tv Tavis Smiley WHUT October 30, 2013 8:00am-8:30am EDT
the patients in the hospital where the young man was a victim of this -- it wasn't a young girl. it was a young man. everyone tells the same story. the diocese keeps tabs on him. he has no memory of what happened to him. i set out with a writer to make a film about the mystery of faith. that was it. i knew it would be disturbing because this story is disturbing. we tried to avoid all the clichés of the horror film. what we did has become the clichés of a horror film. i understand it and recognize it. tavis: when you say the mysteries of faith, give me an idea of what you mean. >> there was a man who wandered
in the desert of galilee with a robe and sandals. he was probably a literate. he never wrote anything that was published. there is no recording of his voice. there is no photograph. the first of the gospels according to saint mark came out 70 years after his death, yet trillions of people all over the believed this man is the son of god. manalled himself the son of . the gospels differ, but jesus referred to himself as the son of man, so the idea of people who have never read anything, never seen anything -- they didn't catch him on tv, on the tavis smiley show or something. all of it comes from the gospels, yet this church was
founded in his name. a religion is all over the world, and people believe. i think of it as the mystery of love. you might meet somebody and follow in love with them. someone else meets the same person, and that doesn't happen. love is a mystery. so is life and faith. tavis: that is what faith is, things you don't see. >> but you believe. why? i am not a catholic, but i believe in the teachings of jesus. jesus is said to be an exorcis t. there were many accounts of exorcisms performed by jesus and his disciples. could what you said i take many different directions. i will pick one. we will be here for the next re-
or four days talking about the gospel and this. the question is whether or not you were ever disappointed that all of that was ignored, people's, or went over heads, and it was just a horror movie. >> it was not. the head of the jesuit order, whose headquarters was in milan, he had his own print of "the ," and he ran it for people he knew and liked. it was controversial, but at the highest levels it was accepted and even believed by people who are not catholic. such as myself. what is the value, the
spiritual value to our re- visiting this 40 years later? >> new generations. people weren't even born when this came out. i do believe the film is still very powerful and effective to new generations. i have seen it. the world has become a lot more cynical. church has lost a lot of followers, but the pictures still seems to carry a certain power. i don't put it out there. i don't control that. if there was no demand to have it seemed there would be no 40th anniversary blu-ray. according to the gospels with the exception of all, jesus did
not come here to start a new .eligion jesus came to reform the jewish church, and the church and people in palestine were controlled by the romans, and jesus was tried for sedition, for going against the government, and the roman herod, they king controlled the diaspora, and jesus felt the synagogue had lost its way, and what he was trying to do was bring them back to the beliefs of moses and the 10 commandments from which they .ad widely strayed that was his purpose here on earth. the priests or rabbis did not like that, so they called on the roman governor's to try him --
roman governors to try him for sedition. they asked the populace which of the three men he wanted spared, and they said rob us, -- bar but theho was a thief, trial was for sedition. the actual penalty for sedition was not crucifixion. it was stoning. were thousands and thousands of people who were crucified. there were others who were named jesus and called themselves the messiah who were crucified. after jesus there was a man called stephen who became saint stephen. there are cathedrals built to him all over the world. he claimed he saw a vision of jesus and the heavens standing
at the side of god, and he was tried for sedition and stoned to death. there is a lot of strange things that are unanswerable and normal terms about the mission of jesus, why he came here, who he was. very little is known, although hisad four brothers, and brother james was actually the spiritual leader of the church but it all's death, comes down to the mystery of faith. you believe it, or you don't. i don't subscribe to the catholic church today, being opposed to dam near everything. pope? what about this new >> he seems very promising,
doesn't he? he has been saying some wonderful things and doing some wonderful things, but then i remember how great jimmy carter seemed when he became president in 1976 and how he carried his own bags, said wonderful things, and i don't they key was a great president. i think he is probably the greatest after president we have ever seen. tavis: i have had him on this program many times, and i thought he would bite my head off when i asked if he thought after president. you sound like a the logician -- theologian. i wonder if you think hollywood is best equipped to deal with all this. >> i think not.
