Tag Archives: Interview

Stephen King’s TV Reign: The Author Discusses Mr. Mercedes, The Stand, And The Outsider

With America experiencing what’s objectively its most terrifying year of the 21st century, it’s perhaps only appropriate that the master of horror is having one of his best.

Stephen King may be well into his fourth decade as a blockbuster storyteller, yet TV adaptations of his work have never been more popular. There’s HBO’s stealth breakout The Outsider, which launched in January; CBS All Access’ take on King’s suddenly timely pandemic classic The Stand which premieres in December, and Audience Network’s adaptation of King’s Bill Hodges crime novel trilogy Mr. Mercedes, which moves to its new home on Peacock on Thursday, Oct. 15. Not to mention, King released another best-selling book this year (a quartet of novellas under the title If It Bleeds) and has two more planned for 2021.

Entertainment Weekly spoke with King about all his TV projects and, of course, dipped a bit into politics as well. We start with Mr. Mercedes, a series that received strong praise from critics (with a 93 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes) yet reached relatively few viewers on the now-defunct Audience Network. King hopes the drama will have a better shot at finding mainstream success when its first two seasons come to Peacock this week.

“I’m so happy that Peacock is doing this because I felt like with Mr. Mercedes at AT&T we had brought a stadium show to a folk club,” King says. “Now people are going to get a chance to see it.”

Read the interview HERE.

The highlight of the interview was that King will have a second book coming out in 2020…

EW: You have a Hard Case Crime book, titled Later, coming in 2021. But I look at your website pretty regularly and it’s unusual for you not to have at least two upcoming books on your site. And so I’m wondering if there is another new title you’re working on that you can tease?

King: There will be two next year. I don’t want people to get used to that or think that that’s the norm. It’s not. But it’s just the way things happened. So there is another, but I don’t want to say anything about it yet.

No word yet on the book title or subject matter but THE FIRE WIRE will be sure to post about it as soon as the information becomes available!

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David Sedaris Discusses New Book The Best of Me

Asking an interview subject about their pandemic isolation journey is dangerously close to passé. But for a David Sedaris interview, it’s a requirement: The essayist’s entire brand is built on nonstop international touring, his best material flowing from his travels and his frequent — and often off-color — interactions with his fans. (On his last tour, he drew portraits of readers naked from behind instead of signing their books.) Anyway, his quarantine story: He spent the first part in his apartment in New York before decamping to his North Carolina beach house — dubbed the Sea Section — and then, ultimately, to his homes in the U.K. (Sussex and London), where he’s passed his days maintaining his diary and obsessively checking his Fitbit.

Entertainment Weekly conducted this interview in early August, by late-night (for him) phone call — Sedaris has a strict no-Zoom policy. He paces back and forth in the office of his Sussex home, nearly crossing the 18-mile mark on his daily steps as the clock strikes midnight. Asked for a visual — he’s an infamous clotheshorse — his description goes beyond what could typically be seen in the waist-up frame of a screen: “It looks like I’m wearing a white skirt, but it’s a pair of shorts,” he says. “The legs are so wide, I look like one of those Greek soldiers.”

If it seems like Sedaris, 63, has a very cushy pandemic setup — this bucolic pic was shot at his London abode — he’s more than earned it. Punishing schedule aside, he’s been publishing best-selling books for more than a quarter-century (his first, Barrel Fever, debuted in 1994), and this fall he’s set to release his inaugural greatest-hits collection, The Best of Me. He wrote every day for 15 years before Fever was published (“Most of those days I thought, ‘Wow, I suck’ ”), so he doesn’t take this point in his career lightly. The Best of Me encompasses a wide swath of his past work, from early entries in The New Yorker’s Shouts & Murmurs section to fan-favorite essays like 2000’s “Me Talk Pretty One Day” (in which he recounts taking French-language classes from a merciless teacher) and 2016’s “The Perfect Fit” (about shopping for outrageous clothes in Tokyo).

But that doesn’t mean he’s going to pander to the masses: It’s better you hear it here first that “SantaLand Diaries,” about his stint as a Macy’s elf, is not included. “That might have been other people’s favorite, but it was never even in my top 100,” Sedaris says of the 1992 story that plays on NPR to this day. “It’s what most people know me from, but I’ve kind of moved on — I think the writing is so clunky, even if others don’t see it.”

