I'm David Pogue from CBS Sunday Morning. The world may have problems, but it's also got geniuses working to solve those problems through science and technology. In the new season of my podcast, Unsung Science, you'll hear the origin stories of their greatest advances. Season two of Unsung Science presented by CBS Sunday Morning and Simon & Schuster.
Listen to Unsung Science on Amazon Music or wherever you get your podcasts. Good morning. I'm Jane Pauley and this is Sunday Morning. They're best friends in real life starring in a new movie about best friends who have a serious falling out. Tracy Smith is in conversation with actors Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleason. And if I said something to you, maybe I said something when I was drunk and I'd forgotten it, but I don't think I said something when I was drunk and I'd forgotten it. But if I did then tell me what it was and I'll say sorry for that too, Colin. In The Banshees of Inis Sharon, Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleason couldn't be further apart. I just don't like you no more. But in real life, they couldn't be closer. What about you clicked? He's somebody who considers people to an extraordinary degree.
Only because I'm one of them. There's no escaping that. From The Banshees to the Oscars later on Sunday Morning. Nearly 80 years ago, President Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin met in Iran's capital city Tehran for the historic summit where they committed to the invasion of Normandy. Jim Axelrod will explain how that meeting could have taken a decidedly different and deadly turn. In November 1943 in Tehran, FDR, Stalin and Churchill held their first ever face-to-face meeting.
It could have been their last. How close did the Nazis come to assassinating the big three? Secret Service agent Mike Riley. He's the guy who looked the Russians in the eyes, heard the evidence and thought FDR and Stalin and Churchill, their lives are in danger. A little known Nazi conspiracy ahead on Sunday Morning. Ben Mankiewicz will sit down with prolific character actor James Cromwell. Mo Rocca recalls the extraordinary tale of the American fifth grader who took the Soviet Union by storm and more on this final Sunday Morning of the month, January 29th, 2023. And we'll be right back.
16 pounds, five, two ounces. That's James Cromwell, Oscar nominated for his breakout role in the 1995 movie, Babe. Ben Mankiewicz talks with him about a life in acting and activism. At first glance, James Cromwell appears restful at his upstate New York home.
It's a great place to come as a retreat. Closer investigation reveals that he's simultaneously restless. There comes a point in your life when they say, shouldn't he hang it up? Do you think about that? No.
And why should he? The 83 year old actor is reaching new heights, familiar ground for Cromwell. How tall are you? 6'6".
I thought you were taller. For half a century, Cromwell, who's Jamie to his friends, has been doing what great character actors have done for a hundred years, making whatever they're in just a little better. You don't want it, Edmund, and you can't have it. In the last 30 years, Cromwell has played memorable roles in L.A. Confidential, The Green Mile, The Queen, and now Succession on HBO Max. No music, no chatter.
Keep your mind on the driving. All coming after his Oscar nominated performance as Farmer Hoggett in Babe. That'll do, pig. As considerable range as an actor fits for someone who began as a prince of Hollywood. His mother, actress Kay Johnson, starred opposite Bette Davis in Of Human Bondage, directed by his father, John Cromwell, a prolific Hollywood filmmaker during the 30s and 40s. But Jamie's relationship with his dad was strained at best. My father said very few things to me, most of them awful. He said something to me when I left college. I told him I was going in the theater, and he looked at me and said, well, don't be an actor.
You're too damn tall. In 1951, John Cromwell's directing career ended abruptly. He was blacklisted, falsely labeled a communist. He could have saved his career by naming names to the House Committee on Un-American Activities. He refused and paid a steep price. A lot of his friends cut him. They wouldn't talk to him.
They would turn their back on him. Mercifully, none of the pain suffered by the father kept the son from pursuing his dream. As soon as he comes to pick up the secret formula for Kellogg's sugar frosted flakes. At first, success came quickly. I went out for my first TV series, which is All in the Family. I got that.
Look at that, running a 50-yard line, close enough to hit a bones break. I went out for my first movie, which was Murder by Death. I got that one. So I thought, oh, geez, the piece of cake. Why does everybody say how hard it is?
