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Present Company

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Present Company with Krista Smith is a weekly show bringing you dynamic conversations with the exceptional people behind your favorite shows, films, specials, and documentaries.
32 Episodes
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Cheer’s Coach Monica

Cheer’s Coach Monica

2020-02-1400:35:05

In today’s episode, Coach Monica Aldama joins the show to discuss "Cheer," the Netflix documentary series that everyone’s talking about, from Ellen Degeneres to A-listers at the Oscars and SNL. With her fierce competitive spirit, laser-like focus, and no-nonsense style, Coach Monica has captured the imagination of the show’s legions of fans who have followed along as the Navarro College cheer squad navigates the highs and lows of working to win a coveted national title.Aldama talks about the impact of the show back home in Corsicana, Texas; why she thinks listening and empathy are the keys to effective leadership; and what her alumni most appreciate when they reflect back on the experience of the program. She also talks about her mentor, her alter-ego Annette, her guilty pleasures, and what it’s like to have fans of the show obsessing over everything from her coasters to her boots and her Apple watch. 
Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson

2020-02-0300:27:01

In this episode, two-time Academy Award nominee Scarlett Johansson joins the show to talk about her new film “Marriage Story,” from Academy Award nominated filmmaker Noah Baumbach. It’s an incisive and compassionate look at a marriage breaking up and a family staying together, in which Johansson stars opposite Adam Driver, and alongside Laura Dern, Alan Alda, and Ray Liotta. Following breakout performances in Robert Redford’s “The Horse Whisperer” and the acclaimed independent film “Ghost World,” Johansson delivered a career-making performance in Sofia Coppola’s “Lost in Translation.” Since then, the superstar actress has achieved extraordinary success, shifting effortlessly between working with auteurs in independent film and starring in Hollywood blockbusters that amass billions in box office.  With her fearless appetite for challenging roles and seemingly inexhaustible work ethic, Johansson delivered not one but two Oscar-nominated performances in 2019 in “Jojo Rabbit” and “Marriage Story.” In this conversation, Johansson talks about acting without embarrassment, loving her work more than ever, and serving as both a producer and star of “Black Widow.”
Whitney Cummings

Whitney Cummings

2020-01-3000:56:13

By the time she was 29, Whitney Cummings had not one but two network television shows on air: “Whitney,” and “2 Broke Girls,” which she co-created with Michael Patrick King. In this episode, the writer, director, producer, actress, stand-up comedian, published author, and podcaster (check out her show “Good for You”), discusses how she handled that early success and how she dealt with the headwinds that came with it. Cummings also talks about the evolution of her Netflix stand-up special, “Can I Touch It?,” how comedians are having to step up to make their work memorable, how Jordan Peele’s “Us” changed comedy, the impact of PC culture, and why social media is less influential than we think. She also discusses her love of animals, her need for nature, why it’s no longer possible to be an enigma, her complex relationship with money, and the changes she’s seen in post #metoo Hollywood.
Gillian Anderson

Gillian Anderson

2020-01-1700:42:413

Gillian Anderson joins the show to discuss the second season of the heartfelt and hilariously awkward “Sex Education,” in which Anderson plays Jean Milburn, sex therapist and mom to the show’s young lead Otis, played by Asa Butterfield.Anderson of course occupies an iconic place in the pop culture galaxy, thanks to her portrayal of Agent Dana Scully in “The X-Files,” a role that would pave the way for a new kind of female character on television.Now, Anderson is based in London, and her career choices have taken her from the stage, to film, and television.In this episode, Anderson talks about challenging gender disparity, how motherhood helped her keep her “X-Files” success in perspective, her thoughts on the impact of social media, and how she prepared to step into the shoes of Margaret Thatcher for the fourth season of “The Crown.”
RuPaul and Michael Patrick King join the show to discuss their new show “AJ & The Queen,” a heartfelt, gritty comedy in which Ru stars as Robert Lee, better known as the drag queen Ruby Red, who — when faced with a broken heart and a stolen dream — meets a streetwise 10-year-old and assumes the role of de facto parent.RuPaul’s career achievements are, of course, both legion and legend, and include “The RuPaul Show,” “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” and RuPaul’s DragCon. Michael Patrick King's vast body of work includes the juggernaut that was “Sex and the City,” as well as “The Comeback,” “2 Broke Girls,” “Will & Grace,” “Cybill,” and “Murphy Brown.”Between them, they have made an indelible mark on modern popular culture, influencing everything from how we talk to how we dress, how we think about our identities, our careers, and our relationships.In this episode, the duo discuss the power in their creative partnership, their early struggles, their secret obsessions, and how social media has influenced how we watch and engage with shows.
Adam Driver