The Best of Me required far less work than an original book, so the author is already looking to his next one: a second diary compilation (following 2017’s Theft byFinding), expected in late 2021. The pandemic is providing plenty of time to comb through journal entries, triggering as they may be. “In so many of [the entries] I was on tour,” he says. “So even the hotels I was complaining about, it’s like, God, I’d give anything to be back in that shitty hotel.” Much of what Sedaris records in his diary stems from the human contact we all took for granted before our age of quarantine. But he’s finding new ways to drum up material: Recent visits to the grocery store featured the sighting of a shopper without a shirt (or a mask) and a man who told him, “The funniest thing you ever said was that you gave $1,000 to Hillary Clinton.”

And while Sedaris misses the collective laughter that a packed theater provides, he doesn’t miss it enough to get on an Instagram Live or join Twitter: “I just don’t want to live in that world,” he says. “I think it makes me a happy person that I’m not on social media.” It’s a stark contrast to many of today’s authors, who find it crucial to promote their books on every digital platform. But Sedaris sees himself as part of the last generation to have the luxury of getting famous without social media, and he credits his early start on This American Life, when the radio format limited criticism of his work, for his rise: “I feel fortunate to have come up in a time when people didn’t get the opportunity to see the cracks.”

A social media absence shouldn’t be confused for an immunity to public opinion — with every release, a self-imposed pressure to perform at his peak mounts. The Best of Me offers a bit of a reprieve, since everything but the introduction has already been published. “With a normal book, if it wasn’t number one on the New York Times best-seller list, I would berate myself,” he says. “I would still like for it to do well, but I don’t feel its success reflects on me personally.”

There’s no tour this time around, obviously, but Sedaris is getting back to another beloved activity from his old life: shopping. He counts high-end boutiques among his favorite places, and shopkeepers as his personal friends. The author has ventured out to London’s Dover Street Market — he’s a regular — and to Bloomingdale’s, where a fittingly bleak interaction presented itself. “The clerk said, ‘Welcome in,’ ” Sedaris recalls with good-humored disdain. “Civilization as we know it ends, but ‘Welcome in’ survives? I realized I should have been grateful everyday I didn’t have to hear that.” His readers will just have to hope he wrote the whole thing down.

For more from Entertainment Weekly’s Fall Books Special, you can find it on newsstands beginning Sept. 18. There will also be a special edition of the issue at Barnes & Noble stores beginning Sept. 25.

Reprinted from Entertainment Weekly.

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Stephen King Weighs Which of His Characters Would Make The Worst Quarantine-Mate

The legendary master of horror, Stephen King covers a lot of ground in this talk with Stephen Colbert, including how he would fare in quarantine with his most feared characters, some things he learned about pandemics when doing research for “The Stand,” and the many reasons he recommends reading “The Lord of the Rings.” 

King’s latest book “If It Bleeds” is available everywhere now, and his epic novel “The Stand” is coming soon as a limited series on CBS All Access

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Stephen King Is Sorry You Feel Like You’re Stuck In A Stephen King Novel

“I keep having people say, ‘Gee, it’s like we’re living in a Stephen King story,’ ” he says. “And my only response to that is, ‘I’m sorry.’ “

A pandemic like COVID-19 was “bound to happen,” King says. “There was never any question that in our society, where travel is a staple of daily life, that sooner or later, there was going to be a virus that was going to communicate to the public at large.”

Though he made his name as a horror writer, King says he’s most interested in exploring the “intrusion of the unexpected and the strange” into the lives of ordinary people.

His new collection of short stories, If it Bleeds, centers on Holly Gibney, a private investigator who seems to have supernatural ability. The character is featured in several other his novels, including The Outsider, which was adapted into an HBO series.

“There are people who have those special-type powers,” King says of the character. “People can call me a horror writer if they want to, and that’s fine — as long as the checks don’t bounce, I’m happy with that. But I think that I do a lot more, and I’m interested in the mystery of what we are and what we’re capable of doing.”

Listen to his NPR interview HERE.

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Watch Huey Lewis Interviewed By Jimmy Kimmel At The Grammy Museum

The GRAMMY Museum was thrilled to welcome iconic GRAMMY-winner Huey Lewis for an intimate conversation on February 12 discussing his career and new album, Weather. The conversation was moderated by late-night talk show host, Jimmy Kimmel and you can watch it below.

Huey Lewis & The News have sold more than 30 million records and netted a slew of Top Ten singles over the years with hits like “The Heart of Rock & Roll,” “I Want A New Drug,” and the Academy Award-nominated “Power of Love.” 

It is against considerable odds that the group is set to release Weather, their first new album of original material in nearly two decades and, quite possibly, their last. Lewis’ 2018 Ménière’s disease diagnosis unexpectedly cut their recording sessions short and has since prohibited Lewis’ ability to perform. Unaware of the ticking clock, Lewis and his bandmates had operated slowly and deliberately while writing and recording the album in the studio. The result is a record that captures a legendary group at the peak of their powers, performing with the kind of uninhibited heart and soul that launched them to international superstardom in the 1980s and has sustained them as one of popular music’s most enduring and beloved acts ever since.

