Weekly Wilson of 4/30 with heart transplant survivor Jennifer Berliner brought in a record number of phone call questions.
There were 5 callers, [although one left line before we could get past the commercial to take the question].
One was from Colorado. I don’t know anyone in Colorado. One was from area code 301. (What state is that?)
Jennifer was the great guest I knew she’d be and we covered her cancer experiences (at age 15), her heart transplant, and the diabetes she currently fights. We also covered the costs associated with having a heart transplant, which Jennifer told me is her most popular YouTube video.
I jotted down just a few of the figures, with $640,000 for her hospitalization, $70,000 for the heart surgeon, $200,000 for the anaesthesiologist, and $80,000 for the cost of removing the donor’s heart and transferring it for transplant. She also mentioned the $35,000 a year that it costs for anti-rejection drugs and a total figure of $1.2 million. One of our callers wanted to know her out-of-pocket costs and we got figures that were in the $14,000 range for the first year.
The hour went by quickly, and I directed callers to Jennifer’s blog (www.anewheartrocks.com) and told them that it would be relatively easy to find the show when it is archived and goes up on my Weekly Wilson blog. (www.WeeklyWilson.com).
Next week’s guest is Dan Decker, AFI graduate, founder of the Chicago Screenwriting School, and author of the books Anatomy of a Screenplay: Writing the American Screenplay from Character Structure to Convergence and The Prime: The Dark Side of Light. Dan also holds dual Italian/United States citizenship and his brother is also an author.
My guest on my Weekly Wilson podcast on the Bold Brave Media Global Network and Tune-In radio on April 29, Thursday, at 7 p.m. (CDT) will be Jennifer Berliner (pictured below and to the left).
At 15 years old, Jennifer was treated for bone cancer (Askin’s Sarcoma) and one of the drugs used afterwards, known as “red devils,” caused heart failure 8 years after her treatment.
Therefore, at 39, Jennifer had a heart transplant.
Four months later, doctors diagnosed breast cancer and she underwent a double mastectomy. To add to this litany of woes, Jennifer’s mother died from ovarian cancer just before her 41st birthday.
Through it all, Jennifer had “kept on keeping on” and has maintained a positive attitude using techniques that she studied in college as a social work major and others she had developed to keep her attitude upbeat in trying times.
This is a live call-in format (866-451-1451) and we welcome callers (be prepared to hold for a bit) with questions. Tune in to learn more about how to “shelter in place” successfully from a woman who knows more about face masks and staying inside for months at a time than any of us knew before the pandemic.
Tonight’s guest on “Weekly Wilson,” Ed Dezevallos, the 75-year-old Executive Producer of “Lone Star Deception” (now streaming on Amazon) was my guest tonight at 7 p.m. CDT.
Ed was an especially great guest, as he could “take the ball and run with it” conversationally, and, therefore, you get to hear less of me and more of him. His accomplishments are many, including a number of real estate developments over his 50-year career. I regret that I didn’t get to hear the rest of Ed’s “bucket list,” but being involved in making a film was one of those “bucket list” wishes and he spent 2 years shepherding the Eric Roberts, Anthony Ray Parker film to the screen. Last week, I interviewed Eric and Eliza Roberts,both of whom played roles in the film.
The other project that Ed has supervised was one designed to help young people learn about a variety of careers. Called www.soyouwanttobe.org, we spoke about this colorful and useful series of videos. I tried to play its upbeat cheery theme song from my laptop—3 times. No dice. (I had warned my guest that, if it were a technical matter, it probably wouldn’t work.)
If you would like to hear an interesting story about becoming the Executive Producer of a film at 75, it is cued up for your entertainment. Check it out.
It’s Easter Sunday and my family and I are still sheltering in place in Austin (TX).
On Thursday, April 9th, the long-awaited interview with Eric and Eliza Roberts went off without too many hitches, and you can hear it for yourself by clicking on the button on this page. The couple couldn’t have been more gracious, and I am hoping they call in to ask their Executive Producer, Ed Dezevallos, a question when I talk to him this coming Thursday at 7 p.m. (CDT) on Weekly Wilson, the podcast, on the Bold Brave Media Global Network. (7 p.m. to 8 p.m.; listed as 8 p.m. on the BoldBraveMedia.com page, because the engineers are in Long Island, NY).
