SmartLess - "Don Cheadle"

Episode Date: April 8, 2024

Watch out, folks— it’s Don Cheadle, a.k.a. “Donchalant.” What is Jazz? Did Don have a good slumber last night? Get ready for some hard-hitters, like a deadly mignonette, the most rari...fied air, and both Kansas Cities. From our lips to pods’ ears, it’s an all-new SmartLess.See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at

Discussion (0)
Starting point is 00:00:00 Hi everybody, how was your day today? Are you asking us or the audience and you're expecting an answer from the audience? You know the audience is not mic'd. You got it. Sorry. Well no, I was asked, oh they're not? Since when do you call me and JB everybody? Yeah.
Starting point is 00:00:18 No, I call you guys the audience. Because you think that's the only people listening to you is just us two? Yeah. You've got higher responsibilities in in that let's come with the good stuff Judging by this opening we're after it's gonna be a great smartless welcome to it I'm Sean. I'm Sean. I'm Sean. I'm Sean. I'm Sean.
Starting point is 00:00:45 I'm Sean. I'm Sean. I'm Sean. I'm Sean. I'm Sean. I'm Sean. I'm Sean. I'm Sean.
Starting point is 00:00:53 I'm Sean. I'm Sean. I'm Sean. I'm Sean. I'm Sean. I'm Sean. I'm Sean. I'm Sean.
Starting point is 00:01:01 I'm Sean. I'm Sean. I'm Sean. I'm Sean. I'm Sean. I'm after that you got a diploma I heard that after they give you a diploma that they were stripped of their power was like a real on Is that an online universe? So I still wear my sash to bed once they did an assessment of your intellect They're like we gave this guy a fucking diploma Did you really go to ISU? I went to Illinois State University. Yes, the one of the greatest colleges ever. Okay Well, hang on. Let's quickly Google that
Starting point is 00:01:28 See I don't think you're gonna like first theater theater by the way, you know who went there me Jane Lynch Craig Robinson And I were music majors together. No, we I know we've had them We talked about for like half an hour. Hey Arnett, where'd you go to school? I didn't, I dropped out, man. No, but you did go. You went to boarding school. You know where I went? I went to fucking Hard Knocks, dude.
Starting point is 00:01:51 Oh, bro. The streets. The Hard Knock life with Annie? The streets of Toronto. Did you go, you went to- Excuse me. Excuse me. You went to additional voluntary school?
Starting point is 00:02:03 I did for half a year. Half a year. I know, I love that you go to additional voluntary school? I did for half a year. I know, I love that you go on a voluntary school. No, actually I should revert that. Voluntary additional school. And I just didn't understand the concept of that. I now have an option to not go, so taking that option. Sure.
Starting point is 00:02:27 You want a good joke? Yeah, sure, love one ISU. Well, sure, just jump in. I didn't realize that you were grabbing the reins here. We were just merrily going down a path, but. Oh, let's talk more about your school. Let's just go fucking, okay. Let's talk more about your school.
Starting point is 00:02:39 I didn't come. No, let's not. Here we go, ready? The best gift I ever received was a broken drum. You can't beat it. Okay, that's not here. We go ready the best gift I ever received was a broken drum. You can't beat it Okay, that's all right, that's okay. He doesn't claim that these to be great jokes I got a couple laughs in the background there you should you should say do you want to hear a dad joke if you say? Ready for something good dad joke means it's not like the term dad joke I think that that's I think that's lazy to call it a dad joke.
Starting point is 00:03:06 How about bad joke? Just say bad joke so people aren't expecting to laugh. Or like a pun. That's okay to say. I got one more, you got one more. Are there any mom jokes? Here's a mom joke. What's faster, hot or cold?
Starting point is 00:03:16 Hot, you can always catch a cold. That's good, that's good. That's not bad. That's pretty good. I guarantee you at least one of our listeners will be using that today after they get out of their car or off their subway or done with their jog. It's fun.
Starting point is 00:03:34 You're welcome. I love, just no, hang on Sean. I love Jason trying to imagine what regular people do. It's so fun. They get on the subway and then they go. And then they kiss their kids goodbye, walk out door, go to job. Say hi boss, office. Want to hear a joke. Oh dear. Want to hear a joke. At water cooler with me. I love Succession 2 and what are
Starting point is 00:04:03 you watching? I'm also watching Succession. Are you watching it? I am also worried about saying that I don't like it to yours word. Do you're saying I do like it? I'm just all right the joke real real good opening pattern everybody did everybody sleep well. I slept really well Patters over let's get to our high-level guest. Okay, really good though Did you for the first actually that is worth itail. You wanna talk to us about your sleep? The guest is not gonna wait for your sleep report. Well it's very rare that he has good sleep.
Starting point is 00:04:30 Before we get into it, it is true, Sean, and I'm happy for you and there's nobody, we talk about it all the time. Sean, yesterday morning JB, Sean, I said to him, hey you got a second, let me know when you got a second, like seven, I'm up at six, I said let me know when you got a second. It was like seven. got a second like seven. I'm up at six I said let me know when you got like seven. It was at seven He calls me and I go and I thought that he was back, you know
Starting point is 00:04:49 As usual thing he wakes up in the middle night and then he goes back to bed at 630 until 10 is whatever. Yeah, he was up and he'd been up since 330 He's been on a bad run of not being able to sleep. So so I slept all through the night I got up to pee and I went right back to sleep Why do you think that is did you load up on a bunch of sugar before you went to bed? I did a little bit but because of Yesterday, I think that what wills talking about I think I ran myself around in circles like a little child Being up at 330 and then I just crashed and it made me sleep all night long was awesome
Starting point is 00:05:20 You know what a fucking story It was awesome. You nap. What a fucking story. I'll nap like ten minutes. I'll nap like ten minutes. Anyway, so. Good that we stopped for that. You were right, Will.
Starting point is 00:05:33 Silly me. So today's guest is so immensely accomplished. We're gonna see David's face. What a fucking story. God, who else slept through the whole night? Make sure you call in. Our lines are open. And love to hear about it.
Starting point is 00:05:58 So our next guest is so accomplished and so universally loved, okay? He's so accomplished and so universally loved. He's done everything. He's done television, film, theater. He's even got a Grammy, I believe. It's been comedy, it's been drama, it's been popcorn movies, it's been academy movies. I just don't know what else to say about this fella except he's a new friend.
Starting point is 00:06:28 Oh. Okay. Okay. We met online. And he is also a Capricorn. And no, he is a new friend that I'm very excited about. He swings a mean golf club. Oh, I thought you were gonna say both. The way that started was he swings. I know. I know. I was like, oh, what?
Starting point is 00:06:51 He'll take you where you want to go on the weekends, okay? Well, that's what I'm saying. But listen, I love him. He's here. Very kind of him to say yes, because this is a big shot. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Don Cheadle. Hello, Don. I love Don Cheadle. Hello, Don. Oh, I love Don Cheadle. People.
Starting point is 00:07:08 What's happening? Good morning. Don. Don Cheadle's done everything. You know what I was trying to remember, Don? What is that great nickname that you were given because you're so smooth? I couldn't remember it. You told me this on the golf course.
Starting point is 00:07:24 I think Kelly Slater said that was very Don Shallant. Yeah! Don Shallant! Is that a new nickname? That's really clever. I'm trying to put it out there. I was going to try to trademark it, but I was unsuccessful. Don Shallant is out there now, just FYI. It's fully out there, and if you happen to run into Don Chilon
Starting point is 00:07:49 in the streets, just immediately, Don Chilon. Yeah. Let him know. Mr. Chilon. You can single gun it or double gun it. I don't know. Wow. OK.
