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Steve Rinella on Hunting and Conservation and Ben Affleck and Matt Damon

CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley
The Truth Network Radio
March 19, 2023 2:00 pm

Steve Rinella on Hunting and Conservation and Ben Affleck and Matt Damon

CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley

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March 19, 2023 2:00 pm

Hosted by Jane Pauley. In our cover story, Lee Cowan talks with hunter and “MeatEater” host Steve Rinella. Plus Tracy Smith talks with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon about their new movie, “Air”; Anthony Mason visits with Josh Groban and Annaleigh Ashford, stars of the new Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd”; Rita Braver interviews NPR host Ari Shapiro; Martha Teichner reports on a historically Black community in Florida that is contesting plans to develop its land; and Jim Gaffigan reflects on some disturbing “praise” he’s received for his stand-up comedy.

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You can listen ad-free on the Amazon Music or Wondery app. Good morning. I'm Jane Pauley and this is Sunday Morning. More than 15 million Americans hold hunting licenses. The practice goes back to the very roots of our country and is part of a lifestyle often passed down from generation to generation. Some hunt for sport, but a common theme among many is eat what you kill.

It's considered the honorable, even the ethical thing to do. And by one estimate, 95% of all hunters do just that. Lee Cowan hits the trail with one of the biggest names in the sport, a hunter with the skills of a top chef.

So that's dinner tonight? Yeah, that's a piece of elk meat. As the creator of the popular reality show Meat Eater, Steve Rinella is a professional hunter, but in that same capacity, he's also a passionate conservationist. I've never encountered in my life a person who holds wild game in high regard, who doesn't hold wildlife in high regard. A man living off the land, but also for the land.

Later, on Sunday Morning. Tracy Smith sits down with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, two old friends, together again in a new film that's sure to reach new heights. Tomorrow I'm going to wake up and I'll be 50 and I'll still be doing it. They're one of Hollywood's most dynamic duos. A rookie who's never set foot on an NBA court.

That's the literal definition of rookie. And now Ben Affleck and Matt Damon have a new film about Nike sneakers and a new perspective. There's nothing more that I want in my life. I thought, well, this is it. And then I thought, that might mean I'm about to die.

I literally had the same thought. Matt and Ben, comfortable, well, like an old shoe, coming up on Sunday Morning. Anthony Mason is on Broadway with Josh Groban for what you might call a razor sharp revival. A new demon barber of Fleet Street has set up shop on Broadway. Do you have a razor back there? You're a risk taker, Anthony.

I never leave home without one. Josh Groban and Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd ahead on Sunday Morning. And more. Connor Knighton takes us to snowy Wisconsin and the biggest cross-country ski race in the country. Rita Braver profiles NPR's Ari Shapiro, a journalist with some serious singing chops.

Martha Teichner has the story of one of our oldest black towns struggling to survive. We'll have commentaries on the power of the unspoken word and the power of Jim Gaffigan to, well, lull you to sleep. All that and more this Sunday morning, the 19th of March, 2023.

We'll be back after this. He's a lifelong hunter, wildlife conservationist and a serious chef. Lee Cowan goes on the hunt with the meat eater.

I got him. He's in the trees. Here in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho. It took just moments for Steve Rinella and his bow hunting buddy, Dan, to spot some pronghorn antelope off in the brush. It's laying in the shade.

It took them far less time, however, to realize that having me tag along was a really dumb idea. What kind of shot is that like for a bow? Undoable. I've never hunted a day in my life, and yet there he was with perhaps one of the most recognizable hunters in all America. I do what I was born to do. Yeah. And it's this kind of stuff, right? It's just what I like. Steve Rinella is the creator and host of the popular TV and web series Meat Eater. You got him?

Now in its 11th season. It's hunting the way the hunter sees it, up close and personal. And for Rinella, hunting is personal. At my core, I like nature. I like hunting. I like fishing. I like eating the stuff that I hunt and fish for.

And I turned that into the work I do. He came to hunting the way most people do. His father hunted. Back then, he saw it largely just as a sport.

When I was 18, I was obsessed with hunting and fishing. I did not know nor use the word conservation. In my mind, all the resources we enjoyed, they fell from the sky. They were there for the taking.

They would always fall from the sky. Get yours while the getting's good. But today, conservation is at the heart of almost everything Meat Eater does. This valley is like, it's so beautiful I could cry. The quality of the hunting, he says, is only as good as the health of the population being hunted. Be it deer, fish, or anything else. His point is that loving the wild, while still taking a wild animal's life, are not mutually exclusive. I've never encountered in my life a person who holds wild game in high regard. Who doesn't hold wildlife in high regard. And they understand that there's a limit on how much we can pull from it. Where we end up dismantling and destroying the whole thing.

