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Stroumboulopoulos: Interviews with Cara Santa Maria, Corey Stoll, Snoop Lion and Eckhart Tolle

Aired August 2, 2013 - 23:00   ET


GEORGE STROUMBOULOPOULOS, HOST: Oh, hey. Come on in. What a program tonight.

Since he was discovered by Dr. Dre just over 20 years ago, the artist formally known as Snoop Dogg has sold 30 million records and last year, as a result of a meaningful trip to Jamaica, has had a major change in his life. Now the dog is a lion.

You taught your son how to smoke weed, is that true?

SNOOP LION, HIP HOP ARTIST: I can't teach nobody how to smoke weed.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: And another person will be sitting in the red chair, you know her as the host of Talk Nerdy to Me, Cara Santa Maria is on the show.

CARA SANTA MARIA: I've raised more men and --

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Your shoulders sink.

It's OK. That's OK.

We're going to get into a guy who plays on Netflix's big hit show, House of Cards, you know Peter Russo, the character on that show. A very complicated person, Corey Stoll.

COREY STOLL, ACTOR: We went as a cast and it was like we're the Rolling Stones. It was incredible. We'd go into a bar, people lost their minds.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Plus, Hit the Road - Power of Now author and New York Times bestseller, Eckhart Tolle

Do you imagine, there's one moment have you stopped at a stop light and you were rapping on to Lil' Wayne. We wouldn't see that happen.

ECKHART TOLLE, AUTHOR: (inaudible) probably not in this lifetime.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Cool things coming up on Stroumboulopoulos.

Let us begin with the Snoop Dogg. What a life he's led. What a transformation he's at. Here's his story.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) STROUMBOULOPOULOS: One would normally think that transforming from a dog to a lion would make you more peaceful, but that is exactly what happened to Snoop Dogg.

Growing up really poor in Long Beach, California, his name is Calvin Broadus. Got the nickname Snoop because he looks like Snoopy form the Peanuts comic strip, raised by his mother and his stepfather. Snoop never really knew his dad who left the family before he was born.

Even as a kid, Snoop was musically gifted for singing and playing piano for his Baptist church choir. The times were tough and so he found a way to dealing drugs like many in his neighborhood. By the time he was 19, he'd already spent a year and a half in prison.

Now, in high school, Snoop met a guy called Warren Griffin and another guy called Nate Hale better known as Warren G and Nate Dogg. 1992 comes along and the trio guest their big break when they collaborated with super producer Dr. Dre on his album called "The Chronic".

Then next year, Snoop released his first solo album, "Doggy style". Shot to the top of the Billboard Hip Hop charts, and within 12 months, certified platinum four times. Snoop found a way to cleverly glorify his gangster lifestyle. But the consequences that come along with living that life can sometimes hunt you.

In 1993, Snoop was arrested as an accomplice to murder. He would eventually be acquitted, and over the next 15 years, he would continue to have legal issues being arrested for both gun and drug-related incidents. As Snoop grew older, he realized the effect this had on his family.

On 2012, he goes to Jamaica and it confirmed what he already knew. It was time to make changes. Upon his return, he began work on a reggae album, one that promoted peace and harmony.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody say Snoop.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Snoop had changed and a dog was now a lion.


STROUMBOULOPOULOS: All right. Snoop. What's going on, man?

SNOOP LION: Oh man, I'm chilling.


SNOOP LION: Everything is everything. I'm slow motion. Taking my time.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Is that so you can stretch it out?

SNOOP LION: Yes. You know, as you get older you get a little slow. And, you know, you want to take your time to make sure you're seeing what you're doing. STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Last time I saw you was the beginning of you talking about the reincarnation of the Snoop Lion thing and it was new. Now that there's been a bit of extra time, what do you feel about that part of your life?

SNOOP LION: I feel real good about myself. I feel good about the projection that I give, the energy, the love, the peace, the positive vibes. I was always inspired by pimps and gangsters, hustlers. You know, I was inspired by what we called a "negative", but these were ghetto super stars. These were my heroes growing up. This is all I had. So as I, you know, grew up, that's what I wanted to be. That's why I projected so much of that energy in my career.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Was there somebody mentoring you? Somebody saying to "Snoop, listen, you need to do more?"

SNOOP LION: I had a lot of mentors, you know, musically, spiritually and just on a parishional (ph) level, my uncle Charlie Wilson was always a great mentor for me, Bootsy Collins.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Bootsy Collins would be a great mentor especially at a party, wouldn't he?



