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February 2, 2020 2:03 pm

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February 2, 2020 2:03 pm

In an interview with Tracy Smith, "Jojo Rabbit" writer-director Taika Waititi talks about how his Oscar-nominated WWII satire about a 10-year-old Hitler Youth and his imaginary friend Adolf Hitler, interjects humor into a poignant story of Germany under fascism.

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Our CBS Sunday morning podcast is sponsored by Edward Jones. College tours with your oldest daughter. Updating the kitchen to the appropriate decade.

Retiring on the coast. Life is full of moments that matter, and Edward Jones helps you make the most of them. That's why every Edward Jones financial advisor works with you to build personalized strategies for now and down the road. So when your next moment arrives, big or small, you're ready for it. Life is for living.

Let's partner for all of it. Learn more at Good morning. I'm Jane Pauley, and this is Sunday morning.

Campaign 2020 ramps up to a new level tomorrow with the Iowa caucuses, and we'll have a report from Nicholas Thompson in the Hawkeye State in just a few minutes. Then it's on to a legend of popular music by the name of James Taylor. He's in a reflective mood these days, eager to share some of his memories and music with us. I've seen fire and I've seen rain. His voice is unmistakable.

Good night, you moonlight ladies. So is the way he picks that guitar. That's a song I'm proud of. I think it came out really well and I worked hard on it. How old were you?

Uh, I guess I was 20. A visit with James Taylor ahead on Sunday morning. When they open the envelope for Best Picture at the Oscars next weekend, the title of an unlikely comedy might just be inside.

Tracy Smith talks with its creator and star. Cigarette? Oh, no thanks.

I don't smoke. The Oscar-nominated film Jojo Rabbit is a comedy about a 10-year-old boy in Nazi Germany whose imaginary friend is Adolf Hitler. Comedy for me is a really important tool.

Dictators hate it. They hate being made fun of. Jojo Rabbit was directed by Taika Waititi and co-stars Scarlett Johansson. Later on Sunday morning, not one but two Oscar nominees and the story behind Jojo Rabbit.

It's rabbit ears. How appropriate is that? On the Super Bowl Sunday, Tony DeCopel has his eye on the prize. Don't you just love it?

Love what? Tiffany's. Tiffany is famous for their silver, but strangely not for their trophies.

It's not a marketing message. It's something that's deep, deep within our culture. Ahead on Sunday morning, what makes a trophy a winner? Holly Williams catches up with Homeland's Mandy Patinkin. Historian Douglas Brinkley has thoughts on the impeachment trial. And more, all coming up when our Sunday morning podcast continues. And so it begins. The Iowa caucuses are tomorrow. The opening round of campaign 2020. So just what are Democratic voters looking for in a presidential candidate? A question our contributor Nicholas Thompson, editor-in-chief of Wired magazine, has been asking. If you are the Democratic nominee, will you defeat Donald Trump? Yes, I will.

And I'll tell you exactly how. I see this as a unique moment in American history. I think our democracy is literally at stake here. We lost an election in 2016 and it was a heartbreaker, but we didn't lose hope. Most Americans are with us on the issues, and yet we've often struggled to win. Hi, everybody. The town halls are wrapping up.

How are you? And as Iowa Democrats head to the caucuses tomorrow, polls show a majority of Democrats have one thing on their minds, defeating President Trump in November. Even more important than agreement on the issues, we have an opportunity to send a message. But just how to defeat Trump is threatening to divide the party.

This president absolutely could win again if we don't have the right approach to challenge him and defeat him. The leading candidates have roughly split into two camps, and Iowa Democratic voters are split two between whether they want a candidate who promises fundamental change. I like more progressive thinking and I'm really torn on their approaches to health care. The one who will just bring politics back to normal. We really need to be able to balance everything in this country for everyone.

We can cancel all student debt in America. Progressive Bernie Sanders is slightly leading in Iowa, according to the latest CBS News poll, with fellow progressive Elizabeth Warren in fourth place. For the moderates, former Vice President Joe Biden and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg are clustered behind Sanders, with Senator Amy Klobuchar in fifth place.

