tv Charlie Rose PBS March 22, 2017 3:59pm-5:00pm PDT
>> rose: welcome to the program. we begin this evening with the confirmation hearings for judge neil gorsuch, and we talk to emily bazelon. she writes for the "new york times" magazine and is a senior fellow at the yale law school. >> one question is whether the democrats have the kind of ammunition they need to justify voting against judge gorsuch as a person, as opposed to as a symbol of the trump administration or as, in the democrats' view, the unwarranted, undeserved replacement for merrick garland, obama's failed supreme court nomination. he's not giving them a whole lot of obvious talking points. so it will be interesting to see how that plays as they decide how to vote, and i would assume that the republicans are feel very good about this choice. >> rose: we continue with a look at the possibility of the passage of the relament of obamacare -- of the replacement
of obamacare. we talk to al hunt of "bloomberg view" and robert costa of "the washington post." >> when the president visited the capitol tuesday morning he had an exchange with mark meadows of north carolina the chairman of the house freedom caucus and said we may go after you. he said it in a joking way but a lot of people told me they saw it as a veiled threat. trump likes to keep the house g.o.p. on edge. he may not go after them. he may not be angling to have primary challenges but he wants them to know he's an unpredictable president and he needs a win and he has a threat out there, even if it's a chuckle, he wants it to still be out there. >> rose: we continue with a conversation with jessica chastain. her latest film, "the zookeeper's wife." >> she loved every living creature. she lived alongside animals. they'd go in and out of her house. her children grew up with animal brothers and sisters and the film xplorers what does it mean to be in a cage. the warsaw ghetto is a cage.
also, what does it mean to possess and own another living creature. and antonina knew that was not something that makes a society healthy in doing that. >> rose: offings hearings, replacement of obamacare, and jessica chastain when we continue. >> rose: funding for "charlie rose" has been provided by the following: >> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose.
>> rose: we begin this evening with confirmation hearings for supreme court nominee judge neil gorsuch. in the first day of questioning, judge gorsuch emphasized his judicial independence, asked by senate judiciary committee chairman charles grassley if he would have any president ruling against the president, his answer was ready maid. >> that's a softball, mr. chairman. i have no difficulty ruling against or for any party based on what the law and the facts in the particular case require, and i'm heartened by the support i have received from people who recognize that there's no such thing as a republican judge or a democratic judge. we just have judges. >> rose: senators pressed him on a variety of divisive issues including abortion, campaign finance and the travel ban. joining me is emily bazelon, chief staff writer for the "new york times" magazine. she is a fellow at yale law school and i am pleads to have
her on this program. she does not teach law. what she does is even more important. she teaches lawyers -- would be lawyers, becoming lawyers -- how to write. something we all need across the board of all disciplines. >> indeed. >> rose: so good for you. thank you. >> rose: how did judge gorsuch do? >> i think he did well. he met the standard that we now hold supreme court nominees to, which is that he didn't flub an answer. he seemed very assured, and he also didn't give any opponents any ammunition against him, really. he was able to demonstrate great fluency in the law without providing any specifics about how he would rule that might cause trouble for him. >> rose: takeaways from this hearing? >> i think one question is whether the democrats have the kind of ammunition they need to justify voting against judge gorsuch as a person, as opposed to as a symbol of the trump administration or as, in the democrats' view, the
unwarranted, undeserved replacement for merrick garland, obama's failed supreme court nomination. he's not giving them a whole lot of obvious talking points, so it will be interesting to see how that plays as they decide how to vote. and i would assume that the republicans are feeling very good about this choice. >> rose: he has the burden, does he, of proving that he's independent? >> he does, especially at this moment in trump's presidency, given the f.b.i. investigation. but it's very easy to assert one's independence with great confidence as judge gorsuch did today. so i think he -- you know, to the extent words can address that question, i think he did that. >> rose: here is what elizabeth warren of massachusetts wrote in the "boston globe." anyone who believes in a neutral supreme court guided by equal justice for all should oppose this nomination. >> right, so senator warren's responding to certain aspects of judge gorsuch's record that
suggest he's not for civil rights, he's ruled against workers in cases, for companies that refuse to provide continue suspension to female employees, and ruled against cases where significant majority rights were at stake, too. so there are indications he is a deeply conservative judge and will be that kind of judge. >> rose: i am not an algorithm, he said. what does that mean? >> he also talked about precedence, past cases as being kind of a family history for the court, which is what i saw as his variation on the umpire balls and strikes theme chief justice roberts alluded to when he was having his hearings. >> rose: where do you find him on this court? >> i think judge gorsuch will be significantly to the right. the political analysis of his appellate court ruling suggest