Starting point is 00:08:02 Don. Don Chilon, hi. Good morning. What's up gang? I love Don Cheadle. You know, the team was like, you've gotta do these guys' podcasts. You're gonna love them. I love all of you individually and collectively. Not as much when I sat through the banter. The early banter. It's like, remember the joy
Starting point is 00:08:20 that Regis and Kathie Lee used to give you with that first 10 minutes of coffee powder? Right? Yeah. the early banter. It's like, remember the joy that Regis and Kathie Lee used to give you with that first 10 minutes of coffee pattern. That's what we're reaching for, Don. You know, we're on our way. It was a strong six minutes. Don, where are we finding you right now?
Starting point is 00:08:38 Because, and the reason I ask is, because you look like you're either coming from or going to the golf course because you're wearing a zip-up, but I want to say, which is surprising, because you are such, you're so busy, and rightfully so, because you're always, you fit in that category for me too, of people who are always good no matter what the project is. You're so consistently awesome all the time.
Starting point is 00:09:00 In your work. Wait until you see this one. Who's gonna take that down? I don't know. Quick. You know what, you know what I just watched just last week, not even knowing obviously that we were gonna be on, because you're Jason's guest, we watched Mission to Mars.
Starting point is 00:09:15 I was in that. And I was like, there's Don, again, and you're brilliant in it. Always. Always brilliant. Because you know I'll watch anything sci-fi. I am picking up on surprise in Sean's voice though. Right, when he says, and you're brilliant.
Starting point is 00:09:26 It was like, you were pretty good. No, I meant to Will's point, you're a bold. I didn't know you were an actor. You're a. And that you could grow facial hair. I thought it was only Jason who could grow facial hair. This is not really facial hair, this is disgusting. No, it was great.
Starting point is 00:09:44 Well, so Don. I'm in Atlanta, Will, to answer your question, I is disgusting. No, it was great. So, Don. I'm in Atlanta, Will, to answer your question, I'm in Atlanta. You're in Atlanta. And what's happening there in Atlanta? Working on something, no doubt? I'm working on something, it's a project called Fight Night. And I am in this wonderful project
Starting point is 00:10:01 with who you guys had on the show, Kevin Hart. Sam Jackson. Taraji Henson, Terrence Howard. Wow. Yeah, it should be, I'm looking forward to it. I just, I've shot one day, so I'm looking forward to this. You can still be fired. They can still easily reshoot one day before. Yeah, it's early enough. Yeah, so watch it.
Starting point is 00:10:24 I've been replaced before. It wouldn't be the first time. enough. Yeah, so watch it. I've been replaced before. It wouldn't be the first time. Have you? No. Have you? I've been replaced before. I have. I didn't mean to bring up something pink.
Starting point is 00:10:32 Oh wait, I love that Don's like, no. I haven't, sorry, I was just kidding. Of course not. Mine was a cruelest though, because I worked my nards off on this pilot, we shot the pilot, it went well, so I thought, and then like a couple of days before the big announcements happen
Starting point is 00:10:53 about whether pilots are gonna get picked up to go to series, I get a call from my agent saying, you are going to, good news, bad news, good news is the show got picked up. And I said, unbelievable, he, goes here, let me finish. The bad news is that they're gonna go a different direction with your character. I said, okay.
Starting point is 00:11:12 Two days later, found out they're actually not picking up the show. So could you, I mean, this is like the worst 48 hours. Right? So good, bad, good. Good, bad, good, I agree with Don. I could have been spared all of it by just them saying, well, we're not picking up the show.
Starting point is 00:11:27 Basically, we're all fired, you know? Are you still with this agent? Yeah, that's gonna be the story. Yeah, exactly. No, no, no. That's three or four ago. But it's good to know, I like it is personal a little bit because they were like, hey,
Starting point is 00:11:39 we know the show's not getting picked up, but let's let Bateman know that even if it did, he wasn't coming away. Yeah. In the event that this is going forward, not you. I've been fired too. I got fired off a pilot that went to series the year before we started Arrested Development. Oh, God bless. And had I not been, I would have been stuck on that show.
Starting point is 00:12:03 Don, wait a second. so you're in Atlanta, you're doing this thing with Sam Jackson. Are you potentially playing golf with Sam today? You know, Sam has been on IR for a minute. I hope he comes off because I would love to. We used to play a lot, but he's nursing an injury or two. Fingers crossed. How's his game?
Starting point is 00:12:25 Sam was like a four. What? Wow. Yeah. Damn it. Wow. There's all these people, the game is just so easy to so many people.
Starting point is 00:12:34 Well, you know, Sam, famously, you know, whenever he would get a gig, a part of his contract was they had to get him a membership to whatever local course there was because he's such a freak about it. So he... Oh really, no shit? Yeah, he played everywhere.
Starting point is 00:12:47 I was like, you can do that? Sam also was, you know, Mr. if you force me, you're bringing me $900 in cash in an envelope the next day, like a drug deal. I was like, this dude's my hero. Yeah, that's always the one. By the way, Jason, you could, Jason, right now, you see he looked down, he's got,
Starting point is 00:13:02 he's just gone on his phone, you know, speed dialed the CAA right now. He's like, what the fuck? What are you guys? I'm about 12 country clubs short, damn it. Yeah. All right, now how do you like Atlanta? I've worked there a lot, and I always thought
Starting point is 00:13:20 that it was not gonna be a place for me, and every time I work there, I just love it more and more and more. Do you enjoy yourself there? You've worked there a bunch, yes? I've worked here a bunch because a lot of the Marvel stuff was here. Right. Oh, right.
Starting point is 00:13:34 And I've kinda been around it a little bit more, but this is probably the longest stretch that I'm gonna be here, so I'm looking forward to like getting up to the mountains and going to the lakes and just checking it all out. So I did a movie there a long time ago in Atlanta during the summer. Did you guys shoot all those Marvel movies
Starting point is 00:13:51 in the summertime because you can't breathe, it's so hot. Hot Atlanta, hot Atlanta. Yeah, and how do you, you're in those costumes and running around in that heat, is that what it is? And you're in space. Yeah, I mean I think that was the... Oh, there's a callback. I have a callback. Good one. No, but I mean, isn't that brutal?
Starting point is 00:14:12 Yeah, it's brutal. I mean, I'm from Kansas City, Missouri, where 98 degrees and 98% humidity, so I was born for this, you know? But yeah, it's not fun. But right now, it's very cold, actually. It's very brief at night. I like it too.
Starting point is 00:14:29 I like JB. I spent the last few years about, last year I spent six months, I think, almost in Atlanta. And I really liked it. I really liked the people. Once you find a kind of a good zone where you can find your stuff and whatever, I liked it a lot.
Starting point is 00:14:43 You gotta find a zone. But I was down in like, I was down like right near sort of little five points like all in there like that's where I was staying. It was awesome. A lot of great like restaurants and you know. Okay. Okay. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, um. Jason, have you had enough?
Starting point is 00:14:59 Yeah, that's it. You opened it. It's like, fuck. You opened it. You opened it. This is like a, this is like the fucking court case. How was your s- Good sleep last night, Don? You know, what's hilarious when Sean was talking about that is I was very jealous because I did not sleep well last night. That's what I'm saying.
Starting point is 00:15:15 The fucking worst episode we've ever recorded. Right, we're right, we're 17 minutes into the work. From what I did, from what Sean, who's fault is it? No, no, it's all my fault, all my fault. I'm talking about fucking Atlanta, we're talking about the weather, we're talking about sleep. It's like, let's get to something hard hitting.
Starting point is 00:15:29 Now somebody told me the other day that Kansas City... Oh, here we go. Kansas City is actually split right down the middle, the border between Kansas and Missouri. You still don't have it, J.B. You still don't have it. No?
Starting point is 00:15:44 You still haven't got it. That's a whiff. No. Help me, people. No, no, no. There's one in Kansas and there's a Kansas City and Missouri. They're two different... I mean, they're close.
