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I'm Jane Pauley and this is Sunday Morning. Thirty years ago, Steven Spielberg's movie Jurassic Park proposed the revolutionary notion of using the DNA of extinct creatures to allow them to roam the earth once more. Now that fictitious idea is coming closer to reality. No, not for dinosaurs, but maybe for the dodo, a large pigeon-like bird thought to have become extinct some 300 years ago. Jonathan Vigliati tells us that thanks to a new science called de-extinction, the dodo is getting a second chance. The dodo bird and the woolly mammoth vanished from this planet ages ago, but could they one day return? I hear mammoth and dodo in the same sentence. You know, it's science fiction.
Yeah, I mean, it is until it's not. Ahead on this Earth Day weekend, the real science behind de-extinction. Ben Mankiewicz is speaking with James Corden about his hugely successful years at The Late Late Show and about his decision to move on. He sings with stars in cars, sometimes Bruno Mars, and flies in a fighter jet with Tom Cruise. James Corden changed late night TV, so why is he leaving his show and America? For us, it's time to go home.
The host of The Late Late Show calls it a day later on Sunday morning. She's truly a Broadway original. The original Anita in West Side Story.
The original Velma in Chicago. Mo Rocca is catching up with Chita Rivera. One of your own kind, stick to your own kind. 90-year-old Chita Rivera began her legendary career as a dancer, and at heart, she says, she remains a dancer. How would you describe the dancer's mindset? Oh, my God.
Do as you're told. Chita Rivera on Love, Life, and All That Jazz, coming up on Sunday morning. Martha Teichner this morning hears both sides in A War of Words, the battle over banning books. Tracey Smith sits down with actor Rachel McAdams, now starring in a much anticipated new movie. David Pogue talks with the creators of New York, New York, the new musical now on Broadway. Plus, a story from Steve Hartman, opinion from author and two-time heart transplant recipient Amy Silverstein, and more on this Sunday morning for the 23rd of April, 2023.
And we'll be back in a moment. Scammers are best known for living the high life, globetrotting on private jets, dining at five-star restaurants and driving six-figure sports cars. That is until their house of cards collapses and they're forced to trade it all in for handcuffs and an orange jumpsuit. Scamfluencers is a podcast from Wondery hosted by Sarah Hagee and Sachi Cole that tells the unbelievable true stories behind some of the world's most infamous scams, swindlers and con artists. Scamfluencers has covered jaw-dropping scandals from Ponzi schemes to a fake Saudi prince to a sexual predator masquerading as a wholesome yoga guru. These scammers cost their victims hundreds of millions of dollars and immeasurable emotional anguish.
So how does our culture allow them to thrive? Each story on scamfluencers will take you along the twists and turns, the impact on victims and what's left when the facade falls away. Follow scamfluencers wherever you get your podcasts.
You can listen ad-free on the Amazon Music or Wondery app. On a cold night in 2010, a boy is stopped by the police while walking home from a party in the Bronx. He's only 16. He's been stopped by the police before, but this time is different. In a special four-part series, the Generation Y podcast unravels the story of Kalief Browder, a young boy who was falsely accused of stealing a backpack and held without bail at Rikers Island for three years. He endured regular abuse by prison staff and inmates and was held in solitary confinement for more than 700 consecutive days. Three years later, Kalief was released, never having stood trial. This is a story that digs into the injustice of the justice system and a young life caught in the middle. We say innocent until proven guilty, but where do we draw the line between due process and cruelty? To hear this four-part series, follow Generation Y wherever you get your podcasts.
You can listen ad-free on the Amazon Music or Wondery app. Once it was the stuff of science fiction, a species brought back from extinction after vanishing eons ago. Jonathan Vigliati surveys the next frontier, de-extinction. We share this planet with millions of spectacular species, and no matter how different our genetics are, inside this conservation center in Carr, Colorado, there's proof we're all hardwired to fear visiting the doctor. Dr. Dela Garell, a veterinarian with the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service, is leading the effort to bring one of America's most endangered species back from the brink of extinction. Who is this? This is turmeric. He's a little spicy today. Spicy because the black-footed ferret isn't one for poking and prodding, unless he's given some mild anesthesia. One liquid ferret. We were invited to help with physical exams ahead of breeding season.
We also got to check out the goods because they feel pretty good. This is very important. It's a breeding program, right?
You can't be shy. It was only a few decades ago reproduction wasn't thought possible. The species was believed to be extinct due to habitat loss and disease. But in 1981, the federal government tracked down the only known colony and started this breeding program with just seven ferrets.
That makes turmeric. One of the descendants of the few founders, the seven founders, very related to all the other ferrets. And very related can be a tricky thing in the genetic pool of life.
