Return to Transcripts main page
WORLD RIGHT NOW WITH HALA GORANI
Actress Carrie Fisher Dead At 60; Israel Advancing Plans For New Homes In East Jerusalem; Israel Says Peace Must Come Through Direct Talks; Diplomatic Fallout Over U.N. Security Council Vote; Freed Chibok Girls Go Home For The Holidays; Challenges on Securing Trump Tower; Author: Focus on Forward Progress, Not Doom and Gloom; Under the Bridge: London's Hidden Treasures. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired December 27, 2016 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:00:00] ZAIN ASHER, CNN INTERNATIONAL GUEST ANCHOR: Very sad, tragic news, the American actress best known for her role as Princess Leia in the
"Star Wars" movies has died at the age of 60. Carrie Fisher's death followed a heart attack when she was flying from London to Los Angeles on
Fisher was, of course, the daughter of actress, Debby Reynolds and pop star, Eddie Fisher, basically the Brangelina of their time, members of
Hollywood royalty in the 1950s.
She wrote very honestly and openly about life in Tinsel town, mental illness, and her struggles with drug addiction in her book. CNN's
Stephanie Elam takes a look back at the life of Carrie Fisher.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Carrie Fisher won the hearts of generations as Princess Leia in arguably the most beloved movie
franchise ever "Star Wars." Princess on screen, Hollywood royalty off it with a sharp wit and sharper pen. Fisher was born in Beverly Hills.
Mother, actress, Debby Reynolds, father, singer, Eddy Fisher.
CARRIE FISHER: I was primarily brought up by my mother, but I saw my father.
ELAM: Fisher definitely wove her experiences as a showbiz kid who struggled with addiction into the best-selling comedic novel, "Postcards
from the Edge."
FISHER: I was on different takes of obsession. So I think of it as sort of the edge and I thought of it in the car one day driving back from Palm
Springs with the music out loud.
ELAM: Fisher turned her acclaimed book into a movie starring Meryl Streep as a recovering addict embroiled in constant often funny mother-daughter
ELAM: Fisher poked fun at the absurdities of showbiz life and all manner of self-medication including taking pills to control her emotions.
FISHER: Any mood stabilizer is a weight gainer so whether you feel better, but then you're fat. So what you gain is a loss. It's not a good
ELAM: Fisher spoke about being bipolar and often turned pain into humor. Also writing "Wishful Drinking" and "Shockaholic." There seemed to lack of
material, after all Elizabeth Taylor became her stepmother when Eddie Fisher remarried. Fisher was briefly married to singer, Paul Simon in the
Years later, she gave birth to a daughter, Billie Catherine from her relationship with Agent Brian Lord. She debuted in the acclaimed film
"Shampoo." Between the "Star Wars" movies, Fisher landed a mishmash of movie roles, "Some Stinkers," "Under the Rainbow," "Hollywood Vice Squad,"
received praise for "Silk Dish."
And played Meg Ryan's wisecracking friend in "When Harry Met Sally." But nothing could, would, or perhaps should loom larger on screen than Fisher
in "Star Wars."
FISHER: It was extraordinary entertainment film making.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you like the princess?
FISHER: I have her over sometimes. She's a little bitchy, you know.
ELAM: Nearly 40 years after making "Star Wars," she wrote a book based on her diaries and for the first time revealed an intense affair with the real
Han Solo, Harrison Ford. It was Han and Leia during the week and Carrie and Harrison during the weekend, she wrote. Ford has not commented.
Fisher spent a lifetime trying to seperate the princess from the person. One wisecrack at a time.
FISHER: I always felt like I was restricted. I was bigger than life and twice as unpleasant.
ASHER: And Rebecca Sun is a senior reporter for the "Hollywood Reporter." She joins me live now from Los Angeles. So Rebecca, thank you so much for
being with us. I want to talk about Carrie Fisher, the person, her personal life because of how she grew up, she saw both the glamorous side
of Hollywood and fame and the dark side as well. At various times in her life, the dark side did seem to overtake her.
REBECCA SUN, SENIOR REPORTER, "THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER": Yes, absolutely. I mean, you know, her parents were both celebrities and they were actually
kind of like the (inaudible) because she was only 2 years old when her father, Eddie Fisher, left her mom, Debbie Reynolds for Elizabeth Taylor.
It was a giant scandal. You know, I think that that would have been very difficult, and growing up in Hollywood, she was very candid about her own
struggles with drug addiction as well as mental health, which is something that could affect anybody, but certainly, she was very upfront about the
tolls that those things took.
ASHER: Yes, and it is incredibly rare for a movie star to be that open and honest about that personal struggles in that way.
SUN: Yes, I think that that was certainly one of the most important legacies she leaves is that type of transparency. We saw a lot of
celebrities tweet this morning about the impact that she really made on de- stigmatizing mental health, on talking about addiction issues.
[15:05:09]Margaret Cho (ph) wrote in to praise her about that as well as several other people. It was rare, but it was also very necessary in a lot
of people's eyes.
ASHER: So what do you think -- I mean, in terms of Carrie Fisher's legacy, what do you think my children's generation should know about Carrie Fisher?