Starting point is 00:15:55 Wait, there's two different places called Kansas City. Oh my God. No, honestly. I know. Don's about to leave. Don, this is every day, by the way. This is how it goes. 54 years old and this is... I'm just now's about to leave. Don, this is every day, by the way. This is how it goes. 54 years old, and this is, I'm just now getting clarity on this.
Starting point is 00:16:08 Let's do it publicly. There are two places called Kansas City, one's in Missouri, one's in Kansas? Yeah. Correct. Now which one's got the Chiefs? There is a border. Which one's got the Royals? Missouri. Missouri.
Starting point is 00:16:20 Missouri's got what? Let me just say this. Don, take a look at JB's face. JB walked on through the gummy routine. This is gonna explain a lot. Walk him through the timing and the amount. Guys, I'm still up. I'm still up from last night's chew.
Starting point is 00:16:35 No, now, okay, well then. We talked about this a little bit on the golf course. I don't remember. I don't know if you remember. I'm sure you don't remember, because your gummy program. No, no, never when I'm golfing. Golfing's serious business.
Starting point is 00:16:45 You said that. Now wait a second. But what sports team does Kansas City, Kansas have? The Royals? He's still, he's here. Is it the Royals? It's crazy. No, no, honestly.
Starting point is 00:16:56 Is it the Royals? Are in Kansas City? No, that's also Missouri. Do you want to ask Siri? Do we want to just ask, go to like the interwebs? So Kansas City, Kansas has nothing, is that correct? Yeah. No sports teams, no professional sports teams.
Starting point is 00:17:08 Yeah, man. I'll let it rest now. Let's just look it up. Okay. And then I'm going to be in no time. Honestly, honestly, you might be right. Look, they're all looking it up, America. I've never looked into it this deeply.
Starting point is 00:17:16 You might be absolutely right. I just know they have always claimed the Chiefs. No, he's not right. He's not right. No, you're right. Kansas City, Kansas has the Royals. Are there any sports teams in Kansas City Kansas? I'm so sorry America.
Starting point is 00:17:27 And specifically... Kansas City has had teams in all five of the major professional sports leagues. Three major leagues remain today. Is that Missouri or is that Kansas? That's Kansas City Kansas. Okay. Wait, who's in Kansas City Kansas? I don't know.
Starting point is 00:17:40 Yeah, I don't know. Boy, this is again... No, this is Kansas City. We're gonna pick this up. Hey Don, how'd you get started in the business? Yeah, no. I't know. Yeah, I don't know. Boy, this is, again, we're gonna pick this up. Hey Don, how'd you get started in the business? No, I wanna know. JB, fuck you, you have, you're... I wanna know that.
Starting point is 00:17:52 I was in a little porn called Don Chalontes. And... No, I do wanna know because to me, I've seen you in so many things, and like Will said, always brilliant. Like, to me, you were born on screen. Like, I don't know anything about you other than the- I was born on screen.
Starting point is 00:18:09 Yeah. Other than we run into each other a few times and had lovely conversations, but tell me, how did you get, like, you were in theater in high school? Well, sidebar, we almost, we played around with doing a movie together at one point. I remember. I don't know if you ever got that off.
Starting point is 00:18:25 I did, it didn't do well. Did you get it off? Yeah, it didn't do well. But thank you for your consideration. Next subject, next subject. Way to dodge a bullet, Don. I was trying to give a compliment and went right in the trash bin.
Starting point is 00:18:38 You ducked one there. No, but were you interested in high school? Like how early did you get the bug? So I kind of got the early acting bug. I think I was in sixth grade. I was Templeton the Rat in a production of Charlotte's Web that was written about extensively in the Denver, Colorado periodicals.
Starting point is 00:19:01 You can look it up, I'm sure it's still there. Sure, no, I'm not saying. Templeton the Rat. And I was single about. I'm sure it's still there. Sure, no. I'm not saying the tempo's in the rat. I'm just saying I was singled out. So, Matt. The standout was the rat. Yeah. And when Cheetal hits the stage, hold on to your... Yeah. So I did that, but I was also doing music kind of at the same time.
Starting point is 00:19:22 That's when I got involved in playing my saxophone and instrumental jazz. So I was on these two tracks of really studying music. And when I went to high school, I had a great acting coach, a great acting teacher, a great drama class. And I was in a really good jazz band. So I was on these two tracks. And then I graduated from high school.
Starting point is 00:19:48 I had applied for both things, to go into music, to go into vocal jazz, to go into instrumental jazz, and also to study acting, theater acting. And I got some scholarship money from a bunch of different places. And I kind of made- For acting or music or both?
Starting point is 00:20:05 Both, I had both. But I kind of made not only a weather choice, but I think I made a choice based on what I believed I was going to be able to actually do. Because I grew up with musicians now who are like professional musicians and who are hugely successful and incredible.
Starting point is 00:20:21 And I knew what it was gonna take to actually be able to do that. go down that road and shedding and learning theory and doing all those things that I was like, I know I'm not going to do that. And I think I'm probably gonna spend my time more being out of the house, being with other people and pursuing acting and I loved it equally, so I kind of went up that road.
Starting point is 00:20:46 But yeah, there's definitely science and math to music that you have to want to. And I think it kind of, I was intimidated by it a little bit, to be honest. I think I was a little, you know, I'd gotten by, I had really good ear and I'd gotten by on really being able to hear music rather than understanding how it broke down.
Starting point is 00:21:02 And I was kind of wide-eyed when it would, when I'd get into the weeds on that so I get that like I kind of ran to something that I felt more comfortable with but it's funny that the music has kind of come back around and that's become a bigger part of my career now too. But Don did you ever and Sean forgive me for taking your question but did you ever think about you know kind of like when that when that guy dropped the the chocolate in the in the tub of peanut butter and they came up with the Reese's did you ever think of taking the music
Starting point is 00:21:26 and dumping that into the theater and going into musical theater, Sean? Five, six, seven, eight. Seven, eight. Did that ever, did you ever get into that stuff? Oh, he sure did. Let's talk about the Tonys, go ahead. Oh.
Starting point is 00:21:40 Well, I've never gotten one. No, but you produced something that's, yes. But I did produce the Tonys, Tony award-winning show called Strange Loop. Yes! Oh my God! That's right! With Barbara Whitman. Yes. Right? And she produced the play I just did. That's right. Yeah.
Starting point is 00:21:59 Congrats on that. Thank you. Thank you. Crazy. Great show. But did you yourself, were you yourself at like in high school or afterwards in college? Absolutely, yes. 100%. I mean, when I graduated high school, the choice I made was to go to, I came to California and I studied at California Institute of the Arts. And we, you know, did everything there. Musicals and dramas and classical pieces, we did everything. It was really a great experience for me and a place to be able to try everything
Starting point is 00:22:33 and make a lot of mistakes and not get fired for it as a result. Get ready because I love horrible theater stories, things that go wrong, so just get one ready. Oh yeah, they're the best. Before we get to one of those, can you guys extend your tolerance for my lack of intelligence again it's worn pretty fit at this point it's true very yeah don't bring no if I'm on the border but to know and we will be right back
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Starting point is 00:23:40 Just go to slash smart list to get started. FanDuel, official sports betting partner of the NBA. 21 plus exclusions apply, see show notes for full disclaimer. This show is sponsored by BetterHelp. So guys, how's your social battery right now? My social battery is, I'm a tiny bit drained, but I still do it because I think it's important to stay connected and social with not only your old friends and family,
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Starting point is 00:26:09 And now back to the show. So jazz, talk to me about jazz. Now I'm a big music fan and specifically classical music and so I feel like if I love classical music, I could really love jazz because it's a little easier to love. It's a little bit more toe-tappy. But I gotta understand it a little bit more.
Starting point is 00:26:31 And I'm hearing that jazz, its real appeal is knowing that for the most part, it's improvised. Is that correct or is it more traditionally written out in their sheet music? That is a component of it. And I think the umbrella of jazz under that are many, many subdivisions and categories. It's a huge sort of a blanket term, especially by now.