No other candidate gets more than one percent. This election matters not for the next four years or the next eight years, but for generations to come. And what that does is it creates opportunity to lay out a different vision. I think eight years of Donald Trump will fundamentally change who we are as a country, how we're viewed. So what I always tell groups of Democrats in whatever state I'm in, we better not screw this up. So how do you think the Democrats are most likely to screw this up? First of all, if we put a candidate, whose views are so contrary to a lot of people in our country. The fundamental question for the Democratic Party, if the nominee is a moderate, will progressive voters get on board or sit the election out or vice versa?

If it's a progressive nominee, will moderates stay home? All the candidates are trying to appeal to the sense that the country wants to be united, but united for what? United only to defeat Donald Trump or united for a vision? Walid Shahid is the spokesperson for Justice Democrats, a group which helped elect New York progressive Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Congress.

It's all about motivation. And, you know, we've been told time and time again that the electable candidate is the one who can win and then the electable candidate, whether it's Al Gore, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, lose. That's the argument Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have been making. I believe that health care is a human right, not a privilege. Filled with details about Medicare for all and increased taxes on the wealthy and corporations. It's time for a wealth tax. There are a lot of Democrats who say, I just need the next president to calm things down, make life normal again.

What do you say to them? I think that we have to ask what was broken in this country that got Donald Trump elected to begin with. And I think anyone who is saying in this presidential primary, all we need is business as usual. We just need an America that was like it was before Donald Trump got elected is not going to be able to win this election and not going to be able to heal the problems in this country. Real change, which is what this campaign is about. If you want modest change, you want to tinker around the edges. There are other candidates you can vote for.

But consider when it comes to winning over swing voters who could vote either Democrat or Republican, Iowa Democrats put all the moderates chances at above 50 percent, while the progressives are below 50 percent. The song that I would urge everyone in politics to remember is a Rolling Stone song. You can't always get what you want. Ed Rendell is the former governor of Pennsylvania and former mayor of Philadelphia. He's endorsed Joe Biden, because what's the second line if you can't always get what you want?

If you try, sometimes you just might get what you need. That's it. We don't need the most progressive Democrat to be president. We need someone who is progressive compared to the crew that's in there now. So a funny thing happened as we asked the so-called moderates about their opponents. They all wanted to claim the progressive label. I'm trying to make sure everybody can get health care. Like Pete Buttigieg with his Medicare for All Who Want It plan, which leaves private health insurance in place. In the debate the other night here in Iowa, you said the boldness of a plan should not be measured by the number of people it alienates.

What did you mean there? Well, for example, if somebody characterizes my health care plan as small, I got to remind them that this would be the biggest thing we've done to American health care in a half century. So when somebody says it's not bold, it makes me wonder, are you defining boldness by something other than the impact it's going to have in our lives, not how much controversy can it generate online?

I think that maybe you should build a bridge instead of blowing one up. Amy Klobuchar is selling herself as a pragmatist. A lot of pundits break the race down as saying they're progressives and they're moderates. Do you feel like that's a fair way of putting it?

Do you think it's policy differences, temperament differences? I do not because I think that if you're a progressive, you have to make progress. And I am the one that, again, that brings the receipt versus some of my opponents up there on the stage. I'm the one that's passed over a hundred bills. We're going to need a president who can bring us together on day one.

Thank you, sir. Joe Biden is running hard on electability. But do you think that some of the other candidates who've taken more progressive stands, stands that may not be as appealing to liberal Republicans and independents, will be able to win in November? Look, one of the things that I reject the notion that they're the most progressive plans. I promise you, if my position on climate change, on health care, on immigration, on education, in fact, were to come to fruition, your son's going to be writing about that first, that Biden administration, one of the most progressive administrations in American history. Look, I think the first thing we have to do to win, and I'm not being a wise guy when I say this, you've got to be authentic. You've got to tell people the truth. And the idea that a couple of candidates say, well, I'm not going to say how much Medicare for all is going to cost because it's too complicated.

Say that again? Maybe, just maybe, after a hundred years of talk about the need for health care for all, maybe it's time to stand up to the health care industry and actually accomplish it. Here's how activist Walid Shaheed sees it. I think one of the biggest achievements of the progressive movement of the past 10 years is that whoever the nominee is will be the most progressive candidate ever nominated, perhaps since maybe LBJ or FDR, in terms of their dedication to, you know, record levels of government investment and promoting health care and jobs and tackling the climate crisis, things like that.

