Tony Kushner Pt. 1

  • Aired:  11/14/12
  •  | Views: 20,777

Pulitzer Prize winner Tony Kushner describes how "Lincoln" is a bit like a state basketball tournament movie. (3:51)

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

>> Stephen: WELCOME BLACK, EVERYBODY!

MY GUEST TONIGHT IS A PULITZER PRIZE PLAY WRIGHT.

TONY KUSHNER.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) NICE TO SEE YOU AGAIN, THANKS FOR COMING ON.

ALL RIGHT EVERYBODY KNOWS YOU.

TURN AUTHOR OF "THE PLAYWRIGHT OF ANGELS IN AMERICA." YOU ALSO WROTE THE SCREENPLAY TO

"MUNICH" WITH STEPHEN SPIELBERG NOW YOU ARE THE SCREEN WRITEER FOR THE KNEW MOVIE "LINCOLN."

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) WERE YOU DAUNTED AT ALL APPROACHING A FIGURE THIS ICONIC?

SOMEONE SO HUGE IN OUR MINDS?

SOMEONE WE ALL THINK OF AS OLD.

OLD UNCLE PENNY FACE?

(LAUGHTER)

>> NEVER OCCURRED TO ME TO THINK OF HIM AS OLDS UNCLE PENNY FACE.

IT WAS SCARY.

I DIDN'T WANT TO DO IT ORIGINAL BECAUSE I DIDN'T KNOW THAT IT WAS GOING TO BE POSSIBLE.

>> Stephen: DID SPIELBERG HAVE SOMETHING ON YOU?

DID HE BLACKMAIL YOU?

>> WELL, DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN WHO'S BEEN ON THE SHOW.

>> Stephen: FRIEND OF THE SHOW.

>> SHE WAS A VERY PERSUASIVE AND LOVELY PERSON AND GREAT WRITER AND SHE TALKED ME INTO IT AND I

LOVED WORKING WITH STEVEN ON "MUNICH" SO I FIGURED IT WAS A GOOD THING TO TRY.

>> Stephen: WHEN DORIS WAS ON SHE SAID SOMETHING I HADN'T HEARD BEFORE.

SHE SAID -- SHE LOOKED AT "LINCOLN" AND SHE SAID "ISN'T HE SEXY?" SHE SAID SHE'S BEEN SAYING FOR

YEARS LINCOLN IS SEXY AND PEOPLE THINK SHE'S CRAZY.

YOU MUST HAVE -- YOU MUST HAVE GOT TO KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT THE MAN AS YOU WERE RESEARCHING HIM.

>> SURE.

>> Stephen: IS HE SEXY?

>> YEAH, ABSOLUTELY.

HE HAD HUGE FEET.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

>> WELL, HE WAS A KENTUCKY RAIL SPLITTER.

(LAUGHTER)

>> YEAH, I FELT THAT HE WAS -- I FELT THAT HE WAS VERY PHYSICALLY ATTRACTIVE MAN AND --

(LAUGHTER) AND CLEARLY AN ENORMOUSLY CHARMING PERSON.

>> Stephen: AND DANIEL DAY-LEWIS' PORTRAYAL.

I SAW THE SHOW THIS WEEKEND BECAUSE I'M SUPERSPECIAL AND -- (LAUGHTER) -- IT'S AN INCREDIBLE MOVIE.

FIRST OF ALL, IT'S ESSENTIALLY ABOUT PASSING A PIECE OF LEGISLATION.

IT'S ABOUT PASSING THE 13th AMENDMENT WHICH OUTLAWS SLAVERY, MAKES IT UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

HOW DO YOU APPROACH MAKING -- PASSING A PIECE OF LEGISLATION, PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURE, EXCITING.

(LAUGHTER) DID YOU SUCCEED?

>> THANKS.

I'M GLAD YOU LIKE IT.

IT'S A LITTLE BIT LIKE A STATE BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT MOVIE.

YOU KNOW THE LITTLE TEAM IS GOING TO WIN THE STATE CHAMPIONSHIP.

SO YOU KNOW THE ENDING ALREADY BUT IT'S STILL EXCITING BECAUSE IT'S -- YOU'RE ROOTING FOR THEM

AND IF IT'S A CLOSE CALL YOU -- YOUR ENGINE GETS GOING.

SO THIS WAS A SQUEAKER.

THE HOUSE PASSED IT BY ONLY TWO VOTES.

>> Stephen: RIGHT AT THE BUZZER.

>> RIGHT AT THE BUZZER, ABSOLUTELY.

>> Stephen: BECAUSE THE CIVIL WAR IS ABOUT TO END.

>> THE CIVIL WAR WAS A FEW MONTHS AWAY FROM ENDING.

LINCOLN KNEW IT WAS GOING TO COME TO AN END AS SOON AS SPRING ARRIVED AND THE ARMY STARTED

FIGHTING AGAIN.

>> Stephen: RIGHT.

OR IF THE WAR ENDED, YOU KNOW, PEOPLE "LET'S END SLAVERY WHILE WE'RE FIGHTING TO END SLAVERY."

BUT IF THE WAR ENDS AND WE STILL HAVE SLAVES SCREW 'EM.

(LAUGHTER)

>> THAT WAS CONSIDERED THE ATTITUDE.

>> Stephen: WE'RE GOT TO TAKE A COMMERCIAL BREAK BUT STAY RIGHT THERE, WE'LL BE BACK WITH MORE

TONY KUSHNER.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

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