Starting point is 00:26:57 If you think of somebody like Robert Glasper, who I won a Grammy with for producing the album miles ahead. Anyway. I'm sorry, your cough sounds terrible. Your cough sounds really bad. It's my second Grammy, sorry. You got a really terrible cough.
Starting point is 00:27:13 Yeah, thanks Will. Let me get a little water for him. Wait, are you close to an EGOT? Two Grammys. Oh, now your throat's clear now. I'm gonna get that looked at. Okay, that's good now. You have, do you have a nomination, EGOT?
Starting point is 00:27:28 I think you do. Yes? I have a nomination, EGOT, yes. Wow. But not, I don't have them all. That's pretty fucking good. Wow. But like Rob Glasper, you look at his music and he's, you know, he spans the globe of
Starting point is 00:27:42 what his musical knowledge is and his experience. And he does popular stuff, black radio, which is sort of, I think you would think of more as like R&B influenced, and then he does straight ahead, jazz and standards, and he does everything in between. So I think if you were to ask a musician like that what jazz is, or even if you were gonna go back and ask Miles Davis what jazz was, he hated that word.
Starting point is 00:28:05 He was like, that's a word to box somebody in. You know, it's about good music, it's about social music. So I think there are different, like when I get in the car and you know, the driver taking you somewhere is like, let's put on some jazz and he puts on smooth jazz. It's like, I wanna shoot him. I hate it. Yeah, I'm the same.
Starting point is 00:28:21 Don, you have to forgive Jason because they don't do explanations of jazz on the Hollywood Reporter homepage. So he wouldn't read it. Yeah, I'm the same. Don, you have to forgive Jason because they don't do explanations of jazz on the Hollywood Reporter homepage so that he wouldn't read it. But let me just say this, we did this bit in our show Flaked. Nothing, huh, okay. So where we did, this guy's getting ready
Starting point is 00:28:39 to have this girl over for a date and then his buddy, suggests he put jazz on. And they look at each other and they're unsure and he goes, I'm not sure where I fall on jazz. And our joke was always that like, I can't figure out if it's cool to say I do like it or if it's cool to say I don't like it and I'm still trying to decide where I land on that. Me too.
Starting point is 00:29:02 Like I just feel like, you know, everyone says you should go to New Orleans for the Jazz Festival or when you should listen to lots of. And that's a very specific kind of jazz. Yeah, I'm more like, I'm open to it if there's a melody that I can hum back, like a song. I'm not open to the. Fair enough, yeah, yeah. The jazz that's just people just playing.
Starting point is 00:29:22 Sort of fusion-y, improvised fusion. Is that even me? Yeah, because I can't latch onto anything. You can't whack off to anything? What? What did he say? I love it all, because if you're really, you know, if you're... Jazz, you can whack too.
Starting point is 00:29:37 Sorry. Jazz. No, latch onto. Grab your thing and have some fun. Yeah. J.B., you heard it too, right? I think I might have. So Don, so you're learning the saxophone at an early age.
Starting point is 00:29:53 That gets you into music. Eventually you find an appreciation for Miles Davis, and then that project comes about. Was that a documentary that you produced or? No, no, no, no, a movie. A film, and you played him, yes? Yes. We're not good journalists.
Starting point is 00:30:12 Brilliantly, and I remember you telling me when I ran into you, you were working on that. You were so great. Some nominations or even some wins for that, I believe. Well, that was the Grammy that we got for the soundtrack, which is really cool, that one we put together with Rob Glasper, he and I put that together. So that was really cool.
Starting point is 00:30:27 But yeah, I think it's a big category. Talk about jokes on shows, we had one on Black Monday where I'm talking to, thank you very much, I'm talking to Regina Don, her name, the character's Don about it, and she goes, yeah, I can never get into jazz, it just always sounds like a bunch of instruments thrown down a flight of stairs.
Starting point is 00:30:45 Yeah. Now, in my incredible research, did you really work on The Fresh Prince? Funny enough, I did. I was on one of the first episodes of Fresh Prince, and I have a funny pilot firing story too about a pilot that didn't go. pilot firing story too. I love it. About a pilot that didn't go. So I did the...
Starting point is 00:31:10 I think it was the second or third episode of the Fresh Prince, where Will was still super green. He's like mouthing everyone's words, you know, along with his... So he'd say his line and he's staring at you and you say your line and he... Yeah, he's mouthing it. That's such a thing. We've all worked with people who do that. It's such an actor thing, right? Yeah, he's mouthing it. That's such a thing. We've all worked with people who do that. It's such an actor thing, right? Yeah. You're like, are you mouthing my dialogue to me as I'm saying it?
Starting point is 00:31:30 Yeah. So he was so studious. He knew everybody's lines and then he would like mouth everybody's lines. But so we did that one and by the third or fourth show, the creators, Susan and Andy Borowitz, who were the head writers on the show, they said, we want to do a show around you. Uh-oh. Not necessarily based on the character that you're playing on this,
Starting point is 00:31:53 but we just want to do a show around you. And I was like, okay. That's cool. So they wrote this show. How old were you? When I did Fresh Prince. Yeah. Early 20s? Is that really germaine to the story?
Starting point is 00:32:05 I mean he's just gonna come in with the out hold dream. I was six, okay? I was fucking six. No, he's just jealous. He's just jealous because he's like, when are you getting offers for your own show? And he's like, I worked my whole life. Michael Landon didn't create a show for me.
Starting point is 00:32:19 Sorry JB, I know that shit. Michael Landon. So the third day they come down, they're like, we're gonna do the show. I said, okay, great, so they wrote this pilot. We shot the pilot, it's called In the House. I wrote the theme song to the thing. No way, cool.
Starting point is 00:32:36 Everything was great. Heavy saxophone. Super, super heavy saxophone. It was on the schedule. And I'm pretty like, I don't believe it until I see it. And I just kind of wasn't believing that it was real. And also it just was a huge thing. It was the biggest thing that had happened
Starting point is 00:32:55 in my career at that point. I was like, I don't, something's telling me this isn't real. But it was on the schedule, it was going. So like the day before I got this faithful call, I gave my brother my car, I was like, hey, it's on, take the car, I'm about to have this huge windfall. Yeah.
Starting point is 00:33:12 I'm ready, and the next day I got a call and they said it's off the schedule. It was, how old I was was Brendan Tartikoff was still running NBC at that time. Okay, we're late 80s. I don't know if people are listening now, no. Yeah, Brandon, yeah. But when he stepped down and Warren Littlefield came in, he killed all the shows that were under Brandon.
Starting point is 00:33:30 That was one of them. That was one of the cast. You know, Sean, Sean, you told me a story, and correct me if I'm wrong, about where you shot the pilot because they had mignonette sauce instead of cocktail sauce for your oysters. Is that true? And you guys were about to leave Van Nuys and you were so mad. You were shocked.
Starting point is 00:33:48 Because you were like, I hate mignonette sauce. I like cocktail sauce. And you shot the pilot out the month of June. But I spared the co-pilot. As a lesson so he could live to tell the story to other pilots about to get the sauces right. Now, all right. So now Don, could you imagine if that show had taken off, became a big success, you would have been a big sitcom star,
Starting point is 00:34:11 I wonder where your career would have gone and what would have happened. I was thinking the same thing. Like, but like, even, so going back before that, was there another significant fork in the road, either where you grew up, like a fateful move to a certain city, or what your parents were doing or saying or sibling, where you could have easily seen, oh, if I'd just simply gone right instead of left,
Starting point is 00:34:33 I would be a veterinarian today. Or I would be an architect today. Or was there a fork that would clearly? That's such a good question. Thank you. I mean, it's crazy that my fallback was music. Like if this acting thing doesn't work out, I'll be a jazz musician, that'll get me there.