We have an opportunity to broaden this coalition to get as many people as possible in this effort. Look, you don't have to be a diehard Democrat to see what's wrong with the Trump presidency. I've always been labeled a liberal Democrat.

I refuse to accept the label that the proposals I have and some others have are not significantly progressive compared to where we are. I thought you were labeled the sensible center, if I remember correctly, from my childhood when you ran for office when I was in eighth grade. Well, I wish that were true if you notice they ran against me as Biden's a flaming liberal. Are you a flaming liberal?

No, I think I'm a traditional Democratic liberal. I think that I dream big. And I think part of dreaming big is actually getting things done. And I think that is where the citizens are right now.

I believe that the way we're going to win is to shake the table. It's to look at this differently. And it's to be absolutely clear about who we're fighting for and what we're fighting for. At the end of the day, Ed Rendell says it all comes down to one thing. How much does an wildly enthusiastic vote for president count? One vote. How much is a tepidly enthusiastic vote for president count? One vote. Come on out. You got to vote.

You got to vote. And now a page from our Sunday morning almanac. February 2nd, 1925, 95 years ago today, a day of life saving and dare we say dogged determination. For that was the day a dog sled team with Balto in the lead entered Nome, Alaska, with an emergency supply of diphtheria serum.

Child after child in the small and isolated town had fallen ill with the potentially deadly disease. With ice blocking the harbor and winter weather grounding planes, a more than 600 mile long dog sled relay was the only hope. On January 27th, the first team of dogs set off. While the rest of the nation held its breath. For six long days, a series of dog teams battled blinding blizzards and bitter sub-zero cold to get the serum through. Though more than 150 dogs in all took part in the record-breaking run, it was Balto who led the final 53 mile stretch and wound up getting most of the glory. He went on to tour the country, a bonafide celebrity. After Balto's death in 1933, his remains were preserved and put on display at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. And hundreds of miles to the east, a statue of Balto continues to welcome visitors to Nome. News to welcome visitors to New York Central Park.

Snow or shine. Could a comedy, yes a comedy, about Hitler and the Nazis possibly win Best Picture honors when they open the envelope at the Oscars next Sunday? It won last night at the Writers Guild Awards.

With Tracy Smith, we explore the world of Jojo Rabbit. This is the neighborhood where you lived before you hit the big time? Yeah, yeah before I hit the big time. Yeah, just like sleeping on friends couches.

I was couch surfing, yeah. And that all changed when I got Thor. In 2017, Taika Waititi directed Thor Ragnarok, a blockbuster that made 800 million dollars. With that kind of success, Waititi's next move could be whatever he wanted. And action.

And he wanted something different. Why did you decide to take the story of a young woman hiding from the Nazis and put slapstick comedy into it? Well, I don't know how to do a drama. So Waititi wrote and directed Jojo Rabbit, the story of Jojo, a 10-year-old boy in the Hitler Youth, and Elsa, a young Jewish girl hiding in his attic. And yes, it's a comedy. You know what I am? So.

Yeah, talk to me. There's a little Chaplin there, that makes sense, right? Waititi does seem a bit like Charlie Chaplin, another writer-director who poked fun at the very unfunny subject of Nazi Germany. Like Chaplin.

Poor Jojo. What's wrong, little man? Hi, Adolf. Waititi, and that is Waititi under all that makeup, plays the great dictator himself.

People used to say a lot of nasty things about me. Oh, this guy's a lunatic. Oh, look at that psycho.

He's going to get us all killed. I mean, you wove this comedy into the serious story for a reason. Comedy for me is a really important tool.

And it really irks me that it gets overlooked so often as a meaningful form of art. Because throughout history, comedy has been, I think, the strongest weapon in commenting on society and issues and dictators. Kings, royalty, they hate being made fun of.

You know, when people make jokes about them, drive some bananas. Adolf is young Jojo's imaginary friend. Who are you talking to? Nobody. And he's a 10-year-old's vision of the Fuhrer, an awkward, socially inept Hitler.

