Fresh Air on Xtra HD

Weekdays at 3:00pm
  • Hosted by Terry Gross

Opening the window on contemporary arts and issues with guests from worlds as diverse as literature and economics.

When Emily Blunt landed the title role in Mary Poppins Returns, she made a conscious decision not to rewatch the 1964 version of the film, which featured Julie Andrews as the iconic nanny. Instead, Blunt dove into the books by P.L. Travers, from which the film had been adapted.

"I didn't want to sort of get compromised by the details of what Julie Andrews did so beautifully," Blunt says. "I knew it was going to be my version of her."

It's often said that we regret the things we don't do more than the ones we do. Each December, I'm haunted by all the books, movies and shows that I've loved but haven't managed to get on the air. Wailing in my ear and rattling my shelves, these neglected spirits come together to demand their rightful places on what I call my annual Ghost List.

Paddington 2 (available on DVD, HBO, and streaming on multiple platforms)

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

I can't imagine a harder act for a filmmaker to follow than Moonlight. That movie, a quietly shattering portrait of a young black man wrestling with his sexuality, held you rapt with its intimacy; it left you feeling as if you'd stared deep into that young man's soul.

Growing up in Swaziland, Richard E. Grant was always fascinated by acting. As a kid, he made theaters out of shoeboxes and populated them with figurines that he'd cut from magazines. Eventually he moved on to real stages, first in school plays and then with an amateur theater club.

But despite his persistent interest in acting, Grant says, "What wasn't clear is that anybody from [Swaziland] could possibly make a living and pursue this as a career seriously — that was what was deemed ludicrous."

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

As a criminal justice reporter for the Houston Chronicle, Keri Blakinger has a special interest in covering the conditions of prisoners — in part because she spent nearly two years locked up in county and state correctional facilities herself.

Blakinger, who grew up in Lancaster, Pa., was a competitive figure skater, but when her skating partner left her when she was 17, things began to unravel.

"I couldn't imagine a world other than skating," she says. "And I fell apart and I started using drugs."

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Many of the best of this year's books were graced with humor and distinguished by deep dives into American identity. It was also a very good year for deceased authors whose posthumously published books were so much more than mere postscripts to their careers. Rebecca Makkai's The Great Believers -- a sweeping story about the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s and its long aftermath — is my pick for novel of the year.

Imagine driving alone in your car, but instead of sitting behind the wheel, you're dozing in the backseat as a computer navigates on your behalf. It sounds wild, but former New York City Traffic Commissioner Sam Schwartz says that scenario isn't so far off the mark.

"I was a New York City cab driver back in 1968, and I watched transportation evolve over time. I have never seen anything as rapid as what has happened this decade," Schwartz says. "Autonomous vehicles are coming."

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

Bradley Cooper Learned To Sing, Direct And Talk Deeply For 'A Star Is Born': Cooper makes his directorial debut with a remake of the classic film about a doomed love affair. He hopes his version presents a fuller portrait of the iconic characters.

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DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm David Bianculli sitting in for Terry Gross.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MY BATHROOM IS A PRIVATE KIND OF PLACE")

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

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