Starting point is 00:34:52 It's like, so, I mean, that's where I was trending. That's what I wanted to do. And quite honestly, there's still no greater pleasure that I have in any sort of performance capacity than being with musicians and creating music. Really, really. That's to me the highest. I love that. It is, it really is. I think because of, as you were talking about improvisation, that you're creating things spontaneously. I don't know what it's doing biochemically to you, but I'm sure if you have electrodes on and, you know, they were testing you, you're getting dopamine hits that are just through the roof
Starting point is 00:35:27 because it's just so alive. Yeah. And it necessitates this connection with these fellow, pardon the term, artists that you're kind of communicating without speaking and there's a handoff and a yes and thing. You get that also in acting, but yeah. You do and there's also that thing you do when you perform live, when you also get that feedback from an audience when you're on stage, and you get that thing, and it starts to inform you a little bit. They become part of your creative process
Starting point is 00:35:56 because you get juice from that, I think. Yeah, yeah, I agree. Absolutely, you do. And it transcends language, and it transcends English, Spanish it transcends the English, the Spanish. We can all speak this language. And so there's a big unifying thing that it does that's just like beyond.
Starting point is 00:36:14 I had the same thing, Don. I always had music to fall back on, should the acting thing, and I still have the music to fall back on if the acting thing doesn't work out. But I always thought my fallback was gonna be, oh, I'll just be a pop star. Well, you can take your ass off,
Starting point is 00:36:30 so you had a shot. Well, no, but when I was younger. Can we just play a little bit of it right now? We do this every once in a while, Don. Sean? Yeah, no. Now, Don, do you? Don, do you?
Starting point is 00:36:41 Bennett's gonna find it for us, and he's gonna play before Don leaves. Bennett or Rob are gonna play. Drop that needle, Bennett. Hey, Don, do you have a place where you go like Woody Allen famously took his clarinet out? I don't know once a week or whatever and that that's not a Right in there will but You're my favorite guy on the podcast
Starting point is 00:37:02 Just a place where you go whip out your sax and go play it? I just said, Will got that one. You don't have to jump on top of Will's thing. Hey, hear what I did? Jump on top of Will's thing. Your turn, Sean. Get in there. I'll take it off.
Starting point is 00:37:21 Like, but like, do you have, do you have, take it off? There it is. Um, do you have a band that you play with or a jazz club that you go to every once in a while? No, and I've been like bouncing around on... So I played the sax and then I didn't do that. You know, when I went to Cal Arts, it was kind of like a conservatory, the amount of time that you had to spend on all... There was no time really to do anything but theater and voice and movement and dance
Starting point is 00:37:48 and all that stuff. So I just kind of dropped it. And then I was in New York doing a play and I walked by a pawn shop and I saw this beautiful tenor sax and I was like, I'm gonna pick it back up again. I'm gonna see if I have any facility because you lose your embouchure,
Starting point is 00:38:04 you lose that musculature to be able to play it It's hard to get it back. So I started playing it again. It sounded terrible I was like no just hang out just like stay with it. So I started doing that and then I Took a gig actually the rat pack movie and playing Sammy Davis jr. Who the Rat Pack movie and playing Sammy Davis Jr. who played drums and played trumpet and gun twirled and could play piano. Yeah. So I went back to school again,
Starting point is 00:38:35 having lessons from all of these teachers to learn how to do all these different things. That's when I started trying to pick up the trumpet, which became something that I didn't know I was going gonna need later when I did the Miles Davis thing. So I've been playing bass more than anything lately, and piano more than anything lately. I haven't gone back to the sax. I did bring, I bought a really beautiful brand new sax and let this dude play,
Starting point is 00:39:01 and he just recorded an album with it. And it's like, so it's always in the periphery somewhere, but I haven't, you know, I think the most amazing experience I had in musical experience in the last couple of years was, Rob Glasper was at his, he was recording something. He said, hey, come by, come listen. And I said, yeah, keep a track open
Starting point is 00:39:20 because I'm going to bring the bass and I'm just going to like, you know, kill you guys with some shit. So just keep the track open. I was completely joking. And so I came over and I listened to him for a while and he goes, okay, here's the bass, let's go. I said, no, no, no, I was joking.
Starting point is 00:39:33 I don't wanna play. He's like, oh no, you're gonna play. And it became sort of like, you know, trial by fire. And I don't play like that, but when you play with great musicians, you know that they lift you up. Yeah. It's just like acting.
Starting point is 00:39:48 I wish I could find that. Yeah. People lift me up. It's fucking unbelievable. I'm just dragging these two. You're just stuck with these guys. Don, you seem to be like so great at surrounding your life with the things that mean,
Starting point is 00:40:03 you know, have great value to, music, acting, family. You always seem to be in a great mood to like, is golf, yeah. How do you do that? How do you, for people who don't know how to do that, where they're like, I'm in this rut, like to us, we've all found the thing that we love to do or things we love to do.
Starting point is 00:40:23 How did you learn how to gravitate towards the good versus the bad? You know, the things that are good for you, the things that fill your soul. Rather than. This is a question, this is an interviewer, Will. This is somebody who knows how to shape a question, okay? Sorry, go ahead, Don.
Starting point is 00:40:39 I love the commentary. I'm just here for the pot shots from the sideline, man. You know that. Will's killing, and you're killing the pot shots from the sideline, by the You know that. Will's killing, and you're killing the potshots from the sideline by the way. Thank you, I appreciate it, man. Yeah. Don't encourage him. I honestly have to attribute a lot of it,
Starting point is 00:40:51 I have to attribute a lot of it to my upbringing. I was very fortunate to have, and people get to it however they get to it. I was very fortunate to have really solid parents, really sort of corny, traditional picket fence, three, you know, the 3.5 kids and a dog and the whole thing. I really was able to grow up like that with parents that never dissuaded me from going after
Starting point is 00:41:18 what I wanted to go after. That's great. I think it was, you know, really fortunate that my mom was sort of a frustrated performer, a frustrated singer, so when I wanted to be an actor, she was like, yes! So after that. Do you have an older sibling that knocked the crap out of you when you got too big? Yeah, well, she's a girl, so I took advantage of the different muscles.
Starting point is 00:41:39 I was stronger than her. And then we moved into weapons, and that's when it was like, oh, she's leveled the playing field, so we gotta chill out, and that's when we stopped fighting. But just really close-knit family, and it's something I think I just wanted to replicate in my life, and I'm really lucky that I have friends from when I was in elementary school still,
Starting point is 00:42:01 and from college, and the people that I'm close to are still in my life. And I think we all know people who have gotten to a certain place and have looked around and they don't know anybody that's, no one that around them has been around them for five years. And you go, that person's probably gonna have some problems. So you need people who will laugh at you
Starting point is 00:42:21 and say, you're not important, chill out. I don't keep those people around because people can't breathe the air up here the way I can. Yeah, you're one of those people we were talking about, Will. The air is so thin up here. It's so rarefied that I can bear it. I'm handing out masks to these two
Starting point is 00:42:39 because I'm like, guys, we're going on a ride. We're going somewhere. We're going down, or we're going down. No, it's so important. I love that it is a measure of somebody by the way How many old friends they have from back in the day and I think I'm with you on that I think it's really great. I've got a lot of my old yeah buddies too now now Don I got a question here You've been a part of so many incredible projects. I want to know if
Starting point is 00:43:04 you've been a part of so many incredible projects. I wanna know if any of them felt or smelled like turds right in the middle of it and you were shocked at the end of it that it turned out so well. Projects like Crash, Ocean's 11, 12 or 13, Traffic, Out of Sight, Boogie Nights, I mean, yeah, any of the Marvel stuff. Did any of them just go, oh, Jesus, what did I do here? I think I've had the opposite,
Starting point is 00:43:33 where I'm like, this thing's gonna crush, and then it comes out and I'm like, ooh. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Not so much. Not so much, right. I mean, we don't know, right? You just go in with your best, you've made the best decision you could
Starting point is 00:43:48 and you go in and throw everything into it and then sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't. But I've never, you know, I've always had, I've always believed that the thing I've said yes to has value and it's gonna be good and the experiences and then it turns into being what it's going to be. I've been really fortunate to have really, really great experiences. I've had very few experiences where it's a toxic set and people are horrible.