SUN: Well I think that, you know, the first sentence has to do with "Star Wars" and deservedly so. Princess Leia especially for a movie of that era
was one of the first action oriented female heroes. She was a leader of the rebel faction and she was, you know, strong.
She's really subverted that stereotype of the (inaudible), but in her personal life, Carrie Fisher also was very bold. She was very funny. She,
a lot of "Star Wars," a lot of people in general, might not know about her very prolific writing career.
You know, she wrote three memoirs. She wrote multiple nobles. She wrote screenplays and so she really was a creator and a story teller in her own
right. And that's important to know too is that, you know, she was a woman as strong in her personal life as the character that she portrayed.
ASHER: Right. Rebecca Sun, we have to leave it there. Thank you so much. Appreciate that.
We're going now to our reporter in Los Angeles, Paul Vercammen, who is live for us right now. So Paul, just sort of set the scene. Because I believe,
I'm not sure, but I believe you're on Hollywood Boulevard, and obviously a lot of "Star Wars" fans, their hearts are heavy tonight.
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They absolutely are, Zain. You're right. I'm on Hollywood Boulevard. There is just an outpouring of love
for Carrie Fisher right now. In fact, just a short moment ago, you might see behind me, there are a couple men dressed as "Star Wars" character, and
they stopped and had a solemn moment of silence for Carrie Fisher.
Because in this town, she is Hollywood royalty and perhaps the mood here was characterized best by Billy D. Williams. He was (inaudible). He was
in "The Empire Strikes Back" and he tweeted out, he said that he is deeply saddened that he lost his dear friend, whom he greatly respected, and then
he said, I think characterizing this mood here, the force is dark today -- Zain.
ASHER: So here is the thing, Paul, I mean, obviously her name will be synonymous with Princess Leia forever, for eternity, but she did a lot of
work outside movie sets and outside Hollywood especially when it came to writing. She was a very talented writer. She wrote an autobiography and
she was a script doctor as well. So explain to us her life beyond the role of Princess Leia.
VERCAMMEN: So Carrie Fisher was always trying to distance herself from Princess Leia. She might have been uniquely equipped to write about
Hollywood from the inside out being the daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher.
The first project that I think was almost like a sensational right cross to use a boxing metaphor to people's jaw is when she wrote the book "Postcards
from the Edge." It was an unvarnished look at her career about the trappings of fame.
About being the daughter of such celebrity parents, and she took head on and bravely, in most people's estimation, her problems with addiction and
Well, "Postcards from the Edge" then leapt on to the screen and Meryl Streep became a star of that. Carrie Fisher said she never really want to
see herself in her autobiographical movie, but that set the tone for a lifetime of great writing projects.
And as you pointed out, Zain, so well respected in town that she was a script doctor, but she became a best-selling author and screen writer, and
made a career, a second career, really, as this outstanding writer.
ASHER: Because she was so open in the book you're talking, because she was so open about addictions, the trappings of fame, how did that the change
the way her "Star Wars" fans perceived her, do you think?
VERCAMMEN: I think it just garnered more love and respect. I think it made her a densely layered deep person that many people could relate to.
Yes, she was Princess Leia, the dream of many schoolboys, but beyond that, she was someone who was not afraid to talk about life is not perfect.
Someone who is not timid at all to state that she was battling addiction, and in many ways, she gave fans and others the courage to fight their own
demons, whatever they maybe, head on.
And don't forget when you think back to the era when "Postcards from the Edge" came out, this was not a common subject. This is not something that
was taken on all time.
[15:10:05]And Hollywood used to have some rules about who could reveal what about their personal lives if they thought it was somewhat tawdry or
salacious or involved addiction. So very much a pioneer.
For that reason, put on a pedestal by a lot of other people who they feel made their own lives better because they were inspired by Carrie Fisher's
willingness to talk about issues that were not readily available to be talked about in a previous era in Hollywood -- Zain.
ASHER: Yes, no doubt it made them love her more. I'm sure it took a lot of courage and bravery to be as open as she was. Paul Vercammen live for
us there. Thank you so much. Appreciate that.
Of course, Carrie Fisher, was a major star all around the world, and we are seeing the impact of her death online in realtime. I want to show you this
So if you look the blue portions, the blue dots, that's where people right now are tweeting about Carrie Fisher. Lots in North America and Europe as
well. There actually about 5,000 tweets per minute using her name worldwide right now. We will have much more news after the break. Don't
ASHER: Welcome back to THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. I'm Zain Asher. Let's get you caught up on some of our top stories this hour. Israel is defying the
U.N. Security Council as promised going ahead with plans to build hundreds of new homes in East Jerusalem.
A U.N. resolution approved last week's demands a halt to all settlement activities there and in the West Bank as well. Territory the Palestinians
want for a future state.
Israel is furious over the vote and said it, quote/unquote, "ironclad evidence" that the U.S. orchestrated it. But Washington denies that claim.
Relations between the countries could get even more tense in the final days of President Barack Obama's term.
Secretary of State John Kerry is due to give a major speech tomorrow outlining a U.S. frame work for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Israel insists that the international community can't impose peace with the Palestinians saying it can only come through direct negotiations.
