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Measles Makes Deadly Return; Paul Offit, Professor of Vaccinology, University of Pennsylvania, is Interview About Measles; Denialism Over Climate Change; Award-Winning Television Comedy, "Catastrophe"; Rob Delaney, Actor, "Catastrophe" and Sharon Horgan, Actress, "Catastrophe," are Interviewed About Their Sitcom, "Catastrophe." Aired 1-2p ET
Aired April 17, 2019 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.
Measles rears its ugly head again, why the disease that was believed to be eradicated is making a deadly comeback in countries that can vaccinate
Then, comedy dream team, Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney join us on their raucously real show, "Catastrophe", and the heartache that lies below the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIA DACOSTA, FILMMAKER: I think a lot of times we view people who are poor or who make decisions we don't agree with as having some kind of moral
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Filmmaker, Nia DaCosta, gives us the lowdown on her debut, "Little Woods," and tells Alicia Menendez why she wants people to know how
women experience poverty.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
We live in a world where facts are under fire, whether it's a peril of fake news, the rise of climate denialism, or even the war against vaccinations.
Vaccines are a miracle that had saved people from illnesses that have plagued humanity for centuries.
Now, young lives are at risk again, as a highly infectious disease, measles, makes a deadly return. The World Health Organization says it
still kills 100,000 people per year. And so far, in 2019, infections are up, 300 percent compared to this time last year.
While a lot of this is due to limited access to healthcare in poorer countries, we are also seeing the anti-vax movement, and measles surging in
richer nations where people are turning away from vaccines because of false information. They're spreading even faster than the illness. And the
consequences are life- threatening.
Just today, we learned that an Israeli flight attendant has gone into a measles induced coma. While the mayor of New York has declared a health
emergency after hundreds of fresh cases. Pediatrician and research professor, Dr. Paul Offit, joined me to talk about this crisis. He co-
created a vaccine for Rotavirus which is a sickness that strikes young children.
Dr. Paul Offit, welcome to the program.
PAUL OFFIT, PROFESSOR OF VACCINOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: It is extraordinary to be talking to you, sitting there in Washington, the United States of America, and talk about a resurgence of a
disease, a virus that we thought had been illuminated, eradicated, so long ago. Why is this happening?
OFFIT: Because people were choosing not to vaccinated their children. We eliminated measles from the United States by the year 2000. I think the
problem is that some people have forgotten about the disease and so, they don't take it seriously and as a consequence they're not vaccinating their
children. And so, measles has come back. And so, again, children have to suffer this disease. Some of them are hospitalized in an intensive care
unit. Really, it's unconscionable.
AMANPOUR: The CDC says that in about 20 U.S. States there were about 555 measles cases reported since the beginning of this year. Why is it
OFFIT: It is the most contagions of the vaccine preventable diseases. You don't even have to have face-to-face contact with someone who is sick. The
virus is spread by small droplets. If I had measles sitting this room and left the room, anybody who came into this room within two hours of being
here could catch measles, that's why the most difficult of the vaccine preventable disease to eliminate. And that's why when immunization rates
(INAUDIBLE) it's invariably the first disease that comes back.
AMANPOUR: Tell us about exactly what it does to the body. Again, I had measles when I was a kid, I had mumps, I had all the basic diseases before
there were these vaccines that we have now. Obviously, I vaccinated my own kid. But what does measles do to you?
OFFIT: So, measles virus enters usually via the upper respiratory tract, the nose and then throat, and then it spreads into the bloodstream then it
goes elsewhere. It spreads to the lungs and it causes pneumonia. It can spread to the brain and cause something called encephalitis.
Sometimes it sets up for a secondary bacterial infection of the lungs like with staff or strep. And occasionally, it kills you. Before we had a
measles vaccine in the United States in 1963, every year, 3 to 4 million people would get measles, about 48,000 would be hospitalized and 500 would
die. I think the problem is that we forgotten about all that. And so, as a consequence, we are condemned to relive it.
AMANPOUR: So, WHO says that it's a bit of a global crisis right now. Something like a hundred thousand deaths caused by measles, certainly, you
know, a year for the last [13:05:00] several. Can you trackback how the epidemic, the outbreak started in the United States? Because, we
understand, that for instance in Rockland County, New York, we know there is some Orthodox Jewish communities, also in Brooklyn, both areas, that
have seen an outbreak.
OFFIT: First of all, actually, from a worldwide standpoint, we are doing much better, we've gone from, you know, 800,000, a million cases of measles
a year -- I'm sorry, deaths from measles a year, down to now like 100,000. Actually, we are doing better from a worldwide perspective.
However, you know, we haven't eliminated it from the world. International travel is common, and when people come from places like the Ukraine or come
from Romania or come from Israel, you know, where measles is unfortunately endemic, then they bring the virus here. If there's enough of a pocket of
people in areas of the United States that aren't vaccinated, then that serves as fertile ground for the virus to spread, that's what happened in
Clark County, Washington State, that's what happened in Southern California, that's what's happening now among a very small group of
Orthodox Jewish communities who are making that choice.
Although, ironically, certainly this has nothing to do with the Jewish religion, and most people in those communities are vaccinated.
Unfortunately, a critical number aren't.
AMANPOUR: I mean, dig down into that for us. Are there legitimate reasons, religious reasons, not to be vaccinated?
OFFIT: No. I think no. I mean, I think that -- if religion teaches us anything, it's to care about our children, to care about our community, to
care about our health. Certainly, there is nothing in the Jewish religion that says don't get vaccinated.
