The Work Podcast

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The Work Podcast

Hosted by Paste Movies editor Michael Dunaway, The Work features in-depth conversations with some of the most fascinating creative minds in the industry. Season 2 begins this summer.

  1. Boots Riley, Alina Khazanova (S06E09) Rapper and director Boots Riley joins Michael to talk about his new racially provocative film SORRY TO BOTHER YOU; director and former Bolshoi Ballet member Alina Khazanova talks about her new psychological thriller MIDDLEGROUND.
  2. Dan Reynolds, Donna Zaccaro (S06E08) Episode Eight of the season celebrates Pride Month, as Michael speaks with Dan Reynolds, of Imagine Dragons fame, about the Love Loud festival and his Don Argott-directed HBO documentary BELIEVER from Live Nation Productions; and with Donna Zaccaro, documentarian and Geraldine Ferraro's daughter, about her new documentary on the fight for marriage equality, TO A MORE PERFECT UNION: US VS WINDSOR.
  3. Nick Offerman, Kiersey Clemons, Blake Jenner, Donna Zaccaro (S06E07) Nick Offerman and Kiersey Clemons speak with Michael about working with Brett Haley on his new film HEARTS BEAT LOUD; Blake Jenner talks about taking on screenwriting duties for his new film BILLY BOY; and Donna Zaccaro talks about documenting the fight for marriage equality in her new documentary TO A MORE PERFECT UNION: US VS WINDSOR.
  4. Paul Stanley, Dree Hemingway, Ryan Wilson on Isaac Hayes (S06E05) Rock legend Paul Stanley of KISS talks with Michael about his second career as a painter; Dree Hemingway talks about her new Emma Roberts film In a Relationship; and Ryan Wilson discusses Craft Recordings' remastered versions of three classic Isaac Hayes albums. Paul Stanley - yes, that Paul Stanley, the rock and roll legend, of KISS fame - is, in case you haven’t heard, a painter. Yes, a painter. And one of considerable skill and growing renown. He began seventeen years ago, he told me recently. “I was going through a divorce,” he remembers, “and when anyone goes through that kind of turmoil, you have a choice between smashing things through the wall or trying to find another way to have some kind of cathartic experience.” A friend suggested that he try painting in lieu of destruction. “I went down and bought some paints,” he says, “without any clue as to what I was going to do. The first thing I did was a self-portrait, and interestingly enough everyone knew it was me. So I figured I was off to a good start. It would be terrible to do a self-portrait and have everyone go, ‘Who is that?’ Or ‘What is that?’” Even at that point, though, the rocker didn’t envision a future of gallery shows and meetings with collectors. “I never painted with any idea of anyone seeing any of the work,” he says. “I think that was a good thing, because I’ve always found in my life, whether it’s music or any other pursuit, that the key to it working out is me trying to please myself. When you try to second-guess the public, you can wind up kicking yourself for not doing things that you wanted to do. I think we innately know what we want, and I think that when you please yourself you please other people.” “I started hanging a few pieces in my house,” he continues, “just for my own enjoyment. And people would ask me who did them - at that point I wasn’t signing my work because I was very self-conscious.” Eventually, a friend suggested he show some of his work in public. But Stanley still wasn’t convinced - “Honestly, I was somewhere between intimidated and puzzled by the idea,” he laughs. But show the work he did, and his acclaim has grown ever since. He now regularly does gallery shows. In fact, he’s currently in the midst of a series of them across America. His paintings have been acquired by some of the top collectors in the world. And some of the most famous - the vividly hued portrait of Robert Johnson that hangs in Stanley’s own entrance hall also hangs in the entrance hall of one Jimmy Page. “For me, painting is an affirmation of life,” Stanley shrugs. “I use vibrant colors because I see life as vibrant.” Stanley credits his parents’ influence as setting the tone for his lifelong appreciation of art, and his eventual entry into that world himself. “My mother was born in Germany,” he says, “and my dad is first generation from Poland. And in Europe, the arts are so much a part of life, whether it’s theater, or fine art, or whatever. So I grew up in a household where going to see theater or opera or going to see art was just natural. So I was certainly inspired by seeing someone like Picasso, who found art in fish bones, in everything. Or even in the last thirty years, to see someone like Basquiat.” But Stanley is equally inspired by those that follow their own muse, even without the acclaim of those two great masters. “I just think that to create art,” he says, “to make something tangible out of something intangible, is just amazing. And I encourage everyone to do it.” He’s become somewhat of an evangelist for the power of art in everyone’s lives. “You know, we limit ourselves,” he continues, “and we tend to close ourselves from possibilities. There are enough people around us that are going to try to limit us. Don’t do it to yourself.” Some might consider it an unlikely career development, but speaking with Stanley, the whole thing feels completely logical. He’s quite an inspiring figure, and readers would be well served to come out, see some of his art, meet a legend, and perhaps be inspired to take up a brush themselves. For Atlanta area readers, Paul Stanley will be making a very special appearance at Wentworth Gallery at Phipps Plaza, Atlanta on Saturday, June 16, 2018 from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm. RSVP’s are highly suggested at or by calling 404-233-0903. Visit for more info.
