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Interview with the First Female Chancellor and the Most Powerful Woman in the World; Angela Merkel, German Chancellor, is Interviewed About Europe and America; Ron Howard's New Documentary About Luciano Pavarotti; Ron Howard, Director, "Pavarotti," is Interviewed About his New Documentary, "Pavarotti." Aired 1-2p ET
Aired May 28, 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.
The leader of the most powerful nation in Europe for nearly 14 years sits down for her first and exclusive interview with an American television
network. Chancellor Angela Merkel warns that the fight to defend democracy, tolerance and human rights is far from over.
And Director Ron Howard tells the story of Luciano Pavarotti, the global rock star of the opera world.
Then, to one of the most powerful women in world finance.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STACY CUNNINGHAM: It was fortunate because I had a much higher profile as a woman on the floor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Meet Stacy Cunningham, the first female president in the history of the New York Stock Exchange.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has been called the de facto leader of Europe where voters this weekend, especially millennials, turned out in
record numbers to push the Green Party to great success. The far-right did not surge and the centrist traditional parties, including Mrs. Mrs.
Merkel's, did not fare that well either, though they appear to have dodged a major bullet.
Chancellor Merkel has spent her career trying to keep the centre alive, but the big question is, how long can that centre continue to hold? She's
coming to the United States to deliver the commencement address at Harvard on Thursday, where she'll talk about her extraordinary personal story, her
ascent to the top, and her remarkable staying power.
I had the rare chance to talk to this fierce and female champion of democracy who goes toe to toe with the strong men and authoritarians in
She is the most powerful woman in the world, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has dominated global politics for almost 15 years. As America has
gone from George W. Bush to Barack Obama to Donald Trump. In Germany, it has been just Merkel.
It's hard to imagine the country or Europe without her, but that time is coming. She stood down as leader of her own party late last year and says
she'll step down as chancellor when her term ends in 2021. Though some suspect it could come a lot sooner. Merkel, known for her intellect and
her stoicism followed an unusual path to power. The daughter of a pastor and a teacher, she was raised in communist East Germany where she studied
physics and earned a doctorate in quantum chemistry. When the wall fell, she felt compelled to turn to politics and then began her spectacular rise.
Her legacy will no doubt be shaped by her fierce defense of democracy, freedom, and the current multilateral world order in effect since the end
of World War II. And also, by her response to two major tests. First, the eurozone debt crisis and her polarizing push for austerity. Secondly, the
migrant crisis and her controversial but compassionate decision to open her country to more than a million people.
The German leader now navigates a host of other issues like the E.U.'s future after Brexit and an unpredictable relationship with America in the
age of Donald Trump. Chancellor Merkel is known for keeping a low profile and she rarely gives interviews, especially at length. So, we were eager
to hear from her when we met in Berlin.
Madam Chancellor, welcome to our program. It's great to be able to talk to you in Berlin.
I just want to get your reaction though first to the European elections, the results. Your party came first here in Germany, but the Greens did
very well and you did do a little worse than usual. In general, how do you think it's gone?
ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): First of all, I was pleased that more people went to the elections than in the last European
elections. That's been the case in many countries. Secondly, we have become the strongest party and this will, of course, play a role when we
nominate the positions within the European Union. And third, it's correct that the Greens actually have been very strong and it has to do with issues
that people are interested in the most these days.
For example, climate change and that is also, for my part, of course, a challenge now. We have to give better answers to all these issues and we
have to say very clearly that targets that we have committed to are targets that we remain committed to.
AMANPOUR: And yet, since you brought this up, I might as well talk about the environment because it's what every young person practically is
interested in, is their existential right. You've made targets but you haven't kept them. Very many countries have not kept them. Germany is
still quite dirty [13:05:00]. You decided to put aside nuclear power after the Fukushima disaster. Do you regret that? Do you think there should be
nuclear power or more commitment to a clean environment?
MERKEL (through translator): Well, I'm of the opinion that it's correct that the young people of the world rise up and point out to the older
generation what is happening to their future. And we have actually been able to keep within certain limits of the targets. But with the limits of
2020, for example, we have difficulties this year. We are now committed to 2030.
I don't regret leaving nuclear energy because I feel that was the correct decision. And I'm strongly convinced that generating energy by nuclear is
not sustainable in the long run. We have also decided to phase out power generated by coal plants by 2038. And it's, of course, a challenge to use
neither coal nor nuclear energy, and we have to find a solution to this. We can do this.
Here in Germany, renewable energies are already an important part of the energy mix and we want them to generate more energy by renewables by 2030.
AMANPOUR: I want to talk a little bit about your relationship with America. You are going to give the commencement speech at Harvard, to the
graduates for this year. You, for the last nearly 15 years, have been a fierce defender of democracy and freedom on this continent and in the
western alliance. I want to know how important America's role has been, historically, in making Germany such a robust democracy.
MERKEL (through translator): one of the most important decisions that the United States took after the Second World War was to give Germany and
Europe a chance to actually develop themselves, well, economically speaking. That was achieved by the Marshall plan.
