The Business is a weekly podcast featuring lively banter about entertainment industry news and in-depth interviews with directors, producers, writers and actors. The show is hosted by award-winning journalist Kim Masters of The Hollywood Reporter and produced by KCRW. Past guests include Norman Lear, Ava DuVernay, Matt Damon and Ice Cube.
Steve Martin can't imagine 'Only Murders in the Building' without Selena Gomez
Actor, comedian, musician, and producer Steve Martin had been invited to one of talent manager’s Sandy Gallin’s showbiz parties in New York. There, he recalls seeing a lot of actors, including three older ones, when Gallin suggested he should write something for them. “I thought, ‘That's a good idea: three older guys who live in a building and solve murders because they don't have anything else to do,’” Martin recalls. His premise was: “They're too tired to go downtown to investigate things, so they limit it to only murderers in the building, so they could just stay home to solve the crime.” From that idea, Martin was introduced to John Hoffman and the two created “Only Murders in the Building,” the biggest comedy hit on Hulu. Now, the duo share how they met, and what it took for them to get Martin’s idea from paper onto the screen. But first, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav cancels “Batgirl.” Kim Masters and Matt Balloni discuss what this means for the DC brand and the studio.
Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic on career-defining film 'Murina'
Filmmaker Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic’s debut feature “Murina” won best first film at Cannes last year. Though it may seem like a story of instant success, the Croatian director says she spent years educating and establishing herself. When something happens “out of the blue and overnight, it's actually ten years of work behind it,” she explains. Kusijanovic had worked at different film companies and affirms those connections helped her finance the 2017 short film “Into the Blue.” The path to fund “Murina,'' she says, seemed easier, as she presented RT Features with only a letter of intent. “Everybody already knew me, how I am in business, so I was already familiar to all of these people that were involved in the project,” she says. Now, Kusijanovic discusses her love for theater and the path that took her to co-writing and directing the coming-of-age drama “Murina.” But first, movie theaters will start to feel the summer cool-off, with moviegoers banking on streaming services’ shows, including the first $1-billion series. Plus, former Disney executive John Lasseter returns. Kim Masters discusses with guest-host Lucas Shaw from Bloomberg.
B.J. Novak reflects on his career from comedy to directing his debut film “Vengeance”
B.J. Novak knows a thing or two about comedic writing. He spent a lot of time in the writers’ room and starred as Ryan Howard on NBC’s hit series “The Office.” Now, he’s taking his writing skills to the big screen, debuting as a director in the comedy-thriller, “ Vengeance .” “When you realize someone has a little regret in their eyes… you could be very careful with an actor and see how you could capture that in a shot,” he says. For him, it’s all the same, but “being able to learn how to write directorially is a very special and exciting opportunity.” On this episode of The Business, Novak discusses “The Office” origins, his standup comedy career and first acting job on MTV, and how he teamed up with Blumhouse producer Jason Blum to write and direct “Vengeance.” But first, Kim Masters and Matt Belloni banter about Netflix’s Q2 numbers. Netflix was projected to lose 2 million subscribers, but only lost nearly 1 million, which its CEO believes it’s “less bad” than feared. Is the streaming service really over the hump?
‘Marcel the Shell’ creators bring beloved tiny creature to the big screen
After almost an eight-year hiatus, actor Jenny Slate and director Dean Fleischer-Camp are bringing their lovable Marcel the Shell back to life. This time audiences will see the seashell with two pink shoes and one plastic eye, who babbles insightful and funny life-observations, in the stop-motion, feature-length mockumentary, “ Marcel the Shell With Shoes On .” The online shorts were a smash-hit at the time, so for Fleischer-Camp it was important for the film to maintain Marcel’s original online integrity. That is why, he explains, “it took a while for us to find the right partners to do that, in a way that was really holistic to what we had made and what and how we like to work.” And because Fleischer-Camp invented much of the filmmaking process, Slate remarks that they wanted to take that to the film production, “so we took the risk to try to create that [environment] for ourselves.” The duo now share the story behind how “Marcel the Shell” was created, and their trajectory of taking this tiny character from being a YouTube sensation to the big screen. But first, Kim Masters and Matt Belloni banter about the Emmys group-like nominations this year. And while Hulu got 58 nods, its future as a streaming platform remains uncertain.
‘Fire of Love’ filmmaker explores the work devotion of two volcanologists
Filmmaker Sara Dosa’s childhood fascination and fear of volcanoes shaped her career. While finishing her last film “The Seer and the Unseen” about an Icelandic woman fighting to save a lava field from becoming a road, she came across archival footage from Katia and Maurice Krafft, the renowned French volcanologists. “They had shot hundreds of hours of footage, and Iceland was one of their absolute favorite places, so they did have extraordinary images of volcanoes,” she says. The scientist couple were killed in a pyroclastic blast at Mount Unzen in Japan in 1991. And though the documentarian doesn’t remember their tragic deaths, she and her team became transfixed by the duo. “Once we learned more about them as people, both as these unique, idiosyncratic, hilarious, and philosophical individuals [who had] this extraordinary life where they chased erupting volcanoes all around the world, we thought, this is a world we want to dwell in.” Dosa pieces together their imagery to make “ Fire of Love .” It is an homage to the French couple, their love for each other, and devotion and fearlessness to studying volcanoes – a job that ultimately led to their deaths. The film also explores the Kraffts’ travels, writings, and lectures on the beauty and dangers of molten lava and blasts of hot gasses, and their ability to document and share their findings with a wide audience. But first, Hollywood media and tech moguls reconvene in Sun Valley Idaho this week, where large deals used to be brokered, but are now less likely.
‘Under the Banner of Heaven’ creator draws from his own LDS experience
To some members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, creator Dustin Lance Black’s FX series “ Under the Banner of Heaven ” is an unfair depiction of their religion. Having grown up in the church, Black says he is not surprised. “As I grew older, and got to know more that this is a church that does not like anything questioned,” Black says. “They have the saying to ‘doubt your doubts.’ And one of the things I know the church is most uncomfortable with is outsiders discussing the faith, and I'm seen as an outsider now.” Black explains his approach to adapt Jon Krakauer’s nonfiction book into the FX series, and how his Mormon upbringing helped him shape and explore the history of the Mormon church. He also discusses advocacy, and having failures, and successes in his career. But first, Disney renews Bob Chapek’s contract for another three years, despite his turbulent tenure. Has Disney given him a full vote of confidence, or will they keep an eye on him?
Thanks for the fantastic insight each week and informative interviews!
Except Matt always say “hi there,” and never says hi Kim. She’s respectful of him though
More banter, please!
Love this podcast for keeping up and especially Kim’s (wise and snarky) perspective. I would love to see full episodes of just she and Matt PLUS BIPOC guests banter. Need more biz perspectives than just Caucasian folks. This is my first go to podcast each week.