I mean, the three major texts that serve as for the Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths all were written well before 1796, which was when the first
vaccine was invented, the smallpox vaccine. And all those three major texts care deeply about health. So, no. I think that, frankly, exposing
your child to unnecessary harm and then therefore exposing those with whom your child comes in contact to unnecessary harm is a profoundly unreligious
thing to do.
AMANPOUR: So, just to figure out how now to reimpose what you all call the herd immunity, this is what the mayor of New York has said about the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO, (D-NY): Today, we are declaring a public health emergency effective immediately. This will mandate vaccines for people
living in the affected area. The Department of Health will issue violations and fines to people who remain unvaccinated.
The only way to stop this outbreak is to ensure that those who have not been vaccinated get the vaccine. It's crucial for people to understand
that measles vaccine works. It is safe, it is effective, it is time tested.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, presumably as a doctor, you agree with that. But how does one enforce, enforce mandatory vaccinations if that's what he is
OFFIT: Right. Well, there's actually a distinction between mandatory vaccination and compulsory vaccination. What the Mayor De Blasio is
arguing for is mandatory vaccination, which is to say he's asking citizens in his -- in those communities to be vaccinated. If they don't get
vaccinated, then they have to pay a societal price, like a fine, for example.
In Philadelphia in 1991, we had, in a several month period, we had 1,400 cases of measles and nine deaths that centered on two fundamentalists
Christian churches. They were faith healers. Meaning, they didn't believe not only in vaccines, they didn't believe in medical care. And so, they
served as the epicenter for that outbreak.
We have compulsory vaccinations, which is to say, those parents, by court order, had to be vaccinated, and did. And so, I think the Mayor De Blasio
is stuck in many ways. I mean, he wants to stand up for the health of those communities, and the only way to do that is to say, "You really need
to be vaccinated because vaccines are safe and effective."
When people in the community are making the decision not to be vaccinated, they are making it based on bad information. They have this misconception
that the vaccine is dangerous when it's not. And so, what do you do in situations like that? I think, ultimately, you have to, at times, compel
people to do the right thing. I mean, we compel people to stop at stop signs, we compel people to sit in car seats, or else they get a ticket,
because it's the right thing to do. It's the safe thing to do. I feel sorry for Mayor De Blasio because he is in such a tough spot.
AMANPOUR: If you do try to force people, who, for whatever reason, think a vaccine is dangerous, it may make them go further underground, so to speak.
OFFIT: Right. But what else can you do? I mean, the fact of the matter is, they have this false concern that the MMR vaccine, measles mumps,
rubella vaccine is dangerous, it's not dangerous. I mean, they believe it might cause autism, which isn't true, or it might cause a variety of other
chronic diseases like, you know, diabetes or multiple sclerosis or hyperactivity disorder or whatever, that's not true.
So, when people then that are making that choice, what do you do? I mean, isn't it your alienable right as a citizen to allow your child to catch and
transmit a potentially fatal infection? I think the answer is no. And I think what Mayor De Blasio is doing is standing up for those children.
Now, might there be [13:10:00] a backlash? There might. But I think that the alternative, which is to allow that virus to continue to spread, allow
that virus to continue to cause suffering and hospitalization and the possibility of death is just too awful to imagine. And so, he is stepping
forward at a time, hopefully early enough where that won't happen.
AMANPOUR: What happens if it goes undealt with, if it's not vaccinated?
OFFIT: I think we lived through the nightmare scenario in Philadelphia in 1991 when we had 1,400 cases and nine children died. We were pretty slow
to react to that. I mean, to essentially force people to be vaccinated because I think when it comes to the law, we don't like to tell people how
to raise their children, we certainly don't like to tell people how to practice their faith. But occasionally, a line is crossed and that's been
true here where you do have to stand up for those children.
I mean, I think we always assume that parents are making the best decision for their children, but that's not always true. And in this example, it's
not true here.
AMANPOUR: So, tell us, talk to me them about the fact that mostly in the United States or other developed nations where we've seen this disease be
eliminated in the past, it is mostly now a question of these hoaxes, this anti-vax movement, how dangerous has that been? Are we seeing, in other
words, are the chickens coming home to roost and how dangerous could it continue to be?
OFFIT: Well, the World Health Organization now list this so-called anti- vaccine movement as one of the top 10 global health threats. I mean, not only in the United States do we have these unfounded, unscientific fears
but we export those fears to other countries. And so, you are seeing now, you know, other places also who adapt this sort of -- this notion that
vaccines are causing more harm when they're not. And now, you are seeing, you know, vaccine preventable diseases come back at some level.
You know, what's frustrating, I guess, for me as a doctor is that there's so much in medicine that we don't know, there's so much we can't do. This
we do know, specific germs do cause specific diseases, there's ways that we can prevent them. And when you watch parents' sort of turn their back on
that, expose their children to unnecessary harm, it's very hard to watch. Invariably, it is the children who suffer our ignorance here.
AMANPOUR: Now, talk to me a little bit about people, maybe at my generation or earlier, who have been vaccinated as kids but maybe didn't
have multiple vaccinations and maybe didn't know that you have to keep updating them. We understand that an Israeli flight attendant has slipped
into a coma now, having contracted measles, she might have encephalitis and she had been vaccinated as a child.
OFFIT: Right. So, vaccines, like any medical technology or technique, is -- are not 100 percent effective. I mean, the measles vaccine, for
example, one dose of measles vaccine converts about 92 to 93 percent protective efficacy. The second dose gets you up into the high 90 percent
range. But like anything, it's not 100 percent effective.