Get your copy of Weather HERE.

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Stephen King On Doctor Sleep, Donald Trump And Why He Often Writes About Children

The best-selling novelist, Stephen King speaks to TIME about the upcoming adaptation of his story Doctor Sleep, his thoughts on Donald Trump and why he often writes about children.

Read the interview HERE.

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Stephen King On His New Horror Novel, The ‘Nightmare’ of Trump, And Stranger Things

Donald Trump was still months away from being elected president when Stephen King began writing his new novel. But The Institute — out September 10th and centered on a 12-year-old boy stolen from his parents in the night and locked up in a mysterious facility — is likely to remind readers of certain immigration policies. “I can’t help but see similarity between what’s going on in The Institute and those pictures of kids in cages,” says King. “Sometimes fiction outpaces fact.”

This isn’t the first time a King book predicted the political future: His 1979 book The Dead Zone was about a Trump-like aspiring president threatening global apocalypse if he took office. “Fiction has foreseen Trump before,” says King, “always as a nightmare. Now, the nightmare is here. But I don’t want to force my worldview on people. I’m not George Orwell, and this book isn’t 1984. It wasn’t meant to be an allegory.”

King is calling in from his house in Maine, just a couple of weeks after traveling to Foxborough, Massachusetts, to see his first-ever Rolling Stones concert. (“Keith looked a little tentative and just putting in the time at first, but then he caught fire.”) He’s still reveling in the surge of interest in his work that followed 2017’s It, now the highest-grossing horror movie ever. “I think a lot of kids watched the [1990] It miniseries with Tim Curry, and it scared the living shit right out of them,” King says. “They couldn’t wait to go back and see it again.”

Like IT, The Institute is about a group of children who band together to battle an unspeakably evil force. The twist this time is that they all have telekinetic or psychic powers and the adults who run the facility force them to undergo medical experiments. “I wanted to write a book like Tom Brown’s School Days,” King says, referencing the 1857 Thomas Hughes children’s classic about a British boarding school. “But in hell.”

A book about ­clairvoyant kids battling a shadow organization will surely draw comparisons to Stranger Things. Which was, of course, heavily inspired by Stephen King books. “I like [Stranger Things] a lot, but it does owe something to It,” the ­author says. “That’s another book about kids who are weak and helpless by themselves — but together can make something that is very strong.” 

Long before Stranger Things and even It, children with supernatural powers were at the center of King books like Carrie, The Shining, and Firestarter. “Like a pitcher that has a great fastball or slider, you go back to what worked for you before,” says King. “I do think that kids are sort of magic. When I was a young man, I could draw [inspiration] from my own kids. Now that I’m so much older, I am drawing from my grandchildren and what I see them doing and how I see them interacting.”

The Institute could be the next King project to be ­adapted by Hollywood, joining The Stand (CBS All Access), The Outsider (HBO), and Lisey’s Story (Apple TV+) — plus the seven movies he has in development. King has script ­approval on all of them. “The scripts have to work,” he says. “They can’t have 19 pages of flashbacks to when the characters were kids. I want the pedal to the metal as much of the time as possible.”

The film adaptation of King’s 2013 The Shining sequel, Dr. Sleep, comes out November 8th and features Ewan McGregor playing an adult Danny Torrance. Though King has always hated Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 adaptation of his book for changing so much of the story, he allowed the Dr. Sleep filmmakers to use elements of Kubrick’s version. “My problem with Kubrick’s film was that it’s so cold,” King says. “The reason I didn’t have any problem with this script is they took some of Kubrick’s material and warmed it up.”

King’s next book, If It Bleeds, is due out sometime in 2020. It’s a continuation of his ongoing Holly Gibney detective series. “I have to do a polish on that,” he says. “But it’s basically done.” He’s already jamming away on the one after that (though he’s not ready to divulge any details) and the sudden surge of interest in his work has been a great motivator to keep going. “I’m 71 years old,” he says, “and a lot of people my age are forgotten and I’ve had this late season burst of success. It’s very gratifying.”

Naturally, retirement remains the last thing on his mind. “That’s God’s decision, not mine,” he says. But I’ll know when it’s time. I’ll either collapse at my desk or the ideas will run out — the thing you don’t want to do is embarrass yourself. As long as I feel like I’m still doing good work, I can’t see myself stopping.”