Whether you agree with that or not, it's nothing new. Charles Darwin, Ernest Hemingway, John James Audubon, all love nature and hunting. And then there's Theodore Roosevelt, who especially loved the land. He saved about 50,000 acres of mountains, plains, woodlands in this country for every day he was in office.

Why? He was inspired to do that through a relationship with hunting. That same idea, respecting the resource, is what he's trying to teach his own children. And in part, he's doing that through food. So that's dinner tonight? Yeah, that's a piece of elk meat. In his home in Bozeman, Montana, Rinello's refrigerator is stocked with the frozen spoils of his adventures in the wild.

Elk meat, ducks, wild turkey. Everything in here, he says, has a story that brings with it a discussion. Every night that we eat, we eat something that we grew, that we hunted, that we found out in the woods, that we found in our backyard, every night. And there's not a night goes by, I'm not kidding, there's not a night goes by that we don't talk about it.

We'll flip that in a minute. His cooking has attracted non-hunting viewers as well. Man, those sons of guns are good. Rinello has become the Julia Child of the campfire. The last third of almost every Meat Eater episode is cooking the day's catch or kill in ways that make the woods look like a three-star Michelin restaurant. I'm going to slice up my loin and prepare a very simple stag and pumpkin stew.

I've read this story dozens of times. It'd be like, shock, like, wow, this chef, this famous chef, whatever, name your famous chef, has become interested in hunting. I'm like, of course he is, because the guy's, he's interested in food. He's not trying to convince animal rights advocates, for example, to suddenly become hunters themselves.

First turkey. Thanks, Steve. But what he hopes anyone who is interested in the show will come away with is the notion that hunters aren't always the enemies of animal welfare. I'm talking to my kind. By that I mean I'm talking to other, like, outdoors men and outdoors women. I'm also talking to people who are, like, kicking the tires on this world, who are curious about it.

If they weren't curious, they wouldn't be watching. Meat Eater has now grown into having a lifestyle brand, clothes and products for hunting. He's written a number of bestselling books, including cookbooks, and he has a top rated podcast as well. Like a black bear, right?

She's going to spend two years tutoring her offspring. His brand is based on a singular philosophy, that none of us live on the land, we live with it. You get to a point where you just have to give up and go home. The land beat you, or the sheep beat you, just by running out the clock.

Back in Idaho, suffice it to say that that pronghorn didn't care much for my nagging questions. It's already tuned in, like I was sitting here yakking away. But for Steve Ranella, that's okay. What he likes most of all is showing his world to those experiencing it anew. And watching it through the eyes of people who have never seen it, quite the way he does. He's looking right at it.

At least not yet. Isn't that cool? And there's another one. It's part ski marathon, part Norwegian history, part street festival. Connor Knighton takes us to the starting line of a race like none other. Perky Fever, got me eager as a beaver, got me waiting for winter, got me praying for snow. Perky Fever, I'm a true believer, just get me to the start line, I'll be ready to go.

We're underway! Each winter, thousands of cross-country skiers from all across the world travel to the north woods of Wisconsin to travel more than 30 miles between the towns of Cable and Hayward. The American Berkebeiner is the largest cross-country ski race in the country, and the enthusiasm here is contagious. We all got the Berky Fever, and it's just the excitement that builds about not only the race, but the whole event of Berky Week. The official Berkebeiner race, Berky for short, can fly by in a couple of hours for the most elite skiers.

But leading up to the main event, there are days of activities. There are shorter races for children. There's a barky, where dog lovers ski with their pets. Teams of six compete in giant ski races. It's kind of like Comic Con for athletes is how I'm looking at it. Jackie and Dandaroma are avid skiers.

Jackie has skied the Berkey four times, Dan seventeen. But for this year's race, they wanted to do things a little differently. These other racers are going to be in spandex, Gore-Tex, you know. What are you going to be wearing?

Full on fur. Jackie, Dan, and Dan's father Jim were selected to be mascots of sorts, skiing the entire course on wooden skis, dressed as Norwegian folk heroes, all while carrying a baby doll. It's a tradition with roots in a far older history. As portrayed in the film The Last King, in the early 13th century, Norway was in the middle of a civil war. After King Håkon III died, members of the Berkeveiner faction skied his son, the heir to the throne, through the woods to safety. Each year in Wisconsin, three skiers reenact the rescue.

