Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Check This Out: The A24 Podcast

For readers of The Oscar Buzz, there's a certain knowledge of how much I admire the studio A24. I have dedicated an entire column to it called A24 A-to-Z, which just finished the films of 2015. With the studio looking to have a great 2018, it does seem exciting to announce that they also have started their own podcast, aptly titled The A24 Podcast. So, what is it about? To be honest, it's not entirely clear yet. However, their first episode does feature a lengthy discussion between two of the studio's biggest names, both of whom have received Best Director nominations at The Oscars. Greta Gerwig and Barry Jenkins bring a certain chemistry to the first episode that suggests that even if this is just more filmmakers talking shop, it's going to be fun for those who are as obsessed with A24 as I am. 

As their iTunes page would suggest, The A24 Podcast doesn't really have a format (bonus points for not having ads). What it does have is a large warehouse full of talented filmmakers who are probably going to pop up randomly for interviews, discussion, and possibly hot gossip of upcoming releases. Who knows, maybe even the horse from Lean on Pete will stop by to give his blessing in a joint interview with The Witch's Black Phillip. Time will tell. But for now, it has given us a great debut episode featuring Gerwig and Jenkins, who are both relatively young filmmakers whose careers have had an impressive run of things in recent years. For Jenkins, that's a Best Picture win for Moonlight: the first winner with a positive gay protagonist, and an all black cast. It seems fitting that he'd interview Gerwig, whose Lady Bird is up for a variety of awards this upcoming Oscar Sunday, including a Best Picture and Best Director nomination, the latter of which she's the first female nominee in almost a decade.

It does help that these two are an enthusiastic pair with great stories to share about their beginnings in film. Gerwig in particular discusses how she contemplated someone else directing Lady Bird based on her script, but found motivation to do it herself. They both related to the idea of identity in hometown, with the locations being important to how the story evolved. In a way, it's a condensed discussion of how these two films came to be from the people who made them. They discuss their insecurities and passion for making more. The big story out of The A24 Podcast's first episode has been that Gerwig wants to make a quartet series about Sacramento, CA. Who could blame her? After this interview, it does seem like something very personal to her. Meanwhile, Jenkins discusses how risky Moonlight is and how a triptych is a difficult thing to sell to producers.

This is only scratching the surface of the interview, though it's highly encouraged that fans of A24 give the whole show a listen (listen here). With the description also listing The Lobster, The Florida Project, Ex Machina, and The Witch, one could predict that the people behind those films will be popping up sooner rather than later. Who knows, there may even be James Franco episodes where he stays in character as Tommy Wiseau or Alien from Spring Breakers. They haven't said. While this may be a stretch, it's all part of the exciting world of A24, who may have created the first promising new podcast of 2018. Only time will tell. Hopefully it will have some surprises along the way, like a dramatic radio play version of Free Fire maybe?  Oh, the ideas are endless. 

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