

Andrew Kevin Walker is best known for the screenplay to the 1995 psychological thriller, Se7en. Se7en focuses on a pair of detectives played by Bradd Pitt and Morgan Freeman, tasked with apprehending a serial killer played by Kevin Spacey who uses the seven deadly sins as themes in his murders. The film’s director David Fincher describes Se7en as “Psychologically Violent”. Andrew Kevin Walker conceived the script for Se7en after moving to New York City and working various jobs as an assistant and in retail in the early 1990’s. Screenwriter Christopher Boone spoke with Andrew Kevin Walker about his film at the 22nd Austin Film Festival in 2015. Clips used in this portion of our program, courtesy New Line Cinema. A word to our listeners, the following discussion includes strong themes related to crime and violence.

Austin Film Festival's On Story Podcast is made possible by

Alice Kleberg Reynolds Foundation

City Of Austin Cultural Arts Division

Texas Commission on the Arts

U.S.Institute of Museum and Library Services

Texas Library and Archives Commission

Applied Materials

Humanities Texas

Final Draft

Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television

Direct download: DOG_DAY_AND_SE7EN.mp3
Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 1:40pm CST


On this episode of On Story from Austin Film Festival and Public Radio International, we hear from Beasts of No Nation filmmaker Cary Fukunaga on his diverse filmography. We’ll also speak with Academy Award® winner Brian Helgeland on his films LA Confidential, 42 and Legend starring Tom Hardy. 

Cary Joji Fukunaga is the writer-director and cinematographer behind the 2015 film Beasts of No Nation. The film is adapted from the debut novel by Uzodima Iweala, and depicts the experiences of a child-soldier in the midst of a horrific war in West Africa.     

Fukunaga won high praise early in his career, first for his short film, Victoria para Chino in 2004 and his first feature Sin Nombre, both of which shed light on the struggles of immigrants coming to the Unites States from Latin America.  

Cary Fukunaga also directed the 2011 adaptation of Jane Eyre starring Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender and the entire first season of HBO’s crime-drama True Detective. 

Academy Award winning screenwriter, film producer and director Brian Helgeland is best known for the films L.A. Confidential, Mystic River, A Knight’s Tale, 42, the Jackie Robinson biopic and the 2015 film Legend, starring Tom Hardy as London’s notorious twin gangsters, Reggie and Ronald Kray. 


Austin Film Festival's On Story Podcast is made possible by

Alice Kleberg Reynolds Foundation

City Of Austin Cultural Arts Division

Texas Commission on the Arts

U.S.Institute of Museum and Library Services

Texas Library and Archives Commission

Applied Materials

Humanities Texas

Final Draft

Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television


Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 11:00am CST

This week's On Story radio and podcast, Planet of the Apes screenwriters Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa describe the journey from writing room notion to big screen reboot, followed by Academy Award® winning filmmaker Danny Boyle on his work from 28 Days Later to Trainspotting to Slumdog Millionaire.


On Story is brought to you by

The Alice Kleberg Reynolds Foundation

The City of Austin Cultural Arts Division

The Texas Commission on the Arts

The US Institute of Museum and Library Services

The Texas Library and Archives Commission

Applied Materials


Additional support for On Story comes from

Final Draft

Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television


Category:Film and Television -- posted at: 3:01pm CST