That's right. Then I learned. What did you learn?
Not much patience, just to roll with the punches. The punches kept coming, including this body blow from director Blake Edwards. I went for an audition for Ten, and I came in and Blake was not feeling well.
He looked at me, and he said, what am I supposed to do with that? Eventually, directors figured out what Cromwell could do. Getting good parts got easier for Cromwell in 1995, after landing an allegedly leading role.
Cromwell had less than 20 lines. The real star of the film was a pig. I got the role, and I was not sure about it. So I said to my friend, should I go on this?
He said, why not? He said, listen, you go on it, and if the thing fails, it's the pig's fault. It's the pig's movie. It didn't fail.
Babe earned more than $250 million at the box office. Cromwell took to the role like a pagan show business, and 90 minutes in, Cromwell delivers a last line embedded in modern movie lore. That'll do, pig. That'll do.
Yeah, it's sweet. Did you have to shoot the line a lot? Once. Once, that's it. Once. Once. I opened the gate.
The sheep walked in. They erupted. So the difficult shot was done. Put the camera low. I said, where do you want me to take this to?
I knew what I wanted to do. So James Cromwell looked into the camera lens to shoot the last line of Babe, but the face he saw reflected back wasn't his own. And I looked down, and I didn't see me.
I saw my father with the makeup, which is aged slightly, and the sideburns. And although I said, that'll do, pig, that'll do, what I heard was, that'll do, Jamie, that'll do. I got an acknowledgement from my father through my own performance for finally, finally showing up, ready to work, giving, not in panic, not in anger, just be there.
Sounds like that was a fairly emotional moment for you. To hear him acknowledge me, to be acknowledged by yourself, to be acknowledged by, we call it talent, by what you're doing. He did it. He did good work. It's good work.
Along with acting, Cromwell is known for his activism. He's been arrested a few times for protesting against an animal testing lab, a power plant, and most recently, he glued one of his hands to a counter at a Starbucks in Manhattan. He wants the chain to stop charging higher prices for non-dairy milk products. When will you stop charging us more for vegan milk? When will you stop raking in huge profits? Are you up on any charges? No, not this time. They said, the cops said, as long as you unglue yourself from the counter, we won't charge you anything. If you insist on staying there, we are going to charge you, and then it'll be much more difficult.
Now in his ninth decade, Cromwell is doing his best work, and he's not close to being done. You still love acting. That's fun. When it works, it's fun.
I try to make it as difficult as possible, but when it works, it's a lot of fun. Cal Fire's coming to you. Sunday on CBS. This isn't a uniform. Use it to understand it.
After the AFC Championship Game. We love this job, love this life. Don't miss a special new episode of Fire Country. Your fearlessness, your leadership.
I can't teach that. TV's top new show. This station was the last place that I ever wanted to be.
I'm finding something to live for. Fire Country. After the AFC Championship Game.
New episode Sunday on CBS, and streaming on Paramount Plus. This is The Takeout with Major Garrett. Democratic Governor Jared Polis of Colorado is our special guest. You sent migrants to New York City, did you not?
There were people passing through Denver that got trapped here because of the unprecedented winter storms. We helped them reach their final destination. So that's different than what Governor Abbott and Governor DeSantis did.
Very different than somehow using migrants as a prop and sending them to a place where they don't want to go as a stunt. For more from this week's conversation, follow The Takeout with Major Garrett on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. It was a time when nuclear tensions were high and a fifth grade girl wrote the leader of the then Soviet Union with a simple, if profound question. Moraka remembers America's littlest diplomat. The Soviet Union does believe that a nuclear war is possible, is survivable, and is winnable by them. In 1982, at one of the frostiest moments in the Cold War, a fifth grade girl from Manchester, Maine named Samantha Smith wrote a letter to Soviet Union leader Yuri Andropov. I have been worrying about Russia and the United States getting into a nuclear war, she wrote. Are you going to vote to have a war or not?
If you aren't, please tell me how you are going to help not have a war. P.S., please write back. It's a little bit hard to understand on the news because they put it in grown up words. When Andropov did write back, it made national news. The letter postmarked Moscow arrived today by registered mail.