Yeah, absolutely. More diversity is better than you're more prepared for things like change, climate and otherwise. Since 1991, more than 4,000 genetically similar ferrets have been released back into the wild, where they help restore balance to the ecosystem.
But with such a small gene pool, disease could wipe them all out. That's where wildlife biologist Robin Bortner comes in. Oh, so you're a matchmaker here. Yes, I tried to be the ferret management.
And there's no bigger catch in this dating pool than Elizabeth Ann. Elizabeth Ann is a black-footed ferret that was produced using interspecies somatic cell nuclear transfer cloning. In 2020, she was the first endangered species native to North America to ever be cloned using decades old DNA from a black-footed ferret named Willa. Wow, so we're essentially looking at a carbon copy of a black-footed ferret from the 80s. Yes, correct. Incredible. So in here are the cells of Willa that have been frozen since 1988. So this is where it all began for Elizabeth Ann.
Yes. Marlys Houck is the curator of the San Diego Frozen Zoo, the largest bank of living animal cells in the world. By collecting and storing all this DNA, the frozen zoo is at the forefront of an emerging field, de-extinction. There are more than 10,000 samples, everything from skin to feathers. When I was freezing cells from the northern white rhino, there were 50 in the living, and then now there's two left.
What does this container of vials represent to you? The future. The future of these species. Barbara Durant, the director of reproductive sciences at the frozen zoo, says their bank of cells could help save an estimated one million species at risk of extinction, mostly because of us. Have we reached the point where something that was human-caused now can only be cured or corrected by humans? Yes.
Really? If we disappeared, a lot of things would grow back, but some populations are so small, or don't even exist except here, that they would not be able to regenerate without us. And that next frontier in regeneration may come through cloning. When tissue cells are grown in the lab and then transferred into a donor egg that's had its nucleus and DNA removed, that egg then develops into an embryo, which is implanted into a surrogate.
The result? A cloned ferret pup, like Elizabeth Ann. And most recently, Kurt, an endangered Przewalski horse, whom we watch practice courtship at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. This de-extinction science got some wondering, what about DNA from species lost ages ago?
We go in, and then we can aspirate a little bit, where the DNA might be. At Colossal Biosciences in Dallas, Texas, this new tech company has raised hundreds of millions of dollars to bring back extinct species like the dodo bird, which died off in the 1600s, and the woolly mammoth, which was wiped out 3,000 years ago. I hear mammoth and dodo in the same sentence. Yeah. You know, it's science fiction.
Yeah, I mean, it is until it's not. Ben Lam founded Colossal Sciences. He says the first cloned woolly mammoth could be born in five years, and eventually reintroduced to its native tundra habitat. A dodo chick could take longer, because we don't yet know how to clone birds, but...
If you're willing to accept something that is similar to a dodo in some physical way, but not identical, we'll get there a lot sooner than if you want something that is exactly like a dodo. As paleogeneticist Beth Shapiro explains, an animal's DNA starts to break down in the wild as soon as it dies, so there's no perfectly preserved dodo or woolly mammoth genetic material left. And sorry, this is where we tell you that dinosaur fossils are too old to contain any usable DNA. This is part of a vertebra, so you can see how big this is. But Shapiro can still extract pieces of DNA from bones she finds in the field. We will look at places where the permafrost, the frozen dirt, where many of these bones are preserved is melting. The bits of DNA are then extracted from those bones, sequenced in a lab, and used as a template for editing DNA in the cells of the mammoth's closest existing relative, the Asian elephant, to create a creature approaching the real thing. Why is de-exinction so exciting that it opens up the bank?
People are attracted to the impossible or to what they see as impossible. Would I like to have seen $225 million invested into traditional conservation? Yes. Would I also like to see this money being invested into colossal so these new tools can be developed?
Absolutely yes. And that's where I see the real value of this technology. We can use these same tools to stop species from becoming like the mammoth. But the science may take longer than expected. It was recently discovered Elizabeth Ann is unable to reproduce.
During the procedure we discovered that unfortunately her reproductive tract had not developed completely normally. But the work continues because the easiest way to save a species is to protect it before it's gone. A room like this, does this help with that battle? This is in many cases the only thing that's going to help. Once the cells are here, they can be here indefinitely.
So it's important that we get the cells now and then we can work out the techniques for the future. I love your skirt. Where did you get it? It was my mom's in the 80s. Vintage. So adorable. Thanks.
That is the ugliest effing skirt I've ever seen. Her films and her characters run the gamut from Mean Girls to The Notebook. Rachel McAdams talks about movies and motherhood with our Tracey Smith. Growing up is fun. Who can forget that special time when things were starting to happen?
