Great writers have a knack for storytelling. Larry Toppman is one of them. Over the years I have enjoyed reading his film reviews AND hearing his stories, the latter shared over coffee, lunch or at screenings. Some of my favorite Larry stories have included a Bermuda cruise that almost sank, a high school reunion run amok, and some crazy happenings in Las Vegas.
This 1K podcast allows Larry to tell stories related to his interactions with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Over four decades as an award-winning movie critic, there is almost no one Larry has not interviewed. You combine that access with a great storyteller and…well, it’s 1K magic!
In this podcast we hear about Larry’s bizarre encounter with an enigmatic Ed Harris, the sweet motherly concern of Meryl Streep, a phenomenally honest Forrest Whitaker, perhaps an even more “available” Jack Black, and an equally inquisitive Oprah Winfrey.
Finally, the fact that Larry has had such a successful 40-year career as a movie critic is an interesting story in and of itself. Let’s just say that he got off to rather inauspicious start. In 1977, Larry predicted that a new film by George Lucas would flop at the box office. That film was Star Wars.
There are a lot of jobs in TV and film production that, if done right, are often underappreciated. For example, you don’t hear many people raving about the art of costume designing and making unless it’s a period piece with flowy ballgowns. But behind every item of clothing on any film or TV show, is a choice. Whether you actively think about it or not, everything a character wears tells you something about who they are, where they are, and when they are.
Our guest this week is Hollywood costume designer and maker Lisa Davis. She’s worked on all manner of projects, from the Oscars to Crank Yankers…Aquaman to Hannah Montana. And, if I can offer my own opinion, she’s responsible for the costume that resulted in one of the best jokes in Arrested Development’s fourth season (David Cross’s “The Thing” costume, seen below).
Other standout topics in this episode include the tricky maintenance of vomit-spewing puppets, strange showbiz meetings that take place in strip clubs, last minute latex allergies, and attempting to costume Shaquille O’Neal without the opportunity to measure him in person.
Infectious enthusiasm for creativity abounds in this episode of 1K with Charlotte’s own Renaissance Man, Matt Olin. We’re not just blowing smoke. As a professional theater producer, the Broadway productions he had his hands in earned serious recognition at the Tony Awards (14 wins, 50 noms). He’s toured the country playing keyboard in a rock band. He does right-brained thinking for left-brained people, writing jingles, commercial scripts, and other creative copy. And for the past two and a half years, he’s hosted the monthly speaker series CreativeMornings/Charlotte.
His CreativeMornings role—one he volunteers for—is what first brought him on our radar. In this podcast, Matt tells us more about that role. If you couldn’t tell from his varied background, he’s a man overflowing with and driven by curiosity. It’s that curiosity that helps him and his team find compelling speakers, whether it’s a pizza-obsessed baker or a former inmate turned Washington Post journalist.
Other episode highlights include elevating the creative class in a city known for banking, Matt’s secret super power for spotting creative talent, how being an identical twin steeped him in the art of differentiation from an early age, and listening to binaural sounds to get the brain juices flowing.