SNOOP LION: I miss a lot of people that really inspired me, you know? I feed off of positive energy. Even when I was, you know, so called a gangster living the gangster life, I could always project some positive energy.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: And I was watching you at Coachella a year or so ago, about two years now -- a year. And you were on stage on you were doing the lyrics, I was wondering, OK, this is before you came out with the Snoop Lion thing. And I thought, "What do those lyrics mean to him today when you're singing the stuff that you wrote 20 years ago?"

SNOOP LION: Music to me is not about hearing it as much it is about feeling it. And when I do those songs, some 20 years ago, I get a special kind of feeling.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Is it like going through a photo album?

SNOOP LION: Yes. But a little bit more in depth because the photo album don't get a chance to come to life.


SNOOP LION: This comes to life through people projecting the words and the energy. When I look in the crowd to see people singing songs that I wrote 20 years ago and they're singing it passionately, that -- that's a great feeling.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Specifically you -- like you and Dre in that whole explosion 20 years ago, that -- I mean, Beastie Boys were big obviously and ran the MC and Public Enemy, but then, something happened in the beginning of the '90s where it just --

SNOOP LION: Multi-cultural. I believe because you got Dr. Dre who was one of the greatest producers of all time and you take myself and my energy, I was raised around people. So I had white friends, Mexican friends, black friends, Asian friends. So my music, I will write for all of my friends. I wouldn't just write black music even though I was a black man coming from a gangster perspective. I knew how to make music to where everybody could identify whether they feel like it was theirs.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: So you're going to communities now and you're talking about, you know, talking to gangsters and some kind of in-gang programs. Is it -- is it a different culture today than it was 25 years ago when you were a teenager?

SNOOP LION: No, it's the same culture. Everybody is stressing their strive for fame, notoriety, positioning. That's why I can identify with all the other gang bangs around the whole globe.

I can go to any neighborhood and get riding in and hold a conversation about peace and trying to get to the bottom of it because they respect where I come from. And I remember speaking different language, I speak their language. And one thing about the world in general is always been a young man's game or young woman's game no matter what, you know, whether you're male or female, it's always been a young person's game. And the minute you get old and let the game outplay you, that's when you're out.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: So the thing with the hip-hop is now you and Dre have to kind of create the next generation of hip-hoppers who are your age and older. Can you be doing this for 30 more or 40 more years?

SNOOP LION: Well, I feel like -- I don't have no time period on what I do, you know? For like I'm timeless, and I say it with confidence, you know, I'm saying because what I do, I make music for people and I make energetic situations happen where I use my voice and my persona and my spirit to project positive energy.

And long as you're doing that, aging have no limit on it. (INAUDIBLE) the greats from back in the '50s and the '60s, they still doing it, B.B. King and, you know, guys that have statues they're still playing and singing and doing anything. I'm like, "Well, maybe I'd be like them one day."

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: How much of the reincarnation is connected to your wife and your relation to your wife?

SNOOP LION: Yeah, well, my wife has always been my backbone and being my best friend through it all. And, you know, understanding me when nobody else, you know, could even possibly halfway understand me, as well as giving birth to my pretty babies and, you know, just being my backbone.

When I took her to Jamaica with me, you know, it was very important because it was a transformation in my life, and if my wife is a part of my life, she needs to be a part of the transformation, not from a distance but up close and personal. And what it was, we went down there and we shared the experiences. And when she came back home, she stopped eating meat. She started doing different things to better herself. And I see that our energy is always reflecting off of each other. And as a matter of fact, today is our anniversary. I want to shoot her a shout out. I'll be home in a minute.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: And as -- look, I see (INAUDIBLE) the more significant because there was a part of time when you guys were going to split up, right?

SNOOP LION: Yeah. Well, it was that I was being foolish and, you know, loving the temptation and loving, you know, what's there before me as an entertainer, and I put that before my wife and my kids and, you know, being greedy as opposed to being a real man and appreciating real love and appreciating what I had.

I, you know, told her I don't want to be with her no more because I felt like I wanted to run the streets and be a pimp and, you know, live out my dream which was childish of me but at the same time you have to get rid of your childish ways when you become an adult. So, when I asked for her to accept me back, I had to ask in front of my kids because, you know, I felt like I had abandoned them.

I was fortunate enough to, you know, beg her back and for her to accept me back and for me to give my life right in the, you know, put her and my kids first and foremost and we've been together now 16 years.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: You know, especially in music, a lot of guys will -- I mean, there's a bit of (INAUDIBLE) show and it's about not being vulnerable. Were you good at being vulnerable at that moment?

SNOOP LION: No, man. I ain't never good at being a vulnerable, you know I'm saying? But, you know, you got to man up sometimes, you know? And I don't have no problem when I'm wrong, I'm wrong. And I was wrong, you know? And before I lose my wife and kids, I'd rather admit I'm wrong, come back and get it right and do the things I need to do to be a part of their lives.