Adam Driver

2020-01-0700:32:34

Adam Driver joins the show to discuss his new film “Marriage Story,” from Academy Award nominated filmmaker Noah Baumbach, in which Driver plays Charlie, a husband and father navigating his marriage breaking up while trying to keep his family together. Starring opposite Scarlett Johansson, and alongside Laura Dern, Alan Alda, and Ray Liotta, Driver delivers a stunning performance in a film that’s both incisive and compassionate.In the past decade, Driver has become that rare movie star that can shift between leading man and character actor roles, as well as command a Broadway stage. He came to our attention with HBO’s “Girls,” and since then has worked in quick succession with directors including Jim Jarmusch, Spike Lee, Martin Scorsese, and Steven Spielberg, and, in the middle of all that, he stepped into the global phenomenon that is “Star Wars.” In this conversation, Driver talks about shooting “Marriage Story,” the benefit of working with friends, how problem-solving on set is his favorite part of the filmmaking process, and why he views acting as a service industry. He also talks about Arts in the Armed Forces, his foundation which brings the theater to a military audience. And, yes, he discusses Kylo Ren and working on “Star Wars.”
Alan Alda

Alan Alda

2019-12-1600:45:13

America fell in love with Alan Alda as Hawkeye Pierce in the legendary show M*A*S*H, for which he received a staggering 25 Emmy nominations, winning 5 times. He’s also a three-time Tony award nominee, a best supporting Oscar nominee for Martin Scorsese’s “The Aviator,” and he has six Golden Globes to his name.But beyond his work in entertainment, Alda has devoted himself to innumerable avenues, including the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, writing his memoirs, and creating his own podcast “Clear + Vivid."In this episode, he talks about his new film “Marriage Story,” from Academy Award nominated filmmaker Noah Baumbach; his boundless curiosity; his experience living and working with Parkinson’s disease; and the advice he has to give this generation.
Jenny Slate

Jenny Slate

2019-12-1000:44:38

Jenny Slate joins the show to discuss her Netflix special “Stage Fright” -- which combines her stand-up with personal clips of her childhood and interviews with her family in an intimate look at her life -- and her New York Times bestseller, “Little Weirds." It’s been a significant year for the writer, actress, and comedian, who recently became engaged and is now enjoying a bi-coastal existence, splitting her time between Los Angeles and her bucolic home on the South Coast of Massachusetts. Slate first came up in the alternative comedy world, before landing on SNL, and in the decade that followed, she co-created the beloved “Marcel the Shell” series, appeared in numerous films, including “Obvious Child” and “Gifted,” as well as TV shows like “Parks and Recreation” and Nick Kroll’s “The Kroll Show.” With her frank and fearless style, instantly recognizable voice, and infectious humor, Slate has forged her own unique path in Hollywood as a true original.In this conversation, we talk about her fiancé and family, her writing process, why she’s grateful that her time on SNL was short-lived, how her relationship to the business has evolved, as well as everything from psychics to PMS.
Noah Baumbach

Noah Baumbach

2019-12-0500:38:06

Academy Award nominated filmmaker Noah Baumbach joins the show to discuss his new film, the critically acclaimed “Marriage Story.” Starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson, and co-starring Laura Dern, Alan Alda, and Ray Liotta, Baumbach’s film about a marriage breaking up and a family staying together is filled with honesty, humor, and compassion.Baumbach, now 50, began his writing and directing career in his twenties with the comedy “Kicking and Screaming,” and his films since then have included “The Squid & The Whale,” “Margot at the Wedding,” “Greenberg” and “Frances Ha.” With unflinching honesty, his films explore our best and worst instincts, our fears, flaws, and triumphs.In this conversation, Baumbach discusses the journey of the film, how personal stories have shaped his body of work; the group of creative peers he trusts and relies upon; and the fact that he doesn’t appreciate lunch.
Paul Rudd

Paul Rudd

2019-11-2700:44:14

With his flawless comedic timing and instinct for capturing the frustrations of the everyman, Paul Rudd has carved a singular path in Hollywood, making audiences love him, root for him, and cringe for him in hits like “Clueless,” “Anchorman,” “Knocked Up,” and “I Love You, Man.” In addition to his comedy stardom, Rudd is now a bona fide action hero, having stepped into the Marvel universe in his forties as Ant-Man.In this episode, Rudd discusses the arc of his career, and he talks about his new show “Living with Yourself,” created by Timothy Greenberg and directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. Rudd does double-duty on the show, playing both the character of Miles, a burned-out and dejected figure, and the new and improved clone of Miles, who appears following a strange procedure at a strip mall spa.Rudd also discusses his love of sports, his secret Irish bar, his go-to karaoke songs, and he shares how his son attempted his own “Hot Ones” challenge after Rudd’s triumphant appearance on the hit YouTube show.
Sir Anthony Hopkins

