Once known mostly for his sweetly tentative portrayal of awkward, sexually anxious teenager George-Michael Bluth on the cult TV hit Arrested Development, Michael Cera became a bona fide movie star in 2007 with his winningly geeky performances in the hit comedies Juno and Superbad. As an actor, Time magazine’s Richard Corliss notes this week, Cera “has the gift of appearing both wise beyond his years and not at all happy about it … as if he’d received a vision of what life has in store for him, and it worries him sick.” Next up for Cera: Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist, a music-fueled teen love story shot largely in the Manhattan clubland where its band geeks and It girls posture and play. He plays Nick, a teenage bass player nursing a broken heart after his pretty but shallow girlfriend dumps him. Cera talks to Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross about his latest project, about the singularly idiosyncratic playlist that is his career so far, and about the “new movie phenomenon” of the regular-guy leading man. Among the anecdotes: making his Arrested Development audition tape in his mom’s bedroom, in front of a bedsheet.
ALSO, most people generate an immense amounts of digital data during a single day — often without a second thought. But Stephen Baker, a senior writer at BusinessWeek, warns that the information generated by email messages, credit card purchases, cell phones calls and Internet shopping is being monitored by a group of entrepreneurial mathematicians, who are poised to use it to control human behavior. Baker’s new book, Numerati, examines the “mathematical modeling” of humanity — and its potential consquences.
ALSO, Oscar Award-winning actor Paul Newman died on Sept. 26 of complications from lung cancer. Over the course of his decades-long career, Newman starred in dozens of hit films, including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Cool Hand Luke, The Color Of Money and The Road To Perdition. Newman grew up in Ohio, where his father owned a sporting goods store. He began working in the store when he was 10. Later he ran a laundry business and took a turn as a door-to-door salesman peddling Fuller brushes — jobs that honed the business acumen Newman would later use to become a salad-dressing entrepreneur.
In the early 1950s and 1960s, Newman studied alongside James Dean and Marlon Brando at Manhattan’s Actor’s Studio. At the time, he didn’t realize that he would be a part of a new generation of acting. “I don’t know at the time that you really know that you’re part of something new,” he told Terry Gross in a 2003 interview. “You just know that you’re part of something that’s really exciting, and I certainly did feel that. Although I must say, I had no idea what I was doing until maybe 10 years ago.” Newman viewed his early roles with a critical eye; he remembered his first big-screen gig in the biblical epic The Silver Chalice as “real wreckage,” and he lamented the fact that he “was always working awful hard [in his early roles]. … I take a look at all that stuff that I did previously [and] wish I had another chance to take another crack at it.” This interview was originally broadcast on Oct. 2, 2003.
We talk with representatives from the presidential campaigns about the candidate’s economic policies. MARK ZANDI, is an unpaid economic advisor to the McCain presidential campaign and Chief Economist and co-founder of Moody’s Economy.com and JARED BERNSTEIN, Informal economic advisor to the Obama presidential campaign and Senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute. Listen to this show via Real Audio | mp3
In his new book “Autism’s False Prophets,” CHOP pediatrician and infectious disease specialist PAUL OFFIT defends the safety of vaccinating children in response to beliefs that vaccines may be linked to autism-related disorders. He talks with Marty in the studio. Listen to this show via Real Audio | mp3
The Ting Tings‘ debut album, We Started Nothing, has propelled the British duo to worldwide fame on the strength of some of the catchiest pop songs in recent memory. Blending looped guitar and synthesizer riffs, layered vocal harmonies and powerful drum beats, the pair has crafted a slew of danceable tunes, including the sassy punk sing-along that topped the U.K. singles chart, “That’s Not My Name.” The duo performs songs from We Started Nothing in a session with World Cafe guest host Michaela Majoun.
TING TINGS: Be The One
RELATED: Be The One will be released on CD and coloured 7″ vinyl in the UK on 13th October. A special download bundle will be available through iTunes from 12th October.
PREVIOUSLY: The curiously named Ting Tings are fronted by a blonde-wigged glamazon with a CBGBs-redux wardrobe and a demonstrable willingness to fight for her right to party, who could pass for — depending on how much you squint — either the daughter of Edina Monsoon from Absolutely Fabulous or Deborah Harry circa “Rapture.” She is known by many names, precious few of them accurate. For instance, they call her ‘hell.’ They call her ‘Stacey,’ they call her ‘Jane.’ That’s not her name — Katie White is her name. They also call her ‘quiet girl,’ or so she says, but believe you me, she was a riot Wednesday night at way-sold-out Johnny Brendas where the Ting Tings put on a short, sharp and electrifying set that put the lie to the post-modern self-deprecation implicit in the title of the band’s debut album, We Started Nothing. If nothing else, the Tings Tings started a good time.
The second half of the Ting Tings duality is drummer/guitarist/singer Jules De Martino, usually seen wearing a hoodie and aviator shades that hide his small, squinty eyes and amplify his matinee idol cheek bones. Last night he was a perpetual motion machine, an always-in-the-pocket groovemeister and impressive multi-tasker — at several points he played guitar and sang while simultaneously keeping time on the kick drum and hi-hat, a display of one-man band aplomb not seen since Hasil Adkins. And during the encore, a ripping spin through the feral funk of “We Started Nothing,” De Martino just plain beat the drums like he wanted them dead. But for the bulk of the night, the Ting Tings were all slow-burn cool, finally boiling over on an ecstatic rendition of the altogether sublime “That’s Not My Name” and a put-your-hands-in-the-air run through “Great DJ,” writ anthemic by White’s chugging, nicked-from-Eddie-Money guitar line. Hot fun in the city, indeed. MORE