It's changing from a child into an adult and it's a little confusing at times. We've all seen films like Molly Grows Up, but the book that might have described those times best is Judy Blume's landmark and often controversial 1970 novel, Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. Just do this one thing for me. Let me just be normal and regular like everybody else.
Just please, please, please, please, please, please, please. Now Blume's tale of adolescent angst is a feature film. Abby Ryder Fortson is Margaret.
Hmm. Barely a 28. Not even a double A.
And her understanding mom is Oscar-nominated actor Rachel McAdams. How does that feel? I cannot wait to take it off. Yeah.
Welcome to womanhood. You read a lot of books when you were a kid, yeah? I did when I was little. We met McAdams at Annabelle's Book Club in Los Angeles, a store that carries, what else, books for young adults. People love this book.
Judy Blume wouldn't let anyone make a movie about it for 50 years. So did you feel that pressure? Yeah, just a little bit. We all just wanted to make Judy proud, really. We're getting committees together over at the junior high, and I can think of at least three that you'd be perfect for.
Oh, Jan, that sounds great. McAdams does herself proud as a woman trying to balance motherhood and career. I don't want to. She's the queen bee. It's a far cry from her breakout role as the utterly toxic Regina George, Sit down. meanest of the mean girls. You're like really pretty. Thank you. So you agree? What? You think you're really pretty. I remember where I was when I read that script for the first time, and I put it down, and I immediately called my manager and said, please, I will do anything to be any part in this movie. Any part? Give me one line. Get in, loser.
We're going shopping. But she couldn't be more different than the diva you see on screen. Born and raised in a working class family in Ontario, Canada, Rachel McAdams loved theater, but she was also an accomplished figure skater with a part-time job in fast food. One of your first jobs was working at McDonald's. What did that teach you? It taught me hard work, and I was kind of a bit of a germaphobe when I started working at McDonald's, and then I kind of got over that. Not that it's particularly dirty or anything.
I was kind of like an obsessive hand washer when I was younger, which was really terrible as a figure skater because washing your hands all the time at the ice rink and then going out with wet hands on the ice, I mean, my hands were a mess. Can you still eat McDonald's now? Yeah. Oh, yeah.
I love it. When I was pregnant, I said to my partner one night, we came out of a movie here in L.A., and I said, it was like 11 o'clock at night, and I was like, take me to the first McDonald's. I want a fish filet and a chocolate milkshake, and he was like, oh, yeah, we were pregnant. But between McDonald's and motherhood, she broke hearts in Hollywood. I waited for you for seven years, and now it's too late. The Notebook, which came out in 2004, the same year as Mean Girls, is a film some people can't even talk about without choking up. It wasn't over.
It still isn't over. Hi, my name is Rachel McAdams. Even as she read for the role opposite Ryan Gosling, as we see in her audition tape, she had a feeling it was hers.
I will always love you, no doubt. When you were in that audition, did you know, oh, I got this? I felt like my life was about to change. Did it change? It did.
It did. Claire, will you wait just a second? In fact, it seemed that she was suddenly everywhere in movies big and small, but McAdams says it might have been too much too fast.
There's Wedding Crashers, Red Eye, Family Stone, and then you left. I didn't make a conscious decision to leave necessarily, but I did kind of make a decision to pause. I didn't think I was dealing so well with my life changing so quickly and being so much in the public eye.
I was struggling with that a little bit with the exposure. It did allow me to just find myself, center myself in it, and know I could live without it if I had to. If suddenly tomorrow they all decide, you suck, you can't be here anymore, you're out of the club. Well, I left the club first. And she did leave for about two years and turned down parts in movies like The Devil Wears Prada and Iron Man. But when she came back, it wasn't for a star vehicle.
She just wanted to be a working actor. Hi there. I'm looking for Ronald Paquin. Yes.
Your father, Paquin? She had performance in 2015's Spotlight as a Boston Globe reporter on the hunt for pedophile Catholic priests earned her an Oscar nod. You're moving. And now she's found another fulfilling role. What? Really, Mom? Alongside Kathy Bates as a mom. She was putting it together. I don't think she was.
She shot Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret just after the birth of her second child. And as you're playing this character, you're balancing motherhood and your career. It was real method acting, I guess. Yeah, I was breastfeeding and pumping on the side.
And my daughter was five months old, I think, at the time. And so, you know, I just had to give the signal. This is the pumping signal? It's toss, it's time. They go, okay, you go right ahead. It's clear she enjoys her life right now. Rachel McAdams has found what works. And if it doesn't, there's always the door. Do you think you might take another step back at some point?