that. it attempts to do >> they make other films with exorcisms in the title, but most i have seen our garbage. -- are garbage. they have no spiritual undercurrent. they are horror films. out ares i see coming very promising. i think there is about to be a renaissance in hollywood films, but for years most of the pictures were about a guy in a spandex suit flying around saving the world, or they are about vampires, comic books, video games. been most of what hollywood has produced. tavis: you do realize this genre is a billion-dollar business
thanks to you. rock.on't live under a maybe a rock in bel air, but i know what is going on. i will tell you something. i accept no responsibility for the stuff that has come out with this and the title or anything done in that genre. tavis: whether or not you like it you do get some of the blame for this genre exploding over the years. >> that is why i hide out and don't come out in public that often. rayis: it is out in blu- right now, and there is a wonderful excerpt from the book. "the french connection" is one of my favorite films. all these years later, you think what? of the movieact
god. i didn't want any of those people with the exception of royce rider. the film was passed up by everyone. it was only a man named dick van nuck who said, i don't know what this is, but i have a hunch it could do something. i have a million dollars in a drawer. if you can make the film, go ahead. it was under the radar, didn't .ave stars in any sense i was not a star director, yet opening day people showed up in long lines around the world, and that was very surprising to me. i think it's a good film, but i
see it as a cop thriller a sickly. -- basically. tavis: it's a little more than that. "the exorcist" cast was not what we thought it would be. cast the studio was pushing either. at all. the studio for the lead mother wanted either audrey hepburn or joan bancroft or jane fonda. great idea. we offered the film to audrey hepburn. she was married to an italian doctor and living in rome. she said, i will do the film, but you have to come to rome. i would have to bring every single member of the cast to rome. it would cost a fortune.
didn't speak italian at the time. i would be speaking to the crew in italian. we asked her to come here, and she said, i don't want to leave. we went to an bancroft. , i would love to do the film, but i am on the first month of pregnancy if you are willing to wait. at the time i said, after you have your baby you are not going to want to go back to work. we could wait for years. ellen burstyn was the last woman standing. how thisn't it funny stuff works? it worked. great. the little girl had never acted before. she was a straight a student in connecticut. a room.r in after seeing 2000 auditions in
person or on tape i thought, we cannot even make this film. i started looking at girls even seven teen, and i thought we could not make this movie until her mother brought her into the office. the room, and i knew instantly she was the one. tavis: the rest was history. this book is called "the friedkin connection." i knew i was going to fall in love with whatever you said because i went to the first pages and saw some of the dedications and the folks you use in the first few pages, and i realized you and i have something in common. we love samuel beckett. one of the pieces of work i live line, evere by, the
no matter, try again, sale better -- fail again, fail better. have had numerous failures. you are talking about a medley of my hits. i have had films that didn't work with the public that i loved just as much. a lot of people get one or two failures and they are out of here, but i kept going because i and to work in cinema communicate. it has been an adventure and an education for me, so i keep going. i didn't know "the exorcist" would be a hit movie or "the french connection." i don't think it had much to do with me. you could cite a lot of reasons, but at the time there were no reasons. every studio passed on these films.
many of them passed twice. how do you process when you get to this point in your life and you see you have done , how dot is now iconic you keep from sticking your chest out just a little bit? >> you know the great helosopher mike tyson said knocked somebody out in the first round. interviewed byas howard cosell, and after the fight, he said, what did you think of his plan to stay away from you, to keep shuffling away and occasionally try to jab you? how did you feel about the plan? tyson said, everybody got a plan until he get hit in the face.
