James Lipton

Mr. Lipton turns to Andre Gide and Mike Nichols for some inspiriation.

on Sep 28, 20090

This is my seventeenth blog. Hard to believe. And even harder to believe is the heartwarming array of responses from you.

As I write this, it’s a Sunday evening, and I’m alone in my study. It’s utterly silent – which is my favorite “sound,” as those of you know who have heard my responses to the Pivot Questionnaire. You’re somewhere out there, your names and thoughts unknown to me until you elect to make them known by responding to whatever will pop up on this screen in the next few minutes.

At this moment, I have no clearer notion of what it will be than you do. You’re busy with your own lives, blissfully unaware that somewhere in Manhattan, I’m reaching out to you. And I’m facing a nearly blank screen with a nearly blank mind, which for a writer is a pleasanter state than you may think – because anything is possible.

In his novel “The Counterfeiters,” André Gide, created a character named Uncle Edouard, a writer who kept a diary. In short order we discover that Edouard is in fact Gide, performing a remarkable triple task: creating the novel, playing a character in it, and, through the diary, describing the process of doing both, thus giving us, in addition to a masterful work of art, one of the greatest essays ever written on the literary craft.

26 comments
Cody Crothers
Cody Crothers

As an avid devotee of film and its history, I would be overly thrilled if Helena Bonham Carter was a featured guest. Carter's astounding versatility makes her one of the most exceptional actresses to ever grace the screen. Furthermore, her uniqueness and evident devotion to her own individuality is enchanting. I would also like very much to see Maggie Smith as a featured guest. Maggie is one of the greatest actresses not only in the United Kingdom, but in the world. Whenever I view a despicable film, I just watch The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie or Gosford Park and I have hope for cinema again. Her acting superb, precise...A full on embodiement of a damn-good-actress.

Kelley Walker
Kelley Walker

I second the suggestion above to have Helena Bonham Carter. She is such a talented actress with such a wide range. Plus, I doubt there's anyone, with possibly the exception of Robin Williams, who would be more entertaining. If Bradley Cooper warrants an appearance, surely she does as well.

Keep up the good work.

Ebba Roos
Ebba Roos

Dear Mr. Lipton,

I absolutely love your show and the wonderful interviews I've watched so far. I hope you don't mind, but I've compiled a list of people I wish to see on the show. If any of them have already been on the show and I'm not aware of it, my sincere apologies.

David Thewlis Rita Tushingham Sir Paul and/ or Ringo to talk about the Beatles films. Stephen Fry The cast of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" Alan Rickman Julie Andrews Emma Thompson Mike Leigh Sir Tom Courtenay Chris Elliott Joe Pesci Quentin Tarantino Helena Bonham Carter Woody Allen Mia Farrow Diane Keaton Richard E. Grant (and Bruce Robinson)

I'm sure there are many, many more, but I should probably stop now.

Regards, Ebba

Margaret P.
Margaret P.

Dear Mr. Lipton,

I did not know where else to put this, but I would like to make a suggestion about who you should have on your show. Will you please consider having actress extraordinaire, Lindsay Crouse on your show? As you know, she is an Academy Award nominated actress for playing Margaret Lomax on the amazing film, Places In The Heart. Her father was playwrite Russel Crouse, who wrote State of the Union, Anything Goes, The Sound of Music and others, with his writing partner, Howard Lindsay, whom she was named after.

Ms. Crouse studied her craft with Uta Hagen, and Sanford Meisner, and now she teaches as well.

She has many movie and TV credits to her name. Most recently, she has played Judge Andrews on a recurring basis on Law and Order.

I really feel she deserves to be on this show. What a contributer to the entertainment industry she is.

She is unique, and extraordinary! She keeps her fans wanting more.

Please consider it.

Huge thanks!

Jean Heller
Jean Heller

Mr. Lipton -- Are we between seasons? I've lost contact, and I don't want to miss any shows. What's up for 2010, and went does it start? Thanks.