I think that the fact that there is this real story about an event that now you're recreating it, I think that's pretty darn cool and pretty special, and I think it resonates with a lot of people. Ben Popp is the executive director of the American Berkeveiner, which is modeled after a Norwegian race. There, every competitor skis with a baby-weight backpack to honor the warrior's journey. Of course, you may be asking yourself, why does this crazy Norwegian history have anything to do with Hayward, Wisconsin, in the middle of northwestern Wisconsin, nowhere? It all came down to one man, Tony Wise.

Tony Wise was born in Hayward and was a born marketer. After serving in World War II, he decided to bring the competitive skiing he observed in Europe back home to Wisconsin, a place where Scandinavian ancestry is common, as a way to encourage tourism. His first Berke race, held 50 years ago, had just 35 participants, most of whom had never cross-country skied before. I swore up and down after that first.

I would never do anything so foolish again, but... And they're off, ladies and gentlemen. Today, at age 75, Ernie St. Germain is the only competitor who's participated in every single race. But there are more than 2,000 athletes who've appeared in 20 or more contests, which can turn into grueling all-day endeavors. The Berke attracts skiers of varying ages and ability levels.

You're really going to discover who you are. It's one of the toughest marathon courses in the world. So let yourself kind of glide a little. There you go.

Good. That challenge is what attracts elite skiers like Olympian Caitlin Gregg, who's won the women's race a record-setting five times. The Berke course is unlike any other ski course that we get to race, not only here in the United States, but also around the world.

And I think that its terrain is so unique and so challenging that people just, myself included, love that aspect of it. The race itself has faced challenges posed by warmer winters. In recent decades, it's been canceled twice due to lack of snow.

It's really important that we look at climate change and weather because if we don't have it, well, it's a big loss. The event provides a major boost for the local economy. This town of fewer than 3,000 residents hosts close to 40,000 spectators. On race day, Hayward's Main Street overflows with cheering fans caught up in Berkey fever, for which the only prescription is more cowbell. The church bells signal the arrival of the first finisher. David Norris won this year's men's race with a commanding lead.

Caitlin Gregg came in third in the women's division. But the biggest cheers of the day were reserved for the Dromas. Nearly seven hours after leaving the starting line, they skied onto Main Street and swapped out the baby doll for an actual baby. Are we going to save you today? Their daughter Clara played the part of Prince Hogan for the final few blocks. The Berkebeiners saved the day.

Until they do it all again next year. The musical Sweeney Todd is back on Broadway with Josh Groban in the title role. For Anthony Mason, their meeting was a chance to sit back, if not relax. You actually took barber lessons for this? I did. I wanted the shaving community, should they come to this show, to be really impressed. He's the new demon barber of Fleet Street. Do you have a razor back there? You're a risk taker, Anthony.

I never leave home without one. And Josh Groban just learned how to give a close shave. We would start with the neck, maybe, and then we would turn and we would do your cheek this way. Is there an art to the decisive stroke? You know, I'm just winging it. You know, it's really just, this is where the improvisation of theater comes in.

I've never given anybody an actual, like, sharp razor shave. So, you know, we've enjoyed you on television for a long, long time. Thank you so much. And I want to thank you so much for spending your final day with us here. That's right. Okay, captured in high def. In Sweeney Todd, the new Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim's iconic musical, At last, my right arm is complete again. most of his customers don't survive. You're not known for playing evil.

No, I'm not, which is part of the fun. As Sweeney, Groban has a co-conspirator. Anna Lee Ashford plays Mrs. Lovins. On the top, she was just a bubbling, bubbling, bubbling little pot of magic. And underneath, it's a stew that's extremely complicated. Mrs. Lovett sweetly disposes of Sweeney's victims in her meat pies.

No will serve anyone, meaning anyone, and to anyone at all. You know, when you're playing Iago, you don't know you're the bad guy. That's right. And so that's always sort of the way that I've viewed Mrs. Lovett. She doesn't think she's bad. She's surviving.

Mrs. Lovett, at her core, is a survivor. And she needs Sweeney Todd because she's a woman in a man's world. Sweeney Todd, the demon barber of Fleet Street. The original 1979 production, which starred Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Lovett and Len Cariou as Sweeney, won eight Tonys.

The unlikely inspiration for the musical was a dark Victorian melodrama. This time, thought it could sing. You know, the elevator pitch of something like this in 1977 would have been like, well, have fun with that, Steve. Enjoy.

Good luck. I'll never forget when Tommy Kail told me at an ice hockey game, you know, you should really come to this workshop I'm doing. It's about Alexander Hamilton and it's a hip-hop musical. Is it a comedy? And I'm kind of saying, good luck with that. I can't wait to see it. I'm sure it'll be great. Is there a lot of expectation, do you think, with the show?

You tell me. Thomas Kail, the Tony-winning director of Hamilton, is now directing Sweeney Todd. You directed the best known show on Broadway right now, right over there.

