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Shoot This Now

Author: Tim Molloy

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We talk about true stories that we think should be made into TV shows or movies. First we talk about why they belong on-screen -- then we talk about how we'd like to see them on-air: Who should direct, who should write, who should star. We dig up lesser-known people whose stories deserve to be told, forgotten moments in history, and fresh angles on very familiar memories.

Your hosts, Tim and Deirdre, are married writers who only recommend stories that we would personally want to see. Join us and follow us at @ShootThisNowPod. Thanks!

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69 Episodes
Fifteen miles south of Hearst Castle, home of "Citizen Kane" inspiration William Randolph Hearst, is perhaps a more impressive dwelling: Nitt Witt Ridge, the house that former garbageman Art Beale constructed by hand from cast-off beer cans, shells, and other cast-off materials.Beal, who once had a job hauling refuse from Hearst Castle, began work on Nitt Witt Ridge after his attempt at a normal life passed him by. In the 1050s, his neighbors mocked him as a "nitwit" as they watched him carve out his home with only a shovel and a device he called an "idiot stick."But by the 1970s, he had started to gain recognition as a non-conformist hero. And Nitt Witt Ridge, a monument to his artistic genius, still stands today.This week, we talk about why it's time to make a movie of Art Beal's life. And why only one actor can play him. (Okay, maybe two.)Here are the fascinating videos we mention in this episode: Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
In 1989, Public Enemy broke up -- just after recording their signature song, "Fight the Power," and just before it became the musical centerpiece of Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing." The reason for their breakup, and the story of their reunion, is the subject of our latest episode.Our special guest this week is Dart Adams of the "Dart Against Humanity" podcast, and the author of the Okayplayer story "In the Summer of 1989 'Fight the Power' Saved Public Enemy & Almost Sank 'Do the Right Thing.'"Public Enemy had always been a team of rivals. Leader Chuck D managed both the flamboyant comedy of his legendary sideman, Flavor Flav, and the seriousness of Professor Griff, the group's designated "minister of information" and leader of the military-modeled step squad the S1Ws.But then Griff make anti-Semitic comments soon before the release of "Do the Right Thing." The ensuing protests threatened both Public Enemy and Spike Lee's hard-fought achievements.No one in the group condoned Griff's remarks. But no one wanted to be seen as kowtowing to critics, either, as a matter of principle. Chuck D had to decide whether to break with his friend to save the future.We hope you like the episode, and will be sure to check out the "Dart Against Humanity" podcast wherever you're listening to this. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Marlon Brando didn't attend the 1973 Oscars, but he did enlist Native American actress and activist Sacheen Littlefeather to reject his Oscar for The Godfather. This week, we talk about why Littlefeather's speech was an iconic moment for Native Americans in Hollywood and nationwide, and why it was so cruelly misunderstood. Littlefeather says she remembers John Wayne being so angry at her speech that he wanted to attack her.Every week on "Shoot This Now," we talk about stories that should be made into films. This episode, we also talk about why it would be poetic justice for Littlefeather's story to be made into a movie, nearly half a century after her speech to 85 million people. This episode features Clint Eastwood, Angela Lansbury, Roger Moore, and a cavalcade of other stars of the 1973 Academy Awards. We also talk about the Native American protests at Alcatraz and Wounded Knee, which factor heavily into our story. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Nakano Takeko was a 21-year-old martial arts instructor who came to lead a battalion of women against the Emperor of Japan's Imperial Army, 150 years ago. On this week's episode of "Shoot This Now," we talk about how her story could be "The Last Samurai," minus Tom Cruise, with a huge influx of female fighters. It's a little bit "Kill Bill" and a little bit "Braveheart," with an incredible young front-and-center, wielding a bloody naginata.We also talk about the overuse of the word "dragon," a Darth Vader-like Big Bad who wields a remote control as a weapon, and justice for Japanese pop star Maho Yamaguchi. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.