So, when -- for example, anti-vaccine, people will say, "What do you care what I do? I mean, you were vaccinated." That assumes that vaccines are
100 percent effective, which is not true. It also assumes that everyone can get a vaccine, which isn't true, because there are certainly hundreds
of thousands of people in the United States who can't be vaccinated because they are getting cancer chemotherapy or they're getting immunosuppressive
therapy for their chronic diseases or they are too young.
So, I think it's a selfish act, actually, to not just only put your child but those who they come in contact at risk.
AMANPOUR: So, let's just broaden this out a bit. Because, obviously, this deliberate desire not to vaccinate your children is one thing, but in the
rest of the world is often something else. As we've said, the WHO has identified this as a major problem. Apparently, the case of measles around
the world has increased 300 percent. Describe for me what's happening around the rest of the world where it's not just deliberate, it's a major
problem of access.
OFFIT: Right. So, different cultures sort of determine different vaccine uptakes. And a number of African countries, for example, it's a matter of
access. I mean, these are resource poor countries that often don't have the access to vaccines or don't have the place to get the vaccine. And so,
groups like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are doing everything they can to try and make those vaccines available to those areas.
But if you look, for example, in the Middle East, like United Arab Emirates or Qatar or Saudi Arabia, those vaccine rates are close to 100 percent. If
you look in the Scandinavian countries like Sweden or Finland, vaccine rates are close to 100 percent even though they're not mandated there. But
yet, in Western Europe, you know, measles is fairly endemic because vaccines aren't mandated and people choose not to vaccinate. And so, it
does seem to be that culture determines whether one is likely to get a vaccine or not.
But I think the hardest part, you're right, is that in those areas that are resource poor, where they don't have access to vaccines, I think groups
like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are doing a yeoman's job at really getting death rates down in those countries.
AMANPOUR: You, again, are in the United States of America where there is currently an assault on facts and evidence in science. I mean, the
president himself has used the word [13:15:00] -- you know, he sort of entertained this anti-vax, you know, movement to an extent, and science and
evidence, is being held up to question and ridicule.
Beyond just measles, a person in your position, what do you think the country is in for next, whether it's in disease, this one or others?
OFFIT: Right. I think you are exactly right. I think we have moved sort of from scientifically literacy into scientific denialism, people just
declare their own truths even though they're wrong, like vaccines cause autism or creationism and evolution are equally valid hypothesis or climate
change is a hoax.
I mean, I think we will suffer that. I mean, we moved from, you know, the age of darkness into the age of enlightenment because of science. Because
of science, we live 30 years longer than we did 100 years ago. To turn our backs on science, which I feel at some level we are doing, is something for
which I fear will we will pay an enormous price down the line.
AMANPOUR: Dr. Offit, if you could stare down the barrel of that camera and talk to the people in the communities which are not vaccinating their
children, what would you say to them now, given what we know to be the case with these outbreaks and deaths?
OFFIT: A choice not to get a vaccine is not a risk-free choice, it's a choice to take a different and more serious risk, and we are starting to
see what that risk looks like. Now, you have over 250 people in New York who are suffering measles, we have 20 people who are hospitalized, we have
five people in the intensive care unit, we are on the verge of watching people die of a completely preventable infection. Please, please vaccinate
your children, please don't put them at unnecessary risk. Please.
AMANPOUR: Dr. Paul Offit, thank you so much indeed.
OFFIT: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Well, that was the plea of a scientist and a doctor. And one of the other major crises is denialism over this scientific evidence of
climate change. Protests continue the world over trying to get governments to listen now.
In London, the group Extinction Rebellion are continuing to close down some of the city's busiest roads. While in France this week, 16-year-old
climate activist, Greta Thunberg, made an emotional plea to the European Union to do something before it's too late.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRETA THUNBERG, CLIMATE ACTIVIST: Deforestation of our great forests, toxic air pollution, loss of insects and wildlife, the acidification of our
oceans, these are all disastrous trends being accelerated by a way of life that we (INAUDIBLE) fortunate part of the world see as our right to
seemingly carry on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: She's only 16, and clearly, it's a really hard burden for her and she's emotional. But she continues, she still at it. Today, she met
with her fellow climate activist, Pope Francis, in Vatican City.
Now, we turn to a different kind of catastrophe, if I may, actually, I'm talking about the award-winning television comedy, getting major plaudits
for its fun yet authentic take on marriage and parenthood with a dash of nuance included. Here's a look at something many working parents of small
children trying to take a vacation might recognize.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROB DELANEY, ACTOR, "CATASTROPHE": You should be able to handcuff your kids to the airplane seat. They'd be all, for like a minute and then they
would be fine. Have a super trip to Vermont. I hope you get trampled by a moose.
SHARON HORGAN, ACTRESS, "CATASTROPHE": Or a monster.
DELANEY: I know. I mean, what was her problem? (INAUDIBLE) like two or three times?
HORGAN: Yes. Actually, my kids told her she shouldn't want -- Shrek jump here. Oh, my God. I need to stop for a second. I'm so tired I could cry.
DELANEY: Well, put on your sunglasses and cry.
HORGAN: I can't. I (INAUDIBLE) pop one of the lenses out.
DELANEY: Oh, honey.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: "Catastrophe" is the brainchild of the Irish writer and actress, Sharon Horgan, and the American comedian, Rob Delaney. The fourth and
final season of the show has debuted on Amazon Prime, where once again, it's getting rave reviews from viewers and critics alike. And Sharon
Horgan and Rob Delaney join me now from Los Angeles.
Welcome to the program.
DELANEY: Thank you. Thank you very much.
DELANEY: And I just want to say, Sharon and I made sure to vaccinate each other before we went on air.