Sir Anthony Hopkins

2019-11-2100:45:391

In this special episode, Oscar-winner Sir Anthony Hopkins joins the show (he prefers to be addressed as Tony), to discuss his new film “The Two Popes,” from Academy Award-nominated director Fernando Meirelles. Inspired by true events, the film is a fascinating tale of an unprecedented transfer of power in the Catholic Church. It follows the imagined conversations between two very different men about the role of the Church in a changing world — one a traditionalist (Hopkins as Pope Benedict), and the other a progressive (Jonathan Pryce as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, later Pope Francis). With unexpected humor, sweeping vision, and extraordinary performances, the film is a revealing look at two of the most well-known men in the world.Hopkins, of course, is a legend, but at 81 years-old he wears the mantle of success lightly, eschewing the trappings of fame and retaining a great humility about all that he has achieved. In this interview, Hopkins goes back to the beginning of the story, from his life as a young man in Wales, to his work on the stage, and “The Silence of the Lambs” phenomenon. He also talks about the moment he won that Oscar, his feelings about faith, his rigorous approach to his work, and his experience with actors like Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise. And he discusses his impressive Instagram game, his art, his music, and his sense that his life’s success is “all a dream.”
Laura Dern

Laura Dern

2019-11-1400:45:27

During the course of her career, Laura Dern, the daughter of actors Diane Ladd and Bruce Dern, has carved her own unique path, moving effortlessly between the worlds of independent film and blockbuster franchises like “Jurassic Park” and, most recently, “Star Wars.” She is a two-time Oscar nominee, a four-time Golden Globe winner, and the recipient of an Emmy award for her critically acclaimed work in “Big Little Lies.” Dern is also an activist and philanthropist, and a beacon in the Hollywood community.In this episode, Dern talks about her new film “Marriage Story,” from Academy Award nominated filmmaker Noah Baumbach. It’s an incisive and compassionate look at a marriage breaking up and a family staying together, and it stars Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver, as well as Alan Alda and Ray Liotta. She also talks about growing up on film sets watching the masters Alfred Hitchcock and Martin Scorsese at work, the arc of her career through the eighties and nineties, and how she’s seen the experience of women working in the industry evolve. 
“Mad Men” fans watched Kiernan Shipka grow up on the small screen in her role as Sally Draper, the daughter of Betty and Don. Her nuanced and captivating performance earned her critical acclaim and an older sophisticated fan base for such a young talent. Since then, Shipka, who was born in Chicago and raised in Los Angeles, has taken on a host of different projects, including Ryan Murphy’s “Feud” and the psychological horror film “The Blackcoat’s Daughter.” At the beginning of 2018, she stepped into the magical, mischievous world of half-human, half-witch Sabrina Spellman in Netflix’s “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” based on the Archie comic book series. In this conversation, Shipka, who is about to turn 20, talks about her new film, “Let it Snow,” a teen drama about the friendships, love lives, and futures of a group of high school seniors, co-starring Shameik Moore and Isabel Moner. She also talks lessons learned growing up in the “Mad Men” world, what it’s like now to have a fan base closer to her own age, as well as her style philosophy, her go-to karaoke songs, and her love of a good power nap.
Demi Moore

Demi Moore

2019-10-2500:58:01

For this special episode, Krista traveled to San Francisco to interview Demi Moore in front of a sold-out crowd at an event hosted by City Arts & Lectures. As an actress, Demi Moore carved out one of the most extraordinary paths in modern Hollywood, shattering expectations of what a woman could earn, the kind of movie she could open, and how she could present herself in the world — her Vanity Fair cover, nude and pregnant, photographed by Annie Leibovitz, is now the stuff of legend.With films like “St. Elmo’s Fire,” “Ghost,” and “A Few Good Men,”  Moore shot to superstardom, achieving a level of success and celebrity that was further fueled by her high-profile marriage to Bruce Willis, with whom she shares three daughters. Now, the actress, producer, director and activist, has written the New York Times bestselling memoir “Inside Out,” a deeply affecting and highly personal account of her life and career. In this conversation, Moore opens up about the struggles and challenges she’s faced, and what fueled her all-or-nothing drive to succeed at the highest levels in Hollywood.
The Breakout: Zoey Deutch

The Breakout: Zoey Deutch

2019-10-1800:39:05

In this episode, Krista sits down with Zoey Deutch, one of Hollywood’s most sought after and poised young talents. For Deutch the reality of working life in Hollywood is far from a new concept. The young star, who began her career on the Disney Channel as a teenager, hails from a Hollywood family and took her first steps on a movie set. Her mother, Lea Thompson, is the actress known for the “Back to the Future" trilogy and the sitcom “Caroline in the City,” and her father Howard Deutch directed such John Hughes classics as “Pretty in Pink” and “Some Kind of Wonderful.”In this conversation, Deutch discusses her latest projects: “The Politician,” the much-discussed new Ryan Murphy show, starring Ben Platt, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jessica Lange; and “Zombieland: Double Tap,” which stars Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, and Jesse Eisenberg. She also talks about the benefits of growing up in a Hollywood family, her passion for the audition process, her struggles with anxiety, and why it’s so important to cultivate a life and interests beyond Hollywood.
The Breakout: Kaitlyn Dever