How does this compare to that? This was a huge source of inspiration. This was a show about a misunderstood person and the world was trying to figure out why he did what he did. The show on the other side of 46th Street doesn't happen unless there's Sweeney Todd. I know why nobody came to take them. I should know.

I made them. We're good now. The comic relief in Sweeney comes with a cockney accent. It's not easy. No. It's like speaking another language.

Aren't you also? Would you not control prevail? Ashford got tips from the show's British choreographer. Every once in a while he'd be like, it's budge. It's budge, not budge. Budge. You know, I'm like standing backstage going, budge, budge, budge, budge, budge. My little boy hates it. He's like, will you please stop doing your British accident? And I'm just not, I'm just not correcting him because I think it's too delightful.

You want a painter, poet, sculptor, preferably marble, granite, bronze, durable. I have a six and a half year old little boy. The last time I was on stage doing eight shows a week, he was not even six months old. Which also must have been really hard.

It was really challenging. It was nursing. I'd run off after act one and intermission pump. It's just like, it's just all about milk. Eight shows a week in milk.

The last time Groban was doing eight shows a week, the singer was making his Broadway debut nearly seven years ago in Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812. How much did you like that experience? It's the happiest I've ever been in my career.

Really? I was a theater kid that hit a fork in the road when I found my way into the music biz. That was not something that I had dreams of in my bedroom when I was ten years old. It was, it was this.

It was Groban's manager who suggested he play Sweeney. And I'm thinking to myself, oh, I'm not old enough to do that. And he's like, dude, you're going to be 41.

I'm like, oh my God, that is old enough. That's so nice of you. Thank you. Oh my gosh.

You shouldn't have. He turned 42 the day we spoke with him. Thank you. Happy birthday, dear Josh.

Happy birthday to you. You have the voice of an angel. No. Didn't we ever tell you that? No. It's beautiful.

See how they glisten. The production had its first run-through a year and a half ago. And Sondheim was going to be there. He was excited. And two days before we were to do that run-through, he passed away. Did you think at first in that moment that this wasn't going to happen then?

Well, it was a lot of conflicting emotions because the first one, of course, was just grief. Sondheim had been a fan of the great comet, and they'd become friends. He said to me when we hung out once, I'm not going to tell you when I come to the show. I'm going to do you that solid. I said, thank you, Steve. And then, of course, at intermission, the group text is, red alert, red alert. The maestro is in the building.

In the end, Groban and company went ahead with Sweeney Todd to honor Sondheim. And also because the star clearly enjoys giving a cloche. You lean him back, and then you send him down the slide. I lean him back, and then there's a third lever that sends him down.

It's already fun. In the decades after the Civil War, an estimated 100 all-black towns were settled across the United States, most are long gone. But Martha Teichner visits one of the first and last that's still fighting to hold on. It's only the telling that makes sense of these old photos of Eatonville, Florida. And the great teller of Eatonville's story was anthropologist and noted writer Zora Neale Hurston, who grew up here. Joe Clark's store was the heart and spring of the town.

Men sat around the store in boxes and benches and passed this world, and the next one through their mouths. Third generation Eatonville resident N.Y. Neathery heads the association to preserve the Eatonville community. Joe Clark is which one?

Standing at the left. Joe Clark was the mayor and actually the founder of the town of Eatonville. In 1887, that it even happened was remarkable. After the end of the Civil War, formerly enslaved African Americans flocked to Central Florida to work. White property owners refused to sell them land until Joe Clark convinced two white Northerners with homes in the area, Louis Lawrence and Josiah Eaton, to make available plots they could buy in what became Eatonville, one of the first black towns to incorporate. There was a lot of resistance from the surrounding communities because if they could incorporate, that meant that they could vote, they could have their own law enforcement, they could manage their own business.

Everett Fly is a landscape architect who has spent more than four decades researching black towns. By 1915, there were less than 60 incorporated black towns in the entire United States. How many of those 60 are left? I think probably 20, 25 is all that's left. More than 90 percent of it is about racism.

It's everything from, oh, it's not important or they won't know the difference if we move them out or erase them. No one's going to do anything. Eatonville today is struggling.

The median income here, around $27,000 a year. This family dollar is the only store. There's no supermarket, no gas station, no pharmacy. So many of the black towns have disappeared. What's different about Eatonville? What we have the ability to do here is to leverage the genius of Zora Neale Hurston and the authenticity of Eatonville as a cultural and historical space. Zora tourism exists already. Just enjoy the Zora Festival. The Zora Festival, Nethery's Preservation Group puts on every year, before COVID regularly attracted over 50,000 people.