Plans continue to be put forth and, so far, it appears that, after Ed Dezevallos on April 16th, the next week’s guest will be an epidemiologist in charge of the University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Bill Kohl, talking about the COVID-19 pandemic. Tune in and call in (866-451-1451). The last Thursday of April, Jennifer Berliner–who was featured in a big article in the Austin American Statesman recently—will give us some tips for sheltering in place. She has this down as a heart transplant recipient (www.anewheartrocks.com).
As we move into May, plans are much looser and still under discussion, but the tentative schedule has Dan Decker, author and founder of the Chicago Screenwriting School, on May 7; Michael Serrapica, an author and frequent guest with whom we discuss politics, on May 14th; Linda Gratz, author of “Redlined,” a story about Chicago’s housing policies that targeted black home owners; and Anita S. Oswald from Colorado, the author of “West Side Girl,” also a Chicago memoir.
In June, I’m working on shows with Suzie Quatro (June 4), Cathy Moriarty (“Raging Bull,” “Neighbors”) on June 11th and author Heather Graham on June 18th, but June is still under discussion and a long way away…or is it.
The upcoming guest list for the Weekly Wilson podcast on the Bold Brave Media Global Network, while subject to changes in these uncertain times, looks like this through mid-May:
April 2, Thursday, 7 p.m. CDT – Texas author Charlotte Canion will speak with Connie about her book, “You Have to Laugh to Keep from Crying,” which is about coping with elderly parents when you may have health issues of your own.
April 9, Thursday, 7 p.m., CDT – Film star Eric Roberts and his wife Eliza (also an actress) are re-scheduled after the shutdown of the network caused the cancellation. We’ll talk about Eric’s storied career, his role in “Lone Star Deception” and other topics of interest.
April 16, Thursday, 7 p.m., CDT – Ed Dezevallos, Executive Producer of “Lone Star Deception” and the force behind a series of instructional videos for young people called www.soyouwanttobe.org will drop by.
April 23, Thursday, 7 p.m., CDT – Dr Bill Kohl, an epidemiologist in charge of the University of Texas in Austin’s response to the Corona virus, will share insights and information.
April 30, Thursday, 7 p.m., CDT – Jennifer Berliner, heart transplant and cancer survivor and blogger (www.anewheartrocks.com) will share various tips regarding “sheltering in place” and remaining positive in the face of adversity. (Read up on Jennifer’s background at her blog)
May 7, Thursday, 7 p.m., CDT – TBA
May 15, Thursday, 7 p.m., CDT – Author Michael Serrapica returns to talk politics with Connie.
As always, listeners can find the podcast (Thursdays, 7 p.m. CDT on the Bold Brave Media Global Network) and phone in “live” at 866-451-1451.
(*This is reprinted from the Opinion page of the 3/25 Austin American Statesman, who responded to the news that Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick had made some remarks about re-opening the economy, which were not only controversial, but stupid).
“Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has offered a reckless and false choice: Let some seniors die or watch as our economy crumbles.
“Let’s get back to work. Let’s get back to living,” Patrick said Monday evening on the Fox News show “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” “Let’s be smart about it and those of us who are 70 plus, we’ll take care of ourselves, but don’t sacrifice the country.”
It that means taking “a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren, Patrick said, then “I’m all in.”
The suggestion from Texas’ second-highest elected official is not only wrong-headed and cold, it’s dangerous. The coronavirus pandemic doesn’t solely affect the elderly: about 40% of those hospitalized so far in the U.S. were ages 20 to 54 (50% in California). Encouraging people to “get back to living” disregards the warnings by public health experts and risks further spread of this highly contagious disease.
Morally, we cannot accept the argument that the deaths of our neighbors of any age are a necessary trade-off for the health of our economy. And, from a practical standpoint, economists tell us this is not true: going back to our old way of life while the coronavirus spreads will lead to more sickness and death, more lost wages, more strain on our hospitals and medical professionals, making it even harder to climb out of the recession that is likely already here.
Our best bet to help the economy is to contain the virus that is hurting it.
Governor Greg Abbott has worked to do so by temporarily closing schools and dine-in restaurants statewide, boosting the number of nurses and hospital beds, and asking for President Donald Trump to issue a major disaster declaration that would provide more badly needed federal aid to Texas.
Yet there is Patrick, Abbott’s self-professed wingman, undermining all of those efforts by suggesting we ditch the social distancing efforts that are the heart of our public health response.
Patrick’s statement comes as Trump is also pushing to reopen public life while public health experts urge isolation, creating a cacophony of mixed messages when Americans need clear, consistent direction. Lives are at stake.