AMANPOUR: All right. Have you vaccinated your kids, that's what I want to know?
DELANEY: Oh, yes.
HORGAN: Yes, of course.
HORGAN: We are not insane.
AMANPOUR: Well, listen, you know, that first clip that we just showed in the introduction, it just shows to parents dealing with the normal hurly-
burly of everyday life, including, you know, trying to rein in your kid, Sharon, as you are just having a little sort of weak moment there, wanting
to have a cry.
Explain for us why this has taken off. Why do you think it has? We all know why we love it. But did you think it would, you know, hit such a
funny bone, such a nerve?
HORGAN: Oh, no. I mean, we are [13:20:00] delighted that it has, but I don't think we had any idea that it necessarily would. I think we just
wanted to be very honest and paint a real picture of what it's like to keep a relationship going, once you throw kids and, you know, all the other kind
of catastrophes of life into the mix. And --
DELANEY: Yes. I think if we did have a secret sauce for our show, it's that it is written by one man and one woman. So, I think the viewers can
maybe smell that.
AMANPOUR: Yes, indeed. I want to get back to how you guys first met, right. Essentially, on Twitter, I mean, you weren't dating, it wasn't a
dating app but you met on Twitter because of the professionalism and the humor. I mean, tell us how you actually met on Twitter.
DELANEY: Yes. I mean, I noticed now, almost 10 years ago, that Sharon followed me on Twitter, and she had created a sitcom a few years prior
called "Pulling," which was just the greatest sitcom I've ever seen in my life. And so, I wrote to her and I said, "Thank you for following me on
this silly website."
And she wrote back, and then we became friendly. She came and saw me do standup and then we would work together on little stuff. And then one day,
we just thought we might, you know, see if we could write a sitcom together.
AMANPOUR: So --
HORGAN: Yes. I mean, that's sort of it in a nutshell. But I'd also, you know, from seeing Rob's standup, really loved how he talked about stuff and
really loved how he talked about marriage in particularly. And so, I think we sort of knew it would work, you know, our styles together, blended.
AMANPOUR: Well, I mean, what were you trying to tell us all about marriage? Because look, it is extraordinary, and you do, you know, look
like you are having sort of real-life discussions, but you also -- I mean, look, there's a lot of angst, there's a lot of humor, there's a lot of, you
know, tears, there's a lot of laughter, but in the end, you don't really have massive rows. When one of you, you know, sort of kind of irritates
the other one or, you know, get some angry, it's not like you storm out and you never talk to each other again or have the big sun (ph), you managed to
have a mature response that perhaps a lot of couples may not have in the end. How do you come up with that?
DELANEY: I mean --
HORGAN: Well --
DELANEY: -- we just -- I think we wanted a show that marriage is interesting. I think we felt a lot of sitcoms, not all of them, because --
of course, there are great ones. But some of them sort of did marriage a disservice and kind of made it look like a slug, which marriage usually,
seems to me, is either you are like you want to kill your spouse, and not in a funny way like you are figuring out, how do I kill them and you want
to wipe the browser history so you don't get caught. I mean, you are really planning their death.
Then five minutes later, you are like -- you have your -- you're wrapped around their ankles being like, "I can't believe you let me kiss you ever."
And so, it's -- you know, you rocket between those two poles, it's not like -- you're not like, "Hey, she's driving me nuts," or like, "All he does is
golf," that is ridiculous. No marriage is like that, it's those two poles.
HORGAN: Yes. And also, we realized -- I mean, when we put them in a difficult situation, when something terrible happened and they did argue or
did sort of decide they weren't going to talk anymore, that's not very interesting on-screen, having two people, you know, just constantly
shouting at each other or not communicating at all.
So, we would find ways for them to make each other laugh, and I think that's also a little bit of the secret sauce in it, is that they just
really like each other's company, better than anyone else in the world. And they like making each other laugh, it's their favorite thing.
AMANPOUR: Well, I mean, that's it.
HORGAN: It's kind of easy with those characters to go from, you know, crazy hate to laughter.
AMANPOUR: Well, I think you just kind of nutshelled it for me. They like each other's company better than anybody else in the world and they like to
make each other laugh and they'll, you know, stick through the horrible stuff to get to the other side.
And it's, again, extraordinary because this was essentially a one-night, one-weekend stand, right? I mean, Rob, you, I mean, in the show, you guys
had a one-night, one week stand, and you still in series 4, have -- you have her number in your cell phone as Sharon Sex London, still, you know,
after all that you've been through.
And then --
DELANEY: Yes. I mean, I think --
AMANPOUR: Go ahead.
DELANEY: Well, we just would have been so sad. I mean, we thought about that, but then what happens, you know, three years into your marriage, you
look at your wife's number and you're like, "You know what, [13:25:00] why don't I just send that down to just her name, like the cute little thing
from the beginning, you know, that's lovely." So, I think, you know, not doing that is sort of one illustrative little nugget that, you know, is
sort of a key to that relationship.
HORGAN: Yes. But also, it was like, you know, we are hungry for jokes.
HORGAN: And any time we could sort of just get an extra one, you know, whether it's just showing Sharon London sex or anything we could sort of
repeat and get laughs from, we will.
AMANPOUR: Well, here's another clip, again, from this final season, and it's when Rob is coming home and there's going to be a work dinner with the
boss and his wife, and you are telling Sharon about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DELANEY: We've been invited to a dinner with the big Ray-Ban via boss and his wife.
HORGAN: We've been invited? Me too?
HORGAN: Oh, God. Really? When? I hate work dinners.