he will be with samuel alito, perhaps to the right a bit of chiechief justice roberts. in the seat scalia would have been, who he's assigned to fill. >> rose: does he remind you of scalia. >> no, scalia glor idea in being provocative off and on the bench, especially in his later years. gorsuch is tempered and composed and has an air about him. but in view of the laws and interpreting the constitution, i think there is resemblance. >> rose: how does he resemble heros of his like jnl jackson. >> he would argue he believes in restraint or mod city and as a supreme court justice he would argue go out and grab the issues to decide if they're not in front of him. i think it is true as an
appellate court judge he has tried to decide cases on narrow ground, so if he follows that path that would indicate the judicial restraint. >> rose: white was another here. >> a former football hero. >> rose: appointed by president kennedy. >> right. and these are favorite past justices for gorsuch to compare himself to. they're not mightily conservative but on the conservative side of the ledger. what you have are touch stones from the past that signal to the republicans that he is what they hoped for without touching off, you know, kind of a fire storm among liberals, or at least he'll hope that. >> rose: so you suggest he's to the right. i mean, he might have been in part where justice scalia was. is he as far to the right as -- who might i say -- like who else would be over there other than
alito and scalia? >> well, justice thomas. >> rose: justice thomas. justice thomas is over there on the right, and i think there are issues where gorsuch would be in alignment with thomas more than roberts and alito. so for example the question of the power of the administrative state. we've had this rule since 1984 that in general courts defer to the judgments of federal agencies when they're trying to sort out after an ambiguous statute when they're writing rules. judge gorsuch questioned that precedent and if he were to take that view to its logical end point on the superior courts he would tear down a lot of authority federal agencies have to craft rules and regulations. for example, the e.p.a., there are lots of rules that the career employees at the e.p.a. have helped craft. if that's outside their powers
you start sending a lot of laws back to congress to clarify as opposed to relying on the agency to interpret them. >> rose: issues of war and peace? >> when judge gorsuch was in the department of justice quite briefly, he signed on to and really helped to some degree shape some of the bush administration's controversial policies. so he supported, for example, a signing statement that president bush signed that retained his power to decide what is torture, when congress was trying to take it away from him. on those kinds of issues, again, gorsuch comes across as being very conservative and also a proponent of presidential power. >> rose: the rights of criminal defendants? >> judge gorsuch has been open to claims about the fourth amendment. so criminal suspects who have said that the police's rights to search and easier and some convictions should be overturned because evidence was gathered by illegal means, gorsuch has been interested in those kind of claims. a resemblance to justice scalia,
goes back to the meaning of the fourth amendment and interpretation that gives people considerable freedom from police authority. you can see it as a sort of libertarian view. he has been quite strict about appeals from criminal defendants who, are for example, saying they were innocent or that they are, you know -- their claims were, you know, that their cases were mistried in court. >> rose: and issues of gender equality? >> well, i mean, he ruled against the government in a case that was trying to make sure that women had broad access to contraception through the healthcare that their employers provide and, so, i think a lot of women's groups and pro-choice groups are concerned about him on those grounds. did he say. >> rose: did he say anything that surprised you? >> i should be able to accomplish something. but i can't. >> rose: he was as expected? he was as expected. >> rose: and coached, probably. >> yes, oh, absolutely.
but also, to some degree, he's only partly responsible for the surprisingness because the hearings themselves are becoming so scripted. there are these very few moves that nominees make. they can speak with great fluency and describing cases and how the laws developed and then when pushed to say how do you decide something, something that happened in the past, then they say, well, we have to keep an open mind, i can't tip my hand. >> rose: most we know has to do with his decisions on the apeals court. >> that's right, and one of the case which is came up today which i find quite revealing is called the freezing trucker case, involves a trucker who was out on a very cold night in montana on the highway and his truck broke down. so he called his company for help and the company said, you need to wait for the repair folks, and, so, the trucker waited and waited and he started to really worry that he was freezing.
