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tv   Tavis Smiley  WHUT  December 15, 2011 7:00pm-7:30pm EST

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tavis: good evening. from los angeles, i am tavis smiley. tonight to look at to spy themed project. one based on novel and the other based on a real-life story. we will talk with gary oldman and then carl colby, his latest documentary is a project about the secret life of his father, cia director william colby. coming up right now. >> every community has a martin luther king boulevard. it's the cornerstone we all know. it's not just a street or boulevard, but a place where walmart stands together with
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your community to make every day better. >> nationwide insurance supports tavis smiley. with every question and every answer, nationwide insurance is proud to join tavis in worci es to economimpyta and remove obstacles to economic empowerment one conversation at a time. nationwide is on your side. >> and by contributions to your pbs station by viewers like you. thank you. [captioning made possible by kcet public television] please welcome gary oldman to this program. he is receiving high praise for his latest project, "tinker, tailor, soldier, spy".
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the film is based on the classic john le carre novel. >> he told me a cigarette. >> the mother of all cigarettes. >> he had information concerning a double agent. -- the mother of all secrets. >> he had information concerning a double agent. we are not so very different, you and i. we look for the weaknesses in one another. tavis: i've yet to read a single person in this town or beyond who writes about the academy awards, who does not have them on the short list for a
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nomination. i do not want to jinx you. i want to ask when you are hanging out with colin fir, did he give any it buys about what is about to happen? >> he had a lot of practice at it. tavis: he has. >> he has won everything there is to win for "the king's speech." he said if you are nominated, and you should win, he said, just be brief. tavis: it is fun to give advice after they have been on. >> before the clock starts counting down and you see this thing flashing, please wrap up. tavis: we will see of that moment happens, we will greet
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you and see how well you did. >> it is nice to the in -- be in orbit. to be on the list. tavis: this is the kind of project as the title might suggest to some, "tinker, tailor, soldier, spy" that you have to pay attention to this. if you blinked, and you are lost, you have to concentrate. i raise that to ask whether or not you think the attention span, never mind the critical acclaim you're getting as an actor, is our attention span, can we handle this? you have to focus on this thing to figure it out. >> i would like to think we can. it is a refreshing movie. in many respects. i am happy and has not -- it has not pandered to the sort of
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current -- or you have the james bond series which are wonderful and i love watching. they are masterfully done. it is very slow pace, quiet and it demands something of view. it does not undermine the audience. originally in the 1970's, when they did a tv series from the book, which was pretty much line for line, word for word of the book, it was over seven hours. it was the very beginnings of long form television. the audiences had to follow the story with one week in between.
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which in many respects if you think about it would be much harder to retain characters and -- to retain the story line. with a break in between. >> what i am trying to make -- the point i am trying to make and we agree. with all respect to hollywood, they have them -- dumbed down the formulation. i like the way you phrase this. it is a great project. it demands something of the audience. >> it reveals itself to you. as smiley finds out, we the audience finds smiley. tavis: you had better explain that. given the name of the show. for those who do not know the story line.
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you are confusing, everyone said tavis is hard to follow because -- and it is. there is some guy named smile in the movie. >> i play the main character in the tory, he is at beginning when we meet him, he is outed from mi5, mi6. he is an a comic character. his name is mr. george smiley. you are probably on this journey one of two smileys i will meet. there is another man called franks miley who is the show who is -- frank smiley for
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the show runner for conan. my character is george smiley. tavis: the tree like the short run around here so what is the difference? -- they treat me like the show runner around here so what is the difference. >> i would never have dreamed, i am from that school, i am a little bit of a snob. i like film. when a film is projected, it breathes a little in the gate. that is the magic for its -- of it for me. this jumper generation can watch movies now and focus on the screen that is the size of a cell phone. they get a quicker. tavis: you mentioned your sons, but for those who do not know,
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what is carre's work, th the movie about? >> it is -- we meet george smiley who is the chief deputy to the guy in the british secret intelligence service, control. they're both added by the new school, the new regime coming in. then they discover there is a mole, an informer who was giving secrets from within the secret service to the soviets. the backdrop of the cold war is a backdrop. master spy smiley is recruited back in but really working covertly outside the circle,
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outside of the circus -- service. he mount an investigation to the -- root out the mole. tavis: it is not often i get a chance to talk to single fathers. i talk a lot to single mothers. you are a single father. >> i have -- i am remarried. nearly three years coming up, new year's eve is our wedding anniversary. for 10 years, the last 10 years, i have been bringing up two boys. tavis: two young boys. >> now 12 and 14. the hardest thing i have ever
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had to do. and my greatest accomplishment, i think. i am very proud of them. of course as an actor who is living out of a suitcase and troubling, -- traveling, there have been sacrifices along the way. to some extent it has shipped my career and the choices i have made. -- shaped my career and the choices i have made. you make a decision. i woke up one morning at 42 years old, living in california, a single father. and am i going to be a father who is around or a father who is not? i decided to be at home.