I don't know. For me, acting doesn't feel easy. Like, it always feels like, oh, I don't know what I'm doing. And, you know, I never feel like I can totally relax doing it. So, you know, doing a project or two a year, really, you know, it fills my cup.
But I'm not feeling like I'm needing to shut it down. It's a trend you've no doubt read about. The growing list of books banned in our nation's classrooms and libraries. Martha Teichner takes us to the front lines of a war on words.
I'm looking at Catch-22. Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle, The Great Gatsby. Classics, every one of them banned in some places. The Chicago Public Library put them on display in defiance of efforts nationwide to ban books. There was somebody who objected to the profanity or the challenge to the status quo. Deborah Caldwell Stone is director of the American Library Association's Office of Intellectual Freedom.
Her job is to know what's being targeted. LGBTQIA books, books they deemed to be critical race theory, but were actually books on the history of race, racism, slavery in the United States, or representing black voices, were overwhelmingly being targeted by these demands to remove books. Tomorrow, the American Library Association will announce the most challenged books of 2022. Yes, race, controversial aspects of history, vulgarity and violence may be red flags found in a number of books already challenged or banned, but sex and gender are now overwhelmingly the subject matter being attacked. Parents, when they're sending their kids to school, they should not have to worry about this garbage being in the schools. Ammunition for Florida's Republican Governor Ron DeSantis' War on Woke. Books like Gender Queer, an intensely polarizing exploration of gender identity at the center of the book battles. It is a graphic novel, so certainly it's more in your face, but it's not intended to titillate.
It's intended to provide a window onto one person's experience, not knowing their gender identity and needing to explore that. Between 2020 and 2022, the number of individual titles challenged spiked more than 1,100%, from just over 200 to more than 2,500. Since 2021, school districts have banned books in 37 states, with Florida and Texas leading the pack. These were organized efforts by groups of parents arguing about parents' rights. Moms for Liberty soon came to prominence as a group that was driving a lot of book challenges in local communities. The book Gender Queer was in our school libraries. Had Moms for Liberty not brought that book to your attention, it might still be there.
Launched in 2021, the group now claims 275 chapters in 45 states, with 115,000 members and counting. Never bet against a mom. I mean, nobody's going to defend anything like a mom is going to defend their child.
Tiffany Justice and Tina Deskevich, both former Florida school board members, founded Moms for Liberty. We're joyful warriors. Their aim? To play hardball with a smile. We are organized, we are angry, and we know our rights.
Enjoy the time you have left. We want people who are serving in elected office that respect the role of the parent in a child's life. So in 2022, our chapters endorsed in over 500 school board races across the country, and they won 275 seats. What kinds of books do you want in schools, in libraries? Books that educate children. That's a generalization that... Books that don't have pornography, and let's start there. Let's just put the bar really, really low. Books that don't have incest, pedophilia, rape.
Stop it! I mean, talk about Orwellian. You know, like calling this organization Moms for Liberty, when it's actually for suppression, is about as basic as you could find in 1984, which I think is listed as a young adult novel still, and probably has been banned in lots of places. Cartoonist Art Spiegelman has been speaking out ever since the McMinn County Tennessee School Board voted unanimously last year to ban Mouse, his Pulitzer Prize winning graphic novel about the Holocaust, citing violence, profanity, and because of this image, nudity. I think it's possible for an adult to say, I don't want my kid reading that book in class, but to forbid the other kids from reading it or taking it out of the library, that's not liberty, that's suppression and authoritarianism.
Spiegelman says, fight back. Pick out the damn school boards and get school boards in that are more nuanced in what they're doing. Getting involved in local politics as necessary to try to protect libraries' fundings and schools' needs instead of making it such a low priority.
You know, this idea of what's appropriate and inappropriate is so subjective, and teenagers are smart. Linda Johnson is president and CEO of the Brooklyn New York Public Library. What we ended up doing was issuing a countrywide press release that said if you're between the ages of 13 and 21 and you can't find the material that you want to read on the shelves of your school or your public library, send us an email and we will send you a digital card which will give you access to our digital collection.
In just over a year since it launched Books Unbanned, the library has issued more than 6,200 free digital library cards and circulated over 100,000 books and other items. So on the first day of school, August 2022, my students walked into our classroom. All of our classroom library shelves were covered over, and in their place was the Books Unbanned QR code. Summer Bouamier was a 10th grade English teacher in Norman, Oklahoma when she did that. After being told to pull books that might violate a new state law prohibiting Oklahoma schools from teaching uncomfortable aspects of race or sex.