SNOOP LION: Is it a true story that you taught your son how to smoke weed, is that true?

SNOOP LION: I can't teach nobody how to smoke weed, but I must say that he is definitely a seasoned vet.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: OK. Are you -- but are you OK with that? Like old enough, he's not old -- is he old enough for that? He's seasoned -- to be a seasoned vet?

SNOOP LION: Yeah, I mean, he graduated from high school. He did all the things me and his mother asked him to do. And you got to look at what he's done for me.

I'm 42 years old, still looking good, still flamboyant, still fly. And, you know, he just looking at his father like "I want to be like that." So I support him in all ways because that's all he does, is smoke weed. He don't do none of those other drugs that all other kids his age and all the celebrity kids are doing.


SNOOP LION: And I'm blessed and I'm thankful for that because it's so easy to get those drugs, and the horror of finding out that your kid is addicted to a drug that you have no control over is a horrible feeling as it is.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: So those difficult conversations about drugs and all that, how did you have them with your kids?

SNOOP LION: We smoked the join and...

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: I mean that certainly would take the edge off.

SNOOP LION: Yes. And, you know, I kept them (INAUDIBLE). You know what, I told him the effects of, you know, cocaine, the effects of alcohol, the effects of, you know, pills. All the drugs that are accessible to him at his age, and the circle that he in, and I gave him the do's and don'ts, and I gave him the, you know, the consequences.

And then we have members in our family who are ex-crack (ph) kids. And so those are the best examples for them. And I never push anything on my kids. I never just say, "Well, you know I want you smoke weed, come do what I do." When I found out that's what he was doing, as a parent, my job is to bring him in and show him the proper way as opposed to allow him to go out and learn the improper way.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Right, stick around, more with Snoop right after this.

Do you think anybody could out-smoke Snoop Dogg? And the answer is coming up next.


STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Welcome back here on the program, we're hanging out with Snoop. So when people do -- I mean Snoop Lion, but, you know, you said you'll always be Snoop Dogg, so when people call you...

SNOOP LION: It's kind of hard because they don't know which one is which. They'll be like, Snoop Lion, Snoop, oh, Snoop Dogg which one...

SNOOP LION: It's whatever you like, man. I mean, when I make reggae music, I use the name Snoop Lion because that's the persona that I'm pushing with the positive vibe and a new movement. But, you know, when I do my other thing that I normally do, it's still Snoop Dogg.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: So, a lot of the guys when I watch your show, hands in the air, right, gun symbols, that's your thing.


STROUMBOULOPOULOS: How do you feel of being connected to that part of the culture?

SNOOP LION: Actually I love it because it makes it easy for me to identify when I say "No guns allowed," because we know the horrors of, you know, the effects of the gun. When I say "No guns allowed," it's not to those who need a gun and know how to use a gun to protect themselves in the righteous way, it's for those as, you know, abusing guns or using it for violence towards kids and innocent people.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: What triggered that? Like what made you decide, "I need to put this on them?"

SNOOP LION: I was just getting sick and tired of all these shootings at these schools, man. And then when I see the one in Connecticut it broke my heart, you know, because I coach football, man, I coach 9 and 10 year olds. And to think if my kids were in class and this happened to them and I have to, you know, hear about this, it hurt my heart.

So it touch me to where I felt like I had to say something and do something and not really worry about the effects of street credibility or the effects of who's going to say anything, which is really deal with the issues and really standby something, a standard for all of everything.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: And did you feel like you played a part in celebrating gun culture?

SNOOP LION: Oh yeah, most definitely. I contributed to it because that's what I was, you know, brainwashed and not to know. As a kid I lived up to all the gangster in the -- Al Pacinos, Robert De Niros, and then the real gangsters, Capone, and Tookie Williams, and, you know, the real-life gangster that we had a chance to hear legends and stories off. You know, that's American culture, come to think of it. Just like, you know, those movies were made for a reason, and when they were made, they stained our brain and they did what they did to us.

Scar Face is one of the greatest movies ever made. It is one of the most violent movies ever made that's related to drugs and cocaine, and but you love story and the director and the actor to what you forget about what it really did, it really helped us get a gangster mentality in the hood.


SNOOP LION: We became gangster after that movie. Like, OK, if that's how they doing it, we're going to do it like this.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: I loved hearing you on a Willie Nelson record.

SNOOP LION: You like that?




SNOOP LION: And you to do know that.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Well that's the trip of all time, dude. I think -- oh come on.