Is he doing it? Oh, no thanks. I don't smoke. If you've been wondering about his accent, the 44-year-old Waititi is from New Zealand, a self-described Polynesian Jew. First of all, you're not exactly the obvious choice to play Adolf Hitler. No. No, there are definitely whiter people who could have done it. I think the first time that I saw Taika in his Hitler costume, it was, you know, jarring. Scarlett Johansson plays Rosie, Jojo's mother. Love is the strongest thing in the world.

I think you'll find that metal is the strongest thing in the world, followed closely by dynamite and then muscles. How did the two of you end up working on this project together? How did we end up working together? How did you get wind of the two of you? Chris told you about it, didn't he? Chris would be Chris Hemsworth, Thor himself, and Scarlett's co-star in the Avengers movies.

Chris asked me if I'd read his script for Jojo Rabbit, and he was just saying it was one of the best scripts he's ever read, and... I'm right here. And there he is. Awkwardly.

Awkwardly, as if I'm not listening at all. That's a nice light over there, isn't it? Like Waititi himself, the script was big on laughs, but also had heart. I just fell in love with the character of Rosie so much.

It's very rare to feel that way when you're reading something that you, you know, you fall in love with a character like that just off the page. Prepare to leave the house. Is it dangerous? Extremely. You have ancestors who died in the Holocaust. Did you have any reservations about doing a comedy about Nazis? I never thought about that the film as such. You know, I think it's really a very triumphant story and such a valentine for single moms and independent women.

Johansson received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her performance, Waititi a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination, and Jojo Rabbit received four more nominations, including Best Picture. Still, not everyone is comfortable with the film. What do you say to people who just flat out say, what's so funny about Nazi Germany?

Uh, I say, have you looked at the uniforms? Have you observed how ridiculous they were? Sure, they had a lot of power and they were brutal and calculating and responsible for millions of deaths, but one way of taking power away from those people is to laugh at them and to make a mockery of them. This is what satire is.

Yeah. I'd be worried if no one criticized my mom. If everybody liked it. If everyone liked it, then I'd know I'd made a terrible, safe, mediocre film. There are some surprises in Jojo Rabbit we won't spoil for you. Nothing makes sense anymore.

Yeah, I know it's definitely not a good time to be a Nazi. And poignant moments you won't see coming. What's the first thing you'll do when you're free?

Dance. There was also a big surprise Taika got from one of his comedy heroes. Mel Brooks. Mel Brooks? Mel Brooks loved the film, told us the film's important and everyone needs to see it.

That'd be the Mel Brooks who directed his own Hitler comedy, The Producers. I said, if this whole awards season thing goes down the drain, this is our Oscar. The fact that this guy said this for us, because it's a big thing to get recognized by one of the greats and recognized for what we're trying to do. And the film received some more recognition from another unexpected source. The Shoah Foundation in conjunction with USC is teaching the film.

Yeah, they're using it as part of their education tools now. It's amazing. It feels like the story and the film is bigger than us now. Before Jojo and Thor, Waititi had smaller success with films like Hunt for the Wilderpeople and the vampire roommate mockumentary, What We Do in the Shadows. Surprisingly, he only began to make films in his 30s. I did a short film called Two Cars One Night and that kind of changed everything because they got nominated for an Oscar in 2005. The first film you did got nominated for an Oscar? Yeah.

And now he's up for more. It's an honor for sure, but of course Taika Waititi will play it for laughs. I'm not going to win anything. Stupid awards. You don't think you're going to win anything? Nobody even wants any awards.

That's not here or around town. Nobody wants them anywhere. Awards are so dumb.

They're not even important. Only losers get... Now streaming. I used to believe in progress. That no matter what we do, we just end up back at the start.

We're in crazy time. The Paramount Plus original series, The Good Fight, returns for its final season. The point isn't the end. The point is winning.

Yes! There are bad people in the world. The best way to protect the good people is to convict the bad. So here's to us. The Good Fight, the final season.

Now streaming exclusively on Paramount Plus. The winning team in tonight's Super Bowl wins adulation, a parade, and of course, a trophy. Tony DeCopel of CBS This Morning has his eye on the prize.