Fewer now. But Eatonville would like to leverage something else. This land, 100 acres, 10 minutes from downtown Orlando, half an hour from Disney World, is valued at more than $20 million in 2019, certainly worth much more now. As a small community of 2,500, it's sitting on the largest undeveloped parcel of land in Orange County. It's sitting in a very sweet position geographically.

In the theory's opinion, Eatonville's survival will depend on who wins the fight over this land, which is as closely tied to its past as it is to its future. The trouble is, the town doesn't own it and never has. This is an insult. This is an insult. No trespassing.

Keep out. Once, it was part of a 300-acre campus that occupied about 40 percent of Eatonville. The land was donated by philanthropists to a trust, which operated the Robert Hungerford Normal and Industrial School, a private boarding school established in 1899 to provide vocational education to black students in the segregated South. This is when I was in high school.

I was voted May Day Queen. By the time Vera King went there, it was a black public school. This looks like one of the original boarding school buildings.

It is. We had classes in that building. In 1951, the Orange County School Board bought Hungerford from the trust that owned it. For a little over $16,000, the school board got all 300 acres. But with this important restriction, the land still had to be used for the education of black children.

This is me at Hungerford. For 30 years, Vera King worked at the high school that was built on the site. Now it's gone, too, along with 200 of those 300 acres. If we aren't careful, Eatonville is going to be extinct.

King, 85 years old and Eatonville native, resents what happened when the Orange County Public Schools started selling off parcel after parcel of the Hungerford property, getting the courts and the trustees again and again to cut the number of acres required to be used for educating black kids. So now it's zero. They really profited from it, from those sales. The Orange County School System was paid nearly $8 million in those deals. You have hashtag land back on your sleeve.

Yes. Nobody has made enough noise, and nobody has demanded the land back. Julian Johnson isn't the only Eatonville resident who thinks the Orange County Public Schools are to just give the land to Eatonville as a kind of restitution. This is economic justice that we're fighting for. Land is economic justice. It's about demanding it back.

You've done the people wrong over and over. So with those last 100 acres set to be sold on March 31 to a developer for $14 million well below their last appraised value, Johnson helped to mobilize for a showdown. The streets are talking, the people are talking, and the people are angry and furious. The only control Eatonville has over what gets built is through its zoning and planning. Last month, the town council met to vote on changes that would clear the way for this, a new community of more than 350 homes and apartments.

Once the project is built out, it will offer shopping, dining, entertainment options for residents and visitors to partake and enjoy. The packed room didn't see it that way. Quite simply, this development will erase this living, thriving historical community. For y'all to come and put all this stuff up here and think, we as black people are going to be able to stay here, shame on yourself.

We're going to be outnumbered, and I want you guys to vote no. They did. But the developer can still buy the site and build, so long as it's something consistent with Eatonville's vision for the town's survival. In a statement to Sunday Morning, the Orange County Public School System reaffirmed its commitment to go ahead with the sale.

No word yet from the developer. For Eatonville residents, a lawsuit may be next. A last stand in a losing war? Not if they can help it. This is sacred land. It's special for us. It's who we are.

And we're not going to let them take it away from us. No. Jim Gaffigan's impressive resume reads, Comedian, actor, writer, and producer. Now he's adding another title, sleep aid.

When I was a little kid, yeah, that's what I look like. When I was a little kid, to enjoy stand-up comedy, you either needed to know someone whose parents own comedy albums, I think it's wrong that only one company makes the game Monopoly. or you had to stay up until after the local news and hope, hope that Johnny Carson had a stand-up comedian on The Tonight Show.

We've got some great guests. Often I fell asleep during the news. When the news was boring, commuters who work in Chicago... Yes, I grew up a long time ago.

I just look like I'm in my 20s. For decades, stand-up comedy has been accessible everywhere. Cable TV, satellite radio, Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, on all the social media platforms. It's a good thing, and it's changed many comedians' lives and allowed me to be the mediocre father of too many children. People can discover comedians they enjoy and immediately listen to that comedian.

It's a win-win for everyone. Now recently, I've noticed a trend that is, well, I think it's odd. On more than one occasion, I've been told, often by a stranger, my 10-year-old son listens to you to fall asleep. My kids listen to you as a nighttime ritual.

Your stand-up helps my teenager at bedtime. I'm always like, uh, okay. These comments are always presented as a compliment, but I'm never sure how to respond to being used as a sleep aid. When I go out to eat, if I order a salad, the waiter's always like, oh. It doesn't feel flattering to be told you're the human equivalent of warm milk. I've never been considered an edgy comedian, but I've constantly aspired to get laughs, not snores. Anyway, next time you can't sleep, don't count sheep, just say, hey, play Jim Gaffigan. When you have kids, you lie to them all the time. You're like, you wouldn't like this ice cream. It's very spicy. Stop rushing me back.