SNOOP LION: Willie Nelson was psychedelic, sci-fi, wide screen. Man, man, I mean I've never been outdone. But I was in Amsterdam, Willie -- he actually -- he made me quit. I had to think of something to get us to stop smoking because -- I was like, "Willie, let's go get something to eat."

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Just think about that, Willy Nelson, Snoop Dogg, Amsterdam.

SNOOP LION: And it was 4:20.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: How did nobody die? How did you survive?

SNOOP LION: Wait a minute, we play dominos, right? So we're playing dominos. He got a vapor. I've got a blunt. He got a joint. He got a bone. And he got this other kind of thing that's like a wooden piece that you smoke out of.

So while we're playing dominos, just me and him, I'm keeping score, he blazes up the first one, I blaze up one, he blaze up a second. Before you know it, there's four things being passed around while we're playing dominos. Even thought we was octopuses because it was moving so much.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: At some point, you guys (INAUDIBLE) your conversation must have reached the level of enlightenment. What were you're talking about?

SNOOP LION: Whenever I'm around Willy or any great musician from yesteryear that still relevant and still doing it, always pick their brain. I asked him what was he doing when he made "On the road again," and, you know, what was he thinking when wrote "You're always on my mind," you know?

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Oh, was one of the greatest songs ever.

SNOOP LION: Yeah, I'm like "I want to know that." Like, you know, "What was you smoking when you made that, Willy?" You know, I asked questions like that.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Was the answer satisfactory?

SNOOP LION: Very, very, very.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Here's the things that my experiences, you know, I'm a fan and I've listened to those records, I put my first system in my car because I got Doggy Style and I listen to it at my car, and went, I had to go put a subwoofer in there to make it work. And so I was very excited to go see you and Dre in Coachella and you brought everybody. But something I realized was that I was sitting there and I couldn't sing along anymore because I couldn't -- I did want to say the N-word out loud, and I didn't want to say bitch, I didn't want to hoe. I'm like, "Oh my, God. What is going on with me?" I get -- so then I started to think, does your daughter ever look at you and say, "Daddy, why do you keep calling us bitches all the time?"

SNOOP LION: And my daughter was raised by me.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: But she is also raised by your wife.

SNOOP LION: Yeah, but at the same time, if you hear the music they listen to -- let me tell you how crazy it is at my house.

I'm downstairs in living room, right? And then I'm right by the kitchen, right, where they eating. So, we playing space (ph) me and wife, her auntie, and her sister. So my wife put on her phone to play the (INAUDIBLE). Song come on that's real rancid talking about women's sexual organs and bootsy-oops and woobup (ph). So she's singing it. My daughter humming in the background.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: And how old is your daughter here?



SNOOP LION: So I'm looking at my wife like, "How are you playing this kind of music?" And she looks at me and be like, "You of all people, all the music -- but I'm not that person anymore. It's like --


SNOOP LION: -- it hurts to my ears to hear my wife and my daughter listen to that.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: But that's what I wondered because I was watching all these girls singing along and the B-word kept coming up and I thought, well, there's --

SNOOP LION: It's only affects me with my wife and my daughter.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: OK, but does that --

SNOOP LION: My mother, my grandmother, any -- don't bother me.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: But you don't care about everybody else's grandmother or daughter with?

SNOOP LION: It ain't that I don't care. It's just I have a different connection to my wife and my daughter to where it's like when I do certain songs, I don't like -- I don't like to do it.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Yeah. SNOOP LION: I don't even know why I feel like that, but it's like certain sexual songs that I have. I don't really like performing when my wife and my daughter in the house.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Tell me about the 2Pac holograms, 2Pac hologram, what was that like for you when he, "What up, Snoop?" I've got chills, and I didn't know the guy. So, what was it like for you?

SNOOP LION: Oh men, that was like...

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: If you don't know at Coachella, him and Dre (INAUDIBLE) and all of a sudden 2Pac's recorded hologram came up. And under 20s dude at the concert were like "Yeah!" The guys my age were all going like "Oh wow." It was very odd. What was it like?

SNOOP LION: It was like bringing your friend back from the dead to have him perform with you one more time, like the energy, the projection, the way he moved, the way he sounded. It was all -- it was like you would get caught up if you wasn't professional like I was damn near caught up, because there were certain places I couldn't go because I would mess up the hologram. But I was like so caught up. I was like close my eyes and start rapping, it's like, damn. You see one, man, OK. I got to get back on point because I was so -- and see what you all were seeing, I wasn't seeing. I was seeing his projection off of the floor.


SNOOP LION: So I was seeing me and him like really side by side, but in a different angle and I was higher (INAUDIBLE).

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Dude, if you were on some Willie stuff you would have been there, right?

SNOOP LION: Exactamundo.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Has your wife bought into this, and how did she feel about the new guy?