But Palestinians say Israel must first stop unilaterally changing facts on the ground with its continued settlement construction. Both sides spoke
with CNN today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID KEYES, SPOKESMAN FOR ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: What has to happen in order for peace to come about is that the Palestinian Authority needs to
recognize Israel as a Jewish state. It needs to seize paying salaries to people who murder Israelis.
It should stop naming soccer stadiums and schools and streets after mass murderers, and it should accept Prime Minister Netanyahu's many calls to
begin the peace process here and now. Peace is too important and both Israelis and Palestinians deserve to live in peace with mutual recognition
HANAN ASHRAWI, PALESTINIAN LEGISLATOR: -- we are doing our best to make peace in every possible way. We have signed the agreements that we abide
[15:15:06]The problem is that you cannot enslave a whole nation and treat it like a subhuman species with the most racist hardline extremists,
violent government in history, and then ask them to lie down and die quietly.
Whenever a single Palestinian lashes out in the action, his house being demolished, his family being killed or imprisoned then automatically
Palestinians are blamed and are called terrorists.
But when Israelis settlers and the Israeli government continue to wreak havoc and exercise systematic state terrorism against us, then we are told
what can we do?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: Strong words there from both sides. We want to get more now from CNN's Oren Liebermann who is live for us in Jerusalem. So Oren, let's talk
about the Israeli response because we've been speaking about the fact that Benjamin Netanyahu said that he is cutting all working ties with the
countries that approve the resolution. But what does that mean in practical terms? Is it purely symbolic or are there actually real
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's purely symbolic. He specifically said he is limiting working ties with the embassies and ministers and high
level visitors. So the effect essentially just curtails some meetings and limit visits to other countries.
But it doesn't affect trade or security coordination or economic cooperation, and that is the real point of this. It is purely symbolic,
but as a statement, it is a very big one, meant to express Netanyahu's anger over the Security Council resolution.
Zain, he said right after the vote, they are not abiding by the resolution and we see that immediately, Israel moving forward with plans to build
hundreds of new homes in East Jerusalem.
The plans were on the books and on the agenda before the Security Council resolution. But that was exactly the point, Israel has essentially -- and
the Jerusalem municipality specifically has essentially ignored this, they say they have always built in Jerusalem and they will continue to build
regardless of this resolution -- Zain.
ASHER: So they continue to build the settlements, how much is Netanyahu and his government being empowered by the new Trump administration that's
coming into office in about three weeks?
LIEBERMANN: Well, there is absolutely no doubt that Benjamin Netanyahu is very much looking forward to President-elect Donald Trump in office. The
statements he's made over the last few days and I suspect the statements will get tomorrow night after John Kerry's speech laying out his vision for
peace will reflect that as well.
Netanyahu has made clear he is done working with Obama. He has three weeks left until President-elect Trump takes office and it is very much what he
is looking forward to.
ASHER: Oren, how is this all sort of playing out on Israeli media and between the various political parties in Israel as well?
LIEBERMANN: Well, there is no doubt this resolution was absolutely unpopular across the political spectrum here. The only difference is the
opposition, those not in Netanyahu's government blamed Netanyahu. They accused the U.N. of passing the anti-Israel resolution, but they blamed
Netanyahu in the sense that perhaps better relations with Obama could have averted this resolution or convinced Obama to cast a veto there.
But the resolution itself isn't popular at all here. As for the attacks on President Obama, Obama is not at all popular with Netanyahu's voters, so
there is a bit of domestic politics there. Netanyahu is playing to his own voter base and the President-elect Donald Trump is very popular, I would
say, among that voter base here.
ASHER: No doubt about it. Oren Liebermann for us, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
Now I want to talk to you about an emotional journey that has been pretty much two years in the making. In April 2014, you will remember the nearly
300 schoolgirls were abducted in Northern Nigeria sparking global outrage and of course, the "Bring Back Our Girls" movement campaign.
Now ten weeks after being released by Boko Haram, 21 girls and a baby were finally returned home to celebrate Christmas with their families for the
first time since the abduction.
Isha Sesay was the only reporter with them for the entire journey home. She joins us live now from Lagos with her exclusive. So Isha, from what I
understand these girls are spending Christmas temporarily with their families, and then they are going back to Abuja. Are any of them reluctant
to go back?
ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there, Zain. No. Our understanding is that each and every one of them while excited to be reunited with family
and friends, is very much looking forward to heading back to Abuja at some point early January to continue that rehabilitation they have been
undergoing for the last ten weeks.
So we have not heard of any kind of (inaudible) or hesitation on the part of the girls to return to Abuja. I think they truly understand that there
is a lot of work that needs to be done for them to get back to being fully healthy and acclimated with being back in the free world.
This was a journey back that these girls had longed to make, it was a long road home, to being reunited with family and their community.
SESAY (voice-over): After almost two and a half years in Boko Haram captivity, at last it is time to go home. Having covered the Chibok girls'
abduction from the very beginning, I'm going to make the long journey from Abuja to Chibok with them.
[15:20:14](on camera): You're going home. How are you feeling? What is the feeling in your heart right now? Are you happy?
(voice-over): For all of the talk of excitement, some of these girls are also nervous.
(on camera): Don't be nervous, don't be afraid, hold on to your faith, OK? OK? The same faith that kept you all of those months.