he called back, about 3:00 in the morning, and the company gave him a choice. they said, you can either stay with your truck or you can try to drive your load with your frozen brakes, an impossibility, right? so the trucker finally gave up and went to a nearby gas station only for about 10 minutes until the repairman came. so there's a narrow statutory question about whether his firing was proper or not. judge gorsuch ruled -- and he was a dissenter -- >> rose: this was a case on appeal, i assume. >> this is a case on appeal, comes up after having been decided essentially by the department of labor, and judge gorsuch's colleagues sided with the trucker. judge gorsuch sided against the trucker and cried ate hearing today in some sense that he regretted the ruling, not that he got it wrong, but the law required him to side against this worker. i would argue that was a narrow
swerption of the law and he had a case to make there. so we're seeing weighing as what he saw a strict interpretation but perhaps finding a strict interpretation that sided with a company over this trucker who had, you know, a very compelling problem. >> rose: his compassion was with the trucker but he ruled with the company. >> his compassion was with the trucker but if you look at the case he could have ruled with the trucker with you chose not to. that tells me about the values -- >> rose: he may have thought there was a legitimate basis to rule for the trucker? >> i don't know what was in his mind. but i think it's clear from the statutes and the the facts he had a choice. he argued if his opinion, he
didn't have a choice. he is an excellent writer, one of the best in crafting and writing of his opinions. >> rose: he attended your course or something. >> way beyond my course, he really is an excellent writer. one gets caught up in his arguments. they seem inevitable. but if you take a step back in this and other cases you can see there is another argument out there he's dismissing by making his argument to be so strong snowon the matter of what you teach, would you be advising law students that the best thing they could possibly do is to study literature and writing as a prelude to coming to law school? >> i think it is enormously important to be a good communicator as a lawyer and that clarity of prose is undervalued in the legal profession. >> rose: in every profession. in every profession but maybe especially among lawyers who start relying on jrgon allot and i would definitely encourage them to try to become better ass opposed to worse writers as they join the legal profession.
>> rose: often decisions in terms of confirmations become caught up in american frailties. is there anything in terms of that that we have heard that might endanger this nomination. >> you know, really not very much. there are a couple of female law students in the university of colorado who took a course in ethics that judge gorsuch gave, and they've complained the way he talked about women getting hired and then having children in the course of which becoming eligible for maternity benefits, that his description of women kind of joining companies and then getting pregnant bothered them, made them feel he was suggesting women go to companies simply to get these benefits and, in essence, were trying to sort of put one over on their employers. that caused a little ripple to speak, but a whole bunch of other students defended judge gorsuch. as a teacher myself, and i actually have taught ethics -- co-taught an ethics course in law school, it's really important to have a lot of room as a teacher to raise
controversial hypotheticals. so given the need for a very free give and take in the classroom, i don't want expect this complaint to really cause trouble for him. >> rose: you're the granddaughter of a great judge named david bazelon. >> thank you. >> rose: you did or did not go to law school? >> i did go to law school. >> rose: and decided not to teach or practice, or decided to teach but to teach something outside of the disciplines of law? >> right. i likely love the privilege of asking questions, which journalism brings with it. >> rose: yes. so i hope that i use my legal education to frame questions or know who to call or think about connecting issues, but i decided that i wanted to do the thing that i felt like i loved the most and, for me, that's reporting and just getting to fulfill my curiosity. >> rose: and writing, too. and writing, too, but i like the reporting part. doesn't everyone like everything
but writing the first draft? >> rose: you suspect he will be confirmed? >> i do. i think if the democrats decide to fill bust there are nomination and they may not but if they do that the republicans will feel like it is worth it to them to break the filibuster and change the rules for confirming judge gorsuch. i think that this nomination is the smartest move president trump has made since he took office. >> rose: thank you for coming. thank you so much for having me. >> rose: we'll be right back. stay with us. >> rose: the debates around the future of american health care took another contention turn tuesday. president trump addressed a group of undecided house republicans in a closed door meeting and strongly implored them to follow through on legislation to repeal and replace the affordable care act. this comes on the heels of revisions meant to win over conservatives including a shift of medicaid cost from counties to the state government, beginning even with the changes,
passage to have the house bill remains far from assured with rank-and-file members in opposition. to understand all this we turn to washington and al hunt of "bloomberg view" and robert costa of "the washington post." thank you both for coming. bob, you've written about this in a piece for tomorrow. tell me where it is, tell me what impact the president had, and are all the cards in terms of threats and promises in his hand? >> after months of the president focusing on executive orders and settling into the presidency, this is his first major legislative test. i just stepped over here from the capitol and was meeting all days with senators and congressmen and they told me the president has plunged into these discussions, having meetings today, tuesday, at the white house, coming to the capitol to make a final plea to skittish house republicans to pass this bill, pass speaker rhine's bill on thursday as planned. he wants a victory, more than
any detail in this bill, he wants a win. >> rose: but he also has to address some of the issues that are politics to him in terms of what it does for his core supporters. >> exactly right, and a lot of people privately within the trump white house are a little bit uneasy about how health care is now leading the president's agenda. they worry about how this affects his core base, those people in rural states, blue-collar areas of the country, some of medicaid assistance. this house republican plan phases out much of the medicaid expansion under the affordable care act, and you see republicans like senator boseman and cotton of arkansas and others with poor populations wondering if this is a right thing in particular from a president who ran on fiery populism and not touching entitlements in a way speaker ryan long advocated. >> rose: what does a vote like this men for the president?