All it takes is one objection for any reason. A school district could lose its accreditation. A teacher could lose their ability to teach in not only an Oklahoma classroom, but any K-12 classroom in the country. Bouamier was removed from her classroom, accused of distributing pornography for posting the QR code. She resigned before being fired. You know, I am incensed, I'm livid, I'm not heartbroken. Identities are not obscenities. Stories are not pornography. They are possibility.
Now she works for the Brooklyn Public Library with teens as part of Books Unbanned. I made the calculation knowing that it could possibly cost me my job, knowing that it could possibly cost me my teaching certificate. And that is a hill that I'm willing to die on. In a war where bookshelves are battlefields and both sides want to capture the same flag. It sounds melodramatic, but you know, to do something which inhibits intellectual curiosity is like a death knell for democracy.
Our moms and dads are very concerned about the future of the country and they're willing to step up however they need to to fight for the survival of America. Come on, babe, why don't we paint the tack? And all that jazz, I'm gonna rouge my knees. She painted the town every imaginable color as Velma in the musical Chicago. Now at the age of 90, Chita Rivera's written a memoir.
Mo Rocca catches up with a legend. Chita Rivera is looking in the mirror. Good. Yeah?
Yeah. And she's reflecting. I always used to think that we should have two lifetimes.
One to try it out and the second one to know what's coming. But no one would ever mistake Rivera's life for a rehearsal. A three-time Tony Award winner, a Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient and the first Latina Kennedy Center honoree, Chita Rivera is a theatrical legend.
Five, six, seven, eight. Starring in the original productions of Chicago, Bye Bye Birdie and Kiss of the Spider Woman, just to name a few. And as she takes the stage at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center with musical director Seth Rudetsky, Rivera can still bring the fire as West Side Story's Anita.
A boy like that would kill your brother. The role that made her a star. One of your own kind, stick to your own kind. Rivera doesn't move quite the way she used to. But in her soul, she writes in her new memoir, she remains a dancer.
How would you describe the dancer's mindset? Oh my God. Do as you're told. And whatever you do, don't complain. That is certainly a theme of your book. It's not 100 percent, it's 200 percent. Yeah.
That is the way I was taught from the very beginning. Rivera's story begins in Washington, D.C., where she was born. That's a very nice Jewish name. Rivera's Puerto Rican father died when she was seven years old. Her mother was left to raise five children. In her book, Rivera describes herself as two people.
There is Cheetah. Oh, dear. And then there's Dolores. Oh!
Well, those are two very different reactions. Oh, yes! Cheetah is, hello, how are you? It's so nice to be here. Dolores says, what is it you want?
It's the darker side. I believe that Dolores is responsible for me having a career. She's the guts.
She's the courage. It was decidedly Dolores who, as a small child, jumped from one piece of living room furniture to another. I missed one time, and I went through the coffee table. And my mother said, that's it, you're out of here, you're going to a ballet school.
At 15, Rivera was accepted into New York's elite School of American Ballet. But while Rivera studied classical dance during the day, at night, she explored a different side of herself, dancing at Manhattan's Palladium nightclub. What happens there? What do you discover? I discover the rhythm. I discover the beat. I discover my heartbeat. I was becoming attuned to my sex appeal, and the rhythm was hot. Rivera soon abandoned ballet for Broadway, and by 1956 was appearing in the show Mr.
Wonderful, starring Sammy Davis Jr. I fell in love with him. What drew you to him? His sensitivity, his talent, oh my gosh. His humor. Rivera says this photo tells the whole story. And I'm kissing his hand. And it is so humbling, and it says everything.
That I adore him, I love him, he's the greatest. Davis told her not to sell herself short. She had the talent to be a star, which she soon proved in West Side Story. Dancing, acting, and singing. Anita's gonna get her kicks tonight.
We'll have our private little mix tonight. It was on West Side Story that Rivera met fellow dancer Tony Mordente. They married, and soon enough she was expecting. Is it true that you were dancing in West Side Story six months into your pregnancy?
Yes. My gynecologist had a heart attack when he finally saw the show. But I had kept in shape. This photograph captures Rivera's energy in the role. It hangs in a Manhattan saloon owned by another man from Chita's life, the late restaurateur Joe Allen.
Oh, we're looking at a bomb. Who famously decorated his Broadway hangout with posters from shows that flopped, including Bring Back Bertie, the 1981 sequel to Bye Bye Bertie that closed after four performances. What's your advice to somebody in any field who experiences a failure? Leave that behind. Leave it behind.
The apple doesn't fall, there it falls. The 1984 musical The Rink teamed Rivera with Liza Minnelli. Minnelli, struggling at the time with alcohol and prescription pills, was forgetting lines and missing performances. It was very awkward knowing that she was having complications. I felt very bad for her at times. Just two years later, Rivera would face a challenge even greater than working with Liza.