John  Sardella
John Sardella

I'm wondering if Mr. Lipton will reveal how "Inside" came about. It is such a brilliant "little show" that to describe it is similar to how Seinfeld described his show "about nothing". I mean let's face it, the whole celebrity interview thing has been done ad nauseam. Who'd have thought that this incarnation conception would work "on paper"?

I haven't personally written a blog but have certainly dabbled in writing. I found it very freeing and spiritually without bindings of any kind.

You can go wherever you want to and the fact that Mr. Lipton stared at a "blank page" here that suddenly became full speaks to how great an author he is. ALL that he comes up with in the forms of investigation to revelations during each show is magnificent and manages to catch almost every guest off guard with, "WHERE did you get THAT!!?"

Your "pool" to draw from is almost unending. Be assured that you continue to keep us, the viewers interested in even those we don't think we'd be interested in.

BTW, the ONLY time I EVER got an "F" in school was in DRAMA. One of my fellow students was Robert Hayes who has had a reasonable career most notably as the airline pilot "Stryker" in "Airplane". Hayes got an "A" while my "career" went on to be the owner of a couple of fairly large video stores! HAH! I have TREMENDOUS respect for he acting craft. It is MUCH MORE than what it appears.

I hope I'm watching when James reveals how "Inside" was developed along with the changes that took place before it became the "hit" that it is today.

Dani Fernandez
Dani Fernandez

I love this show and all the guests but I would love to see Mr. Alan Rickman on the show. Maybe someday it will happen.

STAN THE CADDY
STAN THE CADDY

Love the show and you are a genius...However there is much talk about Hollywood being run for many many decades(even created) by the now CIA...And that you yourself and all actors worth a dame are run thru a CIA type program...CAn you say right now Mr. Lipton that you are not part of an entity/organization that programs the American/World public?

STAN THE CADDY would love to hear your answer...

Chris Rowley
Chris Rowley

Mr. Lipton,

You and the series Inside the Actors Studio may take some credit for inspiring me to seize my dreams. At 42 years old, 23 years deep into a career, I am finally going to begin the process of learning to act. It's what I hope to do for the rest of my life. Thank you sincerely.

Chris Rowley

Michael Schwartz
Michael Schwartz

Your credits are inspiring: Paul Newman, Julia Roberts, Glenda Jackson, Stephen Spielberg, Tom Hanks and many more. And what do I see each Sunday - a rerun of John Cusack, Alec Baldwin, Conan O'Brien. Great actors but not three times in eight weeks. Where is Sir Michael Caine, as just one example?

Rob Smith
Rob Smith

I'm always fascinated to hear actors talking about their craft, particularly the more mature actors who have learned so much from experience. I once saw an interview with Jimmy Stewart where he said that playing a psychotic having a breakdown was easy - because very few people have ever seen that in real life and have no idea if it rings false. Coming down stairs and opening the mail is more of an acting challenge because everyone has seen that done for real thousands of times and can instinctively know if it doesn't feel right. It irritates me when you see these tiny but critical errors in movies (drivers who look at their passenger while talking and not at the road, people who answer telephones and don't say hello or goodbye etc.) Not sure that you 'do' requests but I'd love to know the favourite curse words of Judy Dench, David Lynch, Maggie Smith, and Terry Gilliam.

Amy Johnson
Amy Johnson

I'm a long time admirer of you and the show. I loved your book; such an interesting life. I am wondering how I can purchase an episode of Inside the Actors Studio? I'd like to purchase from 1996, Season 2, episode 5, Jessica Lange. Probably one of the most revealing interviews I've seen with her. It was absolutely captivating. Thanks for your help.

Clarice Lumley
Clarice Lumley

Dear Mr. Lipton,

Thanks you so much for creating Invide the Actors Studio, I've watched this since the first one and each one gets better.

Clarice

Maria Skarzynski
Maria Skarzynski

Hi Mr. Lipton Is it possible to buy DVD's of your shows, and if so - how? Can't seem to find it anywhere. Love your show! (in Calgary, Alberta, Canada)

F BROOKS
F BROOKS

Greetings Mr Lipton;

I am wondering when you will have either Mel Brooks and or James Earl Jones on.