Starting point is 00:44:18 The things I've gravitated toward have gotten made and I've just been very, very fortunate. I've had a very blessed career. You've clearly got a nice connection going with Steven Soderbergh, yeah? Yeah. I heard the set of Chernobyl was toxic. Nice, Will. Hey, uh.
Starting point is 00:44:33 That's a great show. But you and Soderbergh have a great rhythm going, yeah? You see working with him again in the future, probably? Yes, of course, right? Yeah, I mean mean we have stuff, we're trying to develop things as we speak. There's a couple things. I love, Out of Sight is such a great fucking movie, man.
Starting point is 00:44:52 Isn't it good? So underrated and overlooked. It's such a good movie. God damn it. Despite Clooney's looks, it's so good. No, I know, it's tough to get around. But Soderbergh's such a beast. Soderbergh's a good guy too, but I mean, writing and directing
Starting point is 00:45:08 and camera operating and editing, and I just, I would imagine that's gotta be an easy voice to follow considering he's kind of- Are you trying to dovetail into you? Cause that's what you're doing now? No, no, no, no, that's what I'd like to do. But can I take a minute to honestly actually- Here you go.
Starting point is 00:45:25 Here we go. Spike it. Spike it. He served it up. You might as well spike it. There you go. Guys, take a second. I do want to spike it.
Starting point is 00:45:33 I'm a big Jason Bateman fan. I'm just going to say I'm a big Jason Bateman fan. I'm really... I love everything that I'm seeing you do. And I saw you in a roundtable talking about, you know, understanding as an actor what you were going to be doing as an editor and knowing when you get into the editing room, what you're gonna be able to use and not use and how you're gonna craft your performance based on that.
Starting point is 00:45:56 And I was like, that's so fucking smart and such a cheat. But it's really fun. It's really fun. Cause he lives his personal life like an editor too. So he's always thinking about the results. He's trying to cut you off. Fuck off.
Starting point is 00:46:08 Yeah, trimming you. Well, now what Don's doing here is he's dovetailing into his accomplishments as a director as well. That he has. I wanted to get in there. He has gone ahead and he's taken all the incredible set experience he's had and lent that to the directing experience, right?
Starting point is 00:46:26 And it made everybody's life a lot easier, I would imagine. Do you do? Do you, it'll come on. Why not? Bullshit, you must love it. I don't anticipate ever doing it again. Why?
Starting point is 00:46:35 Come on, you've done it a handful of times at least. That was enough. Really? Why? Why? Is it the workload or the pressure or the time commitment or what? It's the pressure. Why? Is it the workload or the pressure or the time commitment or what? It's the pressure.
Starting point is 00:46:48 Honestly, it's the pressure. I think, you know, my agent one time said, you know, good actors are just like, can be and sometimes need to just be hard sons of bitches. They just have to be able to, not necessarily in how they deal with people, but you have to have the ability to have stuff kind of roll off and be thick-skinned and not have it be, you know, penetrate and keep moving. And I think I have more, I'm more like sort of bandied about by the things that happen and the things I wasn't able to get.
Starting point is 00:47:24 And I just, and it's something that I learned about myself going through that experience. I'm like, oh, I'm a lot more porous in that regard than I thought I was. Yeah, as an actor, you can ignore a lot of drama or problems or complications with the production and you just kind of sit in your trailer and then someone else will figure it out.
Starting point is 00:47:40 So as a director, you can't hide from anything. None of those things. Don, you bring up a really good point though It is true, you know actors as we know historically you take a lot of heat and people go like oh fucking actors Are you hear people right? Like even people you grew up with like what's your life like now? You're an actor you see the people have this sort of thing and and I always say and they're like, oh, yeah But you're just an actor and I'm thinking like yeah, I I am friends with I am an actor
Starting point is 00:48:03 I'm friends with tons of actors, they're some of the most creative, amazing people, and on top of that, to what you were saying, they're also, it is a tough road, as you know, from when you're younger to start to do the things that you wanna do, and you do put up with a ton of disappointment, you get kicked in the nards on a daily basis.
Starting point is 00:48:24 My own experience, I lived in New York for 10 years and was trying to get fucking work and just got kicked in the nards on a daily basis. You know, my own experience, I lived in New York for 10 years and was trying to get fucking work and just got kicked in the nards and then as I'd go down to wincing in pain from getting kicked in the nuts, I'd get kicked in the face. You know, like Jason's like you saying, like, the show's not, here's the bad, you're fired and then the next day the show's fucking gone and you're like, fuck I didn't need those two kicks. And by the way, and it's not once a year, it's like two, three times a week, four years. And that's if things are going well for you
Starting point is 00:48:53 because those two or three rejections each week mean you got two or three auditions that week, which is really good. And I'm not saying to feel sorry for it, but it is, right Don, it's a tough, you do have to have a little bit of you know you show your metal a little bit well for me I really could I sound like an idiot Aaron you know complaining about anything about my acting career because again I was super super fortunate. I've never done anything, but this to support myself
Starting point is 00:49:21 I you know got my first job when I was still in college. In my junior, I got a gig. Oh, I did get fired from a job. That was actually the first job. I got an AT&T commercial where a kid was supposed to be on the phone and sort of trying to dodge the questions that his mom was asking because he was not doing so well.
Starting point is 00:49:45 She goes, how are your grades? And he's like, my grades, I can't hear you. This connection is bad. She's like, no, I can hear you great. And it was AT&T. You can't fake the funk. You know, it was one of those things. So I was running on my, I was going out of the door
Starting point is 00:49:58 to do this audition and the phone rang in the hallway and I just kind of knew it was for me. And I picked it up, it was my agent, she goes, uh, Don, bad news, they're not gonna use you in the spot. I was like, what, why? She goes, they don't want to portray a black kid as failing out of college. I was like, so they're gonna give a white kid my job?
Starting point is 00:50:18 Yeah. So. Wow, yeah, the irony of that. Yeah. That is crazy. That's what's gonna happen. So that, I actually did that. Yeah. That is crazy. That's what's going to happen. So that I actually did get fired from a job I got.
Starting point is 00:50:29 That was the first one. But yeah, but for me, the acting thing has been, I've been, like I said, I've been very blessed, very fortunate. But the directing part of it, yeah, it's really just, it's been these particular experiences I've had. Not when I've directed my show. That's a little bit more of a comfort zone, a little bit more support I've had, and a little bit more resources and people to rely on. But we made Miles Ahead for $8.5 million
Starting point is 00:50:58 in a town that had only done one other movie before that where we would show up, and there was like no redundancy in the departments. We'd have two cameras and only one cameraman. I'd be like, where's Phil? It's like, oh, he took a commercial in Dayton. You know? You know, coming in one day,
Starting point is 00:51:15 and I was like, where's the, we had her in the scene. She's like, yeah, she didn't want to come today. I'm like, but she's in the scene. They're like, yeah, she doesn't want to come. So I'm like, put this woman in the dress, turn her back to the camera. Like every like, yeah, she doesn't want to come. So I'm like, put this woman in the dress, turn her back to the camera. Like every day it was something like that. Always solving problems.