In 1986, a car accident left her with 12 pins and two plates in her left leg. Chita Rivera not only recovered, she went on to a Tony, dancing the title role in Kiss of the Spider Woman. Do you think that beginning your life as a dancer helped you to survive stardom? I do believe that being a dancer gave me the ability to fight and to withstand and to cope. If I come back, I want to come back a dancer.
That would be my second life. Steve Hartman has a story of justice delayed. Seeing her there, cuddled up with her crossword, I would never guess 80-year-old retired schoolteacher Ginni Trappin had a pen pal in the penitentiary, especially not one accused of that terrible six-letter word that starts with M. He was in prison for murder. So I've got to ask, what were you thinking? I've been accused of being naïve before, and that's okay. I wasn't worried because I've got to come and get me.
No? We'll answer that door in a minute. But first, how did this sweet little lady cross paths with Lamar Johnson, a man serving a life sentence in a Missouri prison? Twenty-five years ago, a deacon at Ginni's church outside St. Louis handed her a letter from this prisoner. The guy had written the church hoping that someone, anyone, would just write back. And so I did it. What was it going to cost me?
A stamp. Over the next two decades, they corresponded constantly. And although Ginni says she could tell right from the start that there was no way that nice boy committed murder, it would take the state of Missouri 28 years to confirm her intuition. A couple months ago, after the Midwest Innocence Project got involved and the real killer confessed, Lamar was exonerated at the age of 49. Lamar spent the next few weeks doing all the things he couldn't do in prison.
Mr. Johnson hugging a tree. Including traveling to see one of his best friends at her house for the very first time. Oh!
Look at you! Ginni welcomed him in, gave him a tour, a box of his favorite cereal, and one last letter. You deserve the best, Lamar. But Lamar says the greatest gift will always be the confidence she instilled in him. Especially when somebody is innocent. You want someone to believe in you.
Because when you have people that believe in you and they won't give up on you, then it makes it harder for you to give up on yourself. Lamar says that's what helped get him through 28 years of injustice and now inspires him to serve a life of friendship. Thank you.
What a guy. I want your love and all your lovers' revenge You could be a karate barrel man It's Sunday morning on CBS. And here again is Jane Pauley. You might say he turned karaoke into an art form. And yet, later this week, the curtain comes down on James Corden's Late Late Show. With our Ben Mankiewicz, James Corden looks forward and looks back.
For eight years, he's been reinventing late night television on CBS's The Late Late Show. Johnny Carson never jumped out of a plane with Tom Cruise. They sang carpool karaoke with Bruno Mars, Stevie Wonder, even Barbra Streisand. There's a cliché that many in Hollywood stop traffic.
With Crosswalk the Musical, James Corden does it literally. It's fun watching you sit around a table with Kim Kardashian and asking her to, you know, rank the style choices of her sisters. That's fun. Well, I think that's the currency of our show. I think joy is the currency.
We've always wanted to create a show that is joyful, that's uplifting, a place where you feel like you can go and have a great time. But Corden, at the top of his game, is leaving the show and the country. This will be my last year hosting The Late Late Show.
Don't you dare. A 44-year-old is signing off and returning to London. Only four shows left. It is going to be a blast, I promise you that. We'll be right back with more of The Late Late Show, everybody. I'll always be gobsmacked and amazed that this was a part of my life.
But my wife and I, we always knew that this was an adventure and not a final destination. Is there something you'll miss the most? More than anything, I'm just going to miss my friends that I've made here at the show. I'm going to miss the feeling of coming into this office every day and knowing that someone's going to make you laugh. You're really pushing my man.
Before we get to why he's going, let's marvel at how it began, almost by accident. It was inconceivable. Like, I don't look like I should be hosting a TV show. I'd never stood on a monologue mark and done a monologue. I'd never interviewed a guest.
Nothing about this should work. Hasta la vista, baby! But work it did, which speaks volumes about Corden's talent. Virtually unknown in the U.S., he was a familiar face in England, on the screen and the stage.
Mostly, he was an actor, a comedy actor. I'd probably just say I'm a performer. That's probably what I am. I just love performing. It's all I've ever loved. I've loved it since I was... I don't remember a time that I didn't just love performing. Thank you.
Success in London's West End brought him to Broadway, where he won a Tony Award, Best Actor in a Play. I'm my own worst enemy. Stop being negative. I'm not being negative.
I'm being realistic. That led to a pitch meeting with CBS executives in Hollywood. He had a sitcom. They wanted it.