SNOOP LION: She liked it. He's more of soft teddy bear. You know?


SNOOP LION: Yeah, a huggy bear. That was gangster. That's what he is because you can't hug the bear.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Yes. More acting for you?

SNOOP LION: Yeah. I definitely love -- I love being on screen. I love doing movies. I love making movies. I love when Hollywood calls and say "We got a role for you," and I just love going in there and taking roles too, you know? That's what I'm really known for all just taking a role like if I hear about a movie I like, I'd go there and I'll be like, you know what I'm saying, "Where the director at?"

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Men, it's always a pleasure. Thank you so much. SNOOP LION: The pleasure is all mine, Dude.


SNOOP LION: Thank you everybody.


STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Right next, science takes top billion when Cara Santa Maria is in the red chair. And later, from House of Cards, Corey Stoll.



STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Welcome back here on the program. Listen one of why reasons for being here and one of the reasons why I love doing this show like this on a network like this, is the idea of having conversations about science, nature, Hacking the Planet, twisters, the weather -- there's a lot of ways we could have those conversations. We can have them all with this person here.


STROUMBOULOPOULOS: My next guest calls herself "a science communicator.' She's a writer, producer and television host with degrees in neurobiology and psychology. Now, she's currently tackling climate change as the co-cost of two shows on the Weather Channel "Hacking the Planets" and he "Truth About Twisters."


STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Please welcome Cara Santa Maria.

CARA SANTA MARIA: Thanks for having me.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Of course. Do you want to start with Twisters or Hacking the Planet? What do you want to do?

SANTA MARIA: What do you want to do?

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: When one hacks the planet what would they find?

SANTA MARIA: A lot of times I think what a lot of scientists are tying to do in hacking the planet is actually protect people a little bit more. So I don't think it's so much that they're looking for something but they're trying to maybe counter the effects of these terrible weather phenomena or maybe harness them for -- to be able to use the energy for good.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: In this era, when we have a conversation about weather phenomena, if you ever the say the words climate change in it, that there will be instant position taking by those who simply disagree.

SANTA MARIA: It's become a completely partisan issue. And science almost never actually comes into the conversation unfortunately.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: A conversation on climate change is also been connected to religion, is connected to creationism versus evolution. It's gotten very muddy. What do you think that is?

SANTA MARIA: I mean I think that there are talking points that kind of work in different people's favor. I mean, for me as a lot of science communicators say, you know, the great thing about science is that it's -- it just is whether you believe in it or not. But there are a lot of people who look at these things as if they are "belief structures" which is -- it makes my job a lot harder.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Do you think this would have been your pass in life (INAUDIBLE) somewhere connected to a church?

SANTA MARIA: I don't know. You know, it's funny because --

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Is it Mormonism where you grew up?

SANTA MARIA: I did. I was raised Mormon.


SANTA MARIA: I was raised Mormon.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Your shoulders sink. It's OK. That's OK. It was good for (inaudible) to 49ers.

SANTA MARIA: I'm a recovering Mormon.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: It's good for (inaudible) university. It's good for the 49ers.

SANTA MARIA: It seems to be good for my family still.


SANTA MARIA: My father is still Mormon. A lot of my brothers and sisters are still Mormon. You know, the funny thing is I left the church before I found science. So it kind of didn't happen the way that a lot of people assumed it would've happened.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: So your folks (inaudible).

SANTA MARIA: Well, my folks split up probably when I was like 7 or 8 years old. And I left the church officially when I was 14 which was a big decision to make. It was a really tough decision to make. It caused a big rift in my family. And --

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: How did you do that?

SANTA MARIA: It wasn't easy.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Like you just sit down with the family, like what's -- SANTA MARIA: Yes, I sat down -- in some ways I was lucky because my parents were divorced and my mom had stopped attending. So, I could kind seek refuge in that. But honestly, it took me awhile and the more that I kind of -- I was really into a lot of philosophy at the time. I was reading a lot and I was dealing with some kind of mental health issues. I was dealing with depression. And I was really trying to look inside of myself and I just realized, you know, I'm lying to myself. And at a certain point, you just can't do it anymore.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Let's teenage this for one second. Look at this picture here.

SANTA MARIA: SANTA MARIA: That's teenager.


STROUMBOULOPOULOS: OK. So, my question is, which deejay at the rave were you most excited to see that night?

SANTA MARIA: You can believe I was going to a rave that night.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Of course you were.

SANTA MARIA: Completely. I'm not going to talk about what I was doing at that rave that night. I'm probably 15-years-old.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Yes. So, you are in admission is an admission in and of itself.