don't got a plan. that is my philosophy. that's the way it is. i had a plan to have everyone of my films be a colossal success, until i got hit in the face. then you pick up, try again, maybe fail again, but fail better. tavis: i am listening to you trying to figure out what you might have done had this not been your calling, your vocation . >> i had no focus as a kid. inever paid attention school. i never went to college, not because we were too poor. we were, but if i wanted to go to college i would have found a way. i have spoken in many colleges, but i had no interest in school. all.n't prepare myself at i would have loved to be, dr.,
but i had no training -- to be a doctor, but i had no training. i was a bad boy, and it's a miracle i didn't go down for a long time like some of the kids i grew up with. reasons.e to a lot of the love of my mother and father really save me from having no focus as a kid. tavis: even though you didn't turn out to be a physician, i hope you think you made a meaningful contribution at this point. that's for others to say. i feel i have been lucky to acquire this location, the ability to tell a story other people can relate to, in the way i can relate to the stories of the new testament, though i am not a catholic, so i feel very
fortunate, and that's about it. i am very fortunate. there are people far more talented than i am that can't get in the door. i know them, and i try to help them. to me it's all a matter of god's will, ambition, and luck. said talent. there are many untalented people making millions of dollars in the film business. tavis: i know some of them. follower. it has been a blessing to have you on this program. >> it has been my pleasure. i love your show. you are a great interviewer, and it is an honor to be here. tavis: there is so much to delve and times ofe livfe
william friedkin. is out now.t" the extended director's cut and a wonderful theatrical version. there is a book that comes in blu-ray eersary duchenne, and there is the book and thereedition, "thee book itself, friedkin connection." you have to come again. >> just invite me. tavis: i think i did. that's it for our show for tonight. as always, keep the faith. >> for more information on today's show, visit tavis smiley at pbs.org. tavis: hi, i'm tavis smiley. join me next time for a conversation with jj abrams.
coming up, bob faw on catholic colleges and universities seeking to maintain their catholic identity in the midst of changing social influences. and judy valente looks at the spiritual journey of christian wiman, a poet, teacher, husband and father who lives with incurable cancer. major funding for "religion and ethics newsweekly" is provided by the lilly endowment, an indianapolis based private family foundation dedicated to
its founders' interest in religion, community development, and education. additional funding by mutual of america, designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we're your retirement company. welcome, i'm bob abernethy. it's good to have you with us. new ethical questions this week about civilians killed in u.s. drone strikes against terrorists. amnesty international investigated nine drone strikes in pakistan over the past year and found that mo than 30 civilians had been killed. in a separate study, human rights watch looked at six airstrikes in yemen since 2009. it claims at least 57 of the 82 people killed were civilians, including children. the obama administration said the u.s. follows international law and tries to choose the actions "least likely to result
in the loss of innocent life." the reports came as pakistani prime minister nawaz sharif met with president obama at the white house and renewed his calls for an end to the drone strikes. the two also discussed recent attacks on christians within pakistan. in egypt, coptic christians mourned the victims of a deadly drive-by shooting this week at a cairo church. masked gunmen killed four people, including two young girls. the u.s. and international human rights groups condemned that shooting as well as a recent string of other attacks against egypt's coptic christian minority, estimated at about 10% of the population. despite hopes for an immediate change, the vatican's chief official for doctrine this week reaffirmed the catholic church's traditional teaching banning communion for divorced catholics who remarry.
in an article for the vatican newspaper, archbishop gerhard mueller said those catholics may receive communion only if their previous marriage is annulled. pope francis had recently called for more compassion toward divorced catholics. he suggested that an upcoming meeting of bishops may discuss the communion issue. a central theme of francis' papacy has been his insistence on simplicity, not exactly the lifestyle displayed by the bishop of limburg in germany. he is franz-peter tebarz-van elst, often described as the luxury bishop or bishop bling-bling. he commissioned a $40 million renovation of his residence and other buildings, including a
$20,000 bathtub, $480,000 walk-in closets and a million dollar garden. this week, the pope placed the bishop on an indefinite leave of absence. the u.s. has a new ambassador to the vatican. former catholic relief services president ken hackett presented his diplomatic credentials to francis on monday. the post had been vacant for about a year. this week at the capitol, a catholic campaign to highlight the importance of children's education. the fighting for our children's future national bus tour is traveling the country to raise awareness about the need for quality k through 12 education and the role that catholic schools play. it's sponsored by the university of notre dame's alliance for catholic education. meanwhile in higher education, the country's nearly 270 catholic colleges and universities struggle to keep their catholic identity in the midst of social changes the