Stop crowding the plate. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon made movie history with Good Will Hunting some 25 years ago. Now they're together again in a new film that has them walking on air.

They're in conversation with our Tracy Smith. So is it a bonus, making this film, being able to spend more time with each other? Yeah, absolutely. For sure.

It was one of the things that we kind of wanted to do, is the idea of why aren't we hanging out and spending more time together since we managed to stay friends this whole time? Plus we hit our 50s, so. We have not much time left.

I mean, you can see the end of the tunnel. From the sound of it, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are in a good place these days. They're working together again, and to hear them describe it, they've never had a better time. Do you guys have an unspoken language? Yeah, 40-something years of hanging out together.

It's like a common frame of reference, right? I find the most wonderful thing about it was I loved coming to work every day. I loved seeing Matt. I loved, first of all, he's a genius. Having him as the anchor of your movie just makes it...

Same 40-something years of tech either. No, I didn't used to think this. But it just makes it so easy, and it was just so much fun. I don't know, it kind of felt like just us and getting to do the thing that we wanted to do. I did. I loved it. I loved it. I miss it every day since. It was the best work experience of my life, without question.

And that experience is Air. The movie, in theaters only on April 5th, is about Nike, and how, back in 1984, they built an entire shoe brand around one NBA rookie player they thought would become a household name. I need the greatest basketball shoe that's ever been made. Who's the player? Michael Jordan. Michael Jordan. I'm willing to bet my career on Michael Jordan.

Come on, man. Affleck, who's also the film's director, plays Nike founder Phil Knight. And Damon is Sonny Vaccaro, the Nike exec who tries to sell him on the idea. I mean, if you look at him, if you really look at Jordan, like I did, you're going to see exactly what I see. Just what? The most competitive guy I have ever seen. He is a fucking killer. Is it the shoes? We now know it turned out to be a killer deal for everyone involved. You sure it's not the shoes?

The Jordan brand is still flying off the shelves, with sales of more than $5 billion last year alone. What's the point? The movie is not a biopic, but Affleck made sure everyone looked as close to real as possible, especially Damon. Did you notice that he lost the weight?

Yeah, so let's talk about that physical transformation. My favorite thing about Ben is that he put me in a fat suit when I finally get to work with him. Actually, my wife saw the movie, and I said, what did you think?

And she goes, the movie is great. You look like... And according to Affleck, Michael Jordan himself had a few suggestions. What did he tell you was important to him?

A number of things, and I'm not sure that I'm out there to share every single one of them, but what I will tell you is he said, Viola Davis is going to be my mother. Which is kind of like choosing Michael Jordan for your basketball team. My name is Sonny Vaquero, I'm with Nike. Do you typically make it a habit of showing up at people's front doors on the nows?

I don't like to take no for an answer. Oh, man, here we go. Viola Davis was in fact cast as Michael's mom, Dolores Jordan.

Best day of my life. And Chris Tucker plays and helped write the part of someone he knows personally, Nike VP Howard White. All that matters is how much do you believe?

I believe in you. I called Chris Tucker, and he was like, who I've always thought was a genius and one to work with, and he was like, I know Howard White. I was like, you know Howard White?

Turns out later, Chris Tucker knows everybody, literally everybody. One person we see very little of is an actor who plays Jordan. Why do we not see Michael Jordan in this movie? We don't see Michael Jordan for the very, what was obvious reason to me, which is that this is a movie about an icon, about somebody so meaningful that the minute, you know, I show you somebody and tell you like, hey, that's Michael Jordan, you just go, no, it isn't. I know what Michael Jordan is.

I know what he is. And not only that, the only actor who could play Michael Jordan was a little old to play this part, and we probably couldn't afford him. But the idea was like, if I show you something, you know that's not Michael Jordan, and now everything else is fake. So the final result feels real.

And as always, it was a team effort. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon met as kids in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and clicked from the start, chasing the same Hollywood dream. You might not have caught them in 1989's Field of Dreams, as extras somewhere in the crowd in Boston's Fenway Park. Are you like me now?

But you might have seen them in this. My boy's awake and smiling. You don't owe it to yourself. You owe it to me. Because tomorrow I'm going to wake up and I'll be 50, and I'll still be doing it.

For Good Will Hunting, both won the Oscar for Original Screenplay, and it launched them, ready or not, into the Hollywood stratosphere. What did it do to you guys to win it that young? I remember it didn't settle in for, it was like a couple years, I think.