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at that time, from 2001, 2002, there was a shift in the industry and a great many films were being exported. romania became the place they were making films. you have budapest and prague and australia and south africa. a lot of those were off-limits to me because i could not -- you -- i did not want to school them on the road. they need their peers and they need consistency and continuity. tavis: let me ask anyway. when you are a single father as opposed to a single mother, when you are a single father, you are married, having been a single father for a decade. when you marry, there is a
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single -- a houseful of boys. how do the boys take that? >> i am very blessed, i am very lucky they have accepted alex. it has been relatively easy in that respect. how fraught and complex that can be. they have welcomed her, and she loves them as if they were her own. it is a house of boys. i have two male dogs as well. it is all boys. tavis: for alex. in addition to "tinker, tailor, soldier, spy", next summer, "the dark knight?" >> i have finished three weeks
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ago. shaved off my mustache and retired the commissioner. yeah. you know, when you revisit, in this case, it is a trilogy. certainly a franchise i was involved with, also harry potter. tavis: you have been very fortunate. harry potter and batman. >> harry potter would have been considered lucky. it is just plain greedy. i have been very fortunate. it is a -- experience in itself. it is like family. it is revisiting, when it comes
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around, it is like a thanksgiving or christmas. a time when you all gather and get together. many of the technicians and the crew and the actors, they are repeating their roles, it is a nice atmosphere. it is bittersweet. it is over, because it has been seven years, i think since we did "batman begins," and we're a team. you become a family. tavis: it can call a look. it has a great deal with you being an awfully good actor. batman, harry potter, and this one is called "tinker, tailor, soldier, spy". it is a thriller. if you are into thrillers as i am, you want to check this out, starring gary oldman.
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>> thanks for having me. tavis: from fictional spies to the world -- the real thing. carl colby on his father, william colby. stay with us. carl colby is an award winning documentary filmmaker whose new project is his most personal today. it tells the story of his father, former cia director william colby. it is called "the man nobody knew: in search of my father, cia spymaster william colby". here is a scene. >> my dad came back from vietnam in 1971. he was appointed by richard nixon to be director of the cia. >> you are familiar with the controversy over the phoenix program in vietnam. there have been allegations that this phoenix program was an assassination program.