DELANEY: You've never been to one. I've literally never once asked you to come to a work dinner.
HORGAN: What will they want from me?
DELANEY: I don't know. Your wife like presence.
HORGAN: Yes. But should I be chatty like Michelle Obama or should I be more like Jackie Kennedy, you know, like, "Don't say much when I do say
something," really make (INAUDIBLE) like (INAUDIBLE) the queen?
DELANEY: I think I'm going to say you can't make it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I mean, I'm still laughing at that. And so -- but the relationship, the marriage, was kind of a shotgun affair. Because in your
one-night, one week stand, Sharon gets pregnant, and you guys decide, actually, to get married. I mean, that's not normal. How does that
HORGAN: Well, I mean, they decide to make the best of a terrible situation. And I think like in that very, very first episode, you can see
that it's more than just a one week stand. You know, they sort of declare a couple of things to each other at the -- when the Rob character is flying
back, you know, that makes you sort of, you can tell that they've left a sort of mark on each other.
And I guess the question is, would they have gotten back together if she hadn't been pregnant? I don't know. Would they have seen each other
again? I don't know. But, you know, it does, it does happen. I guess the thing was they are at a certain time in their life, or she was anyway where
DELANEY: Oh, yes. I mean, they weren't 22.
DELANEY: So --
HORGAN: Those decisions kind of have more important.
HORGAN: I think you tell me in the pilot episode that you're like, "What age are you?" Well, I'm like, "I don't know if I'm going to keep the
HORGAN: He's like, "Well, you know."
DELANEY: You don't want to --
HORGAN: Look at the old clock there.
HORGAN: So, it's sort of a needs must kind of thing. But underneath it all, they definitely really like each other.
AMANPOUR: And in the show, obviously, Rob, you moved to London. And in reality, for making the show, you moved your family to London. What was
that like for you?
DELANEY: I mean, the first couple of years are a blur, honestly, because we were working so hard on the show. And also, we thought that we were
only going to move there for six months and then the show would be canceled. So, we literally put all of our stuff in L.A. in storage and my
wife took a leave of absence from her teaching job and we were like, "Dude, stay right where you are, we'll be right back." And now, it's coming up on
five years, "Catastrophe" has ended and we still live there. And it's great.
I mean, the U.K. is wonderful. You've got the NHS, there's no guns, you know, you can take a double-decker bus. So, it's -- U.K. is a great place
to live and we are pretty happy there.
AMANPOUR: Yes. NHS being the National Health Service, which everybody here is very relieved to have. Yes. Well, I'm going to get to that in a
moment because I know it played a very, very important role in your personal life, Rob, in your family life.
But, Sharon, I just want to ask you as well, because somewhat similar, not exactly similar, but I think that in your own personal life, you and your
husband, well, you weren't married at the time, right, you got pregnant and decided to get married.
HORGAN: Yes. That is what happened. I mean, you know, yes. I'm from a Catholic, Irish Catholic family. So, the getting married thing was kind of
-- I mean, even though I was of a certain age at the time, it was still -- you know, it was still best that I got married once I found out I was
We -- actually, we used the scene in the show, where we tell my parents that I'm getting married, and then my dad says, "I thought you were going
to say you were pregnant for a minute." I go, "Yes, that as well. That's also part of this."
But yes, it's just -- it's exactly what happened. I mean, it was longer, it wasn't a six-night stand, it was a six-month stand. So, there was a bit
of a -- there was something or there. But yes, it was the same deal. I was kind of what else was I going to do I guess at that point in my life. I
thought well, I'll dive in what happens --
AMANPOUR: Do you think --
HORGAN: -- and then we sort of speed life.
AMANPOUR: Life imitating art and art imitating life. I mean it really is amazing how it's so connected to so many people. And there are a lot of
people, even within my workplace who are thrilled that we are talking to you today because you really reached out and grabbed so many people.
What do you hear, Rob and Sharon, from people who write to you about this? What are the biggest messages that they tell you about what they are
getting from this?
DELANEY: I mean a big one is people ask us if we are secretly filming them in their homes, and using their lives as fodder for the show. Another big
one, that we really love to get is couples that watch it together.
There are people who say, this is the only show my husband and I or my wife and I watch together. And that is a wonderful feeling, to have something
that people can enjoy together. Yes, we are proud of that.
HORGAN: I think it's that they feel like whatever representation we put on screen makes them feel less like monsters, you know? Like hearing those
sort of things said out loud, how difficult it is, or how much you might hate your partner at certain points, or how you just want to get away from
your baby, you know, how you want to go back to work so that you can have some peace.
Like all of those things sort of said out loud make people feel a little bit less awful.
HORGAN: And I think that helps.
AMANPOUR: And maybe give people permission to feel, in all these ways that inevitably happen in couples and relationships.
HORGAN: Yes. And other sorts of aspects as well. I mean there is an episode where I lose my dad, but I don't have the kind of correct emotional
response and I don't cry and I don't mourn him.
And I had one of the moms in my school come up to me and say that she felt exactly the same. I mean the tears came, eventually, but it just made her
feel less sort of, alone in that awful feeling that she wasn't doing it right, you know?
AMANPOUR: And Rob, there's another clip that we are going to play because it really centers around you because it's not all light and fun, there are
also dark moments. And you, in the show are an alcoholic, you've had many episodes getting drunk, you had a car accident, and you've been to rehab.
And here you are and Sharon talking about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROB NORRIS: How did you know I was in Austin?
SHARON MORRIS: Find my phone.
MORRIS: The app thing.