>> a loss, a depete would be a disaster. i think a victory would be really bad politically but a defeat would be much worse, charlie. they have to do something because if you recall is just not an option. i think if it were held now, bozman's in the capitol, i have been talking to people by phone, my guess is it might pass but will be by thursday night. the president has been a very effective lobbyist. you mentioned the medicaid in new york state, that was a special gimmick for new york state. they said medicaid would have a work requirement. i assume that doesn't apply to nursing homes, charlie, so you and i will be okay, eventually. and there are other gimmicks in here, but my favorite gimmick was, on the tax credits, they inconstruct the senate to do this -- now, i've covered the senate a long time, they usually don't take terribly well to instructions coming from the other body -- so i think they'll achieve a baseline essential for
them, get it through house, move through the senate and may ultimately with mitch mcconnell's dealmaking talents be able to get a deal through the senate and with trump's lobbying. in the long run, i think this is going to be a loser because bob teeter, republican, told me 20 years ago whichever party owns healthcare, it will be a political loser. the democrats have found that out and i think the republicans are about to find that out. >> rose: bob, do you agree with what al just said in terms of it probably wouldn't pass today but by thursday it probably will pass? >> as of tuesday evening based in my whip count at the capitol and talking to top aides, there are probably between 20 and 30 hard nosed, which means the bill as of now would likely fail if it was brought to the house fore. speaker ryan, his aides and friends tell me he wants to bring it to the floor. he believes the republican party since the obama irray has talked
about replacing the affordable care act and have to move politically on this. this is why he wanted to move it first. they're making the case to members if you don't vote on this now you disrupt all plans for tax reform because much of this first bill is a reconciliation bill meaning it deals with taxes and gutting some of the tax increases for the affordable care act. >> rose: do you believe some suggested he should have done tax reform first and then health care? >> if you look at the president's allies, people like pundit laura ingram and chris ruddy that he hangs out with at mar-a-lago say trump should have started with infrastructure, jobs, taxes and going along with speaker ryan moves him in an ideological direction that wasn't part of why he won last year. >> rose: the president's argument seems to be -- he threatened the freedom caucus and i'm not sure what the reporting is about that, if closed session. go ahead, you can tell me.
>> real quick. when the president visited the capitol tuesday morning, he had an exchange with mark meadows of north carolina, the chairman of the house freedom caucus, and he said, we may go after you, and he said it in a joking way, but that they saw it as kind of ald veiled threat. trump liebltion to keep the house g.o.p. on edge. he may not go after them. he may not be angling to have primary challenges but he wants to know that he's an unpredictable president and needs a win and if he has a threat, even in a chuckle, he wants it to be out there. >> rose: al, is he the kind of president that can say to them, i need you on this, you have to help me on this, everything is at stake? >> well, he's certainly done a better job than some feared he would do. as bob said earlier, this is his first legislative test and he's really been passionate about it. i think you have to give him credit for being effective. i think the other reason that they wanted to bring this up first was because some republicans worry about whether his popularity, his currency
will be as great in a couple of months as it is right now among the republican base. so get it, get it done now. i think the threat to run a primary against mark m meadows s really an idle one. i can't imagine a conservative member who voted against this bill because he thought it didn't repeal obamacare sufficiently or is obamacare 2.0 is going to face a threat from the right. but i think in those people who are undecided, and many of those republican district, trump remains very popular. overall ratings are down but remains very popular. i would agree with some of the critics, i would imagine steve bannon is not happy with this sequencing because not only is this going to take some time, this isn't going to happen in the matter of a next month or. so the senate will be involved. it will tie up to the house to a limited extent and looks like
infrastructure is off till next year. >> rose: tom cotton suggests you should not vote the bill because i'd not pass the senate and you would have done damage to your political future. is he right act that? >> senator cotton has many reservations, thinks the process is moving too quickly, thinks speaker ryan is trying to do all these things and not think about the senate. trump bought into the argument you have to move on healthcare now. it's so revealing to watch the president in louisville last night where he said i can't wait to move on to trade and other issues. the president's invested in getting it passed but not deeply concerned about the health care issue from the discussions i've had on capitol hill. a lot of the senate republicans are more moderate, the senate is more moderate generally. senator macau ski of alaska told me she hasn't been courted by the white house so she thinks the process could take months. >> tom cotton a week or so ago