(voice-over): With the girls on the move, there are more smiles as they chat and giggle freely amongst themselves. Once we landed, the girls are
welcomed by some of the Chibok community leaders as well as the governor of (inaudible) State.
The road to Chibok too dangerous to travel after dark, the girls spend the night at a local hotel. Outside a large security cordon is put in place.
Inside with their journey delayed, they gathered in one room to do what they were unable to do while in Boko Haram captivity. I learned from
Rebecca Malem (ph) and Glory Dama (ph), they were singing local Christian hymns. While in captivity, their Christianity was not tolerated by the
Boko Haram terrorists.
(voice-over): What have you been doing since you wait in Abuja?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are grateful for them because they protected us. Learning how to speak English and writing very well.
SESAY (on camera): You look so different since I saw you in October. How are you feeling now from that time to now?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are feeling better. We --
SESAY: You can tell me because you are beautiful.
(voice-over): The next morning a military convoy escorts the girls to Chibok, a place of long awaited family reunions and memories of a fateful
(on camera): So the convoy has stopped in a town called (inaudible), which is about an hour away from Chibok. The movement through this part such as
a well-armed convoy is drawing attention from passersby.
(voice-over): As we entered Chibok town, locals wave excitedly welcoming their girls home. The moment of reunion eventually arrives. The room
almost vibrating with the sound of unbridled joy.
But for some waiting parents, heartbreak. These women have come looking for their daughters who are still being held by Boko Haram. They thought
their children were among the group who are coming home for Christmas.
(on camera): There has been such an outpouring of grief amid joy. The (inaudible) screams of mothers realizing that indeed they are not to be
reunited with their daughters on this day, which has turned what should have been an overwhelmingly happy moment into a bittersweet one.
(voice-over): For Rebecca and her father, the nightmare is over, and her father is overcome with feelings of gratitude. Given all they have
endured, the mental and physical abuse at the hands of their captors, the years of painful separation from their loved ones, this reunion here in
Chibok moves these fractured families and their community a step closer to home.
SESAY: These communities and families may be fractured, Zain, but what is pointed out is just how remarkable these girls are. Each and every staff
member I spoke to that's involve in their rehabilitation, their care, stressed to me that they are incredibly resilient. We are so grateful for
that and to see it up close was incredibly emotional for me.
We cannot forget that there are close 200 girls who remain unaccounted for, still held by Boko Haram. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those
families who continue to grieve and our hopes, of course, are pinned on these government negotiations of Boko Haram in the hopes that these girls
too can come home soon -- Zain.
[15:25:02]ASHER: Absolutely. And thank you so much, Isha, to you for sharing their story with the world. They are certainly an inspiration.
Next on THE WORLD RIGHT NOW, more on the death of actress of Carrie Fisher. We continue to look back at her life on and off screen and we'll speak to
an actor and journalist who knew her personally. That story next.
ASHER: Welcome back, everyone to THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. Let's take at this hour's top stories. The American actress best known for her role as
Princess Leia in "Star Wars" movies has died at age 60. Carrie Fisher's death followed an apparent heart attack on a flight from London to Los
Angeles on Friday. The actress had written openly about her struggles with alcoholism and bipolar disorder as well.
Israel is moving ahead with plans to build hundreds of homes in East Jerusalem despite the U.N. Security Council's rebuke of Israeli settlement
construction. The United States will make a new push for peace tomorrow when Secretary of State John Kerry outlines a framework resolving the
Iraq's prime minister has ordered an investigation into an abduction of a female journalist. Gunmen stormed the Baghdad home of Afra (inaudible) and
took her captive. Her sister tells CNN the journalist's two children and brother-in-law were in the house but only she was taken.
History today, as the Japanese prime minister visits Pearl Harbor 75 years after the bombing. Shinzo Abe becoming the first Japanese prime minister
to visit the USS Arizona Memorial. This ship was bombed during Japan's surprised attack in 1941. Joining him U.S. President Barack Obama. The
pair are also set to hold bilateral meeting later today.
As news spreads of her passing, many are taking to Twitter to express their shock, grief, and sadness at the lost. Harrison Ford, who played Han Solo
alongside her in the "Star Wars" saga has just released a statement saying, "Carrie was one of a kind. Brilliant, original, funny, and emotional
fearless. She lives her life bravely. My thoughts are with her daughter, Billie, her mother, Debbie, her brother, Todd, and her many friends. We
will all miss her."
He is one of many co-stars who are mourning a good friend. Anthony Daniels tweeted his sadness that she didn't recover from her heart attack on Friday
in spite of so many thoughts and prayers from so many, I'm very, very sad.
While Mark Hamill who played Luke tweeted simply, "No words."
[15:30:00] There he is with her in older photo. The tweeted, "No words #Devastated." There they are in their iconic roles of Luke and Leia.
For more on the death of actress and writer Carrie Fisher, I want to bring in CNN Media Critic Brian Lowry, who speaks to me now live, now, from Los
So, Brian, thank you so much for being with us. Let's talk more about who Carrie Fisher was as a person because her relationship with fame,
celebrity, Hollywood, was incredibly deep and incredibly complex.