It was sent to Manchester, Maine. Samantha went on Nightline with Ted Koppel. Samantha, you've got quite a pen pal there. What did he write to you? Well, I asked him, why do you want to conquer the world?
And he wrote back to me and said that he wanted nothing of the kind. In his letter, Andropov invited Samantha and her parents to visit the Soviet Union. The Soviets continued treating 11 year old Samantha Smith almost as if she were a visiting head of state. During their two week trip, Samantha became one of the Cold War's most improbable peace ambassadors. Will you please tell me the feeling of a girl whose dream is coming true?
What do you think now? I can't explain it. It's just terrific. In the Soviet Union, Samantha Smith was a superstar. She also had a camera. She had a Polaroid camera.
Lori LaBarre is curator of the Maine State Museum in Augusta. There's a couple of pictures here where you just see there's photographers everywhere. And here she is taking a picture of all the people taking pictures at her. Why the Kremlin invited Samantha to the USSR was a matter of speculation. That was one of the concerns that people had in the United States about her going was that she was going to be a tool of the Soviets, a propaganda dupe.
Yes, exactly. I don't think anybody was prepared for Samantha, frankly, because she was guileless. I think that just enchanted everybody. At Camp Artec in Crimea, Samantha was welcomed by thousands of Soviet kids, few of whom had ever even met an American. In a camp tradition, she threw a bottle with a message of peace into the Black Sea. There's a wonderful cartoon that Don Wright did. And so here are the warheads and there's this girl just lightly leaping from warhead to warhead, which I thought was a fabulous encapsulation of her whole trip.
Back home in Maine, Samantha was greeted with a parade. She put us on the map nationwide. You know what bolshoi means really? Great.
And charmed Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show. Yeah, great or big. That's all it means. You didn't know any Russian. No, I didn't. I knew what it meant. This is a picture of her at this school.
It kind of looks the same, doesn't it? I think we still have some of these desks, don't you? Today at Manchester Elementary, the very school Samantha went to 40 years ago, students learn about her peace mission. She communicated with love and kindness and she made the world a better place.
Makes me feel like even kids at my age can make a big world change. Samantha, I call her Sam. Jessica Dwyer was Samantha's classmate and a close friend.
I think she still wanted to be a normal 11-year-old girl. Dwyer says Samantha never bragged about what a big deal she'd become, except for that time she made a guest appearance on the sitcom Charles in Charge. Hey, hey, hey. Hi, Charles. So she did share that because of Scott Baio.
Of course. I mean, my only request was that she bring back his autograph and she did. Sadly, Samantha Smith's life ended only two years after her trip to the Soviet Union. In 1985, heading home from filming a TV series, the small plane she and her father were in crashed, killing all eight on board. She was 13 years old. How did your 13-year-old brain even process that she had died? It took me a long time to accept it. And I'll share this.
I haven't shared it with very many people. I always thought that she and her dad escaped the plane and were in a tree living this great life. And I think that was just my way of keeping her memory alive.
Today, there's a statue of Samantha in Augusta, a monument to the girl nicknamed America's littlest diplomat. We turn now to contributor Charles Blow of the New York Times with thoughts on the horrific beating death of motorist Tyreen Nichols by Memphis police officers. How many black death spectacles have we witnessed? How many times and in how many ways have we seen police officers taking black life in this country?
I've lost count. The sheer volume is depressing and desensitizing. The killing of Tyreen Nichols now adds another sad and tragic data point to that long line of tragedies. The televised countdown to the release of the video that captured his demise further made sport of his death and devalued his life. It furthered the theater making of black people's pain, and it underscores America's perverse abandonment of the commitment to change it made after the death of George Floyd and the historic summer of protests that it begat. Tyreen Nichols' death is America's shame because America came to a full understanding that police violence was a problem, and then it simply walked away before the work was done and the war was won.