Only one name stands for excellence in no fewer than eight different sports. From the courts of the U.S. Open. The 10 million dollar first place prize. To the green lawns of the PGA. Don't walk off of it. To the track at Belmont.

And the fields of the World Series. And that name is Tiffany. Yes, that Tiffany. The one founded in 1837 by Charles Lewis Tiffany. The one that so thrilled Audrey Hepburn's Holly Go Lightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's.

I'm crazy about Tiffany's. That Tiffany also makes perhaps the most famous trophy in all of American sport. The NFL's Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Given each year to the winner of the Super Bowl. To make the life sized ball that crowns the 22 inch trophy. Master spinner Corpus Christo Vasquez begins by heating sterling silver to more than a thousand degrees Fahrenheit.

So it's soft enough to shake. Then he spins and spins and spins. Silver Smith Rachel Arday hammers out delicate designs in the ball seams. A technique called chasing. Chasing is a very traditional form of metal smithing. You have a tool in one hand and a hammer in the other. And you're using the hammer to move the metal.

I had learned chasing in school but I had never chased anything as big as this before. Meanwhile Master Silver Smith Steve Light cuts and solders the base together. And bathes it in acid to clean the silver for polishing and final assembly. It's also his job to host the department's annual Super Bowl party. My co-workers and I get together and we watch the Super Bowl.

Well we don't really watch the Super Bowl. We make all these trophies but none of us are really sports fans. But at the end of the game when they're presenting the trophies that's when we're glued to the TV. And those trophies do break on occasion at least in Boston. In 2018 when the Red Sox paraded their trophy through the city someone pelted it with a can of beer. And when the Patriots threw out the opening pitch at Fenway Park last spring Rob Gronkowski used the Lombardi Trophy for batting practice.

That was one of those things where we were like oh my gosh and then I was like I can fix that. But before the shiny seven pound hunk of metal that the Tiffany team has spent months soldering, bathing and buffing is presented to a winning team it must first pass through the steady hands of Harold Gaynor. How do you get the lines so straight? With a ruler.

Gaynor has personally engraved 15 of the Super Bowl trophies. It's a challenge yes. What makes it more complicated when it's curved? Because you have to adjust the height of your tool when you're cutting it's not like a straight cut. Gaynor can engrave trophies anywhere but often has to engrave the winning team's names at the last moment in the field when the pressure is on.

God forbid your point breaks or something happens to you don't have no backup to do any repair work close the curtain it's time to go home but it's all kidding aside though you have to have confidence to do something like that I feel. Confidence is not something Gaynor lacks not after 58 years at Tiffany. In fact he remembers when the Vince Lombardi Trophy was first created. When you first saw it did you know right away that it was something special?

I did because everybody was talking about it in the shop. It was back in 1966 when according to legend NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle and Oscar Rydner head of design at Tiffany sketched the trophy on a cocktail napkin. It shows how spontaneous and creative these projects can be. They're really like a piece of sculpture there's no guidebook on how to create a successful trophy so it's quite difficult.

Reed Krakow is Tiffany's creative director. What makes a good trophy? They're really pieces of sculpture they have to be representative of the sport itself they have to be iconic and memorable and they have to somehow capture the spirit of that game whichever one it is so it's quite difficult. The Lombardi design proved so popular that soon after major league baseball created a trophy of its own for the 1967 world series.

Today Tiffany makes that one too. This is heavy. Oh god this is really heavy.

All 30 pounds of it but as I learned recently at Tiffany's in New York merely lifting a trophy does not make a champion. You get insurance on this thing? I would imagine so.

I hope so. You've got a friend was a huge hit nearly half a century ago. A song that helped make a legend of James Taylor. Although he's still a star on the concert circuit he's most at home with living the country life as I saw firsthand.

You know I don't sit still very well and so I need to have something to occupy me particularly if I'm trying to concentrate on getting some work done or something. Before James Taylor can kindle the flames of his imagination done that before I guess he likes to split kindling for his own little fire in the wood stove in his studio in Lenox Massachusetts. Where'd you learn to do that? Well I too grew up in the sticks so didn't you have fires as kids? James I had a suburban childhood we were girls we didn't start fires. Right of course. This is cheating of course.

