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Sam Jones

Sam Jones is a Los Angeles-based photographer and director whose portraits of U.S. President Barack Obama, Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Bob Dylan, Kristen Stewart, Robert Downey Jr., Amy Adams, and Jack Nicholson have appeared on the covers of Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Esquire, GQ, Time, Entertainment Weekly and Men's Journal.

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Recent episodes featuring Sam Jones
216. Jenny Slate 2
I’m really happy to have Jenny Slate back again. She’s smart, funny, and charming, and she’s refreshingly honest about her struggles as an artist and human being. Every time I find myself in conversation with her, I feel inspired and joyful. She’s just released a Netflix special called Stage Fright, which is part standup, part documentary, part confessional, and wholly original. And she’s also released a new memoir called Little Weirds, which is probably the most esoteric and private book to ever land on The New York Times bestseller list. Bottom line, Jenny is an unapologetically human artist, and she is at the height of her powers. Jenny had to do some soul-searching over the past few years. Divorce, the public spotlight, and emotional turmoil were inhibiting her creativity, and as she depicts in her memoir, she had to work through some of that “gloop.” Writing Little Weirds led to a maturity and self-assuredness that helped her reach not only new creative heights, but also to find peace and happiness within herself. She inhabits an interesting space between creating entertainment and soul-searching. As Jenny says, “I don’t think that there will be a world in which I don’t try to be funny and add levity to reality, but the most important thing for me as an artist and the only constant is, ‘Openness until death.’ Stay open until you’re terminal.” Jenny joins Off Camera to talk about losing her creative spirit in the woods of New England, freaking out after she bombed the Stage Fright rehearsal, and the psychological and creative benefits of dressing monochromatically for a couple weeks. HOME
215. Tracy Letts
The first time Tracy Letts participated in a community theater play, he knew he found something special. At school, Tracy was shy and had a hard time connecting with his peers, so when he discovered the comradery surrounding the theater, he finally felt embraced by a community. His talent for acting came later, when his father, also an actor, taught him the power of speaking simply rather than proclaiming. As Tracy says, “I went onstage, and I said my lines simply and truthfully. It was my first real acting lesson. Speaking truthfully in a room has great impact—everyone can feel it. After that, I was hooked.”After graduating from high school, Tracy was eager to start his life and decided against going to college. He landed in Chicago, which had a rich and booming theater scene. When he wasn’t auditioning, he filled his free time writing, a passion of his ever since he was young. Killer Joe, a play about a brutal and murderous family in Texas, was Tracy’s first attempt, and it became a massive success.In the years since, Tracy has continued to write and act. He won a Pulitzer Prize for his play August: Osage County, based on his own family, and in addition to his acting work on stage, he’s been in a number of projects on TV and in film, such as Homeland, Lady Bird, and most recently, Ford v Ferrari. There’s an empathy that suffuses all of Tracy’s work, and it all stems from his desire to achieve self-acceptance. As he says, “It’s hard to give yourself a break, isn’t it? You can’t just decide to do it. It’s not an act of will. It takes actual work, whether that means getting sober, getting into therapy, writing or acting in plays, or paying attention and really listening to other people.”Tracy joins Off Camera to talk about working with his father in August: Osage County, how theater provokes vulnerability, and why his career trajectory basically comes down to chasing a girl.
214. Josh Gad
Josh Gad was drawn to acting ever since he took the stage as The Simcha Machine in Beth Shalom Academy’s kindergarten play. Onstage, Josh felt euphoria, but at home, he struggled with his parents’ divorce. Luckily, he found an escape through watching and performing in theater. Josh vividly remembers the first time he saw a professional play, sitting in the nosebleeds, and watching breathlessly. “What finally took me over the edge was going to New York City and seeing Topol in Fiddler on the Roof. I was sold. Sold. ‘I’ve got to do this.’”In addition to his dream of performing, Josh had an innate talent for making people laugh. Humor was how eased his mother’s pain after divorce, and it also helped him diffuse social tension. Josh explains, “One time a kid called me fat in front of a group of people, and instead of kowtowing, I started reciting a monologue from My Cousin Vinny to the point where the guy was like, ‘What is happening right now?’ Everybody was laughing at him, and I turned it into an opportunity to take the weapon out of his hands and make it my own.”For college, Josh went to conservatory at Carnegie Mellon, but getting work after graduation wasn’t easy. The cycle of auditioning and rejection was depressing, especially when his agents sent him on auditions against the likes of Nick Lachey. “Had my agents even seen my headshot?” Josh jokes. After a couple of years, he almost quit, but he finally got his big break as the lead in the Broadway show The 25th Annual Putnam Country Spelling Bee. In the years since, Josh has done work in a wide range of projects onstage and onscreen, including The Daily Show, Book of Mormon, The Comedians, Frozen, and more.Josh joins Off Camera to talk about the way voice acting taps into his childhood, the worst night he’s ever had on stage, and missing his calling as an opera singer.
213. Noomi Rapace
When Swedish born Noomi Rapace booked the lead in the original film adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, it changed her life, both personally and professionally. It was a role she deeply related to, and her striking performance as the hard-edged, androgynous Lisbeth Salander garnered international praise and attention. That success brought her from Sweden to Hollywood, where she brought her intensity and fragility to Prometheus, What Happened to Monday?, Bright, and many more. She’s now in the new season of Amazon’s Jack Ryan, opposite John Krasinski.The honesty and spontaneity in Noomi’s performances can be traced all the way back to her childhood. Growing up, Noomi always felt different, especially compared to her reserved, Scandinavian family. As she says, “My heart was on fire. I had too much energy. I was too loud. My temperature was just different.”  Noomi fell in love with the profession at age seven as an extra in an Icelandic Viking film, and has pretty much not stopped working since. Seeking freedom and independence, she left home as a teenager. Though not educated, her ability to read people was her survival mechanism, and also served her very well as an actress. When she describes her philosophy of the craft, it’s clear why: “Acting is total freedom. Acting is paradise. Everything is allowed, and there are no rights and wrongs.”Noomi joins Off Camera to talk about losing herself in her characters, why vanity is the enemy of good acting, and about her rebellious and wild years as a “punk rock girl,” including the time she stubbornly tried to swim all the way from Denmark to Sweden.
212. Lance Reddick
When Lance Reddick was growing up, he was a shy and introverted kid. He was one of a handful of African-Americans at his school, so he never felt like he fit in, and his introverted nature made him an easy target for bullies. In the face of these struggles, Lance had to confront his own self-perception at an early age. As he says, “In order to escape the trap of trying to fit into places where people tried to define me or how they defined being black, I had to find a sense of myself that was independent of that.” That’s where the arts came in.During his college years, Lance discovered that he had a talent for music and acting. “When I was onstage and it was going well, I felt powerful, which was something I wasn’t used to feeling in front of a bunch of people.” Despite his natural talent for acting, he took a detour to pursue his first love—music. When that didn’t pan out, he found his way back to theater, got into Yale’s drama school, and the rest is history.His experience at Yale changed his life and his approach to the craft, and he’s been working as an actor ever since in shows like The Wire, Oz, Fringe, and most recently, in Amazon’s Bosch and Comedy Central’s Corporate.Lance joins Off Camera to talk about his most terrifying moment on stage, confronting systemic racism in the industry, and the time he serenaded his crush, only to get turned down in humiliating fashion.
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Stats
Episode Count
288
Podcast Count
2
Total Airtime
1 week, 5 days