Maurice Ward was a British hairdresser and amateur inventor who was inspired by a horrific plane disaster to invent a material that could withstand fire, nukes, and perhaps even the sun. His invention, which his granddaughter named "Starlite," drew the attention of Boeing, NASA, and the British military. Then it disappeared.What happened to Ward's invention after his death is a complete mystery. On this episode, we talk about whether Starlite was real or a hoax -- and note that many reputable scientists appeared to take the hairdresser very seriously. (Don't take our word for it; here's a video from the BBC.) We also talk about whether Ward's desire to do good was sidetracked by other motives, and whether some powerful force may have taken Starlite underground. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
It was March 22, 1976 -- the first day of shooting "Star Wars." As Mark Ramsey's new "Inside Star Wars" reimagines that day in the Tunisian desert, it included hours of falling droids, an unlikely cameo by Jesus Christ, and lots of doubt from Sir Alec Guinness. Ramsey, who also created "Inside Jaws," "Inside Psycho" and other podcasts, recently joined "Shoot This Now" to talk about Carrie Fisher's incredibly odyssey from reluctant actress to galactic icon. Ramsey also loaned us this brief excerpt of "Inside Star Wars," which you can subscribe to right here: meticulous research and George Lucas-like levels of imagination, Ramsey and producer Jeff Schmidt take you back to the start of "Star Wars": Inside George Lucas' doubts, Carrie Fisher's apprehension, and Sir Alec Guinness outright bewilderment. If you've forgotten why you loved "Star Wars," Ramsey's latest will remind you.And Tim and Deirdre will be back next week with an all-new "Shoot This Now." Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
This week, Mark Ramsey joins us to preview "Inside Star Wars," which debuts Wednesday, May 29 and which you should subscribe to right here. But he also tells the Carrie Fisher story, a tale of a nervous 19-year-old who doesn't know she's about to star in the biggest movie in the world.Carrie Fisher suffered a series of indignities for her role in "Star Wars" -- from scenes with a character everyone called "the dog" to a series of weird hairstyles to a pre-shooting trip to an icky 1970s institution known as a "fat farm."But through her performance as Princess Leia, she became a cultural icon. A month after her death, the 2017 Women's March included many posters Leia Organa -- and her famous headphones-style hair -- accompanied by slogans about rebellion and "The Force."She was also known for wit, humor, and dedication in the midst of struggle. She overcame her resistance to Hollywood and acting to fulfill her destiny as a movie star, writer, and symbol of the power of struggle. Her struggle with addiction set an example for many more people -- if someone as cool as Carrie Fisher could quit drugs and booze, so could they.She died in December 2016, one day before from her mother, Debbie Reynolds. But her force will be with us, always. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
There aren't enough content warnings in the world for the story of Ed Kemper and Herbert Mullin, two serial killers who simultaneously stalked Santa Cruz in 1972 and 1973. Kemper posed as a wanna-be cop and Good Samaritan to lure hitchhikers into his car and do horrific things to his victims. Mullin believed his murders were human sacrifices to prevent earthquakes. Their paths eventually crossed.This episode, clinical psychologist Dr. John Meigs joins us to talk about how to stop the next Ed Kemper or Herbert Mullin. Both men have been diagnosed with the same mental illness, and we discuss whether better detection and treatment of serious mental illness in this country could prevent mass killings.We can't stress enough that most people with mental illnesses will never behave violently. As Dr. Meigs explains, they're far more likely to suffer a stressful and difficult effort to manage or overcome the situation. Illnesses don't discriminate, and any of us could suffer mental illness. So we need to remove the stigma attached to seeking help.But Kemper and Mullin are extreme outliers. And the failure to diagnose and treat similarly dangerous people could be calamitous. The mental health group the Treatment Advocacy Center reports that "at least one third of mass killings are carried out by individuals with untreated serious mental illness" -- a finding that cries out for better treatment.We talk this episode about whether our current emphasis on punishment over prevention makes sense. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
You may have read news stories - or heard jokes - about the Indiana man who sued his parents this month for destroying his massive collection of porn. But his backstory is more complex and nuanced then the headlines and punchlines suggest. It's a complicated family drama we think is worthy of the big screen.On this episode, we delve deep into his life and his unapologetic about his love of porn. And we try to understand the family dynamic that we think led to his interest.As always, we have five segments: Why Now, Comps ("This story is THIS meets THIS!"), Key Scenes, Development (who should direct and star), and What Should We Call This Thing.Also: If you'd like to learn more about Paul Gonzenbach, the singer-songwriter we mention near the end of the episode, start here. He's fantastic. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
The Irish famine killed a million people of Ireland, and scattered the islands hungry people across the world. It received a woefully inadequate response from the British Crown -- yet somehow drew the attention of the Choctaw, a Native American people thousands of miles away. We think the story would be an amazing movie. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