NORRIS: You need to stop surveilling me. OK. I'm not planning a bank robbery. I'm going to AA. I'm working in a charity shop plus my real job
and doing the best I can. And you're just -- I mean it's like, making a murderer up in here. Are you trying to drive me back to the bottle?
MORRIS: Oh my God. Now, I've heard it all. Does that make you feel good, blaming it on me?
NORRIS: It feels great.
MORRIS: Those are for Frankie's lunch.
NORRIS: Really? Did he pay for them? Or did I?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Again, it's just -- it really -- there's so much in the world today about addiction and alcoholism, and depression and all the dark side
of life that inevitably, many people live with and don't quite know how to, in many cases, express or get help for.
I think that whole part of you, Rob, and the way you relate to Sharon in this program, is probably very helpful to a lot of people who may be in the
DELANEY: Yes, I hope so. I mean we do our best, we really do try to, if the facts of the show "Catastrophe" are not real, we at least want all the
feelings to be.
And life is funny, and life is difficult and painful. And so we do try to not shy away from any sort of corner of the human and relationship
experience. So, yes. I mean, of course, we then sprinkle it with no shortage of jokes, but we really do try to keep it real, wherever and
however we can.
AMANPOUR: So it brings me to obviously, what's happened in your family. You lost your young son to cancer, to a tumor. [13:35:00] And after he
died, you came back to work.
I mean here you are, working with Sharon on the final season, as you are mourning and grieving. You've talked a lot about it. And I just wonder
what it was -- did that help you? Was that part of the process? What was it like?
DELANEY: I mean, so my son Henry died now, 15 months ago. So that's really like the blink of an eye, you know. And when I first started
writing the fourth season with Sharon, I'll be honest, I did it because -- not because I cared if a fourth season of the show existed, but because I
wanted my kids and my wife -- my surviving kids and my wife to just see meet go to work to show some sort of semblance of normalcy.
So I started working just a couple of days a week at first and really not caring what came out, you know. And then over time, I began to enjoy the
process. And then when we were really humming, and you know, polishing scripts and stuff, by then I was enjoying it.
And that didn't mean that I didn't grieve, that didn't mean that I didn't cry at my desk, or have to leave sometimes and just go lie down because
grief is so exhausting, you know? So, the show itself, I wouldn't say was therapeutic for me, but sort of going through the motions and working on
something intensely, I don't know, did offer some sort of structure or scaffolding to my life that allowed me to grieve and have the grief move
through me as it continues to do it.
So I'm glad I did it. I'm very surprised that I begin to truly enjoy it. And I'm in still, shocked, that we produced the season that we are very
So, yes, I mean that's kind of -- I don't remember what your question was but I just spoke for a couple of minutes.
AMANPOUR: No, it was that. And I just wonder Sharon, I see you looking at this man who's your friend and your collaborator, how did you react also?
Because you are sitting with him writing and you are watching this grief unfold as well.
HORGAN: I was just, you know, in all of him every day. You know, that he was there. It's difficult for me to talk about it but -- because it was
not my tragedy.
But I, you know, I was just there for him if he needed me. Sometimes he did, sometimes he didn't. Like Rob was saying, sometimes he just needed to
cry and oftentimes you run out of the right thing to say because you can't say anything right because nothing you can say is ever right.
But every day, I was just amazed by him, and I don't know how he did it and I never will, but yes.
AMANPOUR: Again, I think your story is well-known, especially to the people who love the show. And it will mean a huge amount to people knowing
what you've gone through and how you've gone through it. And I just wonder, and certainly, I'm sure a lot of your fans wonder, this is the
final season on television, but will there be more of Catastrophe? Will there be a film? Will there be more seasons at some point, more series do
DELANEY: Well, we don't have anything planned right now. I think to date and we reserve the right to change her minds. But I am proud of us for
getting to the point where we were like, I don't know that I have anything else to say on this topic. And then like putting a pin in it because
there's pressure to do more. But we don't want to make any bad ones, you know?
HORGAN: And also, we were delighted with how we ended it.
DELANEY: Yes, we do. We are very happy with it.
HORGAN: It is sort of turned out exactly the way we had it in our heads. And, you know, I think for us, we love writing together, and it was
something that was very easy to do together. And it's usually not easy.
And so I think we hope at some point, down the line, we'll do that again. But for now, I think these characters, they are going to sleep for a little
AMANPOUR: Well, we'll miss them.
DELANEY: Like the end of Ferris Bueller, Matthew Broderick [13:40:00] comes out, he goes, "What are you still doing here? Go." So all of the
people were like "Make a season five." We are like, oh just go, go get pregnant, go travel the world, go live your own life.
AMANPOUR: Well, we will miss them, Rob Delaney, Sharon Horgan, thank you so much indeed for joining me.
We turn now to a film that tackles issues plaguing America's small towns, shining a spotlight on health care and housing, "Little Woods" follows two
adopted sisters in North Dakota whose troubles have tangled up in poverty, is played by rising stars Lee James and Tessa Thompson.
The film was Created by the first-time director and writer, Nia DaCosta. And she spoke to our Alicia Menendez about what she was aiming for.
ALICIA MENENDEZ, CONTRIBUTOR: Nia, thank you so much for joining us.
NIA DACOSTA, DIRECTOR, LITTLE WOODS: Of course. Thanks for having me.
MENENDEZ: I loved this film. Congratulations. What led you to this?
DACOSTA: Well, you know it's kind of a weird roundabout story but I was living in London, getting my Masters after graduating Tisch at NYU. And I
have this weird sense of like, homesickness.