It was just completely surreal. March of 98, I was 25 years old. I look at myself now and think, I still have quite a bit to learn. You know, that's the curse of being 25, is you think you have it all figured out.

Put your hands up! Of course, they have figured it out. Individually, they've earned everything from box office respect... Here's your director. Can you teach somebody to be a director in a day?

Can you teach a rhesus monkey to be a director in a day? To more Oscar Gold. I stood out here in front of you all, really just a kid, and I went out, you know, and I never thought that I would be back here. Frankly, one of the lessons of growing older is it's not all about money. It's not the most important thing. You spend your life chasing money, you'll end up, you might end up with a lot of money, but you probably miss out on a lot of things. I haven't found that money changed any happiness that I had. In fact, that's the beautiful thing about this, is that happiness was being able to be here every day in Los Angeles where my children are and see them every day, and then come visit the set, work with my best friend my whole life. There's nothing more that I want in my life. I thought, well, this is it. This is what I've always wanted, you know? And then I thought, that might mean I'm about to die. Guys, I literally had the same thought. I was like, this is... We've actually reached the mountaintop. And now, together, they've formed a new production company called Artist Equity that'll give people on the film crew a bigger slice of the financial pie.

That's why it's called Artist Equity, and the idea is that we're pulling a bunch of people above the line who traditionally aren't, and they stand to do a lot better financially than they've ever done on movies before. I believe in your son. I believe he's the future.

And his story is going to make us want to fly. But a shoe is just a shoe. Until my son steps into it. You got a name for it? Air Jordan. Air is their company's first offering, with more to come soon. Seriously?

Maybe it'll grow on me. We're just getting rolling and working again with Amazon to do the story of a wrestler named Anthony Robles, who was born with one leg and won a national championship for Arizona State. And who's starring in that movie? I know where you're going with this, but I'm going to tell you who the lead actor is. Is there another actor in that movie? We always hire the very best performers, and in this case, I can say every single person that's been cast so far I think is the very absolute best choice. You're dancing around that Jennifer Lopez is also in this movie.

Yes, I believe Jennifer Lopez may be doing that movie, yes. You're going to make it look like she's just doing it as a favor to me, but actually, she is. Awful moment, I fly here. It seems fitting that Affleck and Damon's new movie is a story about collaboration. That's what got them here, and what keeps them going. What fun and what a joy to do something, or see her be great, go to work with your wife, go to work with your best friend, because ultimately your work becomes the lion's share of what defines your life in terms of the time you spend. That's who it is, and if you don't like who you're working with and if you have difficulty or trouble at work, I think it's one of the things that can really cause depression, anxiety, and pain for people, and conversely, you love the people at work, you probably have a pretty good life, you know?

Commentary now from author Dan Lyons, whose new book is a call to talk less and listen more. Sooner or later, every person who talks too much talks their way into trouble. You might offend someone or hurt their feelings.

You might lose your job or wreck a relationship. I know because I'm an inveterate overtalker. I also know how hard it is to break the habit. That's partly because the propensity to overtalk is wired into your brain, and you can't change that.

But also, we live in a world that practically forces you to talk too much. Social media is designed to get you posting, sharing, liking, and commenting, and we have somehow come to believe that success is measured by your ability to attract attention. The founder of a tech company once told me, that he determined the value of people by how many Twitter followers they had.

That was ridiculous. Look at Steve Jobs. He wasn't on Twitter at all. He had zero followers. What was his value?

Zero? In fact, most powerful and successful people talk less than other people, and they listen more. They speak with intention, and they understand the power of silence. Barack Obama is one of the greatest speakers of all time, but he's an even better listener. Richard Branson is a billionaire entrepreneur and a big show-off in public, but in meetings, he mostly takes notes. Anna Wintour is one of the most powerful people in media and fashion, and she is famously quiet.

Nobody ever knows what's going on behind those sunglasses. I discovered that in pretty much every aspect of life, talking less gives you an advantage. You might get a promotion or negotiate a better salary. You'll almost certainly be a better parent and partner. The best thing is that you won't just improve your own life. You'll improve the lives of the people around you. There are thousands of books and classes that teach you how to be a better speaker.

What we really need to learn is how to shut up. You may know him as co-host of NPR's All Things Considered, but as Rita Braver reports, Ari Shapiro is a man of many talents. Ready to do? Okay.

And hit it. As a co-host of National Public Radio's flagship evening broadcast... Open both. Today is Wednesday, February 15th, and this is All Things Considered from NPR. 44-year-old Ari Shapiro is one of the network's highest-profile correspondents. What makes a great story for you?