A little bit. At 71 James Taylor is as busy as ever. If we're recording we we sort of set up in this space behind us. Whether it's recording and producing his own albums. You can see our list of songs that are on the show.

You can see the music that's on the show, the music that's on the show, the music that's on the show, the our list of songs that are on Mac and Standard's album. There was something about the actual thing of having an echo chamber. Or building his own echo chamber. Here's the key I think. From an old chipping container. Oklahoma where the hello. Another project a deep dive into the well springs of his own creativity. Before long my folks bought a piece of land down on Morgan Creek. An audio only memoir out this week on audible. About his early days and growing up in North Carolina with his parents and four siblings. We were kind of isolated out there. As kids we seemed to have hours of empty time. A fantasy could last all afternoon. I don't think I would have become a songwriter if I had not had all of those free days to let my imagination roam.

James Taylor was 19 when he wrote Carolina in my mind. During a trip to Spain where he met a girl named Karen. As the sun came up the first verse came to me. Karen she's a silver sun walk away and watch it shine.

Watch her watch the morning come. Did you say Karen do you have a pencil? Yeah right.

I may I may well have. The memoir is called Break Shot. Well a lot of pool ball games start with a break shot.

You just smack that triangle of balls and they go off in all different directions. But what that refers to is is that there was a moment in in my life and my family's life and in the popular culture and we just jumped the tracks you know all at once. What happened?

You know my father's alcoholism I think reached a peak and that happened you know that led to my my folks breaking up and I was a I think a very sensitive kid and was away at school deeply unhappy and so I left school and went to a psychiatric hospital in Boston called McLean and spent 10 months there. A turbulent time for a very young James Taylor but a remarkably creative one. Pain and longing finding its way into his songs.

Just yesterday morning they let me know you were gone. Before he was 22 he'd been signed by the Beatles for their brand new label Apple. I've seen fire and I've seen rain. And his second album with songs like Fire and Rain.

There is a young cowboy who lives on the rain. And Sweet Baby James landed him on the cover of Time magazine. That's a song I'm proud of but I think it came out really well and I worked hard on it. How old were you?

I guess I was 20. Both verses were written behind the wheel of an automobile in the first case driving south to see my family in North Carolina and to see my my older brother's baby named after me a little baby James. And then the second half was written driving on the turnpike from Stockbridge to Boston. There's the matter of the drug thing.

Sure. And I'm a little concerned that you were on the road driving to North Carolina. You probably shouldn't have been driving.

No that's probably true. I mean I probably shouldn't have been I probably shouldn't have been driving. Well but you survived it. You survived it all.

I never saw certainly being this age and and still doing what I do at this age. That's remarkable too. Life these days is pretty sweet for James Taylor. His two oldest children Ben and Sally are established musicians.

His twins Rufus and Henry who were six when Sunday morning last visited with the Taylors are now applying to college and he's been happily married to Kim for nearly two decades. Kim makes a cameo appearance on another musical venture in progress. I corralled her into singing on surrey with a fringe on top. She sings a little. Does she sing that are they really white? Yes that's right. That's her? Yeah that's Kim. She's really good. She is really good.

She did that just knocked it off in an afternoon too. The new album is called American Standard, a collection of songs he grew up with and still loves. These are songs I've known since I was a kid all of them. I used to listen to my parents record collection just endlessly. You'd lie on the floor on it usually on a carpet look out the window and you'd look at the album cover and read about you know read it through a couple of times but then just gaze at the art and you know just listen to the music.

And that's how it gets imprinted it's permanently engraved. Really is. And now his songs are permanently engraved on our imaginations. This love of stuff has got me in a fall. This spring he'll be out on tour again a troubadour who still loves what he does. It's so easy to fall in love with you.

It's undeniably revitalizing to have the audience react to a song that they came to hear you know so some people love it and other people and other people are sort of worn down for it but for me it feeds me. It happened this past week. Farewells to two very different giants of television. Fred Silverman died Thursday of cancer in New York. Silverman was the only person to head programming at all three broadcast networks. He boosted CVS to first place in the ratings in the early 1970s. He later accomplished a similar ratings feat at ABC. Though Silverman's magic touch failed him at NBC he went on to find success as an independent producer.