SANTA MARIA: Of course. But I'm pretty open about that. I mean, I had my fun when I was young.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: What do you think the effect you had being raised by a single mother and kind of finding your own way?

SANTA MARIA: I think it was positive, honestly. I mean, you it's a double edge sword, like I'm going to open up to a therapy session. I talk about this sometimes with my shrink. And I think that, you know, lot of times what you end up having in life are kind of skills that are also masks. And so, I think that it made me extremely resilient and it means super tough. And kind of -- I was -- I thought I was a mini adult. At 16 I moved out. I started college. I moved into a house with some friends, thought that I was, you know, on it. And obviously, I wasn't. I was 16. But I have always been a little ahead in that way, or at least I thought I was and have been able to hang and I've been able to do things the way I want to do them and take care of myself. But at the same time, you know, there's a wall that comes one that. Sometimes you keep people out.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Stick around, more with Cara Santa Maria right after this.

All right, we are going to get educated with Cara Santa Maria, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Welcome back to the program. Cara Santa Maria is here. We are talking about all kinds of stuff.

I don't know how you would answer this question. I'm not sure I want to ask it. Neurobiology, how much free will do we really have?

SANTA MARIA: There are different ways to look at it. I think the problem is that sometimes when we talk about free will in neuroscience or philosophy, we make the mistake of trying to look at it from a religious perspective. So, OK, I'm talking about how much control do I have over kind of innate behaviors, over, you know, my brain might know that I'm going to do something before I'm cognitively aware I'm going to do it. That's a different phenomenon than a higher power having planned a future for me. So right there I feel like you have to get that.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Right. Well, I'm thinking more along the lines of when like you were just this is your wiring. Your chemistry suggests that you're going to be this kind of person. You can choose which lanes are you are going to be driving, but ultimately you are going in that direction and that is it.

SANTA MARIA: Sure. So, I think the real issue here is that our brains are much more plastic than we ever really understood in the past. We used to think there were critical periods or development and then after that we couldn't change much. And that still holds true for certain things like developing visual activity and things like that. But, there is an amazing amount of change that our brains can undertake and it really depends on whether it comes easy or difficult for us, you know. There are some habits that are harder than others to break. There are some behaviors that are harder than others to change. But, we are somewhere in the middle.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Dealing with mental illness at any level, especially depression, someone would look at you and just say, pick yourself up. You will be fine.

SANTA MARIA: (INAUDIBLE). There are people say you should just meditate or eat more green vegetables or, you know, it's kind of a first world problem or one percent problem. Or look at you, how could you be depressed, you know? You have a good job. You have a good life. And I think that's why it's important for people who do deal with depression to come out and talk about it if they are comfortable. I mean, obviously it's a personal decision. But if they are comfortable, because I think it shows a lot of people who deal with this that first of all, it's not your fault. And second of all, it's not like you know, x, y, z would have had to happen to you in order for you to become depressed. It's a brain illness, you know. There is something physiologically wrong and it requires treatment the same way diabetics require insulin.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Obviously, we are all the same. But, what do you think would change about science with more women at the table?

SANTA MARIA: I think that -- well, I think a lot of things would change. I think the way that science is done might be done a little bit differently. I think the way that science is presented to the public might be different. And I think for me, honestly, what's most important, yes, I want to see more young people get interested and excited about the scientists so that they can come up and be scientists, innovators, engineers, mathematicians working in the tech sector. But at the same time, when people ask me why I'm a science communicator and why I think it is important, and I say it's all about science literacy. I'm not talking about everybody turning into a scientist. I'm talking about the general public, people who have jobs and are focused on what they love and they care about, being more scientifically literal. Looking at the world through scientific lenses because science illuminates dark corners and brings us out of fear and it helps us understand the world as it is and not as somebody on high told us it is. And I think that's fundamental to having a functioning democracy.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Good to see you. Thanks for your time.


STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Cara Santa Maria, everybody.

We will be right back.

With the cast led by Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, it is safe to say that "House of Cards" is stock of deck. Peter Russo, a.k.a. Corey Stoll, coming up.


STROUMBOULOPOULOS: All right, we are back here on the program.

So, when word got out about Netflix's idea to do "House of Cards," to right the show with Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, two incredible actors that are part of this film, people talked David Fincher. Everybody talked about this project and they are very excited. It gets out and people loved it. But what often happens in a program like this is a surprise comes up. There's a breakout star. That's happened with "House of Cards." He plays Congressman Peter Russo. His name is Corey Stoll. Here is what you think about him.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Corey Stoll, he is excellent. I loved him in "House of Cards."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was so addicted to "House of Cards."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's so much going on behind those eyes, the passion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He makes both myth and sexy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's got a sense of charisma and confidence about him, but he's also so humble.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Working with Woody Allen, the man in Paris, that was great.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Corey Stoll, he is an amazing actor. I think his star is rising as high as the sky can go.



STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Everybody, please say hello to Corey Stoll!



COREY STOOL, ACTOR HOUSE OF CARDS: You too. How are you doing?

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Great. What a run, sir.

STOLL: Yes, yes. It has been a good couple of years.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: OK, then. Do you know, when it's happening, do you recognize it is happening?

STOLL: Yes, absolutely. When you, you know, get called to walk into a room with Woody Allen or David Fincher, you know it's special.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Woody Allen, I think, especially, because we were kid, right?

STOLL: Yes. No other people had like Pamela Anderson on their wall and I had Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese.

SANTA MARIA: Was that concerning to the people in your life?

STOLL: If it was, they didn't show it. They were supportive. I really support them.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: You got to work with your gods in a sense with woody. What was it like with Woody Allen?

STOLL: It was all business, you know. That's what is really great about it. That is, I think, the key to his longevity. He just puts his head down and does his work. He just keeps writing, makes a movie a year, and if it's brilliant, it's brilliant. If it's not, it's not. It doesn't matter. It's the doing that counts.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Was he nurturing to you? What was that experienced like?

STOLL: He is all business. And you know, he was totally nice, but he doesn't smoke at rest. I mean, you know, one time he gave me a compliment, you know. That's 100 percent what I was looking for. And I mean, that was 100 percent of what I was looking for. So, that was a little boy. So, that was pretty cool.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: So, is it true your grandmother used to take you to the theater?

STOLL: She did, yes. She was a huge fan. And I remember she said that she took my grandfather to see "Death of a Salesman" and he was so distraught by it. This is my life. I don't need to see this on stage. And from then on, they only saw musical comedies. And so, when I came around then showed interest in heart wrenching drama, she you know, grabbed that opportunity and we saw incredible stuff.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: What do you think she would have made of the whole thing, "House of Cards" seeing in all that?

STOLL: She would be just over the moon.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Do you consume television that way? Do you watch shows like that?

STOLL: I don't -- I rarely have that kind of time to do that.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: So you don't sit down and watch like 12 "flavor of love" episodes in a row like gold back?

STOLL: Those days are behind me. I did. I have done that. That is an incredible show, though. That's not still on, is it is?

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: I don't think so. Some where it is playing in somebody's heart.



STOLL: Kind of just remembering that first year, there was like -- it was the season finale and somebody like -- she had to go to the bathroom and couldn't sit through the --


STOLL: Yes. That was amazing television.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: I can't tell if you're being sarcastic.

STOLL: Well, I am, but it's remarkable. I mean, remarkably trashy. But at least it was something.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Its coming back though in some way, isn't it? Like some television become that from the longest time. And thankfully in the last, you know, maybe ten years or something, 15 years, you are seeing a shift back where what was once -- like movies were the home for these really challenging stories, most of it has transferred to television now.

STOLL: Yes. And I think, you know, television was for you, you know, it was the boob tube and it was sort of the place of mediocrity, of you know, right down the middle broadcasting to as wide an audience as possible. And it think with all these channels and now on the internet, you can do directly to an audience and take bigger risks that way.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: What's neat about the Netflix model is because they don't have advertisers, they don't publish the ratings. So as an actor, you never have to worry about what the ratings are.

STOLL: It's fantastic.


STOLL: Yes. I mean, there is nothing worse than feeling like your job is dependent on ratings that have really literally nothing to do with the job you did. But with this, with Netflix, it was really like doing a movie. We did the 13 episodes and then sent it out into the world. And it wasn't that sort of game of trying to please everybody.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: "House of Cards" experience, people don't know what it's going to be, right?

STOLL: Well, nobody knows what anything is going to be.


STOLL: So all you can go by is the people you are working with and the script. And those were incredible. It was the best pilot script I had ever read. And it was a role that had infinite possibilities, you know. He, Peter Russo, is somebody who inhabits all these contradictions in such a great way. And you know, when the character is both brilliant and idiotically self-destructive, you can got in any direction.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Is there residue like when you are done with that spot, it can't just be a one-way street where you are bringing you to it. It has to be bringing something to you.

STOLL: Yes. I've never gone, you know, crazy, you know. I mean, like when I was playing Russo, I was actually, you know, very sober. I was actually particularly sober.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Like there no drugs or no hookers during the Russo part.

STOLL: No. Just because I had to take my clothes off.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Right. You said for that.

STOLL: Exactly.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: That will mess with your own vanity, too.