drew a parallel to 1993 when the house passed a big clinton budget bill and voted a btu tax. got to the senate, the senate killed it right away, but some of the house democrats paid a price in the next election for voting for that unpopular tax, and that's the fear that some of these -- i mean, the idea the senate will take care of it and ultimately will work the whole thing out, they're going to be voting for some stuff that could come back to haunt them. >> rose: where, al, are the democrats on this? >> oh, they're opposed. this is easy. they have problems on something like the gorsuch nomination, but on this one it's very easy. the three states that have had the biggest drop in uninsured over the last three or four years are west virginia, arkansas and kentucky, the heart of trump country. this is a bill as bob alluded to earlier is not good for the trump base. so i don't think joe manchin will have trouble opposing this bill as it now stands. >> rose: turning to the
budget. i'll come back to health care. there are some of these issues that raise similar questions in the health care, which is the people who are suffering the most from the budget are people who were part of the core constituency of candidate trump. yes? >> i can't quite figure out, and maybe bob can help me, what mick mulvaney and donald trump have in common. this does not look to me, from what we've seen, the outlines, not a full budget, it really doesn't look like much of a donald trump budget. higher defense and more on immigration enforcement, to be sure, but some of the other cuts, i can't believe that the bannon wing, if you will, of the white house, they're crazy about. >> i think the bannon wing and steve bannon has spoken about the deconstruction of the administrative state, the famous phrase he has used. he is talking about the upper layers of spending in a lot of these agencies and departments. so as the white house looks at its agenda which is to raise
military spend big $54 billion, they've got to find a way to offset that, and they're taking the axe to the state department, h.u.d., e.p.a., everything. >> rose: are they doing it because of ideology or they need to deal with the $54 billion increase in defense spending? or do these two issues simply come together at this time? >> it's a reflection of what they want to do politically. most people in washington and the white house, in the cap cap, they do not believe the trump budget will pass or have support within the congressional ranks. >> rose: includes republicans. includes the congressional majorities. they see the budget of statement, of bannonism of trumpism and how they want to rattle washington is that there was an article in your paper over the weekend suggesting that the factions at play -- >> that was my story. >> rose: that was your story. sure. >> rose: a very good story all of us were talking about. what's been the reaction from the white house on the story
suggesting there were factions and laying out -- there was the new yorkers and the bannonites. >> what do you think, charlie? ( laughter ) >> rose: well, but they're not calling me up to say did you see what robert costa wrote? they're calling you up and saying, why did you write this? >> i feel like, during the course of my reporting with my colleague phil rucker, it was almost like pulling off a scab. this was the dynamic that hasp ended the trump white house so long for the first two months of this presidency. we have been talking about bannon vs. reince priebus, chief of staff. forget about that conventional wisdom. the competing players, gary comb, deena powell, working with ivanka trump, jared kushner, they're polished, connected to the wall street community and seen as a different type of
operative in the white house because of their business backgrounds about -- and they are moderate when it comes to politics, and because of their rising power and they have the president's ear -- bannon and priebus are now aligned. any divisions faded away as they see powell and cohen as real rivals. >> rose: what did you think of the piece not in terms of what it said but in terms of anything else? >> i thought it was a terrific piece that really captured a part that hadn't occurred to a lot of us in washington. i don't know, mr. -- i don't know mr. bannon, bob does. but i think it's a mistake to underestimate him for the simple reason he has a world view. some of us think it's pretty dark, but it's a view that certainly was attractive to donald trump in the campaign, and when the crunch gets on, if there are problems, failures, if things go south, i have at least a suspicion that mr. bannon may be more persuasive in that
environment than gary cohen. >> rose: the question is not whether he's more persuasive than gary cohen, but jared kushner. >> again, let me yield to bob, but when i read stories about kushner i see kushner is on bannon's side and then the open side. cashner has managed to get good press, from what i can tell because he's the president's son-in-law, he hasn't deeply offended either side. >> rose: maybe because he's a shrewd political player. >> he is. he's a cagey player inside of the white house, speaking of kushner. we got the scene and the story which we thought was telling is kushner almost acts as a psychologist for the two warring factions, the new yorkers and the populist types. he brings them to his couch in the office throughout the day as they complain about the others and tries to mediate.