BRIAN LOWRY, CNN MEDIA CRITIC: That is absolutely true. I mean, she became this iconic character at the age of 19 and actually was raised, you
know, in a very famous, prominent, show business family, but she was always very sort of bemused by it and really approached it with sort of this
jaundiced eye that she brought to her writing about it through books and even a one-woman show in which she called, "Wishful Drinking."
ASHER: Did she have any sort of inclination, any kind of idea, when she accepted the "Star Wars" role that it was going to be as huge and as iconic
as it was?
LOWRY: No, I don't anybody did. And, you know, the movie was not destined at the time to be -- I mean, this wasn't a movie that studios were falling
over themselves to make. And, you know, it took her life in kind of an unexpected direction. She was only 19. She had done kind of one prominent
role before that in "Shampoo."
You know, after that, she continued to work. But she mostly, as an actress, was confined to kind of supporting roles and was very gifted
actually in doing comedy. But she really found an expression for herself through writing.
ASHER: But, you know, she didn't have -- I mean, you say that she found an expression for herself through writing, but at the same time, in terms of
acting, she didn't have another role that was as huge as, of course, Princess Leia. I mean, how did she deal with that? Was that a major
struggle for her?
LOWRY: Well, you know, I think that, with always these sorts of things, there can be a certain typecasting. And I think that, in ways, it was
tough for people because they had so little impression of her before to see her as a lot other than Princess Leia.
And she obviously wrestled with a lot of things about her life. She wrestled with her, you know, sort of the growing up as part of this very
high profile family, the daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher, her parents' sort of scandalous breakup and all of those things, and her own
struggles with addiction, which she was very open about. So she ended up taking that and channeling it into some very funny and very biting writing.
And also, by the way, was an extremely accomplished script doctor who ended up working uncredited on a number of films and was very talented and sought
after in that role. So she had an interesting career, but certainly not -- you know, you can never go back and look at these things and say, well,
gee, where would her acting career have gone if not for "Star Wars"? It happened so early that it ended up defining and really, I think, shaping
her acting career.
ASHER: And in terms of acting, she peaked very early on but still, nonetheless, had a diverse and colorful career in Hollywood. Brian Lowry,
we have to leave it there. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on Carrie Fisher.
For more now on Carrie Fisher's passing, I'm joined now by actor and columnist Michael Musto who was a friend to Carrie Fisher.
Michael, thank you so much for being so much for being with us.
MICHAEL MUSTO, COLUMNIST, OUT.COM: Thank you. I'm a journalist --
ASHER: You know --
MUSTO: I'm a journalist who followed Carrie through the years.
ASHER: You're a journalist who --
MUSTO: But only to see if --
ASHER: You are not a friend, you're saying? You're a journalist who followed her through the years.
MUSTO: I'd like to say I was friend, but I was more someone who, professionally, was interested in her.
ASHER: OK. Thank you so much for clearing that up. You know, when someone famous passes, people naturally will talk about them as if they
knew them. I mean, what was Carrie like as a person? Presumably, you interviewed her multiple times.
MUSTO: I did and I do feel like I penetrated whatever facade she may have been putting up and got to the real person. She's somebody who was a very
decent, earnest person, very brilliant and hilarious person. And she coats herself in this personality of a sardonic person who was a commentator, as
someone who took down all the baloney of showbiz and nobody knew about the baloney more than Carrie Fisher.
She was born showbiz royalty with Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, her parents. They had the biggest gossip story of the decade in 1950s when
Eddie dumped Debbie Liz Taylor. They were the original Brangelina. So that's the world that Carrie Fisher entered into.
And as she grew older and as the acting career was not quite what it was in the Princess Leia days, she did fine-tune her role as a commentator and
became a brilliant writer and brilliant interview subject who broke the fourth wall. Nothing was off limits to her. She told the truth about any
number of topics about her personal life and her public life.
ASHER: That must have been really cathartic for her, to sort of get it all out there. And, I mean, how difficult was that for her to that courageous
and brave to air everything out to the open?
[15:35:05] MUSTO: It was difficult because back when she came out as being, first of all, openly having bipolar disorder as well as battling
booze and drugs, this was when that was considered a scandal for celebrities. Nobody wanted to admit that they had any of these problems,
and it could be career wrecking or self-sabotaging in some ways to come out with it and say that they were in rehab.
She had no problem with it because she was spinning gold out of it. She was writing these brilliant books, and it was becoming her raison d'etre as
a person. She was the person who was going to cut through the baloney and tell you the truth about all of these things and about showbiz. And it
wasn't in a bitter, nasty way. She was a very positive person, very optimistic despite the sardonic facade.
ASHER: What was her relationship like with the rest of the "Star Wars" characters?
MUSTO: She was close with them. Mark Hamill is very sincere when he talks about his devastation over her death. She, Carrie, revealed that she had
an affair with Harrison Ford at one point, and a lot of people virtually talked about --
ASHER: And then she said she regretted revealing it.
MUSTO: She did because she was not a gossip teller. She would tell gossip about herself but not about other people. But, basically, she was close
with the "Star Wars" family, but she didn't want that role to define her. It was so overwhelming.