  5. Caridee English, Iranian Cinema, Vincent Grashaw (S06E04) CariDee English talks with Michael about growing up in North Dakota, winning America's Next Top Model, and starring in SUPERCON, which premiered at this year's Julien Dubuque International Film Festival. Paul Malcolm discusses Farhadi, Kiarostami, and a deeper dive into Iranian directors as part of UCLA's Celebration of Iranian cinema, sponsored by the Farhang Foundation. And Vincent Grashaw talks about his new school shooting film AND THEN I GO, starring Melanie Lynskey, Justin Long, Tony Hale, and Carrie Preston.
  6. Bill Macy, Lindsey Pelas (S06E03) Bill Macy joins Michael to talk about Krystal, his third directorial effort. Plus Lindsey Pelas talks about how she got established in her career, as well as about her new podcast, the hilariously named Eyes Up Here.
  7. Daryl Hannah, Tiffany Vazquez (S06E02) Daryl Hannah and Lukas Nelson join Michael to discuss Paradox, their film project with Neil Young. And as a bonus, GIPHY head of film content and Turner Classic Movies host Tiffany Vasquez speaks a bit about her career path.
  8. Imogen Poots (S05E10) The Work favorite Imogen Poots talks about starring opposite Michael Shannon in Frank and Lola.
  9. Addison Timlin (S05E09) Addison Timlin speaks with Michael about her movie Submission.
  10. Julian Schnabel, Pappi Corsicato (S05E08) Michael talks with Julian Schnabel and Pappi Corsicato about Corsicato's doc about his friend Schnabel.
  11. Marshall Allman (S05E07) Actor/director Marshall Allman speaks with Michael about why he decided to recut the Kubrick classic Eyes Wide Shut.
  12. Colin Hanks (S05E06) Colin Hanks speaks with Michael about his Eagles of Death Metal doc, Nos Amis.
  13. Ed Harris, Mark Raso (S05E05) Ed Harris and Mark Raso talk with Michael about Raso's TIFF film Kodachrome, one of the most enjoyable experiences of the entire fest. Photograph by Michael Dunaway.
  14. Adam Pally, Zoe-Lister Jones (S05E04) Adam Pally and Zoe-LIster Jones talk with Michael and Gordon about their Sundance favorite Band Aid. Photograph by Gordon Hight.
  15. Priyanka Chopra (S05E03) Priyanka Chopra talks with Michael about her TIFF hit Pahuna and the influence of her parents on her career. Photograph by Michael Dunaway.
  16. Jay Mohr (S05E02) Jay Mohr and Michael talk for damn near an hour and a half, mostly about Finding Joseph I, the Bad Brains documentary he's a producer on. But as always, the conversation takes a thousand twists and turns. Photograph by Gordon Hight.
  17. Mark Hamill, Dave McCary, David Lowery (S05E01) Sundance Special - Mark Hamill and Dave McCary talk about their film Brigsby Bear, and David Lowery talks about his film A Ghost Story, as well as a bit about Pete's Dragon.
  18. David Oyelowo (S04E07) David Oyelowo talks to Michael about producing and starring in Maris Curran's Five Nights in Maine.
  19. Kevin Smith (S04E06) Kevin Smith talks to Michael about his new movie Yoga Hosers, co-starring both his own daughter and Johnny Depp's daughter.
  20. James Ivory (S04E05) James Ivory talks to Michael about over six decades of filmmaking, including classics like A Room with a View and Howard's End.
  21. Jaqueline Bisset (S04E04) Jacqueline Bisset speaks with Michael about her new movie The Last Film Festival, starring Dennis Hopper, and about a life in film.
  22. Michael Shannon (S04E03) Michael Shannon talks with Michael about his awards-buzzy performance in Tom Ford's film Nocturnal Animals.
  23. James Schamus (S04E02) James Schamus talks with Michael about his directorial debut INDIGNATION, and about what he learned writing for Ang Lee and running Focus Features.
  24. Werner Herzog (S04E01) Werner Herzog talks to Michael about his two new films, Salt and Fire, and Into the Inferno.
  25. Don Cheadle (S03E12) Don Cheadle talks to Michael about his directorial debut, the Miles Davis biopic Miles Ahead.
  26. Viggo Mortensen, Bonnie Bishop (S03E11) Viggo Mortensen talks to Michael about fatherhood, acting, and Captain Fantastic; Bonnie Bishop tells Michael about her incredible journey to making the year's best album.