And it turned out to be this weird Americana sense of like American culture that I really missed. And I sort of had to interrogate that, like what
exactly am I talking about when I say like America, Americana. Like what does that mean for me as a woman of color, a New Yorker?
And as I was trying to like figure this out, I watched Winter's Bone and Country Strong. And I was like sorting through like what a movie like that
would look like with a black protagonist, with two women living in a rural part of America.
MENENDEZ: You've never been to North Dakota?
DACOSTA: No. Never. I didn't even really know it was going to be centered in North Dakota, initially. I've been researching like just rural
parts of America like where do I want this to be set, where is the best place to tell my story.
I knew it was going to be about health care and I knew there would be an abortion story. I knew I wanted to talk about how women in particular
experience poverty, like how it can be a gendered experience.
And then while I was trying to find a place in America that was the most difficult to access on abortion, I found this little part of Northwest
North Dakota and inside of the town of Williston. And Williston is going through a massive wall.
But at the time, while researching that part of the country, I realized what was happening in these urban towns and how it's been, not only like
redrawing the oil map of the world but also changing how these people live.
So like male to woman ratio would be two to one, for example. And that's the first thing that I was like oh, wow, that's insane. And also a really
great place to tell the story about how women experience poverty, how they have to access health care, all these things, how different it is for them
living in a place like that.
MENENDEZ: I want to take a look at a clip from the film. This is Tessa Thompson, who plays your protagonist Ollie. She has in the past been a
She is now reformed. She is on the brink of getting a new job which is going to lead her to a new life. And in the middle of the job interview,
her past shows up. Let's take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHEILA: So Ollie, your probation officer, Officer Carter --
SHEILA: -- has told me so much about you. And I think it goes without saying that he must see a lot in you if he's willing to vouch for you.
OLLIE: Do you know what, will you just excuse me, I have to go to the bathroom.
SHEILA: Oh, of course.
OLLIE: I'm sorry. What? What do you want? I'm busy.
FLIRTY MAN: Bernie told me.
OLLIE: (Bleep) your little Bernie bill. What do you want?
FLIRTY MAN: I want a cut.
FLIRTY MAN: I know you are selling again and I don't appreciate losing customers because you decide to get back in the business. So I'll make you
a deal. Give me a cut. I don't get greedy and I don't get angry.
OLLIE: I don't know who told you but --
FLIRTY MAN: You keep selling and you give me 30 percent. You're going to cross the border for me. You're not going to lie to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MENENDEZ: Ollie has gotten back to drug running because her sister is pregnant, the mother's house is in foreclosure. And you have a line in the
script that I love. Your choices are only as good as your options are. These are characters with no good options.
DACOSTA: Yes. And I think that's a lot of what I wanted to talk about, which was, what drew me initially telling the story was I care a lot about
these issues but the way that they were covered was so political and so from a distance point of view from anyone's actual lived experience.
And I think a lot of the time, we view people who are poor or who make decisions we don't agree with as having some kind of moral character
failure when really it's just people do what they can with the resources they are given.
In particular, the characters in this film, the resources that are given aren't great but their needs are great. And so their choices are really
only as good as what they have on them, it's as good as their options. And so I really wanted that to be the crux of the story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEB: How much over the whole pregnancy, I mean bare minimum, how much is that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It depends on your insurance. Your co-pay could be as little as 10, 20 a visit.
DEB: Yes. What if I lost my insurance?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No reimbursement. But if you do it right, you can get 12 prenatal visits and some prenatal vitamins. So pregnancy and birth
is going to be about $8000 or $9000. And if you need a cesarean, $12,000.
DEB: Being pregnant cost $8000?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm afraid so, honey.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MENENDEZ: You're a person of relative privilege. I mean you grew up in a city. You went to boarding school.
You went to an elite institution for a college. What was your access point for talking about this type of challenge?
DACOSTA: It was acknowledging and realizing that. Because I grew up, I would say, poor. My mom would hate me saying that but I didn't grow up
with a lot.
And occasionally, I would feel the struggle. My mom kept it that way with me because she is a wonderful mother and person. But you know like I went
to private school for most of my life but that was not because it was easy, it's because I got like 99 percent scholarships. And also my mother would
be paying off my middle school when I was in high school, and high school when I was in college.
And I still have like six figures of student loans which I will pay off one day, maybe. But at the same time, I live in New York City, a pretty
voracious place. I have access to a lot of resources.
If I get sick, I can literally walk to the hospital from my house, I can take the train to a Planned Parenthood if I need to get an IUD or a checkup
or anything. If I don't have insurance, which I didn't have for a very long time after college, usually there's a way to figure out what to do.
And that's because of where I live and the legislation that's in place and the organizations that exist here. And so when I realized, oh actually,
like I have so much at my fingertips.
And women in a similar situation with me living in places like this do not have those resources. And if they have those resources, they don't have
the information or the ability to access them. So that for me was really what pushed me to work on this story, realizing my relative privilege and
wanting to explore that.
MENENDEZ: I want to look at another clip. It was pretty early in the film where you have the sisters visiting their mortgage broker to try to
persuade him to sell them back their house. Let's take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been a rough time for a lot of people.
OLLIE: Yes. And here we are trying to keep the one thing that we have that nobody else is going to want. Trust me, if you saw the house, you
would pay us to keep it. Can you let us just give you half the money? Please?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll see what I can do.
DEB: I hate begging.
OLLIE: Me, it doesn't exactly float my boat either but three grant would be better than six.
DEB: It might as well be 50,000.
OLLIE: Money is money is money when you ain't got it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you can get us half the total mortgage in one week, we can redistribute the rest across future payments.
DEB: That's great.