COVID restrictions eased and people snapped back to a normal that was numbed and nonchalant. Poll chasing politicians saw the wind shifting and they shifted with them. People ran from the possibility of being labeled woke or sympathetic to the increasingly unpopular slogan, defund the police. For black people, it reinforced the ideas that interest in the integrity of their personhood and its safety has simply been the fashion of the moment, that allyship could be transitory and transactional, and that politicians' commitments were not rooted in core values. Tyreen Nichols' death demonstrates that the killings of black people continue unabated.
What has receded is America's commitment to do anything about it. You do like me. I don't. You liked me yesterday.
Oh, did I, yeah. On screen, they're two friends whose relationship has come undone. In real life, they truly are the best of friends, both Oscar-nominated for the film, The Banshees of In a Sharon. Tracey Smith is in conversation with Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleason. To put it simply, Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleason are peas in a Hollywood pod. They're both accomplished actors, both Irish, and both are part of a great on-screen duo that falls somewhere between Butch and Sundance and Thelma and Louise. Both men were at the Golden Globes earlier this month, where Farrell won best actor for a musical or comedy. Brendan, I just, I love you so much. I love you so much.
And after the ceremony, both were down with COVID. So how does it feel to be out of isolation? Oh, straight in.
Jesus, that was a rough week. It feels fantastic. Yeah. This was their first TV interview since coming out of quarantine. Yeah, no, it's really nice to get out and about. I went for a swim this morning, which was just the most soul-liberating experience. Oh, that's great.
It's been a busy season for the pair since their latest film became a worldwide sensation. Colin, Sonny, Larry. Didn't you and he used to be the best of friends? We're still the best of friends. No, you're not.
Who says we're not? I said somewhere else. The Banshees of Inishearen is about two men on a windswept Irish island whose friendship is coming apart. If I've done something to you, just tell me what I've done to you. When you didn't do anything to me, I just don't like you no more. You liked me yesterday. Their lives are deeply intertwined, but Banshees is not a buddy film any more than Titanic is about a pleasure cruise.
Their breakup is both hilarious and heart-rending. Well, anyways, I just wanted to say I was sorry. We'll leave it at that. Why can't you just leave me alone, Baric? Huh? I've already told you, haven't I? Yeah, I know. I was just- I mean, why can't you just leave me alone?
I'm curious with the process. Did you have a discussion about maybe we shouldn't speak to each other throughout this film? We touched on it. I was a bit nervous about that. Why? Just because I love the man and I was nervous about, jeez, are we going to have to give each other space?
And then when we saw each other for the first time in a couple of years to start this, we just said, do you need a bit of- are we going to do a little, you know, and we looked at each other and we went, ah, no, don't need it. For two weeks in Bruges, in a room like this, with you? No way. Beryl and Gleason have what looks like an easy chemistry that comes across on screen. If I grow up on a farm, Bruges might impress me, but I didn't, so it doesn't. Their first project together as hitmen in 2008's In Bruges got rave reviews.
Of course, they're a lot more than a duo. The 67-year-old Gleason, a former teacher who only started acting full time at age 34, has played roles as diverse as Mad-Eye Moody in the Harry Potter series, a cook in Paddington 2, and himself as a sketch comedy host. I'm Brendan Gleason.
If you don't recognize the accent, I'm Irish. Brendan, you did SNL reluctantly. You did Saturday Night Live. Yeah, you did. I did, yeah. Colin talked you into it? Well, he did and he didn't. Like, he said, look, do what you want, but here's my take on it.
And I would take that seriously. Look, I like clowning around. Don't get me wrong. There's a thrill about it.
It's a kind of a white-knuckle ride, so I really did. So thanks for that, Colin. Yeah, man.
At 46, Colin Farrell has been doing this a bit longer, doing everything from fighting Tom Cruise to playing the Penguin in makeup that almost completely obscured his leading man looks. But as different as their careers and their lives have been, they were friends from the jump. What about you clicked?
I don't know. It was just easy. The first time I met him was in a room at the Chelsea Hotel. I had recently put the jar down, right? I was sober about a year and a half or something like that. And he opened the door, went into the room, we sat down, and I know that this man had, like, a pint every now and then, and I certainly had a reputation.
And the reputation was now that I was recently sober. He knew that. Anyway, he said, will you have a drink? And for a second I went, and he said, I have some, and he went to a mini bar that looked like it hadn't worked since the 50s.