The Breakout: Kaitlyn Dever

2019-09-1300:32:48

At just 22 years-old, Kaitlyn Dever has already been acting for more than a decade, amassing a long list of credits in both film and television, including acclaimed independents like “Short Term 12,” and “The Spectacular Now.” But this year is proving to be a particularly special one for the young actress. She starred in Olivia Wilde’s critical darling coming-of-age directorial debut, “Book Smart,” and now she will appear in “Unbelievable,” a limited series based on true events, in which Dever plays a young woman accused of lying about a rape. Dever describes the role as the the biggest challenge of her career to date.
Sacha Baron Cohen

Sacha Baron Cohen

2019-09-0600:42:18

Sacha Baron Cohen has created some of the most unforgettable characters of the modern age, from Ali G to Bruno to Borat. His fearless comedic style and willingness to confront power and prejudice has transfixed audiences and resulted in accolades across the board. He’s an Oscar nominee, a Golden Globe nominee and winner, and a six-time Emmy award nominee.With his new limited series, “The Spy,” Cohen takes on the role of a real-world character for the first time. Set in the 1960s, it’s the true story of Eli Cohen, an Israeli clerk-turned-Mossad secret agent. Although the dramatic material may seem like new terrain for the actor, his ability to disappear into new identities, and the rigor with which he has always prepared to play characters, are both in evidence in his remarkable performance in the show. In this interview, Cohen discusses his history of dealing with the press in a non-traditional manner, the role technology played in his early success, and he talks about navigating tense real-world moments when he's in character, and the one thing he knows never to do when he finds himself in those situations. Cohen also discusses what it was like to shoot “The Spy,” and the insights he gained while living in an Arab country and working with a cast and crew that brought together people from all different political perspectives.
The Breakout: Julia Garner

The Breakout: Julia Garner

2019-08-2200:32:37

Julia Garner joins the show to discuss her Emmy-nominated performance as the tough yet vulnerable Ruth Langmore on “Ozark.” She talks about life on set, what she’s learned from working with the incredible cast, and the journey of her character. Known for her laser-like focus on her work, 25-year-old Garner has already built an impressive body of work, both in critically acclaimed independent films, like “Martha, Marcy, May, Marlene” and “Electrick Children,” and on hit shows like “The Americans.” Raised in New York by her mother, a comedian turned therapist, and her father, a painter and art teacher, Garner reflects on an upbringing that gave her both an insight into human psychology and a love of film and art. She also talks about her appreciation for fashion and rolls out an impressive Glinda the Good Witch impression.
Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy

2019-08-1500:42:212

Comedy legend Eddie Murphy joins the show to reflect upon his trailblazing career and to discuss his new film “Dolemite Is My Name,” directed by Craig Brewer (“Hustle & Flow,” “Empire”), and written by Emmy and Golden Globe-winning writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (“Ed Wood,” “The People vs. O.J. Simpson”). “Dolemite Is My Name” tells the true story of comedian Rudy Ray Moore and his tireless effort to make a film about his stage persona, “Dolemite,” a pimp with a cane and an arsenal of obscene fables. The film has a star-studded cast, including Wesley Snipes, Chris Rock, Keegan-Michael Key, Snoop Dogg, and a breakout performance from Da’Vine Joy Randolph. “Dolemite is My Name” will premiere at the Toronto Film Festival and be in theaters and on Netflix this fall.In this interview, Murphy shares his plans to return to to host SNL for the first time in over three decades. And he discusses hitting the road again for a stand-up tour when he will also perform music that he has otherwise kept from the public. He also reveals that he would still consider hosting the Oscars and shares why he chose to dedicate “Dolemite Is My Name” to his late, beloved brother Charlie Murphy.
Brené Brown

Brené Brown

2019-07-3100:40:311

In 2010, a research professor by the name of Brené Brown walked onto the TEDxHouston stage and delivered her talk, “The Power of Vulnerability.” Little did she know that this would change her life forever. That TED talk has now been viewed more than 50 million times, making Brown a global phenomenon. She is the author of five bestselling books, including “Daring Greatly,” “Rising Strong,” and “Dare to Lead,” and now Brown has a Netflix special, “The Call to Courage.” In this conversation, Brown takes us back to the very beginning of the story, from her early dreams of moving to New York, to her close call hitchhiking in Spain, to her struggle to get into the University of Texas. She also talks about faith and family, navigating success, and how she’s missing the “celebrity gene.”
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