Social changes, romantic intrigues and financial crises grip the English country estate in the third season of <em>Downton Abbey,</em> starting Sunday on PBS.<em> </em>Shirley MacLaine joins the cast as Cora's wealthy American mother, Martha Levinson.
Credit Nick Briggs / Carnival Film & Television Limited 2012 for Masterpiece
Downton Abbey, the drama series about the residents and servants at a grand estate in early 20th-century England, has done for PBS what the commercial broadcast networks couldn't achieve last year. It generated a hit show — one with an audience that increased over its run and left fans hungry for more. And that's a lot of hunger because when the second season was televised here in the states, it averaged 7 million viewers, more than most TV shows on any network, cable or broadcast.
This past spring, Islamic extremists allied with al-Qaida took control of northern Mali after a coup destabilized the country. Adam Nossiter, the West Africa bureau chief for The New York Times, has been reporting on the Islamist takeover in the north — but has had to do so by telephone. The kidnapping threat for reporters covering the conflict is virtually 100 percent, he says.
We'll listen back to a 1989 interview with actor Harry Carey Jr., who died Dec. 27. Carey co-starred with John Wayne in the classic Westerns She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, The Searchers and 3 Godfathers. He talked to Fresh Air about filming epic cavalry-versus-Indian scenes — and his most challenging stunts.
Writer-director Quentin Tarantino, seen here at a 2009 screening of <em>Inglourious Basterds,</em> tells Terry Gross that the only film violence that truly disturbs him involves actual harm to animals.
Credit Evan Agostini / AP
Christoph Waltz and Jamie Foxx star in Tarantino's new spaghetti western-inspired film, <em>Django Unchained</em>.
Quentin Tarantino's film Django Unchained is a spaghetti western-inspired revenge film set in the antebellum South; it's about a former slave who teams up with a bounty hunter to target the plantation owner who owns his wife.
The cinematic violence that has come to characterize Tarantino's work as a screenwriter and director — from Reservoir Dogs at the start of his career in 1992 to 2009's Inglourious Basterds -- is front and center again in Django. And he's making no apologies.
This interview was originally broadcast on April 23, 2012.
Actor Jack Black is best known for his comedic performances in films like Nacho Libre and School of Rock. In his film Bernie, Black goes to a darker place: He plays a serious small-town funeral director who murders his live-in companion, a wealthy widow played by Shirley MacLaine.