When I'm looking for a great story, I want a point of connection, I want high stakes, and I want a reason somebody should care. He helps shape coverage... I noticed that supplemental SNAP benefits for the pandemic end after this month. ...interviews newsmakers... What does this mean for the future of Scotland and the future of the independence movement? ...and he continues to report from the field.

Even though there is still death and fighting in Ukraine's south and east, the scene here at the Polish border has lost... Yet back when he was a Yale undergraduate... The truth is, I was rejected for an NPR internship, and I will remind any NPR bosses any time that I was rejected for an NPR internship. But NPR's legendary legal affairs correspondent, Nina Totenberg, chooses her own interns, and she gave him a shot. He was always willing.

Did I have somebody who could go out to the courthouse with a tape recorder and stand there in the pouring rain? Ari Shapiro was there. After interning, Shapiro was able to get some behind-the-scenes gigs at NPR. But on his off time, he started reporting his own stories. I decided to treat NPR as a free graduate school, and so I borrowed some equipment, and I asked people if they would teach me how to use it. What did you find you liked about the reporting part of it? I'm nosy.

You know? Nosy, and as he relates in his new memoir, The Best Strangers in the World, used to feeling like a bit of an outsider, starting with growing up as one of the few Jews in Fargo, North Dakota, where his parents were professors. So my older brother and I, we would go from classroom to classroom, carrying a menorah and a dreidel, and we would talk to these children descended from Scandinavian immigrants about what Hanukkah is and what Judaism is.

When Shapiro was eight, the family moved to Portland, Oregon, where he gradually came to another realization. You also describe the fact of coming into the knowledge that you were gay and just feeling pretty comfortable about that from the get-go. I remember really vividly thinking, the sooner I get this over with, the sooner it'll be a non-issue. So I told my parents, and they took it very well. They said they still loved me.

It was a process, but it was a process that we went through together. And he says that feeling a little like an outsider sharpened his reporting, whether covering the Justice Department, the White House, or spending two years as a London-based foreign correspondent. Ari Shapiro joins us now from Wales. The White House correspondent, Ari Shapiro. Our co-host, Ari Shapiro, is there.

Are we all ready? Shapiro is married to Mike Gottlieb, his college sweetheart. But when they first decided to wed, you thought you needed to ask permission from NPR?

Yeah. 2004 was not that long ago, but in politics, in same-sex marriage, in gay rights, it feels like a lifetime. What do you think changed in terms of being married to another man and being able to go out there and say, this is my husband? I think the country kind of caught up to where we were, but I also just became more comfortable in my own skin.

And that's part of what this book is about, is my figuring out that the things that differentiate us from one another make us more interesting, more valuable, more rich, and that those are things we should celebrate, not paper over. Which is why Shapiro now spends his vacations singing with the Portland-based band Hink Martini. Though he'd performed all through high school and college, Shapiro had put music behind him. Then he did a story on the band. A few years later, in 2008, Hink Martini's leader heard Shapiro sing at a party and invited him to record this song for the band's new album. And though he's sung to huge audiences all over the world... When you say, oh, you're a serious journalist who sings with a band, there is a part of me that still cringes a little bit, and I want to say to myself, Ari, snap out of it. Don't cringe. Be proud.

Really? You're singing at the Hollywood Bowl. You've sung at Carnegie Hall. But Hink Martini is not Shapiro's only side hustle. He also performs a cabaret act with Tony Award winner Alan Cumming, who is known for his work in theater, film, and television.

The two had known each other for some time when Cumming pitched the idea to Shapiro. And I stopped, and I turned to him, and I said, Alan, don't joke about that, because I will absolutely take you up on it. And then the next morning, I had to sort of call him and say, I still mean it. I love you in the morning. I love you in the morning, yes.

I still respect you. They call the act Och and Oi. He's the Oi, which I get Oi, but what's Och?

Och is sort of a Scottish version of Oi. He's a Scot. He's a Jewish boy. I host a show on NPR.

I'm a top international movie star. What appeals to you about Ari as a person? He's so full of zest for life. He's just so interested and fascinated by things. And he's a geek. You know, he's a big geek. But he's kind of a cool geek, right? Yeah, he's a cool geek. So I think that whatever he does will be truly what he wants to do. And I think he's kind of just finding that out right now.

That's just one of many stories we're reporting about the effects of Russia's invasion. But right now, Ari Shapiro says he has just one goal for all the different aspects of his work. Whether I am singing to a live audience of thousands or broadcasting on the radio to somebody, you know, sitting alone in their driveway, I want to give somebody a reason to keep listening. Thank you for listening. Please join us when our trumpet sounds again next Sunday morning. We'll see you next time.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-19 14:05:47 / 2023-03-19 14:26:17 / 21

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