The 19th century painter wasn't always "very pleasant" and he was a "man of massive contradictions," Spall says. So Spall says he had to "dig deep" to play the title role in Mr. Turner.
This year, Fresh Air's book critic rejects the tyranny of the decimal system and picks 12 titles published in 2014 — all with characters, scenes and voices that linger long past the last page.
Chris Rock talks about finding the line between funny and "too far"; Geoff Nunberg declares "God view" as the word of the year; National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson talks about her memoir.
The film, based on Thomas Pynchon's novel, is set in 1970 in a beach town south of Los Angeles. With wonderful actors, it's like a gorgeous stoner art object: groovy, campy, dreamlike and funny.
When writer Jill Soloway's father came out as a trans woman, Soloway says, it was a huge relief. And it helped her create the series Transparent about "boundaries, legacy, gender, family."
Writer-director Richard Linklater says picking the film's star was vital because he had to guess what he'd be like at 18. "I just went with a kid who seemed kind of the most interesting."
Fresh Air jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews three box sets featuring memorable pianists.
Scott Saul's new book Becoming Richard Pryor describes how Pryor went from being raised by a grandmother, who was a bootlegger and madam, to being a transformative figure in entertainment.
Uber's "God view" shows a map of the cars in an area and the silhouettes of the people who ordered them. Linguist Geoff Nunberg says Uber-Santa doesn't just know when you've been sleeping, but where.
Woodson won the National Book Award for young people's literature for her memoir Brown Girl Dreaming. She says that growing up in South Carolina, she knew that the safest place was with her family.
Rolling Stone's Matthieu Aikins reported on this year's opium harvest — the biggest in Afghanistan's history. He also talks about traveling with a rescue crew in Syria and a Shia militia in Iraq.
The Boston Museum of Fine Arts has assembled one of the largest exhibits of Goya's artwork ever seen in the U.S. His paintings, prints and drawings range in technique from exquisitely refined to raw.
Lacy ran with Monk's wisdom, beginning with the idea your voice as jazz composer starts with your sound and timing as an improviser.
"No comedian wants to have to analyze and defend" jokes, says Rock, who wrote, directed and stars in the new film Top Five. He adds: "I'm not a politician; I'm not a thinker. I'm a comedian."
Ray Davies discusses 50 years with The Kinks; jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews three jazz books out this holiday season; Josh Brolin, who stars in Inherent Vice, still wonders if he's good enough.
In the Australian chiller, a bogeyman announces himself in a rhyming, pop-up book on a 7-year-old's shelf. But the real horror is that the boy's mom, a grieving widow, is battling psychic demons.
Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker says that one of the best books he's ever read about punk rock is a new memoir by Viv Albertine.
McLagan, who died at 69, helped define the sound of '60s British rock with his bands Small Faces and Faces. He toured with the Rolling Stones, Dylan and Billy Bragg. He appeared on Fresh Air in 2004.
Ron Rash's best short stories from the past 20 years take you to a land apart psychologically and geographically. His writing is powerful, stripped down and very still.
Brolin co-stars in an adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's novel Inherent Vice. He says as an actor he's always wondering: "Can I live up to what this person has written? There's always a fear around that."