And he opened it up, and he pulled out two bottles of water, and he went, I have stellar sparkling. And I just, in that moment, I swear to God, it's the sweetest thing. Did I ever tell you that?
I mean, you were there, of course. Did I ever tell you that I noticed? Anyway, in that moment, the simplicity of that gesture told me, there's a man that'll look after you. There's a man that'll take care of you.
There's a man that considers people. I just have this tremendous sense of time slipping away in my body. And I think I need to spend the time I've left thinking and composing, just trying not to listen to any more of the dull things that you have to say for yourself. But I'm sorry about it. I am like. And at the risk of getting all mushy here, Brendan Gleeson told us he feels the same and that Farrell's a true gentleman, the kind of guy who helps ladies in long dresses up the stairs at award shows.
Well, just generally with the people around him, obviously with his children, with me, with Jennifer Coolidge walking up stairs. And that was a cheap shot. That was only to get closer. That was more about me than about her.
Let's be honest. There was a duality about that because I knew I said, look at the maggot. I didn't know there was a fellow there.
I was accused of elbowing some man out of the way. No, no, but that's who you are. Actually, that is the gent that you are. And I've known a lot of kind men in my life. I've been lucky about that. You know, my father was a kind man and I knew kind friends who were, you know, who were there for you. I don't find it odd, but I knew immediately.
I knew immediately with him. So that's why the French blasted because he's somebody who considers people to an extraordinary degree. Only because I'm one of them. There's no escaping.
Only because I'm a person. And come March, Colin Farrell might be a person with an Oscar and he might not be alone. Both men were nominated for Banshees of Inisheron, along with co-stars Barry Kogan, Carrie Condon and director Martin McDonagh. People have said to me that Banshees just floored them. Just took them days and they've been a bit haunted by it.
What do you think when people say that to you that Banshee floored me? It's very humbling. It's very, yeah, because I've done plenty of things that people haven't connected to. You don't always go to work and create stuff that people connect to. It's not a science. If we knew how to get it right every time, every film would work on every level.
It would work for the audience, it would work for the critics, and it would work commercially. And that's magic. That's money in the bank, you know, and you can't expect that all the time. But the fact that it's arrived on this one is fairly cool. So while Banshees may very well rake in a few more awards... Let's just call it quits.
We won't call it quits. It's already given these two a gift. So this is a very sweet time, and I get to see him, get to spend time with Kerry and Martin that we wouldn't otherwise. So in that way, that's the kind of window I climb through to enjoy this whole experience rather than taking it too serious, you know. Instead of focusing on the horse racer who's nominated for one and all of that. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Just to be sharing it with the other lads and whoever is around and the films and the filmmakers.
I still get giddy about the whole thing anyway. Do you know what I mean? Do I need it? No.
But is it a bit of crack? Yeah. It's a moment in time.
And then move on. They were unlikely allies. Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin. The three men who banded together to win the Second World War. Jim Axelrod has the tale of their first meeting and a possible Nazi plot meant to change the course of history. Without warning by air, by land and water, the most terrible of all blitzkriegs so far, Nazi forces overrun neutral Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg. In 1943, Hitler's army mired in the brutal conditions of the Eastern Front in Russia is finally showing some cracks.
Even in these days when war news is changing so greatly to our advantage, it's wise not to forget or underrate Germany's strength. To coordinate strategy essential to turning the tide with the fate of the free world hanging in the balance, FDR, Churchill and Stalin planned their first ever face to face meeting. Why was a summit so important? This is the moment where the big three have to get on the same page. They got to discuss troop movements. They got to discuss logistics.
More important, they got to discuss strategy and morale. When the Nazis learn of the summit, they hatch an audacious plan. They're going to kill FDR and Churchill and Stalin in one shot, a triple assassination that's going to change the course of the entire war. This little known and still never fully verified Nazi conspiracy is the subject of a new book by bestselling authors Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch.
We met with Meltzer at FDR's home in Hyde Park, New York. The Allies defeating the Nazis, that was not a foregone conclusion in 1943, was it? It seems so obvious now. It's one of those moments in history where the United States did good, did the right thing and saved the day.
