Russ Tamblyn was born in Los Angeles in the middle of the Depression to a chorus girl and a Broadway "song and dance man." His father had moved his growing family west to press his luck in the talkies. Russ was a showbiz kid and found his talent young: Cecil B DeMille cast him as the young King Saul in Samson and Delilah when he was just 13 years old. Stardom came at 19 in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers , where he stole scenes with his goofy enthusiasm and astonishingly acrobatic dancing. But the role that will go down in history is Riff in West Side Story . Tamblyn took a part that could have been just a young tough, and imbued it with such nuance, such balance between aggression and vulnerability, that every Riff since has been held up to him. In this funny, revealing conversation, Tamblyn tells Alec what it was like being part of the old Hollywood contract system (he was an MGM property) -- plus which major Golden Age director was "overrated," and why he didn't stay a movie star. And of course, Tamblyn recounts his return to featured roles at the request of David Lynch, who cast him as Dr. Lawrence Jacoby in Twin Peaks .
The Oscars Series, Day 5: For Sama, This Year's Most Powerful Documentary
This week, in honor of the upcoming Academy Awards, Here's the Thing brings you a collection of conversations with Oscar-winners -- and, today, with a pair of 2020 nominees. They are Waad Al-Kateab and Edward Watts, the co-directors of For Sama , which is up for Best Documentary Feature. It's a movie pieced together from more than 500 hours of footage shot by Al-Kateab, a young mother in rebel-controlled Aleppo, Syria, as government troops closed in. For Sama is about what it's like for an ordinary, middle-class family to conceive and raise a child in a city under siege. As the San Francisco Chronicle puts it, " For Sama is a film made with the instincts of a journalist, the passion of a revolutionary, and the beating heart of a mother." Watts, Waad, and Waad's husband, Dr. Hamza Al-Kateab, joined Alec at a live taping of Here's the Thing at the Hamptons International Film Festival.
The Oscars Series, Day 4: Spike Lee
This week, in honor of the upcoming Academy Awards, Here's the Thing brings you a collection of conversations with Oscar-winners -- including one new interview, coming tomorrow, with the creative team of 2020 Best Documentary-nominee For Sama. Today, on Day 4 of our Oscars series, it's our live event with Spike Lee at the TriBeCa Film Festival. T he two movie-veterans came prepared for a serious discussion about Place in the Sun and On the Waterfront , but get distracted very quickly. As put it in their roundup of the conversation, "The iconic director held nothing back." Spike Lee's first Oscar, shockingly, came last year for his BlacKkKlansman screenplay.
The Oscars Series Day 3: Julianne Moore
This week, in honor of the upcoming Academy awards, Here's the Thing brings you a collection of conversations with Oscar-winners -- including one new interview with the creative team of 2020 Best Documentary-nominee For Sama , coming Friday . For Day 3 of our series, we bring you our Julianne Moore episode, in which she and Alec bond over their shared past in soap operas. Moor e won her Oscar in 2015 for playing an Alzheimer's patient in Still Alice.
The Oscars Series, Day 2: Cameron Crowe
This week, in honor of the upcoming Academy awards, Here's the Thing brings you a collection of conversations with Oscar-winners -- including one new interview with the creative team of 2020 Best Documentary-nominee For Sama . For our second installment, we bring you the Here's the Thing episode that may have generated our most enthusiastic listener feedback. That's Alec's conversation with director, screenwriter, and Rolling Stone journalist Cameron Crowe -- punctuated with great songs from Crowe's films. Crowe won his Oscar in 2001 for his screenplay for Almost Famous .