Yes, we all want this emergency to end.
But Patrick is asking Texans to make the wrong kinds of sacrifices to get there.”
My second podcast was an interview with Texas author Michael Serrapica, author of “Conned Conservatives and Led-On Liberals.” We talked about the various propaganda techniques that abound in politics.
Michael has agreed to join me at 7 p.m. (CDT) on Thursday, March 26th, to talk more about politics, in general, and about my two political books, “Obama’s Odyssey: The 2008 Race for the White House,” Vols. I & II and his book.
We will probably wander off-topic and discuss All Things Political. Remember, you can call in as the program is “Live” on the Bold Brave Media Global Network (Channel 100), Weekly Wilson.
The interview with Eric Roberts (up as podcast #3) saw me prepare an Introduction and some questions for the actor. It ended up being me talking “All About Eric” and speaking with the Executive Producer Ed Dezevallos about the film “Lone Star Deception,” but the actual interview was bumped.
Plans were to do the interview this week (3/19). Then, the Bold Brave Media Global network announced it was shutting down for an indefinite period of time….probably a week to two weeks.
Therefore, the answers to the questions were answered by film star Eric Roberts below. Hopefully, viewers stuck at home will check out “Lone Star Deception” on Amazon and—at some future point—perhaps we can make the Weekly Wilson podcast work out on audio
In the meantime, here are Eric Roberts’ answers to (some of) the questions I had planned to ask:
[From Eric Roberts: THE INTRODUCTION IS BEAUTIFUL! ]
ERIC ROBERTS – INTRO
Back in 1986, in an interview with Roger Ebert following his screen debut performance in “King of the Gypsies,” his break-through role, Ebert wrote: “Right from the beginning, Eric Roberts has had about him the promise of eventual greatness. The movie industry does not know how he will turn out, but he holds the potential to be mentioned with Brando and DeNiro and the others who come surrounded with the aura of a special talent.”
That feeling hit me like a ton of bricks as I watched “King of the Gypsies” back in 1978 as a twenty-something film critic,— one who had been on the job for 7 years.
I fully agree with Roger Ebert’s assessment of Eric Roberts’ talent. I echo Academy-Award winning actress Sandy Dennis, who said of Eric after they appeared together onstage, “Oh, my God, this actor! I think he is the next big thing,— if he can get the material.”
Eric’s performance in “King of the Gypsies earned him a Golden Globe nomination for the Best Acting Debut by an Actor (1979). Eric would go on to earn another Golden Globe nomination in 1984 for “Star 80” and a third Golden Globe nomination, plus an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor (in support of Jon Voight) for “Runaway Train.” 1984 gave us “The Pope of Greenwich Village,” with Eric paired with Mickey Rourke. He was awarded the Theater World Award in 1987 for the Best Broadway debut for his work in “Burn This.” Eric has been quoted as saying, “The joy is in the doing.”
Every one of these films is indicative of the power and creativity that Eric Roberts brings to his work. He has another 29 wins and 17 nominations for a variety of film awards. Eliza Roberts—herself an actress and Eric’s wife of 28 years—said of her husband’s work, “Sit tight, because, even when you’re shit, you’re fucking awesome, Eric.”
Sometimes called “the hardest-working actor in America,” Eric now has an absolutely stunning 569 credits on the International Movie Data Base, making him the hardest-working actor in Hollywood.
Eric’s schedule, as Eliza will attest, is crazy. It sometimes has him moving between 3 sets at once. He has close to 70 projects in development in 2020 or 2021. To give you a sense of how absolutely amazing that number of credits is, (outside of Bollywood), Leonardo DiCaprio, who has only 55 IMDB credits to his name, has said of Eric “Eric is a god. He’s THE MAN.” By comparison, Brad Pitt has 56. Susan Sarandon, who co-starred with Eric in 1978’s “King of the Gypsies”— and is known to work quite frequently, herself,— has 160 credits
One of Eric’s most recent films, “Lone Star Deception” is the story of a race for Governor in Texas, with Anthony Ray Parker as a black candidate for Governor. Eric is central to the plot, playing Bill Sagle, a King-maker who was originally backing his nephew, until his nephew is compromised by a sex-tape that surfaces, complete with a demand for hush money. The nephew is forced (by Eric’s Bill Sagle character) to step down and a black candidate with combat credentials is drafted to run in his place. The co-star is Anthony Ray Parker who appeared in both “The Matrix” and “The Marine” and has 54 IMDB credits to his name, himself. The log-line says, “Fear, Greed and Texas Politics,” which seemed like a good topic right about now, nationwide.