OLLIE: Yes, thank you so much.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're welcome.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MENENDEZ: You deal with the economic downturn, the housing crisis, the opioid crisis, access to reproductive care. And yet the film doesn't end
up feeling like explicit commentary on any of those things. How did you thread that needle?
DACOSTA: I don't know if I tried to do that purposely. I knew I definitely didn't want to have a political statement that I was making
inside of the film. I didn't want to take away from the human stories, from the characters what they're going through that relationship.
But when I was looking at Williston in particular and other urban towns in the area and also looking up at the industrialized towns, all these things
just coexist. Like everything is an ecosystem so it wouldn't have been honest if I just talked about abortion or if I just talked about the oil
boom, or if I just talked about housing.
And there's a version of the movie that's just at one thing and it's just a movie about one woman's journey to try to go to Canada to get an abortion.
But I've realized there was just so much to tell and so I wanted to be honest about how dynamic and complex it is.
MENENDEZ: The other thing I noticed watching that clip is that you have sisters, one adopted, which allows you to place a black character in this
landscape, which you said was something you knew you wanted to do. So how did you arrive at that as the mechanism for having Tessa?
DACOSTA: Well, they're both adopted, actually. [13:50:00] How did I write about it? Well, I know I wanted the black lead. And I think a part of my
experience being in some private schools as being the only black person, being in a really white area, so I'm familiar with that feeling and how
that -- what that's like.
And like private school, I was also surrounded by rich, white people, so that's like a whole other thing. But I know what that's like and I think
that is an interesting dynamic.
And then I'm really into the concept of like the family you choose. That's been a big theme in my life, not just with my friends but also within my
family. I have aunts who I'm not related to but the family you choose. You choose to care for people.
And so that was just something I thought would be really important. And, yes, I like having women of color, especially black women at the center of
my stories. That was kind of inevitable.
MENENDEZ: This film is a blending of genres, part western, part thriller. When you were in the room and you were pitching into people, did people get
DACOSTA: Yes, thankfully. And it's because I had road maps like Winter's Bone and Frozen River to throw at them and say, look, look at these films.
These were about women, they're about a rural part of America. It was about their struggles, it's about them doing things that weren't great but
things they had to do because of the lives they led, and it was so great at winning drama.
I got to use those two examples. And I love those movies, which is really great. So that was useful.
But at the same time, the only people who say yes to this movie where the people who said yes. In a way, it's like people were like "Wow, I love it,
great, very sad, very drama, very difficult." And I was like I know, but.
So of all the people I talked to, like maybe probably not hundreds but sometimes I think it's over a hundred, only like six or seven said yes.
MENENDEZ: And yet neither of the films you just referenced had a black female leader?
DACOSTA: No. Yes.
MENENDEZ: And so how did that further complicate those conversations?
DACOSTA: I mean interestingly I think it's an interesting balance of by the time I was pitching to a certain number of investors, Tessa Thompson
had been in Creed. She just hasn't done the right people. So people were like really excited about her.
But before she was involved, the black lead definitely was like, "Oh, well, you know." And it wouldn't be -- I mean you're not really allowed to talk
about it in that way but it was definitely a part of the conversation in sort of coded ways. But because of who Tessa is, it actually made it a bit
MENENDEZ: You have said that you write and love complicated women with agency. Why do we not see more of that in film?
DACOSTA: I think honestly, on a social level, we don't really enjoy complicated women with agency.
MENENDEZ: In real life.
DACOSTA: In real life, yes. And I think also in Hollywood if you actually just look at the beginning of Hollywood, it's actually insane. I know we
are supposed to be this liberal area but really, it's really not that progressive.
So, now people are really starting to realize. Like actually like complicated women with agency are interesting and everyone wants to watch
them. Captain Marvel just came out and yes, that's a Marvel film but it's the second highest grossing one so far.
MENENDEZ: Among your next projects is the remake of Candyman, classic horror film.
DACOSTA: Sequel, sequel.
DACOSTA: Yes, spiritual sequel.
MENENDEZ: With Jordan Peele producing. Why that?
DACOSTA: Oh my gosh, why not? How could I say no? So Candyman, when I was growing up, when I was younger, was so a part of the fabric of like
sort of the cultural fear, sort of in the same names like Bloody Mary because you say his name five times, Mary, he comes, he cut you, and you
And I love horror films. I love genre films and horror in particular. And being able to take, to do a story like that, with, that's about black
people in a way. I mean the first film is a bit complicated, we could talk about that.
But it's about a set of the black community. It's about black people. It's about stories about black stories and history and the horror of it,
and the injustice of it in ways. But it's in this horror context, which is really interesting.
And then on top of that, Jordan Peele I think is just an amazing brain. He's wonderful, a wonderful human. And I love to get out and it just made
sense. It was just really -- it's truly like an honor to be directing that film.
It's kind of exactly what I wanted to do next, which was to do something bigger, do something with a larger scope and to do something in a genre
MENENDEZ: Because you want to do it all?
DACOSTA: Yes, I do. Yes. I want to do -- I want to keep scaling up. I want to make bigger and bigger projects but also be able to go back and do
smaller things but always at the center of these stories being women, in particular women of color, women of agency who are complex and dynamic an
MENENDEZ: Thank you so much.
DACOSTA: Thank you. It was so great.
AMANPOUR: Nia DaCosta on women there pursuing those important stories and bigger projects.
And that's it for our program tonight. Thanks for watching. And remember, you can always listen to our podcast and see us online at amanpour.com.
And you can follow me on Instagram and Twitter.
Thanks for watching. And goodbye from London.