You've done a wonderful job with the show. Keep up the good wrok.

Thanks

Sean B
Sean B

What is it really like? I feel like the best piece of work I've ever seen that unashamedly tried to honestly answer that question was The Wire.

OMG, great idea for a special episode of Inside! A THE WIRE EPISODE could be very special indeed. Best show of all time in my opin.

ps. love the show+blog mr. lipton

Mary Ellen Kinkel
Mary Ellen Kinkel

I am a devoted fan. Thank you for the marvelous interviews you have conducted. I am a major fan of musical theater and especially enjoy all of the musicians and singers you have had on the show. Is there any thought of a compedium of musical guests. My home recording of the Billy Joel episode is failing, I am afraid. An my copy of Bernadette Peters episode is also getting worn. Please let me know your thoughts. thanks again. Mary Ellen

ellen
ellen

I have big a fan since the first episode!! My sister is a musical theater actress & I had to tell her about this wonderful tool for learning more about her craft. What strikes me the most time and again is when your guest is someone who's work is not my favorite movies/etc, but I learn so much about them and how they work, that I come away appreciating them! Kudos to your research...how do you find the time and stamina to watch so many films, read so many articles, etc and prepare your famous stack of cards?? How can someone become an audience member? I would love to see the show live, I've heard that each session can go for hours & I want to see what I miss by being the home audience.

Ulrika
Ulrika

Love the show it´s now on Chanell 9 in Sweden. Thank You

Stephen Burnett
Stephen Burnett

"Inside the Actors Studio" is a favorite of mine going back to your very first episode and season, Mr. Lipton [Jim/James?]. I have been a fan that long.

The show and your interviewing style and always-on-the-mark questions represents my choice as the leading information conduit on the theatrical arts in the world. It also constitutes the paramount example of erudite and meaningful conversation in the entire history of broadcasting. No, I am not trying to be cloying; I am serious about every word here.....

With all these episodes and seasons "in the can", I notice one actor whom I have always wanted to see on "Inside the Actors Studio" but who has never been a guest. Outside of the 7 years of TV and then a few more with Star Trek movies, he has compiled a truly massive portfolio -- over 50 years in theater, film and television in a dizzying labyrinth of roles. I don't know if it would be possible, but I will ask: could you please book Patrick Stewart?

He is an actor of breathtaking skill and range who would make a perfect subject for the show; and as you may know, he is himself the Chancellor of the University of Huddersfield, so he has a great deal of experience and expertise in the show's basic mission: education.

Thank you for all these years in all of my living rooms.

Sincerely, Stephen Burnett

Elana
Elana

Hi James I love the episodes on the show hope Actor Jeffrey,Donovan of hit series of "Burn Notice be on their real soon love his work! amasterpiece actor Love BN.

Patty Haertlein
Patty Haertlein

Dear Adorable Mr. Lipton, My youngest son graduated from the New School and was lucky enough to have earned a degree from a university that provided him with the best creative and artistic outlook of life possible. I absolutely love your interviews with the brightest artists of our time. I laughed out loud when you interviewed Mickey Rourke and still have it saved on my DVR so that my oldest son can see it with me this weekend! Lol! Thank you so much for many years of very special times and incredibly entertaining moments. (P.S. Never worry about cursing. It lets me know that you too are human :) With Much Love and Caring, Patty Haertlein

Marina
Marina

Dear Mr. Lipton,

Thank you for your blog. Could you please let me know how can I attend one of your shows as part of the audience? Thank you. Marina

dave
dave

dean stockwell...is there a better person to discuss acting during the last 60 yrs with...well, maybe amy poeller..sp

David & Sharon Robinson
David & Sharon Robinson

My husband and I enjoy your evocative theme music. May we learn more about the composer, and if there are any commercial cd's available? We'd love to hear more ~

Joe Camicia
Joe Camicia

Love the show! In the Amy Poehler episode there is mention of an important book about comedy. I went by so fasy I of course missed it. Do you have the name and author? Thank you,