I am very grateful to have such a busy couple able to call in for some talk about both this film, which is about to release on Amazon (as well as FixFling, InDemand, Vudu, Fandango and to overseas markets —(which could be rough with the recent news that all of China’s 60 to 70,000 cinemas are closed due to the Corona virus.)
I’m hoping that Eric and Eliza can tell us a bit more about “Lone Star Deception” and talk about his storied career and their work together.
Welcome to you both and thank you for being with me.
ERIC/ELIZA ROBERTS Questions
1_ You have close to 70 projects scheduled for 2020/2021. How do you manage to work in that many films at once?
E.R.: IT’S ALL ABOUT CREATIVE AND PRECISE, YET FLEXIBLE SCHEDULING. YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.
2) How difficult is it to memorize that much dialogue and remember it all, when you’re working with so many different films at once?
E.R.: IT’S GREAT MENTAL EXERCISE, SO I APPROACH IT LIKE WORKING OUT.
3) You were offered “9 and ½ Weeks” but turned it down. Are there any other roles you were offered, but ended up not taking? Did you ever wish you had taken those roles?
E.R.: AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN, AMERICAN GIGOLO…BASICALLY MOST OF WHAT RICHARD GERE AND JOHN TRAVOLTA DID IN THEIR EARLY YEARS.
ALSO CLIFFHANGER, WHICH ENDED UP GOING TO JOHN LITHGOW. I HOPE I’VE MADE UP FOR UNFORTUNATE TURN-DOWNS NOW.
4) Eliza: your father, I read, wrote the scripts for “Three Days of the Condor” and “The Firm” (David Rayfiel). You also knew John Landis, who offered you your part of Brunella in “Animal House.” Did you grow up in Hollywood? If so, has your insider knowledge of the industry helped?
E.R.: I DID SCHLOCK AND ANIMAL HOUSE WITH JOHN LANDIS, AND HE’S REMAINED A FRIEND ALWAYS. I THINK GROWING UP IN THE INDUSTRY AND HAVING AN INTIMATE KNOWLEDGE OF THIS WORLD HAS HELPED IMMENSELY.
5) Eliza, you met Eric on a plane with your dad’s script for “Intersection” in your lap. Have there been any projects, past, present or future, where you’ve been involved in writing a script just for Eric ? (Secondary mention of cats, since Eric, you said, had a cat, Tender, on his lap at the time).
E.R.: YES, I HAD A SCRIPT ON MY LAP AND ERIC HAD BOTH A SCRIPT AND A CAT ON HIS LAP.
I HAVE DONE A LOT OF SCRIPT POLISHING FOR ERIC. I HAD A SENSE OF WHAT WORKS FOR HIM, AND MOST PRODUCTIONS ARE OPEN TO IT.
6) Eric, How did you come to be involved in “Lone Star Deception?” (I talked to Executive Producer Ed DeZavellos on 3/12 and hope to again in the future.)
E.R.: I CAN’T REMEMBER FULLY, BUT I KNOW SOME VERY NICE, PASSIONATE PEOPLE MADE US BOTH AN OFFER. ELIZA IS IN LONE STAR DECEPTION, TOO. WE WERE INTRIGUED AND SAID YES.
7) “In my estimation, Eric is a great actor…an extremely unique presence trapped in this beautiful exterior.” “The way that Mickey Rourke was re-discovered as a great actor, I think Eric is due for that, for sure. So much of the business is luck and timing.” (David Duchovny)
Given those glowing words from a fellow actor, and Mickey Rourke’s film “The Wrestler” (which should have won him the Oscar in 2008), what directors now working would you like to work with? Any potential star vehicles in the pipeline?
E.R.: I VERY MUCH WISH AND LONG FOR SUCH A VEHICLE. HOW PRECIOUS THAT WOULD BE.
I CAN’T TELL YOU HOW MUCH THE COMMENTS OF THESE FELLOW ACTORS MEAN.
8)_ Nowadays, it seems that even extremely good actors like Robert Downey, Jr., want to play a Super Hero to cash in on the Marvel Universe films or to have a series built around them. It is as though there is the series comic book Hollywood and indie film Hollywood. You’ve watched the industry as an insider for a long time. What are your thoughts on the films you see coming out of Hollywood now, versus when you were starting out (1978)?