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what are the facts? >> mr. chairman, i have testified on this subject before the senate foreign relations committee in february 1970. tavis: the resemblance to your father is eerie. not scary. you can tell he is your father. that said, before get into the specifics of your story, yours is a unique story. each of our stories is unique but for a son for whoever -- what ever reason did not know the real deal about his father, having done the research now, would you recommend that any sot his father? >> it is the oldest story in the world. for women as well. who is their father or their mother? in this case it is personal because his job was deception. his job was keeping secrets, not
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telling you the truth. we became part of the club or supporting the membership of the club. like my mother and i. our things we did, we took it on faith and trust he was doing the right thing. that is the hard part. what is he doing? you take it on faith. tavis: there is that arrest for development as a boy, as a man when you do not know all the particulars about who your father is and what your father does because you are taking your father's word and his work on faith? >> diyala. it is -- yes. he is not not coming to your softball practice. you do not know where they are. they just leave. they're not coming to that recital. they're not coming home that night. they may be coming home sunday, tuesday, but you know there
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tasked with something special. they're doing something for the country and you are taking it on faith and trust and her mother is taking it on faith and trust. the women are doing this and the men are at home in some cases and it is a fascinating field and there are thousands of william colbys out there ready to ship off to yemen or somalia where the president sends them. tavis: how do you grow up not believing that your father is not doing something dubious? if he is keeping secrets from everybody else, he could be keeping secrets from you and your mother. how do you trust that? >> in our case our father was a war here. he parachuted into occupied france. he would take us through what we lived in europe and he was
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running operations to counter the soviets when the communists and the christian democrats would be testing the election and he would say this is the ditch wheelie and when the germans won by. why did not shoot at them? he would say there were only three of us and 600 of them. i thought he was a brave person. he won the silver star, the bronze star. after a while you ask questions. what is it exactly you are doing? i've met a guy in indonesia. a terrific guy. a very fit guy who likes a lot. he would say very interesting, never mentioned his name again. he must be deep cover. i will do my part, my little part to protect his name and people would come over to the house and all kinds of people would come over to the house. you might see the picture in the paper the next day. i went to our house in saigon. my mother was consoling a woman in black. her husband had been a general
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they found floating on the saigon river before. chopsticks in his ears and torture. -- tortured. it was a very spooky world to grow in. my father was always very cool, so was i.. >tavis: we hear your voice telling us that your father was given the job as cia director by richard nixon. what we did not see, it comes out later in the doctrine -- the documentary is he is fired by the next president, gerald ford. why did he get fired? >> he was recruited after he was oss, jumping in now occupied europe. he went into the agency in the '50s -- 1950's. we lived in a big housing complex. the neighbor said, you know, barbara, we wonder what he is doing because we dropped him off
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over at the mall. we turned around and he is hotfooting it across the street to another location, another building. she said that is how she learned my father was in a different line of work. at first it is exciting. it is like "to catch a thief." it is like a bond film. when people start to die. people we knew in saigon and murdered. and who was responsible. >> tavis: at what point did you consider your father was a murderer? >> people would ask me during the vietnam war. i was a teenager and i would say, he was head of this phoenix program, they would say, your father is an assassin. he is a murderer. i would say, what is you talk -- what are you talking about? where those people being killed? i they just enemy? is he doing the right thing? that is against the explanation
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that we took even in this film to go through and see what does history tell us, what did he tell us? i would say he was an honorable man. he took the hit. he made the sacrifice by revealing the secrets of the cia at that point in the 1970's when president ford and the rest of the elk wanted him -- ilk wanted him to lie. tavis: how much of this could you put to your father while he was living? when your friends are saying your father is a murderer, and you have questions in your mind about what your father is doing. how much of this can you say at dinner? >> it was open season. we would argue about everything. his way of being, he was not a tough, british, a big physical, masculine, beating people up
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kind of guy. tunnell. he was like a professor. if you came over, you would think he works for prudential. no hobbies, he worked all the time. there was a sense of him as being very driven. he would ask you can argue with you about vietnam or whatever was going on. in the end he would say fair enough. you have your opinion, i have mine. just consider mine. he was very confident. any woman or man who takes on these covert assignments, i know a woman now, early 30's, american, dark complexion, speaks fluent urdu, she is in pakistan. do you think she is in danger? who is going to cover her back? there are lots like this. we're asking them to go out and do this work. we have to know more about it. not operational secrets.
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he is ordering up as much covert action as any president since the kennedys. i do not want another cia director to fall down the rabbit hole and be accused of being a murderer or an assassin. we ought to own up to what we're doing and accept it. or do not do it at all. tavis: his new documentary is called "tinker, tailor, soldier, "the man nobody knew: in search of my father, cia spymaster william colby". until next time, 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 m tobrokaw. and ben kingsley.
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that is next time. we will see you then. >> every community has a martin luther king boulevard. it's the cornerstone we allit's not just a street or boulevard, but a place where walmart stands together with your community to make every day better. >> nationwide insurance supports tavis smiley. with every question and every answer, nationwide insurance is proud to join tavis in working to improve financial literacy and remove obstacles to economic empowerment one conversation at a time. nationwide is on your side. >> and by contributions to your pbs statns from viewers like you. thank you. [captioning made possible by kcet public television] kcet public television] >>
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