kushner's role, he stays out of the press, talking to his father in law constantly, and worked closely with bannon but also really sees deena powell and gary cohen in a favorable way. >> rose: what about other members tmembers of this admini, what about the secretary of defense, secretary of state, mnuchin at treasury, some people that are his deputy finance secretary, deputy secretary to have the treasury? these people, some of theme, seem to have served in other governments like bush 43. >> that's true. i think the cabinet, in general, all these members, these officials are trying to build a rapport with the president because with this president a personal relationship is so critical. what tillerson is trying to do, he is talking to the president almost every day, i'm told. he's in close touch with jared coshnekushner who is a shadow
secretary of state how he meets with democrats. secretary mattis, a lot of president as he tries to build a relationship. mnuchin has a close relationship. >> i think the secretary of state has had a horrible week, even since ehe's come back from asia, i cannot understand how, after the -- what many consider the insult of angela merkel when she was here, why he's not going to a n.a.t.o. meeting. it is simply inexplicable at this time. among other things that are inexplicable about rex tillerson. >> rose: let me just understand this, bob, and you can help me understand this, where is he going to be during the n.a.t.o. meeting? >> i can't figure out where he's going. at some point, he's going to russia. i'm not sure it's at the same time. but wherever he's going, it seems to me it's hard to make a case that it's more important priority than the n.a.t.o. meeting given the current climate. >> and we wish we could ask questions, charlie. covering the state department is
like a black box. he brought one reporter on his trip to asia and he's not communicating with the press at all since becoming secretary of state. >> rose: and shows no inclination that he feels it necessary. he doesn't feel like it's necessary for him at this time. >> it's somewhat stunning. i mean, secretary of state is such a high profile position in the cabinet and to have so little interest in communicating a message and talking with reporters, it's unusual. >> rose: what's the evaluation of the job he did and the most recent trip to asia? >> there's a lot of chatter inside of the white house about possible action against north korea, about how to handle north korea as it becomes more belicose in its weapons development. >> rose: these are things he said. >> that's true, that rex tillerson talked about, but he hasn't been out there in a full way. >> charlie, substantively, and the most important thing, and i don't think we have a real fix on this yet, is what were his meetics like in beijing?
what really happened? did they make progress on north korea and other matters? usually, when you go and spend time with the chinese, it takes a while before the real story emerges. >> rose: well, as your friend jim baker said to me, if you're secretary of state you want to make damn sure you have a very good relationship with the president. >> yeah. exactly. >> he certainly did. ( laughter ) have a confirmation of aat supreme court justice. we have a testimony of an f.b.i. director in congress, and we have a vote on the replacement of obamacare. so if you're a political junky, this has been one heck of a week. >> it's only tuesday. >> rose: or a journalist. it's only tuesday, as we were reminded. thank you for joining us. >> thank you, charlie. . >> rose: we'll be right back. stay with us. >> rose: jessica chastain is
here, a two-time academy award-nominee. her new film, "the zookeeper's wife," from director nikki carol, tells a little known story of ant nia and her husband who ran the renowned warsaw zoo in the early 20th century during the nazi occupation of poland. they used their zoo to smuggle juice out to have the ghetto. here is the trailer of "the zookeeper's wife." >> good morning. enjoy yourselves today. ( sirens )
>> the country is completely overrun. >> they are forcing jews out of their homes. they are taking us all to the ghetto. >> thousands of people are dying. the littlest of children. >> we have room. we could hide them. bring as many as you can. all the terrible time you must have had. german troops come every morning. you can't make a sound. ( crying ) >> momma -- have you been keeping secrets there me i?
>> no one knows how hard it is. you can never tell who your enemies are. or who to trust. maybe that's why i love animals so much. you look in their eyes, and you know exactly what's in their hearts. >> what have you been up to in your little zoo? >> rose: i'm pleads to have jessica chastain back at this table. welcome. good to see you. >> thank you. it's really good to be back. >> rose: did you know about this story? >> i had no idea about this story until i read the script. and from there i went to "the zookeeper's wife" novel.