  27. Susan Sarandon (S03E10) Susan Sarandon talks with Michael about her Movies About Ray and The Meddler, and about how much she loves his beard. Michael swoons.
  28. Spike Lee (S03E09) Spike Lee does his 2015 Paste Film Man of the Year interview with Michael, focusing primarily on his 2015 Movie of the Year Chi-Raq.
  29. Josh Radnor, Caitlin Fitzgerald, Jess Weixler (S03E08) A trio of accomplished actor/directors join Michael onstage at the Sarasota Film Festival to talk shop about acting for television.
  30. Illeana Douglas (S03E07) Illeana speaks with Michael about her new book I Blame Dennis Hopper, her work to promote women filmmakers, and the misunderstood genius of Jerry Lewis.
  31. D.A. Pennebaker (S03E06) The legendary D.A. Pennebaker, probably the most celebrated documentarian alive, explores his long and storied career with Michael, including Bob Dylan stories from the making of Dont Look Back.
  32. Laurie Anderson (S03E05) Laurie Anderson talks to Michael about the New York avant garde scene in the Seventies and Eighties, Rufus Wainwright, and The Heart of a Dog.
  33. Jeremy Irons, Katrina Bowden, Amanda Crew (S03E04) Jeremy Irons tells Michael about the beauty of mathematics, Katrina Bowden tells him what she learned from Alec Baldwin, and Amanda Crew geeks out with him on photography.
  34. Whit Stillman (S3E3) Whit Stillman talks with Michael about his new film Love & Friendship, and about how the writing process looks for him.
  35. Jason Bateman (S3E2) Jason Bateman talks with Michael about his new film The Family Fang, being recruited by Nicole Kidman, and the difficulties of tone.
  36. Aisha Tyler (S3E1) Aisha talks with Michael about her new Kickstarter project, about Archer, and about the state of James Bond's testicles.
  37. Richard Linklater, Zac Efron, Jimmy Pardoe We continue rolling out behind the scenes bits from 21 Years with Richard Linklater, followed by discussions with Zac Efron and comedian Jimmy Pardoe. Zac expounds on his experience working on 21 Years with Linklater. Jimmy Pardo is a hyper funny, hyper intelligent smartass who's one of the funniest comedians working today.
  38. Mandy Patinkin, Wallace Shawn In honor of Richard Linklater's magnificent Boyhood, we present a childhood-themed episode of the podcast. From one of the greatest-ever movies about childhood, The Princess Bride, we speak with Mandy Patinkin and Wallace Shawn. Then we have a conversation about the new Gondry movie Mood Indigo, which is filled with childlike whimsy, with Audrey Tatou. And Jacki Weaver tells us about Woody Allen's new film Magic in the Moonlight, which is in part about rediscovering childlike wonder.
  39. Brit Marling Writer/Director Mike Cahill and star Brit Marling join us to discuss I Origins, their followup to Another Earth, one of our favorite movies of 2011. Along the way, we also discuss Richard Linklater's Boyhood and the concept of remorse. Plus there's a food fight. The episode closes with a mini-mixtape of eye-themed songs.
  40. Booker T. Jones Musical legend Booker T. Jones joins us for the full episode to tell us about growing up in Memphis, having a name affected that his development, writing and recording a runaway hit while still in high school, and working with everyone from Otis Redding and Isaac Hayes to The Roots and The Drive-By Truckers.
  41. Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong'o, Chiwitel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong'o, Chiwitel Ejiofor, and Alfre Woodard are the guests for a roundtable interview about 12 Years a Slave. Jason Momoa discusses his new movie, Road to Paloma, breaking out of the stereotypical strongman roles, and how he wrote a screenplay to meet Lisa Bonet.
  42. Jeff Bridges, Nicola Peltz and Jack Reynor, John Sayles Jeff Bridges tells us about working with Robert Duvall in Crazy Heart, Nicola Peltz and Jack Reynor tell us about being the new Shia and Megan in the Transofrmers franchise, and indie filmmaking hero John Sayles shares memories of his long, storied career
  43. Forest Whitaker Screen legend and Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker was Paste's 2013 Man of the Year in Film. In a year that many dubbed The Year of Black Cinema, he was a key part of two of the most provocative and thoughtful black films in recent memory, starring in The Butler and producing Fruitvale Station.
  44. Glenn Close, Jeff Garlin, Shep Gordon Jeff Garlin talks about how he ended up producing one of the best documentaries of the year. Shep Gordon talks about how he ended up having half of Hollywood over to his house for dinner. And Glenn Close talks about how she ended up seeing Robert Duvall's butt. Repeatedly. It's an unforgettable Episode of The Work.