Fred Silverman was 82. And there was a memorial service this past Friday for veteran journalist Jim Lehrer. The former host of the PBS News Hour is remembered as a calm and steady authority. I am not in the entertainment business. Jim Lehrer was a frequent moderator of presidential debates operating each time on the theory that it was the candidates not Jim Lehrer who should be the focus of the event.

Jim Lehrer was 85. Mandy Patinkin plays a leading role in the television series Homeland which is about to return for its final season on Showtime, a ViacomCBS channel. A pro in every sense, Patinkin rarely holds back as you can see in our Sunday profile from Holly Williams. These are my friends. I work with them.

I don't know their names. Mandy Patinkin is in his element. On the set of Homeland where for seven seasons he's played Saul Berenson, CIA agent and calm in the eye of the storm. I'm just making sure we don't get hit again. We joined Patinkin on location for the eighth and final season of the hit series. In between takes the 67-year-old actor walked us through this recreated world of espionage and politics.

His life right now he told us is about as good as it gets. I'm not crazy about the Achilles and the knees you know the hair falling out and all the rest of the fun but I love getting older. The wisdom.

The wisdom and the calming. I once watched an interview that I did with my wife and I went oh my god I'm unbearable to listen to. The intensity is just like why do they even let me on these shows and and so I've tried to temper it but it's hopeless as you've seen. No don't. I mean the intensity is wonderful. I'm just who I am. I've lost the one girl that I've ever loved that I'll ever love.

You want to sit here and argue? In the industry the Chicago native is known for his towering talent and passionate performances. He won a Tony Award for his performance in Evita on Broadway in 1979 and stole the show in one of his first movie roles. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father.

Prepare to die. Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride. A gifted singer he's won a Grammy and is currently wrapping up a 30 city tour. But Patinkin has also earned a reputation as hard to handle.

I will not back off. Cast in the series Chicago Hope he abruptly left his Emmy-winning role midway through its second season. And on the show Criminal Minds he broke his contract because he said its violent content was destructive to his soul. You've been quite open about being very difficult to work with when you were younger. Not anymore but I was.

Not many people would cop to that but you've been very candid about it. The greatest moments of your life are the most difficult ones. That's the only time you learn. You know you're gonna bang your head against the wall.

That's a gift to you. So when was that moment for you? Wait a couple minutes it'll happen again.

It never will end. Was there a big moment? There was.

Let me think. And because he's Mandy Patinkin we gave him as long as he needed. As the cameras rolled and we waited. A rare moment of this exuberant actor being very quiet.

I don't know. I'm sorry to say that there were many moments in my past. Moments of struggle. Moments of panic.

Moments of fear. And at one moment eight years ago this show Homeland came. At a time after I'd left the business essentially. Had you left it? Almost. I mean I walked away from a show and broke a contract.

You don't do that. But the producers of Homeland decided Patinkin was worth taking a gamble on and it's paid off with a series that's captured the zeitgeist. The show has also been criticized for its portrayal of Muslims.

These are some of the most beautiful people in the world. Patinkin is sensitive to it and perhaps especially so this season which is being filmed in Morocco a majority Islamic country. People of the Islam faith have felt concerned about being presented as a bad guy.

How would I feel if every bad guy was a Jew? Not good. But this show has been criticized for that.

Yes it has. You know for portraying Muslims as somehow inherently violent. It's a concern of mine too and all the writers we have tried to address it.

You've tried to self-correct. We tried well it's a tricky business. The issues today involve individuals you know that are of the Muslim faith. Some of those people are also considered terrorists.

I'm very concerned about anybody whose feelings are hurt and I apologize to them. It is not our intention. Homeland also portrays the United States with a critical eye. America despises what it cannot understand. This show shows America in a very imperfect light. But Saul still believes that America is worth fighting for. What is it about America that he thinks is worth fighting for? The possibility that they will open their arms of welcome to people all over the world that need a new beginning. Patinkin's grandparents needed a new beginning when they arrived in the US in the early 1900s. They were Jewish refugees and he worries that if they'd arrived today they might not be let in.