That movie was so huge -- it was one of the original franchise films -- that it threatened to devastate her career because it became her career,
and there was so much more to Carrie Fisher than Princess Leia. She did a great job of playing a spunky female heroine, but she went on to show that
she was a writer and she was a soothsayer and she was so many other things other than a franchise film star.
ASHER: I mean, at what point did she come to terms with the fact and just accept the fact that, you know, maybe nothing that she ever did was ever
going to be as big as Princess Leia?
MUSTO: I think when she would go to like autograph shows and Comic Con type of events and see the merchandise and see the fans dressed up and
going insane over her. And she realized, you know what, there's nothing wrong with this. This is kind of lovely to get this kind of response.
And when she revisited the role, it was with a whole new perspective because it was a whole lifetime ago that she originated Princess Leia. And
now, she could go back to it with a new sense of mind about her and a new maturity because Carrie really was mature. No longer was she the girl
floundering around amidst this morass of problems.
She was somebody who had abstain her problems, was a good mother, and a wonderful daughter to Debbie Reynolds. They were so close, I can't even
tell you. They completed each other's sentences. I get very touched when I talk about it.
ASHER: So she looks like --
MUSTO: There is, actually, an HBO documentary coming out that's going to start at New York Film Fest --
ASHER: Right, right. Yes, we've been talking about that.
MUSTO: -- which is a beautiful portrait of Carrie and Debbie, mainly.
ASHER: Oh. Michael Musto, thank you so much for coming on --
MUSTO: Thank you.
ASHER: -- and sharing your personal perspective of her as you've followed throughout many years. Thank you so much, appreciate that.
MUSTO: My pleasure.
ASHER: Still to come on THE WORLD RIGHT NOW, Donald Trump just can't stay off Twitter. From holiday greetings to Christmas spending to charity to
the United Nations, what the U.S. President-elect had to say in 140 characters or less. Up next.
[15:40:03] ASHER: U.S. President-elect Trump spent part of the Christmas weekend doing what he does best. Tweeting, of course.
And one thing he even took credit, for the holiday shopping, saying, "The world was gloomy before I won -- there was no hope. Now the market is up
nearly 10 percent and Christmas spending is over a trillion dollars!" But the trillion-dollar figure seems to be based on an estimate from this past
poll before -- before -- Trump was actually elected.
Trump also took aim at the U.N. following Friday's vote condemning Israeli settlement activity. He tweeted, "The United Nations has such great
potential, but right now it is just a club for people to get together, talk, and have a good time. So sad!"
Let's look more closely at the tea leaves in Trump's tweets. I'm joined now, from London, by Doug Heye. He's a CNN political commentator and a
So, Doug, thank you so much for being with us.
DOUG HEYE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Thank you.
ASHER: My question to you is, where do you think Donald Trump would be without Twitter?
HEYE: Probably nowhere. And that's been the amazing thing about how --
ASHER: You'd want to clear that up.
HEYE: Right. But, you know, it's something that, on the one hand, we make fun of because we see tweets and they make us laugh if he's responded to
"Saturday Night Live" or taking credit for the shopping season, but we also stop in our tracks when he tweets something and we read them and we talk
about them, which plays right into Trump's hands. He knows what he's doing and he's actually been, I think, very smart with this.
And that's why, whenever he tweets something out -- keep in mind the President of the United States puts out statements every day, every week
that we don't pay attention to. Donald Trump tweets something, the entire world pays attention to it. Whether it's serious or not, we pay attention
to it which is why we should take it seriously.
ASHER: And we talk about it for days. Trump actually hasn't done a formal press conference since July. So as he moves into the White House, is
Twitter going to be a main form of communication going forward?
HEYE: Well, I think you'll see multifaceted approach to communications from the White House there. They've hired Sean Spicer to be Communications
Director and Press Secretary, not a stranger to your audience, somebody I've known for 20 years who's going to do a great job. You will see that
role of Press Secretary evolve.
Certainly, Twitter is going to be something that is used by President Trump, and that's one of the key distinctions. You know, right now, he's
President-elect Trump which is a fancy title for meaning private citizen.
When accepts that POTUS, "@POTUS," Twitter handle, that's a different game, so we may see some modulation in how he tweets, though we know that he'll
use that because that's the way that he can take whatever his message is in a given day or given hour directly to the American people and not through
the White House press corp. But it is certainly important that he stand in front of the press and answer questions as well.
ASHER: Yes. But you bring up a good point especially with the @POTUS, will it change how he tweets? You know, he did actually an interview with
Lesley Stahl of "60 Minutes" and he talked about his use of Twitter. I want to play that soundbite for you. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm going to do very restrained. If I use it at all, I'm going to do very restrained. I find
it tremendous. It's a modern form of communication. There should be nothing you should be ashamed of. It's where it's at.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: You know, Doug, my favorite part of that soundbite was, "If I use it at all." Does it benefit Trump, at all, this late in the game to
actually change how he uses Twitter going forward?
HEYE: Yes. I think once he becomes the President of the United States where a single tweet can move markets and really cause international
arguments and international notice, that it's important that he, to use his term, is restrained in how he uses it.
It's a very valuable tool. He can and should use it, just as President Obama has but some restraint when he is President of the United States as
opposed to just President-elect, I think, is the right course.