E.R. : TRENDS IN ART AND IN EVERYTHING, ARCHITECTURE, FASHION, EVERYTHING, TEND TO CHANGE. MOVIES MADE PEOPLE HAPPY IN 1978, AND THEY MAKE PEOPLE HAPPY TODAY.
SOME OF THE MARVEL MOVIES ARE VERY CLEVERLY WRITTEN AND GO WAY BEYOND THEIR GENRE.
I DON’T HAVE A PARTICULAR LOVE FOR THE SUPER HERO FILMS, BUT MANY PEOPLE DO, AND BECAUSE OF THAT, I’D LOVE TO BE A PART OF IT.
10) Throwing out some names that I know mean something to you, can you share with us a little bit about what it was like working with Sterling Hayden…..Mickey Rourke…..Jon Voight…Bob Fosse…and, of course, Anthony Ray Parker. (Take your pick and add any others you wish).
I LEARNED SO MUCH FROM STERLING. WHAT A CHARACTER! I ADORE MICKEY, AND HE AMAZES ME. IT WAS FANTASTIC WORKING WITH JON. BOB FOSSEE WAS ARGUABLY THE BEST DIRECTOR I WAS EVER DIRECTED BY.
WE HAD AN INCREDIBLE TIME WORKING WITH ANTHONY RAY PARKER. HE’S A GREAT ACTOR AND HE’S A GREAT MAN.
11) “Lone Star Deception” Credits: “We would like to thank our pyro technicians for not blowing up the entire city. (Houston) [Comments?]
HILARIOUS! AND TRUE.
12) You were in a bad car accident in 1981. Please tell the listeners about that and its after-effects at the time?
E.R.: WELL, IT WAS A LOT LIKE THE FILM “REGARDING HENRY”.
I CRASHED IN MY JEEP AND WAS IN A COMA FOR 72 HOURS AND, EVEN THOUGH I WAS PHYSICALLY ALIVE, IT MADE ME FEEL FOREVER DIFFERENT IN MYRIAD WAYS.
13) Don Okolo, the credited director for “Lone Star Deception” is Don Okolo. (“Blood ‘n Destiny” – 2009, $500,000; “The Land” – 2011, $200,000; “Gem of the Rainforest” – 2013 – $200,000). Have you ever wanted to direct?
ELIZA IS A SUPER GIFTED DIRECTOR AND I LOVE BEING DIRECTED BY HER AND WOULD CO-DIRECT WITH HER.
14) Lines from the film: “So little nieces, so little time.” “Politicians tell the voters what they want to hear.” Why was the main character (Tim Bayh, the black candidate for Governor) put in charge of personally paying off the various wrongdoers, such as those who kidnap his daughter Carol. Aren’t there less visible henchmen who could have been hired to carry the $50,000 to pay off “Sloane?” (That puzzled me)
E.R.: TIM HAD MORE AT STAKE. BUT THAT’S A GOOD QUESTION AND REALLY A QUESTION FOR ED.
“It was always about the money, Charlie.” (Any thoughts on the politics of today IRL?)
E.R.: IT SEEMS WHEN YOU BOIL IT DOWN, EVERYTHING IS ABOUT THE MONEY.
15) “I’ll be taking a break when I die.”
E.R.: YES, SOUNDS LIKE ME!
16) “The hardest person to protect yourself from is yourself.”
E.R.: I BELIEVE THAT.
17) Daughter, Emma; Morgan and Keaton (musician). Currently working in the industry, or…?
E.R.: ALL IN THE INDUSTRY.
18) “Why me, of all the guys, of all the has-beens, of all the good actors who are over—why me?” (1/31/2018 to Sam Kashner for Vanity Fair.)
E.R.: WHY ME? IS NOT A RHETORICAL QUESTION. IT’S ABOUT UNDERSTANDING OUR PART IN OUR LIVES. THE MOST IMPORTANT PART WE PLAY.
19) Your favorite Batman?
E.R.: MICHAEL KEATON.
20) Your favorite Joker actor in the “Batman” films?
E.R.: JACK NICHOLSON
21) Anything you’d like to talk about that I haven’t asked you about?
YOU ASKED GREAT QUESTIONS.
WE ALWAYS LIKE TO DIRECT LISTENERS/READERS TO
AND TO KEATON SIMONS
AND TO WWW.PIBAKESHOP.COM