He turned them down. The more I lived with it and thought about it, I thought it's very unlikely that this will work on an American network. Then they started talking, casually, about the hour after Stephen Colbert's show. I said, I think you've got an opportunity to have an hour there that embraces the internet. Make a show that launches at 12.37, but people consume and watch all day. Because that's how that audience are consuming their content now. Your traditional 12.30 audience, they're still watching. They're just watching in a different way.
To his surprise, CBS offered him the show. Were you afraid? Or did you fear failure? Is that a better way to put it? I don't know if I fear failure, because I think that's an interesting thing, failure. You can only really judge anything by your own personal human growth. So, saying that, you want the show to succeed.
But in truth, I think it was quite easy for me because I thought, I was so convinced that it wouldn't work. Welcome to the Late Late Show, everybody! But it did, since night one.
I will really do my best not to let any of you down, truly. Gordon transformed a familiar format. The couch and desk remained, but the guests appeared together, with segments that made it more a viral variety show than anything else.
Ready? Take Carpool Karaoke. Just stop your crying, it's a sign of the times It's a crazy thing, just the notion of driving around with an artist and singing their songs. I mean, it's so simple and so perfect, it's genius. Well, I think there's something very humanising about it. I don't care about them The songs are the glue that kind of hold it all together, but there's an intimacy that comes from that interview, which I think is a humanising environment. It's what we all do, we all sing these songs in the car. But not with Paul McCartney. It goes down as a personal favourite for Gordon.
The segment with Paul McCartney was probably the pinnacle of that as an idea. Going into his house, which he hadn't stepped in for, I think, since he left, and he said, I just don't feel comfortable, I feel weird about it. I sort of go, should we go in? And he goes, yeah, let's do it.
And my God. When you need me, when you soon need me, when I'm sixty-four. Together, when I'm sixty-four. What have I done to deserve such memories, you know?
Given all that success and how much he's changed late night, why leave now? The answer is both personal and professional. We really want our children to experience life in London.
We're blown away that they've even had the experience of living in another country. It's how much you look at your professional life and your career, and your personal life and your growth as a family, that's what it is. There's just so many other things that I'd like to try and see what I might be capable of. He seems capable of largely anything. It's what happens now! Why do you have to shout all the time? He's starring in a limited series, Mammals, out now on Amazon Prime.
More than anything, I'd sort of, I've just got to go and see what's out there. He is also navigating a recent bump in the road. The owner of a posh New York restaurant briefly banned him after a dust-up with the waitstaff. Corden apologized in a phone call and then on the air. I made a sarcastic, rude comment, right, about cooking it myself. And it is a comment I deeply regret. The owner lifted the ban, but in this era of endless news cycles and social media, the story won't die.
Corden is clearly tired of discussing it. This little round of internet issue that has gone on, it must have bummed you out. Perspective is really important. You know, we really try and make such a positive show. Try and seek that positivity. And if you put your focus there, that's what I just try and do.
It's what I've tried to do every day that we're here, you know. Have I missed anything? Did I miss any news? Corden has figured out one way to navigate these peculiar times.
I don't have social media on my phone. It's not a world that I sort of engage in. He's been fully engaged in the late Late Show. Now he's leaving it for good. Can you envision a scenario where you would return to late-night television? I can't envisage a scenario where I would return as a late-night host. I'd be very, very surprised if it did.
I'd be gobsmacked. It sounds like he's already been gobsmacked by his adopted country since 2015. I think America is a wonderful place. It is a very, very special place to work. It's a very, very special place to live in. It's a very, very special place to sit behind a desk and tell people to stick around and you'll be right back.
Someone might be done in a minute. Okay, we're done. Well done. What a privilege.
It really, really is. Our commentary is from author Amy Silverstein, one of this nation's longest surviving heart transplant recipients. Last night I climbed the 13 stairs that lead to my bedroom and when I got to the top I put my hand to my heart and said thank you because the climb was so easy, because the climb was propelled by a magnificent, healthy donor heart. I've lived with two donor hearts over 35 years. I had my first transplant at 25 and when that failed I had my second at 50.
But in January my daily runs became difficult. Tests showed my heart was perfect but additional tests revealed I have incurable cancer. It is in my lungs now. I will die soon. I have had an extraordinary life. I finished law school. I had an epic love with my husband.
Got to raise our son. I had the most glorious friendships. I wrote two books and I am so grateful, like every transplant patient I have ever met. All too often this intense gratitude creates a cloak of silence that hides the realities of transplant life. The fact is organ donation is miraculous. Transplant medicine is not. In 40 years there has been very limited change in the medicines that patients take daily to prevent rejection of their donor organs.