And we've already seen from President-elect Trump, when he tweeted about Boeing, that affected Boeing's share price. That affected people who
invested in Boeing whose retirements are in Boeing. When he's the President of the United States, that's even much more important. That's
why restraint will hopefully be used and will be important for him.
ASHER: You mentioned that Donald Trump probably would be nowhere if it wasn't for Twitter. Do you think we, the media, need to take a different
approach in terms of how we cover his tweets?
HEYE: Well, I think, you know, we cover them so breathlessly that we see a battle every Saturday night and Sunday morning, Monday morning, between
Donald Trump and "Saturday Night Live" that it becomes -- we're almost a dog chasing its own tail. Certainly, when he says something, whether it's
in front of a camera -- and he'd also be nowhere without television.
HEYE: He's used that masterfully as well. But it's like dog chasing its own tail. I think we should step back and look and try and separate what's
serious from what's not serious and really follow those stories a bit more carefully.
ASHER: You know, during the election cycle, we talked, probably, literally once a week about the fact that Donald Trump was probably going to become
more presidential after this happened or after that happened, he was going to become more -- and, you know, we didn't really see it. Or if we did see
it, it certainly did not last long.
Going forward, he's got three weeks left of being President-elect, will we see a new Donald Trump come January 20th? What are your thoughts?
[15:45:04] HEYE: Well, I don't think we'll see a totally new Donald Trump. But again, to use the word that he used, restrained, when you're the
President of the United States, every action you make has serious consequences, even unintended consequences. That's why if he shows some
restraint and isn't necessarily just lashing out at critics, at companies, or even late night talk show hosts, much less news anchors, that'll be a
good step forward for Trump.
But he has opened Twitter to what we always knew was an important and new way of communicating to something that really drives the news media for a
given hour, for a given day, for a given week, and that's something he'll continue to do. The question is, how will he really employ it?
ASHER: Yes, and no matter what he tweets, it never really seems to hurt him. Doug Heye, live for us there, thank you so much. Appreciate that.
HEYE: Thank you.
ASHER: Well, until he is inaugurated, Trump is manning his transition from Trump Tower in New York and keeping him safe in the middle of the Big Apple
is certainly a major challenge. Here's our Brynn Gingras with more.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Trump Tower, a nearly 70-story high-rise in the middle of Manhattan, tourist attraction
and home to President-elect Donald Trump, must soon be one of the most protected buildings in the United States.
JONATHAN WACKROW, FORMER UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE AGENT: Every element of the White House, whether it's from a security posture, communications or
emergency protocols, that has to be, you know, put into place here at Trump Tower.
GINGRAS (voice-over): Trump has made it clear he plans to return to New York often during his term and his wife Melania and their 10-year-old son,
Baron, will live there for at least the next six months. For law enforcement, a White House in the middle of a city of skyscrapers presents
GINGRAS (on camera): So really, it's getting the President down from there.
WACKROW: Absolutely. That's the biggest challenge.
GINGRAS (voice-over): Jonathan Wackrow was a former Secret Service agent.
WACKROW: Washington, D.C. is very simple. The White House is on 18 acres that's fenced and it has a great big lawn in the back that we can utilize.
We don't have that right here. So those types of considerations have to be addressed.
GINGRAS (voice-over): Training to address those concerns has already started. Law enforcement sources confirm these military aircraft and
helicopters recently seen hovering above the New York City skyline were mapping out possible escape routes and taking pictures of rooftops and
Central Park for potential landing locations.
The city has never been analyzed this way before for a U.S. President. Because the White House was opened in 1800, so never has a President
resided outside of it and in a major city for extended periods of time. But Trump is full of firsts and the Secret Service, along with the military
and NYPD, must adjust.
WACKROW: You're going to see increasing security posture here around Trump Tower. You're going to see a lot of standoff distance. You're going to
see a lot of physical changes to the location to, you know, mitigate a lot of different threats.
GINGRAS (voice-over): And if there were a threat, Wackrow says agents would have less than a minute to bring the President and his family to
WACKROW: Remember, we have to extract him from the top of this building. So how do we do that? How do they do that safely? How do we notify our
law enforcement partners that there is this action?
GINGRAS (voice-over): All questions that not only need to be addressed but put into practice by January 20th.
WACKROW: Right now, it's sort of a hurry-up offense. We're trying to rush to get this done but not miss anything.
GINGRAS: Brynn Gingras, CNN, New York.
ASHER: As a turbulent year draws to a close, you could certainly be forgiven for thinking that the world right now is in a pretty sorry state,
but that is actually not the view of one bestselling author, lecturer, and documentary filmmaker.
In fact, Johan Norberg says, contrary to what most of us believe, things are actually better now than they've been for almost everyone alive. He's
been speaking to CNN's Hannah Vaughan Jones. Take a listen.
HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES, CNN ANCHOR: It's hard to miss warnings of our impending doom.
TRUMP: The situation is worse than it has ever been before.
VAUGHAN JONES: Calls to return to the good old days of the past.
NIGEL FARAGE, MEMBER OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT FOR THE SOUTH EAST OF ENGLAND: We want our borders back. We want our democracy back. We want
our country back.