Starting point is 00:51:29 But the problems that didn't make sense, like the fire alarm going off and then the fire, then the actual fireman coming and coming in while we're shooting the scene. And so, okay, I guess we'll shoot this MOS and just mime all these things, we'll do it in post. You know, just every day if it's something like that. My wife came out to see me and she said,
Starting point is 00:51:48 you can't do this anymore, you know, I lost weight. It was just, it was bad. So I have a lot of scar tissue. So maybe if I get, you know, some sort of procedure where I can scrape that off, I'll try it again. For the emotional scars. I have a question just about your acting style and approach because when I first saw Ocean's Eleven,
Starting point is 00:52:08 which you were brilliant in, I'm not making this up. Like halfway through the movie because of your accent, I was like, oh, wait, is that Don Cheadle? Like you didn't do anything to your appearance. You just changed your kind of way. I don't know how to describe it. And it's amazing what an act, just an accent can do. How did you find the trust to do that?
Starting point is 00:52:31 Why that character like that? And how do you do that? Like in any character, your approach? It was written like that and I was going to change it. And my manager at that point said, there aren't black British people? I was like, oh, I mean, yeah. So why don't you just do it as how it's written? And I was like, yeah, fuck. Oh, so it was written.
Starting point is 00:52:53 I'll try it. And so while I'm in my trailer with, you know, a vocal coach, a speech coach going over like diphthongs and shvahs and stuff, they're out playing basketball. I'm like sitting in my chair watching them play poker and have fun and I'm like, no, this works. No, uh, no, uh, no, uh. Sean, stand up real quick. Sean's wearing a diphthong. Stand up real quick.
Starting point is 00:53:17 Oh, that's nice. That's a nice diphthong. But I was famously murdered. People hate, people are split right in the middle on that. But I was famously murdered. People are split right in the middle on that. The people that hate that hate it. When I was in London, I almost had to get security because people wanted to kill me based on how bad they thought that actually was. Oh, the accident in Ocean? Why?
Starting point is 00:53:39 They hated it and me. People literally drove, they would see me and come across four lanes of traffic to pull up next to me to scream at me about how bad the accent was. I was like, why you guys are so serious about this? I totally bought it. I totally bought it. Is it safe to say you'll never do another British accent again?
Starting point is 00:53:57 Ding ding ding ding ding. Yeah, doing an accent, that would be very, very tough for me, because you're acting twice, right? You gotta do performance and you gotta do the acting. And some somehow just fit. Would you make them pay twice, Jay? I know Jay very well. I would like to.
Starting point is 00:54:11 Would you make them pay twice? I would like to, I would like to. What are you gonna say, Dan? No, I'm just gonna say, and some of them, you know, fit better than others that I've attempted to take on. You know, but they're all, like you said, it's all tricky, like you said, it's all tricky. You're kind of acting through a mask
Starting point is 00:54:27 and you're trying to make that mask be as real and as facile as you can. It's tricky. Right, right, right. Now, all of these incredibly high profile films, which one do you think gave you the most useful bounce? Was it Devil in the blue dress? Yeah? gave you the most useful bounce. Was it Devil in the Blue Dress? Yeah?
Starting point is 00:54:49 I would guess. Devil in the Blue Dress was probably, I was on Picket Fences for a couple years before that. Oh wow. You know, I was 12th on the call sheet and you guys know what that is. I'm sitting in the trailer all day and they're like, we're coming to you next,
Starting point is 00:55:02 we're coming to you next. And they're like, oh no, we're not gonna use you today and you've been in the trailer for 12 hours. So I started writing, that's when I started writing and just as survival, just to not go crazy. But then along comes this film with Denzel Washington and it was, did you leave that project with any pearls of wisdom from Mr. Washington?
Starting point is 00:55:24 I mean, it was an incredible experience. It was directed by Carl Franklin, who I did his AFI thesis project, his graduation project, so I had known him from before. So that was really old home and felt great. And Denzel and I, from the audition on, which is online actually, our audition is online. Oh no way.
Starting point is 00:55:48 Yeah. And so is that pilot that I mentioned, by the way. Oh wow. People find shit and upload everything. But we just had a great time. And of course I was just in awe of him and, you know, worked as hard as I've ever worked on anything to make sure I was in the pocket when I was with him. I didn't come out, I was super Methodie, I was not great character, I was mouse all the time.
Starting point is 00:56:17 I just stayed in it and yeah, I had a great experience. I loved that movie and I loved that experience. If you had, say you had a scene with a, because you're Denzel now to a young actor if you were to do a film with it, what would you say to a young actor today that you wish you'd known back when you were just starting out?
Starting point is 00:56:39 You know, anything? Stay out of my fucking life. Right, exactly. Would you upstage me or shadow me? Don't you dare attempt to overshadow me. But we do have a tendency to overcomplicate things, right? And things get more simplistic as we get older. I wonder, aside from just that generality,
Starting point is 00:56:59 is there anything specific, I'm trying to think myself, what I would tell somebody, you know? Probably step away from my BMW Which of your BMWs that's a great I just think that you know, like we I think people Underestimate, you know to what Will was saying earlier, is it what we really do. I think people think it's super, super easy and then they try it and they're like,
Starting point is 00:57:30 oh, you're actually trying to be very naturalistic inside a completely unnatural environment where somebody standing in your eyeline chewing gum and, you know, making noise off, somebody's, you know,ie-talkies going off and you've got to act like this is the first time you've ever done or said any of these things and so I think that you only do that well if you're really prepared and you've really done your homework and you're not here just because you think it's going to be cool to cut line at a restaurant you know it's like, this is really, we're not rocket scientists and we're not jumping out airplanes or whatever,
Starting point is 00:58:09 the hardest shit there is to do or ditch digging, but there is a craft. But we can play them. That's what we play the shit out of. And we learn about them, that's another thing. Good actors are students, so we're always in the lab, we're always trying to, if I play a doctor, I'm gonna read up on doctors, I'm gonna follow doctors,
Starting point is 00:58:27 I'm gonna go to hospitals, I'm gonna try to sit next to them. If I'm playing a cop, I'm gonna do a ride along. I'm gonna, so I feel like that part of it often gets overlooked, that we're always in school. We're always trying to learn new things. So I think that's a great boon for us as artists, that we're always expanding ourselves. Now, Sean doesn't want you to get away without,
Starting point is 00:58:50 you know, searching your memory for a really, a tough theater story, you know? Like, forgetting your lines or trying to give, you know? A sandbag fell from above and oh! And I landed in the first row in the woman's lap and she said, you think you're drunk, wait till O'Toole comes out or something like that, right Sean? Is that what you want? Oh, you were at that performance.
Starting point is 00:59:13 You were there. That's exactly right. But I said, wait till my tool comes out. Yes! Double guns. Double guns. Don Shallant! Don Shallant strikes again.
Starting point is 00:59:23 Fucker. Yes! Double guns. Yes! Don Shalant! Don Shalant strikes again. Is that you, Sean? Oh, this is me singing, yeah. It's horrible. Here we go. It's so bad. Okay. That's enough.
Starting point is 00:59:32 Is that Tabla? Is that some Tabla? Okay, that's good. We're good. You know what it is? It's like the Okay. That's enough. Is that Tabla? Is that some Tabla? Okay, that's good. You know what it is? It's like Jimmy Summerville from Bronski Beat was put in the back of a van and driven to
Starting point is 00:59:54 Beirut and forced to make a fucking Middle Eastern dance record. Jimmy Summerville in Beirut. That was the name of the album. Oh Sean. Yeah. Did you ever see, by the way, did you ever see Ricky Gervais's music videos or anything? Oh yeah, those were his. Yes. That's a similar path.
Starting point is 01:00:13 But yeah, do you have any like tragic, horrible theater gone wrong? My tragic, the most tragic thing, other than a real injury that I suffered during a play, same play by the way, we were. Same play, by the way. We were doing Cymbeline at the Public that Joanne Akilaitis directed, who is an experimental director from Mabu Minds, if people want to go back and look at all that stuff. She's great.