Grandpa Max used to say in Yiddish which means the wheel is always turning so if you're on top you will be on the bottom maybe one day back on top again. You're a human being and human beings make mistakes and one of them right now is to forget human kindness toward those that are desperately seeking refuge medical care kindness. Mandy Patinkin feels so passionately about refugees that he signed up as an ambassador for the International Rescue Committee an organization that helps people displaced by humanitarian crises and that's how we ended up in Jordan this past summer visiting Syrian refugees with him and his wife actor and writer Catherine Grody. If you're wondering how I got to be whatever is okay about me this is it. She's everything that's okay about you. Everything that's okay nothing that's not okay. And what is your name?

My name is Rian. The couple spent three days visiting with Syrian women and children mostly in dusty overcrowded refugee camps. The International Rescue Committee is trying to help them build new lives with health centres, schools for children and training programs for women. Have you seen him on television?

Patinkin started this work around five years ago when hundreds of thousands of refugees flooded into Europe. How are you? My heart broke. I remember I called Kath and I said those are our families. That's a grandma Marsha and grandpa Max and grandma Celia and I just want to be with those people and walk with them and give them water and hold their hands. I just want to be with them and give them water and hold their hands.

I just want to be with them and give them and I just want to be with those people and walk with them and give them water and hold their hands. When he went to the Syrian border to look across the frontier at a country torn apart by a bloody civil war his feelings boiled over. Right over there bombs explode and lives are lost and people are displaced and homeless and begging countries to give them a new beginning.

Why is that the way this world is going? His role as an ambassador is intense and the role of Saul he says has taken him to some dark places in recent years. When he's finished with Homeland he wouldn't mind doing some comedy. When this is over if I act again it will be something funny. Remember you can reach me at 4-1-2-3-7-9-6-0-4-4.

Whatever he does he'll do it Mandy Patinkin style all passion no pretense. Do you ever switch off? When I'm finished it's like somebody pulls a light plug out of the socket. It's just it goes from 100 miles an hour to minus zero. The batteries run out.

It's absolutely out I gotta lay down or I'm gonna pass out. It does look like it's exhausting to be Mandy Patinkin. It is you got that right. The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump is likely to conclude on Wednesday which prompts these thoughts from historian Douglas Brinkley. Our democracy has always been tenuous but on most days and nights I can feel the beauty and the power and the promise of the United States the way the founders imagined it. But with the impending acquittal of Donald Trump in a Senate impeachment trial one which disallowed witnesses and documents the motion is not agreed to my heart is sunk. The day of John F Kennedy's profiles and courage at least temporarily is over. The governing ethos of 2020 which the Republican-lend Senate made good on this past week is Richard Nixon's 1977 assertion to British journalist David Frost.

Well when the president does it that means that it is not illegal. How did our nation get to such a place that many citizens think our president is a king instead of a servant to the Constitution? I blamed Congress on both sides of the aisle for placing the long-term integrity of the legislative branch as a lower priority than the fast lane windfall of political party self-interest. Bipartisanism has for the time being gone the way of the dodo.

Extinct. With the White House perfecting the dark art of stonewalling and Democrats unable to accept Donald Trump as a real president America sits at the crossroads of utter governmental dysfunction. I have to take some responsibility for the mess in Washington myself.

Today for example I am much more interested in watching the Chiefs 49ers game in the Super Bowl than micro following the roller coaster ride of impeachment politics. Both political parties today seem more interested in fighting each other than fighting for the American people. I worry that the crack on the Liberty Bell no longer represents American perseverance but it's instead an omen that our union is falling apart. However the good news is the roots of our democratic traditions are deep and we will survive this period of bad faith government. This is the proper time for all of us to recall the harrowing days of Pearl Harbor and McCarthyism, the Vietnam War and Watergate and realize in the end the United States has a deep and rich history of prevailing in times of adversity.

I'm Jane Pauley. Thank you for listening and please join us again next Sunday morning. fun inspiring and informative stories that exist out in the world because well I need it and maybe you do too from the newest interior design trend Barbie Corps to the right and wrong way to wash your armpits. Also we're gonna get into things that you just kind of won't believe and we're not able to do in daytime television so watch out. Listen to Drew's News wherever you get your podcasts. It's your good news on the go.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-28 07:43:13 / 2023-01-28 08:00:56 / 18

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