This is FRESH AIR. I'm TV critic, David Bianculli, sitting in for Terry Gross. Our next guest, Tom Perrotta, is a novelist whose latest book, "The Leftovers," is being turned into an HBO series of the same name which premieres Sunday. Perrotta adapted it along with Damon Lindelof, one of the stars of ABC's "Lost." The story of HBO's "The Leftovers" is the same as in Perrotta's novel.
This is FRESH AIR. Opening today, in many theaters, is the fourth in Michael Bay's "Transformer" series, "Transformers 4: Age Of Extinction." It's inspired by the Hasbro toys that turn mostly cars and trucks into robots. Another very different kind of apocalyptic, action movie that rolls out today is "Snowpiercer" by South Korean director Bong Joon-ho, who made the acclaimed giant monster film, "The Host." Film critic David Edelstein has these reviews.
When director Gillian Robespierre co-wrote the new romantic comedy Obvious Child, she says she wanted to bring attention to an empowered, funny woman who has a realistic, safe abortion.
"We ... wanted to combine a lot of things that we felt our culture was suppressing," Robespierre tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.
In the movie, Jenny Slate stars as Donna, a 27-year-old stand-up comic who still doesn't think of herself as an adult. After a drunken one-night stand, she finds out she's pregnant and decides to have an abortion.
Lana Del Rey is a figure of some controversy for her suggestive lyrics, and critical debate as to the extent of her vocal talent versus her talent for publicity. She recently caused a stir when she gave an interview in which she said, quote, "I wish I was dead already," and drew criticism from, among others, Kurt Cobain's daughter Frances Bean.
There are many heroes in the tale of how James Joyce's masterpiece, Ulysses, which was banned for over 10 years throughout the English-speaking world, finally won its long battle to be legally published, sold and read. Kevin Birmingham tells that extraordinary story in his new book about Ulysses, called The Most DangerousBook.
This summer marks the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer, a movement to open the polls to blacks in Mississippi and end white supremacy in the state.
Freedom Summer was organized by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, or SNCC, which recruited 700 college students — mostly white students from the North — to travel to Mississippi and help African-Americans register to vote. The organizers, the students and the black people trying to register were all risking their lives, a measure of how pervasive racism was at the time.
Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
John Oliver Is No One's Friend On His New HBO Show: The comedian who was a correspondent on The Daily Show for 7 1/2 years now pokes fun on Last Week Tonight. Oliver talks about tasing his leg, temping for a thief and remaining an outsider.