Starting point is 01:00:38 But we had an actor, Stefan Schnabel, who played the doctor in this play. And you know, it's kind of a stereotypical Shakespeare fifth act wrap up where one character knows everything that happened in the play. Like, you're his niece and she actually has the potion. And this king knew him as a son. Like they unwrapped the whole thing
Starting point is 01:01:05 and we're all on stage going, oh, that's how I did that. So he had this last speech that he had to give. Stefan was, I think, 98 at the time. Uh-oh. Wow. So it comes time for him to wrap this up and he goes up.
Starting point is 01:01:25 That forgets his lines. Yeah, forgets his line, goes up, forgets his lines for those who want the theater vernacular. And he starts stammering and making up words and basically just sort of like, you know, standing in place and teetering. And no one, you can't give somebody in Shakespeare, you know, it's not, we're not doing something naturalistic.
Starting point is 01:01:49 You can't come up with some, you could try to come up with some iambic pentameter and like slip a line there to help him along the way. But it went on so long that first the audience sort of laughed and then realized, oh, it's not a bit and stopped laughing. And then the other half the audience laughed and then half the audience shushed that part of the audience sort of laughed and then realized, oh, it's not a bit and stopped laughing. And then the other half the audience laughed and then half the audience shushed that part of the audience that laughed.
Starting point is 01:02:10 And then the actors on stage kind of were starting to laugh, those two that would start to laugh. And everyone's like, shut the fuck up. And then everybody stops laughing. And he's still kind of, you know. He's still trying to pull it off. He doesn't think anyone's noticed. Trying to pull it off.
Starting point is 01:02:24 This went on for probably two minutes. You know how long two minutes is. Yeah. Oh. I mean, you guys have died for two minutes for sure, collectively on this show, for 100%. It feels like a long time. Yeah, it's a long time.
Starting point is 01:02:37 She says it's not. Joan Cusack, who was the lead in it, who played Cymbaline, just finally just started saying his lines. She just couldn't take it anymore. Yeah, just took over. And he kind of revved up and got through it, and then got off stage and he said,
Starting point is 01:02:49 "'I wanna kill myself, I have to quit, I never wanna act again.'" And you're like, you're 98, there's no point. Oh, sorry. Yeah, you're gonna be dead soon, I guess, is what Joan said to try to like, you know, bolster his ego. Good Lord, yeah, that's the scariest thing I've ever heard.
Starting point is 01:03:04 Wow, fuck. Good Lord, yeah. That's the scariest thing I've ever heard. Wow, fuck. It was really sad. Going up in your dialogue like that on stage. It's the scariest thing in the world. Right? There's just nothing. Yeah, you don't need that crap at 98. There's nowhere to hide.
Starting point is 01:03:14 Yeah, there's nowhere to hide. Right. But now, Don, you're like one of the sweetest people ever. What pisses you off? Because I can't, the few times I've met you, even today, you're always just very in the middle, very cool, calm, collected. Is there some?
Starting point is 01:03:31 What's that? I said I'm on that gummy program. Yeah. I bet he's not happy when he blades a bunker shot, right? You hit that ball right in the belly, coming out of the sand trap, it's just, you're never happy. That's what pisses you off.
Starting point is 01:03:44 Yeah. Immediately, but then just, you're never happy. That's what pisses you off. Yeah. Immediately, but then I kind of let it go. I think stupidity without any desire to not be stupid pisses me off. I don't mind if you're stupid. People can be stupid. But when there are like, incurious and don't want to actually look under the stupidity
Starting point is 01:04:03 and see where that stupidity is coming from. That kind of pisses me. And, you know, as we can see, it's incredibly dangerous. And, you know, we're in a sweet spot of stupidity right now for a lot of people. And would that extend across all sort of areas, that sort of stupidity, like whether it's history or language or just geography, even basic geography of states and cities
Starting point is 01:04:27 Within the country that we live. Oh House where city was Been explained to them like five times No, I think wills just trying to use General I'm just trying to get a general sense of what's going on. Because Sean, remember earlier in the show, I had a problem with Kansas City. Well, ignorance isn't stupidity. Ignorance is anyone can be ignorant.
Starting point is 01:04:52 That's true. Anybody can be ignorant. Thank you, Jason. So Don, honestly, you've been a dream. You're such a cool guy. We've never hung out. We threatened once. I was on a, I was, Joey Russo wanted me to get into a football fantasy league and I said no and Joe said, well just stay in the chat and talk shit even though you don't wanna play. And I did for about six months I think.
Starting point is 01:05:17 Really? Yeah, you were in there. You were in there. It was great. Don and Pratt and Rujo. Yeah, it was fun. It was a lot like this, just like pot shots from the side. It was a lot of pot shots. Well, you know, Will, you and Don should go out and play some golf while I'm on my golf hiatus. And then I'll rejoin you guys in the end of the photo.
Starting point is 01:05:38 Why are you on a hiatus? He's on a hiatus because he's working. He shot an even par 70 two weeks ago. Who cares really? It's not a big deal. But listen, thank you for joining us today, Don. Don, will you make me this pledge when you come back that you and I will play?
Starting point is 01:05:58 Can we do that? Can we say that'll happen? 100%. Okay, great. He's the absolute greatest. Sean, do you play? This should be the foursome. I always say I can drive the cart.
Starting point is 01:06:08 He loves to drive the cart. It's a date. It's so much fun. We get him a soda, we get him like a float, like a root beer float, and he drives the cart. No, Donnie, next time you're... A soda. Sometimes it's surely tipple, but it's a lot of sugar.
Starting point is 01:06:20 It's a lot. He's very groggy, and by the the 17th hole he's kind of irritable. A little, a little, a little grump. Guys, it's good, just pick it up, we gotta go. That's totally me. Love you, Don, thank you for saying yes. Love you, pal. Enjoy the rest of your day down there in Atlanta
Starting point is 01:06:39 and say hi to our friend Mr. Heart, please. I will, thanks guys, great seeing you today. Great to see you, dude. Thank you, Don. Bye, buddy. Yep, yep. I love Don Shallant, it's so good. JB, what a great, great guest.
Starting point is 01:06:55 God, he's so good, I love that dude. Doesn't your shoulders just drop when you're talking to him? Yes. Yeah, he's cool. I mean, he's just, I can't even form a word. Mega talent, he falls into that category. Mega talent.
Starting point is 01:07:07 And universally loved. And, yeah, we say this all the time, it seems like the people who work all the time also have wonderful personalities. Yeah, I agree. Like behind and generous. Well, Jamie, you know, you're a director, it's a big part of your career now and your life,
Starting point is 01:07:23 and when you're deciding between, you have a lot of options to do stuff with a lot of different people. And part of the calculus, I imagine, is who do I want to spend the next four months with? Yeah, for sure. It's huge, and it's before I even start to get excited about the idea of them coming on.
Starting point is 01:07:39 And that's cast or crew. I'll do Zooms with people that I may not even see on the set. And I just need to know that they're not going to wreck it with their not being nice people. It's important. But he is amazing. And I could have just gone on forever and ever.
Starting point is 01:08:02 We didn't get to much of anything, which is what we do on this show. Sorry listeners. You know, we get a lot of complaints about that. I think that some, from some people who say like, oh you guys didn't, you just, and what they forget is like, we're just so excited to see Don, right?
Starting point is 01:08:16 So I got like Don, so we just start talking. Yeah, we're not journalists. We're just three dummies that wanna just talk a little bit and can't believe anyone's listening. So yeah. If you're like, oh, why didn't you get to what Don's favorite dog type is, we're like, sorry. We just want to talk shit with him. Yeah.
Starting point is 01:08:33 You know what I mean? That's on the Smartless Extras, if you want to know his favorite dog type. Exactly. Or talk about like vacation spots, like, I don't know, like, has he ever been to Thailand? Or Mumbai? Or like... Mumbai!
Starting point is 01:08:45 Mumbai! Mumbai! You glaze right over it, Mumbai! Yeah. Yeah. Smart. Smart. Smart.
Starting point is 01:08:53 Smart. Smart. Smart. Smart. Smart. Smart. Smart. Smart.
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