In the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles, Puerto Rico’s Madeline de Jesus was injured in the long jump, and found herself unable to run in the 4×400-meter relay. Fortunately she had a secret weapon: Her identical twin sister, Margaret, who took her place in a qualifying heat.The college admissions scandal and Jordan Peele's "Us" have us thinking about cheating and duality, respectively. Madeline and Margaret de Jesus' story has both. Join us for our very special 50th episode as we talk about their hilarious ruse, and also about Lori Loughlin and dystopian boy band Menudo.If you enjoy this episode, check out one of our sources, Yara Simon's story about the de Jesus twins for Remezcla. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
It's fitting that Michael Jackson's 2005 trial ended with a woman releasing white doves -- one for each count on which he was acquitted. Doves are a traditional part of many magic shows, and Jackson's trial was his greatest trick of all. On every episode of "Shoot This Now," we talk about true stories that should be made into TV shows and movies. This week, we talk about the 2005 Michael Jackson trial, which I covered from beginning to end for The Associated Press. As the new Dan Reed documentary "Leaving Neverland" makes clear, the trial continued a long Jackson tradition of manipulating the people around him. Wade Robson describes in the documentary how Jackson persuaded him to lie on the stand about being molested. And the news media (myself included) sometimes paid attention to his pajama-and-epaulette ensembles instead of everything Jackson wanted to hide. Will the trial ever get the "People v. OJ Simpson" treatment it deserves?  Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Born in Toronto to a black father and white mother, Angela James went from defending herself from bullies in the projects to becoming one of the first women ever inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. She was also the first openly gay athlete to be inducted into a major sports Hall of Fame, and is widely regarded as the "Wayne Gretzky of women's hockey." Her story has the grit of "Miracle" and "Warrior," with the fish-out-of-water and blue-collar racial dynamics of "8 Mile." We haven't seen a massive female-centered sports film since "Million Dollar Baby," and unlike that masterpiece of sadness, Davis' biography is happy and uplifting.   Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Six months ago, Raphael Samuel informed his mother over breakfast that he planned to sue his parents for bringing him into existence without his consent. His story should be a movie, obviously. Every week on "Shoot This Now," we talk about stories that should be made into TV shows or movies. This week, Trey Williams joins us to talk about the strange case of Raphael Samuel, whose story -- including the breakfast conversation -- is told in this BBC account. This episode includes a brief discussion of suicide. If you've given it any serious thought -- please don't do it. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Frédéric Tcheng's Sundance doc "Halston" is about an Iowa boy turned fashion icon who went from making hats for Jackie Kennedy to ruling Studio 54 to making clothes for J.C. Penney. No one in fashion had a wilder, more intoxicating ride. This week, Tcheng and producer Roland Ballester take us seamlessly through his famous friends (from Andy Warhol to Liza Minelli to Liz Taylor) to the heights of Wall Street and to the tragedy of the AIDS epidemic. There are a million Halston movies we want to see. We also talk about our favorite other Sundance films, from "Hail Satan!" to "I Am Mother." Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
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If the "Fyre" and "Fyre Fraud" documentaries made you think the Fyre Festival was the worst music-fest ever, may we introduce you to the nightmare that was Woodstock '99. Characterized by sexual assaults, rioting, and actual fires, Woodstock '99 celebrated an era when Korn and Limp Bizkit ruled music. We want to see a movie about Fred Durst and Kurt Loder battling for the soul of music. Recommended: Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Harry Siskind is a photographer-turned-entrepreneur who made a lot of promises about his weight-loss company, Body Solutions -- including that it could help you lose weight as you slept. Maybe he made too many promises. Countless radio ads and more than $100 million later, the Texas high roller caught the eye of some feds who tore his diet empire down. Our music this episode is "3 Kinds of Sun" by Norma Rockwell. You can read more about Harry Siskind here: Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine, aka Daniel Hernandez, Tekashi 69 and just 6ix9ine, is what The New York Times' Joe Coscarelli and Ali Watkins call a "human meme." This week, we talk about his journey from a nice kid in a bodega to a wildly successful rapper now facing RICO charges. Will his bid for authenticity land him in prison? It could. Read their definitive account of 6ix9ine's life here:   Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
In the beautiful "Surviving Y2K" podcast, Dan Taberski talks about how a few incredibly compelling people prepared for what they thought would be Armageddon. And how his own life changed dramatically. It would make a GREAT movie. He also talks about "Missing Richard Simmons" -- and drops some hints about what he's doing next. Listen to "Surviving Y2K" here:       Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
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