Reprinted from Rolling Stone

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Rolling Stone Cover Story: The Softer Side of Howard Stern

After years of psy­cho­therapy, the King of All Media looks back, repents, and rescues a few kittens…

Howard stern hasn’t released a book in 24 years. Back in those days, he was a guy who didn’t think twice about calling Rosie O’Donnell a “fat pig”; using a giant, rotting fish as a mallet to spank a naked woman on the air; or viciously mocking a member of his “Wack Pack” with Down syndrome he’d dubbed “Gary the Retard.” On the cover of the book Miss America, he dressed as a drag queen, and inside he offered detailed accounts of his private cybersex sessions with fans.

The Howard Stern of 2019 — who spends his free time fostering rescue cats or painting watercolors — can only shudder when that book and its 1993 predecessor, Private Parts, comes up. “If I read them, I’d want to jump out a window,” he says. “I haven’t picked them up in years. They are snapshots of who I was back then, and I want to take that guy and shake him. I was a selfish prick. I can just see that quote in Rolling Stone, ‘I was a selfish prick.’ But it’s true.”

It’s before 8 a.m. on a Thursday in mid-April, and Stern is usually at his Hamptons home or Palm Beach estate by now, since he broadcasts Mondays through Wednesdays only. But he’s come into his SiriusXM studio in New York for a rare extended interview timed to the release of his new book, Howard Stern Comes Again, a compendium of his best interviews with the likes of Lady Gaga, Stephen Colbert, Gwyneth Paltrow and other A-listers.

Stern is now friends with ex-antagonists like O’Donnell. Gary is almost never seen; when he is, Stern lovingly calls him “Gary the Conquerer.” “Retard” has vanished from Stern’s vocabulary, along with bits that demean women or minorities. He vacations with friends like Jimmy Kimmel and Jennifer Aniston, and goes to parties with Jerry Seinfeld, Steve Martin and others he used to torment.

To Stern die-hards, this is blasphemy — the equivalent of Johnny Rotten singing Pat Boone songs. Superfans gather each day on the Howard Stern subreddit to blast their former hero, calling him “Hollywood Howie” or “PC Howie” and arguing over when they stopped listening. (Oddly enough, they all seem tuned in to current show developments.) But as Stern settles onto the studio couch usually reserved for show guests, he says he doesn’t care about the Reddit crew. As he reveals in his new book, he recently had two cancer scares. First, he almost underwent chemotherapy when his white-blood-cell count was off the charts, but discovered at the last moment that he was suffering from mercury poisoning from eating too much fish. Then, in a hypochondriac’s nightmare scenario, he got a full-body scan and doctors saw a spot on his kidney. They said there was a 95 percent chance it was cancer, and he had major surgery, only to wake up and learn it was a cyst that had burst.

In the book, he also says that after many years of psychotherapy he has come to terms with his narcissism. He says he no longer has any desire to humiliate or insult guests to score ratings. In an era when former heavyweights like Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer have been pushed out of the industry due to their treatment of women, it’s no small irony that Stern’s couch is now where some of the biggest names in the industry go for in-depth interviews. It’s the sort of third-act surprise that few people would have ever predicted for the guy formerly known as Fartman.

Read the full Rolling Stone interview HERE.

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Billy Joel On Turning 70, Donald Trump & Why He Writes Music Just For Himself Now

Billy Joel hasn’t released an album of new pop songs since 1993, but that hasn’t stopped him from selling out Madison Square Garden every month for the past five years and packing baseball stadiums across the country each summer. “I’ve gone onstage and said, ‘I don’t have anything new for you, so we’re just going to play the old shit,’ ” Joel says on the phone from his house in Palm Beach, Florida. “And the audience goes, ‘Yeah!’ I’ll be sitting in the stadium looking out at 30,000, 40,000, 50,000 people, thinking, ‘What the hell are they all doing here? Why now?’ I guess, in a way, I’m an anachronism. There aren’t that many of me left. There’s a rarity to it, which gives it value.”

Read more from Billy’s interview with Rolling Stone.

Listen to Billy’s new playlist, “Live Through The Years,” and stream rare live performances for the first time ever!

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How Howard Stern Became A New Man

Over the past 13 years, Howard Stern helped SiriusXM satellite radio grow from a fledgling experiment into a 33 million-subscriber empire. But Stern, who made a name for himself as a potty-mouthed shock jock, has evolved as a celebrity interviewer and as a person. 

He talks with Tracy Smith about his new book of interviews, “Howard Stern Comes Again”; his psychotherapy; a health scare that demonstrated he “wasn’t Superman”; and how he and his wife are guardian angels to a thousand rescue cats.

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