  45. Diane Keaton, Kyra Sedgwick Even a throat infection can't stop Michael from bringing the interview goodness. Diane Keaton and Kyra Sedgwick tell us about their experiences with Robert Duvall. And Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe tells us about growing up to be one of the greatest heroes that Uganda has ever seen. It's Strong Women Week for this episode of The Work.
  46. Billy Bob Thornton, Sir Patrick Stewart Billy Bob Thornton tells us stories from his friendship with Robert Duvall, including the time Duvall sent a dog to attack him. And Sir Patrick Stewart tells why it's hard playing Captain Picard and Professor Xavier, why Americans are better film actors than Brits, and how filmgoing was an escape in his largely unhappy youth.
  47. Kristen Bell Our conversation with Kristen Bell about Frozen ended up extending into a conversation about Veronica Mars, social activism, being married, and the concept of social interconnectedness.
  48. Slash, James Moll, Muscle Shoals Slash has been shredding his way to rock and roll godhood ever since the seminal Guns N Roses album Appetite for Destruction dropped in July of 1987. James Moll won an Academy Award for a Holocaust documentary he did with Spielberg, and releases his new documentary Farmland this month. And all the Muscle Shoals Swampers did was help launch the careers of Aretha Franklin, Percy Sledge, Wilson Pickett, Clarence Carter, and Lynyrd Skynyrd, while collaborating on some of the best work of Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Paul Simon and Elton John among many others. And after a few Turn Me On suggestions from each of our guests, we hear a song from Dinosaur Jr's Daytrotter session.
  49. Jessica Biel, Rick Hall, The Civil Wars Jessica Biel gave a performance in last year's Sundance Film The Truth About Emanuel that surprised those who hadn't been paying attention to her quietly impressive work over the past few years. We talk a bit about the film and the state of women in Hollywood. Rick Hall is one of the most significant record producers in history, having founded FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, recorded classics like Percy Sledge's "When a Man Loves a Woman" and Wilson Pickett's "Mustang Sally" (among thousands of others), and jump-started Aretha Franklin's storied career. He recounts some favorite stories form his more than a half century in the music business. And in our Turn Me On segment, we revisit a Daytrotter session by a band just on the edge of superstardom — the 2009 visit by The Civil Wars.
  50. Amanda Palmer, Mariel Hemingway, Daniel Victor Two pairs of inspiring women, and one dude changing how we work with China. It's Episode Four of the Work. Amanda Palmer is one of the most outspoken, fascinating musicians around, and Ondi Timoner's new short documentary about her, Amanda F***ing Palmer: On the Rocks, premiered at the Tribeca Film Fest this week. Mariel Hemingway, Academy Award-nominated actress and granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway, is the subject of two-time Academy Award-winning director Barbara Kopple's documentary Running From Crazy, which hits DVD this weekend. And Daniel Victor runs Boneyard Entertainment China, which is creating bold new film partnerships with our Eastern frenemies. All five join us. Our "Turn Me On" segment is, of course, from Amanda Palmer, in one of Michael's favorite musical moments of all time.
  51. Nicolas Cage, Tye Sheridan, David Gordon Green Darren Aronofsky had to postpone his interview with The Work this week, but we replaced him with Nicolas Cage so to quote a great film, "so we're not sweating it either." Cage is joined by his Joe co-star Tye Sheridan and director David Gordon Green. And although Aronofsky couldn't make it, his Noah producer and co-writer Ari Handel drops by to talk about the controversy surrounding the film. Our "Turn Me On" segment features the song "Super Eight," from a Daytrotter session by Jason Isbell.
  52. John Turturro, Stephen Frears, Gabriel Byrne Stephen Frears, a famously difficult interview, is won over (a bit). Gabriel Byrne brings the love. And John Turturro loves talking music. It's this week's episode of The Work. In our "Turn Me On" segment, Gabriel Byrne encourages us to take time to eavesdrop on others' conversations, so we play the songs "Are You Listening" and "The Conversation," from the Daytrotter sessions of Kopecky Family Band and Waylon Jennings, respectively.
  53. Josh Radnor, Elizabeth Olsen, Richard Jenkins Today's an auspicious day in podcasting history, as it sees the launch of The Work with Michael Dunaway, our interview podcast. In honor of How I Met Your Mother's closing episode after an nine-year run, we dedicate our premiere episode to Ted himself, writer/director/actor Josh Radnor, a friend and hero of the podcast, with additional comments from his Liberal Arts co-stars Elizabeth Olsen and Richard Jenkins. Our "Turn Me On" segment features the song "Constructive Summer," from a Daytrotter session by The Hold Steady.