But it didn't almost go that way. The Soviets were shouldering the heaviest burden of any of the Allies. Stalin was desperate. The Nazis had surrounded Leningrad in a brutal siege. There are nearly a million people who die. The starvation starts immediately.
There's nothing to eat. So they're looking at their dogs, they're looking at rats, and then they're looking at each other. To relieve pressure on the Eastern Front, Stalin wanted FDR and Churchill to open a Western Front by invading Nazi-held France, an idea Churchill had been resisting. The whole world knew or at any rate guessed that the Anglo-American Soviet Conference was on, but the location, Tehran, was still a secret as the aircraft converged onto the Persian capital. Stalin proposed meeting in Tehran for the end of November to discuss it, a proposal that didn't stay secret. The Nazis had actually cracked international cables between Winston Churchill and FDR.
They cracked our codes. When the war started, Tehran was German controlled. By 1943, the Soviets and British held it, though many Nazi sympathizers remained. In Meltzer's telling, on the eve of the summit, the Nazis parachuted a team of assassins into Tehran. We captured many of them.
There are six still on the loose. Enter a man named Mike Reilly, the head of FDR's Secret Service detail. We're truly 24 hours from the summit and the Soviets tell him, listen, we think someone's going to kill the big three. With Churchill already safely ensconced in the British embassy near the Russian compound in the city, Reilly makes a crucial decision to move FDR from the American camp where he's staying in the desert outside Tehran to the more secure Soviet embassy. Secret Service agent Mike Reilly, he's the guy who looked the Russians in the eyes, heard the evidence and thought FDR and Stalin and Churchill, their lives are in danger.
They could be killed in this moment. And FDR agrees and Winston Churchill agrees. But getting FDR through the city with Nazi assassins possibly on the route required a daring drive and a crucial bit of deception. The person in the motorcade is not FDR. FDR is hiding in a junky old car that's racing through another part of the city where there potentially are six snipers, six paratroopers, they're somewhere out there and it's the greatest thing you can ever use.
It's like any magician uses, it's distraction. And they get him to that Russian embassy so that they can start that summit. During the last two days in Tehran, Marshal Stalin, Mr. Churchill and I looked ahead, ahead to the days and months and years that will follow Germany's defeat. The Americans got what they wanted, FDR safety, but so did the Soviets.
Why would the Soviets want to have him? FDR's room is bugged. There's microphones in the walls.
There's microphones in the carpet. When Nazi agents were rounded up the same day, Meltzer writes, a spy sent a message back to Berlin. The plot had been discovered. Maybe the assassins were ordered to stand down or maybe the Soviets made up the entire story to eavesdrop on FDR. Either way, the summit went on safely. Do you feel there is enough evidence that supports the idea that the plot existed? No, I don't think there is enough evidence, at least not enough hard evidence, enough objective evidence.
Historian Lynn Olson has not only read Meltzer's book, she's written bestsellers about World War II herself. Mike Riley says it happened. Mike Riley only knows what a Russian official told him. His top priority, his only priority was to keep Roosevelt safe.
It fit into his plans or it fit into his wishes perfectly. As an intellectual exercise, is there anything wrong with asking, what if? Oh gosh, no. No, there is absolutely nothing wrong with asking what if. The problem is when you raise what ifs, but you're acting like it's real. But it might have been better as a novel?
It might have been better as a novel. The summit paved the way for an ally victory. It's physically the moment where Winston Churchill finally says, you're right, I'm in.
Normandy's going to happen. When FDR returned home from Iran, he told reporters, I got word from Marshal Stalin, they had word of a German plot. Those aren't anyone else's words. That's the president's words.
And that's good enough for Brad Meltzer. If you can't be a hundred percent sure that this actually happened, why write the book? Because the story still exists, whether I write it or not. We know for sure that the secret service said there's a plot to kill him. Just because it didn't happen doesn't mean the story didn't exist. That's a story worth investigating. Thank you for listening. Please join us when our trumpet sounds again next Sunday morning.
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