These immunosuppressive drugs continue to wreak havoc on the body, dramatically increasing the risk of diabetes, kidney failure, dangerous infections and, yes, cancers. And all of this is hidden well behind that pervasive gratitude recipients feel for their donor organs. When you are given everything, there is subtle and explicit pressure to ask for nothing more. This constrains honest dialogue and removes a sense of urgency to make meaningful improvements to the existing transplant drug regimen. Perhaps this is why life expectancy for heart transplant patients has not changed substantially since my first transplant in 1988, or why the federal agency metric for transplant success sets an embarrassingly low bar of one-year survival, or why research for new transplant medicines is chronically underfunded. So I am speaking up now, while I still can, for change and for all the transplant recipients I've known who died because medicines fell short, and for the donor families who gave life to these patients.
They deserved so much more, and there is nothing ungrateful about saying so. What better title for a new Broadway musical than New York, New York? David Poe takes us on Broadway. I'll bet you can name this tune before the singing even starts. Start spreading the news I'm leaving today John Kander and Fred Ebb wrote that song. Their scores for Broadway shows like Cabaret, Chicago, and Curtains have won four Tony Awards, two Grammys, two Emmys, and a street in Times Square.
Three, two, one! Today, Kander is 96 and utterly uninterested in all the hero worship. I don't relate to it.
I really don't, just as I don't relate to the fact that we're sitting here doing some sort of interview on television. But I mean, Chicago is now the longest running American musical in Broadway history, and you are now the longest working Broadway composer in history. I think that's weird.
I don't really feel much different than the insecure guy that met you all those years ago. Oh, that's right. I've known Kander since 1987, when I played piano for his off-Broadway show, Flora, the Red Menace. He's always said that his music writes itself. Music goes on in my head all the time, even while we're having this conversation.
If I put my hands on the keyboard, they will do something. So this is you composing right now? This is new stuff? Yeah.
It doesn't mean it's any good. For over 40 years, Kander wrote the music, and Fred Ebb wrote the lyrics. Freddy and I were such different people, and yet when we went into a room to work, all of that dropped away and we became one thing.
Fred Ebb died in 2004. And yet, this week, a new Kander and Ebb musical opens on Broadway. David Thompson co-wrote the script, and Susan Stroman is the director and choreographer, which is a big deal for me. Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Because we all worked on Flora, the Red Menace, in 1987. Well, you look the same.
We all look the same. Wow. I feel like I'm in New York.
Of course. It's New York, New York, very loosely based on the 1977 movie, for which Kander and Ebb wrote five songs. We wanted to celebrate artists who come to New York to change their lives, to be the best at what they do.
I came here with nothing Like hundreds before me And billions behind me The musical is set in 1947 and tells five interwoven stories about aspiring musicians. I won't be afraid It's my New York It was right after the war. New York was hopeful. People were pulling plywood off the storefronts. There's something about that particular time that feels like the time now in New York.
You know, we are going to pull this city back up to where it used to be. Some of the songs come from the movie. Some are Kander and Ebb songs that have never been heard before. And some are new, with lyrics by another famous Broadway talent.
My job is to be as fast as he is and just, you know, match him beat for beat. Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of In the Heights and Hamilton, saw an early draft of the show. I was just so knocked flat by the show itself, the beautiful love letter to New York.
I just said, whatever else you need, please let me know. For which we are not sorry. One new song is set in Grand Central's Whispering Arch, an architectural quirk that lets you hear a whisper from 30 feet away. I heard you sing, it changed everything, can you hear me?
Could you ever be with a wreck like me, could you hear me? Could I ever be a part of the song inside your heart? As for this song, that's not the first version Kander and Ebb wrote in 1977. The movie's star, Robert De Niro, didn't like the original song and asked that they try again. Some actor was going to tell us how to write a song. Anyway, we went to the piano and the first thing that happened on the piano with nothing in my head was... And inside of that vamp is starred, sprugged, and so we wrote that song in 45 minutes. Oh, come on!
Truly. And I think it was partly because we were so pissed off. My little darling... Their second attempt became world famous, but Kander, with his trademark humility, doesn't get what all the fuss is about. I listened last night to that audience kind of roar when that song happened. I just don't understand it.
If I could make it there... Here's what I understand. I understand making stuff and making stuff with your friends.
I understand that every once in a while you will make something that you love and the sizzle inside your guts when that happens is something that nobody can take away from you. Thank you for listening. Please join us when our trumpet sounds again next Sunday morning. Hey, Prime members! You can listen to CBS Sunday Morning with Jane Pauley ad-free on Amazon Music. Download the Amazon Music app today. Or you can listen ad-free with Wondery Plus in Apple Podcasts. Before you go, tell us about yourself by completing a short survey at Wondery.com slash survey.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-23 14:14:24 / 2023-04-23 14:35:11 / 21