>> rose: diane ackerman. yes, and it's based on antonina's journals. so that was incredible because it's been unknown until actually fairly recently. >> rose: it is a story of courage, compassion, what? >> all of the above. it also, you know, shows another way that someone can be a hero. i think, in our film industry, we celebrate the heros who use violence and aggression and fight. and antonina uses love and compassion as her weapon against hate. >> rose: and saves hundreds of lives. >> hundreds and hundreds of lives. in doing, so she sacrifices her safety, the safety of her children, and not only did she save lives, but she bolstered hope and created a space of love with music and art to bring happiness into those people's lives. >> rose: she loved animals. she loved every living creature. she lived alongside animals. they'd go in and out of her
house and her badge, her children grew up with animal brothers and sisters, and the film really explores what does it mean to be in a cage. the warsaw ghetto is a cage. also, what does it mean to possess and own another creature, and antonina knew that's not something that makes a society healthy in doing that. >> rose: so she decides to make this - -- they take all the animals out because someone she use before was going to use them in a fatsy experiment. >> yeah, well, she's been told that they're going to kill all her animals for meat for the nazis, and a friend of the family who's now the head zoologist for all the zoos -- >> rose: under the nazis. -- under the nazis, a german gentlemen, and also based on a true guy, lutz heck is his name,
he said i'll take your animals to my zoo in berlin and at least they will be alive and protected. >> rose: he also has a thing for her. >> yes, you discover that in the novel a little bit because she talks about how heck has a crush on her in his writing about antonina, he really admired her work with animals and admired her greatly, and the film definitely expands on that. >> rose: did they have you because it's a story of animals, did they have you because it's a story of a woman's courage and commitment to people beyond her own life? >> well, hopefully all of the above. >> rose: yeah. i mean, antonina is a great inspiration for me of how i would love to live my life and how i strive to live my life. so many people ask what would i have done back then. >> rose: exactly. my answer is what you were doing now is probably what you would have done back then. >> rose: the other thing about that idea is i would ask so many people who have shown great brave ri, and they simply say i didn't think about being brave
or not brave, i simply did my duty. i simply did what i should have done. >> exactly, your duty to human kind. >> rose: yeah. and to society and to community. and she knew that. i think she knew that from being around so many animals and taking care of them and healing them. she knew that she had to do that for human animals as well. >> rose: look at some clips. this is lutz heck played by daniel bruhl offering to take the animals from the zoo. here it is. >> i see a way out of this, my friend. that's why i've come. you need to listen to me now. you need to trust me. i could take your prize animals to germany and give them sanctuary. you know you can trust my word on this. then when the war is over, i can return them to you. >> but what if the war comes to germany? >> a terrible thought, i know, and a personal nightmare for me, but i must tell you the allied
forces are very weak. i expect this to be over very soon. i want to rescue the best of your breeds, and i can secure them a future no matter what might come, and we can do this together for zabinski. we can save your animals together. what do you think? >> yes. of course, we must do it. >> i'll bring trucks as soon as i can. your animals will be fine. i give you my word. >> rose: how did she use that relationship to her advantage? >> well, because he is in charge of all the zoos, he can help them. you know, at a certain point, antonina and her husband jan have an idea they can smuggle jews out of the warsaw ghetto by collecting trash. if they turn their zoo into a pig farm once they've lost all their animals, then they can use the trash from the ghetto to
feed the pigs. she goes to lutz heck and says, listen, we have the great idea, would you allow us to do this? probably because of his admiration for her, he does allow them to do that and, under his knows, that starts the whole -- >> rose: that's how they get them to the zoo. >> eventually are able to smuggle them to the labor bureau. >> rose: his views about animals are what? >> that's interesting. i really loved animals, and he wanted to bring back this extinct species of bison, and that's what he spent his life's work doing. he was a failure. he wasn't able to do it, but he was a big hunter, but he also really was into the whole nazi idea of finding the perfect species or creating the most -- the strongest, biggest animals. so, yeah, he had a very complicated view because he did -- actually, the bison that
>> put him in heck's truck. thank you. goodbye. >> rose: it's almost like she can relate better to animals than humans. >> absolutely. you know, antonina was born in st. petersburg and grew up in russia, and her parents were killed one night coming home from dinner. they were asked to show their hands, and when they didn't have any calluses on their hands, they were shot, because that's how one determined the difference between a member of the intelligencia and a labor yore. from that moment on, her life was very dark, and she fled violence, and she found her sanctuary in warsaw as a young woman. so in a way antonina -- well, not in a way, yes, she was a refugee, and she created this space of love and she was able to heal herself with animals,
and she knew that power. so when she was able to smuggle in jews and hide them there and create this safe place, this sanctuary for them, she knew as the animals had healed her, that they would also be helpful in healing the people. >> rose: what are you looking for, when you read the diaries and are looking for the insight into a character? >> well, anything that the character says about themselves is so helpful, but even more than the diaries, i was so lucky, i went to the warsaw zoo before shooting, which is still standing, the building is there, the basement where they hid everyone. i met with three is a, antonina's daughter, and i got to talk to her about her mother and how he saw her mother. she told me things like in her whole life she never saw her mother wear a pair of pants. she was very feminine. i said if your mother was an animal, what would she be? she said a cat. her father nicknamed her mother
"little cat." so all these things were helpful in creating the character, the femininity of this woman, antonina, in 1939, and also the arc antonina goes through. in the beginning she refers a lot to her husband, she's very shy. as often in times of war when the men leave and the women are left to get jobs or to be the heads of the household, she in a way comes into herself and, at the end of the film, at the end of the story, they come together as equals, and the love is even stronger. >> rose: what was your breakout film? >> probably "the tree of life." >> rose: yeah. film festival, bradded pit, sean penn, not bad dates. >> rose: and the director. terrence malek. one of the greatest filmmakers to walk this earth. >> rose: that was when we premiered in 2011. >> rose: six years ago.