TRUMP: We will make America great again.
VAUGHAN JONES: But according to a new book, we've actually never had it so good.
JOHAN NORBERG, AUTHOR, "PROGRESS: TEN REASONS TO LOOK FORWARD TO THE FUTURE: This is the Golden Age. We've never seen this kind of dramatic
reduction in poverty, in malnourishment, in illiteracy, in child mortality, as we've seen in the last 25 years, and no one believes this.
VAUGHAN JONES: Swedish author, Johan Norberg, says we should be celebrating humanity's progress.
NORBERG: And in the last 25 years, while we were complaining about the world and how everything is going to the dogs, we saw a reduction in
poverty by some 1.25 billion people. So every minute that we complained, 100 people rose out of poverty.
VAUGHAN JONES: Despite almost daily pictures of war, of mass shootings and terror attacks, in fact, the world is much safer than it's ever been
[15:50:07] According to Norberg, murder rates in hunter-gatherer societies were 500 times greater than in Europe today. People, he says, are
predisposed to focus on negatives, and this can affect the way they vote.
NORBERG: They have this tendency to sort of try to protect whatever they still got or they think they have. And then, you have this temptation to
build walls or to elect the strong man who promises to keep them safe.
VAUGHAN JONES: In American, 81 percent of Donald Trump supporters think life got worse over the last 50 years. And in the U.K., 61 percent of
those who voted for Brexit think life for children growing up today will be worse than it was for their parents.
NORBERG: I think it has always been the case that politicians exploit our fear, but now we see a new phenomenon, I think, among populists on the left
and the right who kind of say that everything is awful. Everything is on fire. And I think this is a cynical ploy. I think this is a very
conscious attempt to get us to vote for a muscular state, as Le Pen calls it in France.
VAUGHAN JONES: Norberg says he wrote the book because he wants people to realize how fragile our progress is.
NORBERG: If we do not think about the pillars this progress is dependent upon, if we become frightened, and if we go for the lure of populists who
say that, let's abolish this openness, well, then I think that this progress is in jeopardy.
VAUGHAN JONES: Urging us to enjoy but not take for granted the leaps humanity has made, and base our decisions on facts rather than fear.
Hannah Vaughn Jones, CNN, London.
ASHER: All right. Still to come on THE WORLD RIGHT NOW, the beautiful animals who are the fastest mammals on Earth but still can't outrun the
threat of extinction. That's next.
ASHER: Here is a fact for you, only 7,100 -- 7,100 -- cheetahs remain in the world today and their numbers are falling fast according to new
research. And the authors of that research also argue that the animals should be identified as endangered because cheetahs have lost 91 percent of
their natural habitat.
Once, they lived across Africa and Southwest Asia. Today, they are increasingly rare in Africa and fewer than 50 -- fewer than 50 -- live in
Iran. And it's humanities development that has cost cheetahs so dearly with the illegal wildlife trade, loss of prey, and their disappearing
homes. All attributable to humans.
London's most overlooked collection of history has a bit of a muddy past. Buttons, tea pots, and century old coins are all part of the treasures the
River Thames has claimed, but with a keen eye and a permit, you could take one of those heirlooms for yourself. We have a look at mudlarking on the
banks of the River Thames, a part of London's history that's just begging for you to dig in. Take a look.
[15:55:04] STEVE BROOKER, REGISTERED THAMES MUDLARKER: Hi, I'm Steve Brooker and I'm a registered Thames mudlarker. And what I'm going to do
today is take you guys on a mudlarking trip.
So what is mudlarking? Well, let's go back to the 1850s and we're going to find down here old women, young children just scavenging around in here for
anything really, pieces of raw coal. They'll use that to keep them warm and whatever they have left over, they're going to sell that to buy food.
When I first started doing this over 20 years ago, it was a tiny bit geeky. And over the years yet, it's got more acceptable and more people know about
mudlarking. If you look around, yes, it just looks like a load of pebbles, sure, but to me, that's one big history carpet.
So this that one, this Tudor, is going to be around like 1550 onwards. This one here is about 1780. This one here is about 1860, 1800s. This one
is 1300s. So I've got loads and loads of this stuff at home.
Now, remember, where one section meets another is where you get a finding line. I'm looking at these all the time. That wave is my best friend
because what that does, yes, is that erodes up the foreshore and it shows me where these areas are.
The bucket. I'm going to put my knee pads on so I can get down, get down and dirty. Come in.
So we have a coin. You're not going to go away with the crown jewels down here, but you can walk down, spot these lines, and find fantastic pieces of
ASHER: That's actually very educational, that piece there. I want to turn now to the U.S. where Taylor Swift performed a very special concert over
the holiday season.
All of that cheering was because Taylor Swift was actually surprising 96- year-old Cyrus Porter and his family with an impromptu visit and performance. They look so excited.
A World War II veteran and a self-confessed Swifty, Porter has actually been to not one but two of Taylor Swift's concerts. So as you can imagine,
it was a dream for him -- not just him, though -- and his 20 grandchildren to sing along to an acoustic rendition of her smash hit, "Shake It Off." I
can't even imagine what a dream that must have been.
All right. This has been THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. Thank you so much for watching. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next. You're watching CNN.