STOLL: Oh, yes.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: That's what I talked to guys in "the Sopranos," that will tell me that from time to time, guys were actually in the mob would walk up to them and say, that's pretty close. Do you get that with politicians? STOLL: You know, actually, we had the opportunity to go to the White House correspondent's dinner, you know, to sort of they call it the nerd prom in Washington. And it was like we went as a cast and it was like we were the Rolling Stones. It was incredible. We would go to a bar and people lost their minds, you know. It was like the cast of "Game of Thrones" was going to comic-con or something. And it was really funny. And I remember Kevin McCarthy, who is the majority whip, who is, you know, basic -- that's the position that Kevin Spacey has in the show. He stopped me in the bathroom and we got a little selfie in the bathroom.


STOLL: In the bathroom, yes.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Which way were you facing?

STOLL: No. We were by the sink. Yes, no why stanzas.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: That's going to be the kind of photo that usually sinks a politician.


STOLL: Exactly.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: It is the bathroom shot like that.

STOLL: Yes. Kevin McCarthy, I got from him.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: That's amazing. What a pleasure.

Thanks, buddy.

STOLL: Thanks.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Corey Stoll, everybody.

We will be right back.

So, where does a guy like world renowned author and spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle to get that peaceful, easy feeling? We will find out, next.


STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Welcome back to the program.

I don't know what your story is like and what your personal journey is like, but there's a moment in your life where you say I'm not that interested in this subject or you walk the (INAUDIBLE) in a bookstore. You won't even stop. But then off there comes a point in your life where you stop and you go, what kind of growing is going on in that aisle? And if you find it, if it resonates with you, it's pretty special. I know "the power of now," you know, which was a "New York Times" best seller of course by Eckhart Tolle has helped a lot of people in their life.

So when Eckhart said he would let us go visit him at his home, made him put through a little test, and made some overhaul driving, I thought, how could we miss the opportunity? It's Eckhart, it's me. We go driving.


STROUMBOULOPOULOS (voice-over): World renowned author and spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle thinks you can obtain fulfillment by living in the now and cherishing the moment. With and initial printing of 3,000 books, "the power of now" has gone to sell over seven million copies worldwide and Eckhart's work has inspired people across the globe. So I decided to take the master of calm and jam him in a place which is the opposite of calm. How about holiday weekend traffic jam on a California highway, except we are going to do it in style in a '71 El Camino.

So my intercom is on a road trip. How are you in traffic?

ECKHART TOLLE, AUTHOR, SPIRITUAL TEACHER: Actually, I enjoy driving. I don't want it sounding. Actually, I quite enjoy most driving situations.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Even bumper-to-bumper traffic you're OK?

TOLLE: Yes. It's a great opportunity for just being in the moment and relaxing into the moment, because there's a situation you can do nothing about. And if you are arguing with it mentally, you will get stressed and unhappy.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Kids and wife, and you guys go on these road trips together, but you have managed to avoid the biggest problem with a road trip being cooped up with somebody. So, tell everybody what your system is.

TOLLE: Well, we each have our own cars. And we travel together, we communicate through walkie-talkies. She usually goes ahead of me, because she goes in the fast lane in most and multiple time.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: So she's the speed demon and you try to take it easy?

TOLLE: Yes, I'm not going to so slow that I hold up traffic, but I don't particularly like going fast.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Did you ever have a near-death car crash, that kind of stuff, those terrifying moments?

TOLLE: No. That's (INAUDIBLE). I don't know if there is any. We will see it.


TOLLE: Most people when they are driving, they really say that I'm a good driver. And seeing sometimes like I'm hesitant driver, but miraculously, I haven't had a single accident in 35 years.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: What do you listen to in the car? Do you listen to rock music or hip-hop or any of that?

TOLLE: No, I don't.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Can you imagine if you stopped at a stop sign and you were rapping to Lil Wayne (ph), we wouldn't see that?

TOLLE: Probably not in this lifetime.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Is there another lifetime, do you think?

TOLLE: I believe that you are reincarnated, because there's more to you. I wouldn't say that -- the basic energy that is you, the intelligence does reincarnate, as long as to until it's necessary.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: So, you are not -- so, when it comes to dying, you're not worried about it?

TOLLE: No, no. The more you live in the present moment, the more the fear of death disappears.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Forgiveness is a really important part of this life, isn't it?

TOLLE: Yes. But if there are people you haven't forgiven, you're not going to really awaken. You have to let go.

STROUMBOULOPOULOS: That I suppose that includes yourself, too?

TOLLE: Yes. I will give you a set of some cases which means forgiveness.



STROUMBOULOPOULOS: What a pleasure it was to hang out with Eckhart. Of course, what a pleasure it is as always to hang out with you.

We will see you next week. Have a good night.