why are you working so hard? >> you know, i just love these stories. also, growing up, i was always searching for female characters, representations of women in media that would inspire me. because, you know, little girls, when we're young we think we can do whatever we want to do and be what we want to do, and society, because we're not represented in the media or because we don't have female politicians or have many c.e.o.s of fortune 500 companies or film directors, we learn or taught it's not possible for us. so i want to create representations in the media. that's why i played commander mosa lewis in the martin, i'm commanding that mission to mars. i want young girls to see that depiction and see what's possible, step forward in their lives and not be told that because of their gender they're limited. >> rose: with pay equity. yeah, and pay equity.
i think the more confidence girls have, the more that they will not just be grateful for getting paid but actually speak up and ask for what they deserve. >> rose: and you're doing that now? >> i'm definitely doing it. ( laughter ) i'm definitely doing it. watch out. >> rose: do you miss broadway? you know, i do and i don't. i do miss broadway, and i want some way the next time i go back it has to be a comedy. because the last time i was there, it was so dark. a lot of the films i do are dramas. i am just craving some laughter. >> rose: so you're searching for a comedic part? >> maybe something old fashioned, you know. maybe a little neil simon. that would be fun. >> rose: but you work so hard because, a, you love it. >> because it doesn't feel like work. right? >> rose: of course. i don't feel like i work a day in my life and that's
actually the danger. because if you feel like you're not working, then you're not really giving yourself time to rest. >> rose: i wrote a note today basically saying how you're humbled to know you're one of the lucky ones who do exactly what they love doing. >> exactly. from the moment i was a little girl, when i realized this is what i was going to do with my life, it just was so easy going forward because i had this dream, i had this goal. so many people i was in school with, it took them so long to find a passion, and many people really never found a passion in life. >> rose: and they find something to do that simply is to do. >> exactly, and it's work for them. for me, i think that's why i'm so busy, it's because it doesn't feel like work. it feels like something bigger than myself. to be in this film with nikki, a great filmmaker. >> rose: screen writer. novellest, female protagonist, female opportunity
workers, cord niters, production designers, so many incredible women on this film and to be involved in it and tell antonina's story, it felt bigger than my life. >> rose: is hollywood changing? >> hollywood's changing in that more people are talking about it and women aren't as afraid as they used to be. we felt like once you start working, oh, i'm so lucky and i don't want to do anything to rock the boat, i don't want to do anything to upset people or the establishment. female actors and fillmakers are coming forward and saying i'm not being put up for jobs, i don't even get the interviews. the more we talk about it and not just talk but put it into action -- you know, i try to work with a female worker every year because i know if i'm in the industry i'm part of the problem. >> rose: is a female filmmaker better than a male filmmaker or is good good?
>> good is good. filmmaking has no gender. the problem is when you have 90% of the films only from a caucasian male point of view, you don't have diversity in storytelling, and you're only getting one side of life, and the great thing about being human is learning about people who are different. >> rose: but you got a little bit of that with moonlighting. >> exactly, moonlighting is an incredible film. to be honest, that was my favorite film of last year. >> rose: because to have the diversity of it or it told a simple story brilliantly? >> yeah, i remember when "brokeback mountain" was up for the oscar and lost. i thought, how can this movie not win best picture? is the academy so old fashioned? when "moonlight" won this year, i thought, okay, we're moving in a good place. >> rose: great to have you here. great to see you. >> it's always great to see you. how many times have i been on this show? i love it! >> rose: not enough. thank you. >> thank you. >> rose: thank you for joining us. see you next time.