“If everybody loves it when they first see a painting, read the book, or watch a movie, there’s something wrong. It means that it went down too easy. You need a level of provocation for the work to simmer in the collective unconscious for a long time.“
-James Gray, episode 302 of Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso
Today, director James Gray is back! We start by diving into the aftermath of Ad Astra (7:25), returning home to Queens with Armageddon Time (12:00) and the historical context of this new picture (15:18). After watching an early scene from the film (18:33), we discuss what the story reveals about race and class in America (20:35), his family’s personal experiences with those divisions (22:50), and the painful timeliness of Gray’s 8th film (25:39) as anti-semetic rhetoric continues to surge (29:51).
We also wrestle with the economics of moviemaking today (31:37), lessons learned from his directorial debut, Little Odessa (33:22), and how the words of novelist Marcel Proust (36:03) and photographer Susan Sontag (38:14) shaped his most personal effort to date, Armageddon Time.
- Watch Armageddon Time out now in select theaters, starting nationwide on November 4th.
- See Gray’s previous works including Little Odessa, The Immigrant, Ad Astra, and more.
- Read On Photography by Susan Sontag.
- For more conversations, hear our talks with Steven Soderbergh, Ethan Hawke, Cate Blanchett, Kenneth Branagh, Janicza Bravo, Brian De Palma, and Werner Herzog.
- Order your Talk Easy mug in cream and navy or our vinyl record with Fran Lebowitz.
Original illustration by Krishna Shenoi.