America has always defended us, also in the eastern part of Germany under the reign of the Soviet Union and the former Germany Democratic Republic.
The fact that the iron curtain fell, that the wall fell, this we all owe mainly to the behavior of the Americans. The staunch attitude standing by
us over time. And when we had this double-track debate, Europe in those days, which was a polarizing debate, but it helped us in the end to gain
We are, of course, grateful to America and in my commencement speech, this will be my main focus, these sort of boy biographical issues. So, this
won't be a classic political speech about a speech also about my own life, and I will try to explain to students the lesson I draw from my own life.
AMANPOUR: The students will be very aware that you have taken a very principled stance. You are the only world leader who greeted President
Trump's election with welcome but based on a commitment to mutual values, freedom, democracy, human rights, tolerance, free press, et cetera. So,
they're very well aware of where you stand in relation to President Trump. The first question is, is it difficult to keep Germans liking America,
liking this president at this time? Is it difficult to keep them on side?
MERKEL (through translator): In the history of the United States, there were again and again solutions where, for example, in the double-track
debate big parts of the German population did not agree with the Americans, but we have this obligation to forge a good relationship and we have the
duty to grapple with those issues and debate them.
Also, in order to seek solutions, sometimes this is done easily, sometimes this is more complicated. But if you say you stand for a multilateral
world, and that is what I do stand for, and say only together we can resolve problems, then you have to always work together to find a common
solution. And this is what we do and this is also a characteristic of my relationship with the current President Trump and I believe this also works
in a respectful manner, even if we don't always agree.
AMANPOUR: I want to show you a few pictures, because these are -- you've seen three American presidents, four British prime ministers, I think it's
two or three French presidents, and many, many leaders have come and gone.
You've been a bit of a punching bag for President Trump. He's said some quite strong things, including, you know, your relationship with Russia and
all the rest of it. I just wanted to show you this picture because that went viral around the world. I wonder what you can tell me about your
personal relationship and your political relationship because his own White House says he's only strong with the people he considers friends. Do you
consider him a friend?
MERKEL (through translator): I think we have close cooperation, which simply results from problems we have had to resolve together. And this
picture also shows that we are indeed grappling with an issue. In every communique, which we had to declare, I was also the host for the G20
negotiations [13:10:00] in Hamburg, we had contentious debates. But in the end, we also found common ground. It's certainly always a challenge to
debate but I very happily take on this challenge. The president has his opinions, I have mine, and very often, we also find common ground. If not,
we have to keep on talking and negotiating.
AMANPOUR: So, just quickly, the trade war, the tariffs. The president has said that basically German built cars should be exempted on a national
security basis. What's your reaction to German cars being considered a national security threat to the United States?
MERKEL (through translator): Well, I take note of this. Then, of course, we build our case. I think it's right and good that we have a mandate from
the European Union for trade talks with the American government. Germany will hold these talks very seriously. And my argument, of course, is that
German cars are not built only in Germany.
That, for example, with the BMW, their biggest plant is in South Carolina. This means Germany has much more direct investments taken out by German
companies in America than the reverse, American companies investing here. So, I think we should look at these issues together that namely American
jobs, American places of training have to be secured as well. And then, goods can be transported from there to the rest of the world.
Further, I think we should underline that also from the German side, we are open to all American companies. Maybe many SMEs don't know that you can
trade with us as well. So, I invite all American businesses to take a closer look at German markets. We are open and welcoming everyone with
AMANPOUR: Chancellor, you have won a remarkable four elections. It's said that President Obama suggested that you should run again in 2017 after he
came to visit you after the election of President Trump. The speaker of the house, Nancy Pelosi, said to me in her typical fashion, she said, "As
long as he's there, I'm here."
Do you feel that? Did you feel that pressure? And again, I'd like to show you a picture because you tended to have a pretty friendly relationship,
eventually, with President Obama. Do you miss him?
MERKEL (through translator): America has very clear rules. There, after eight years at the very latest, the presidency comes to an end. I was
aware of this, of course, in the very first day of Barack Obama's presidency. Our relationship did not start very smoothly. I had been
criticized a lot when he wanted to speak in Berlin in front of the Brandenburg Gate. But I said he's not the president yet and only
presidents can speak there.
It was not that easy in the beginning. I never revealed what was discussed in private talks. And therefore, I will also not reveal anything from my
talks with the previous American president. But I say, it's the obligation of every chancellor to build good relations with any American president and
to seek solutions. This is Germany's interest. This is America's interest. And so, you have to make an effort to find solutions.
AMANPOUR: So, you won't tell us whether he urged you to run again?
MERKEL (through translator): No. This is one of my long-standing principles, that I don't reveal anything from private talks. And that's
important for the political culture we have because we should be able to discuss certain things together.
AMANPOUR: Do you remember this moment? It went viral around the world when you got a back rub from President George W. Bush, who basically said
very nice things about you, you've got a great spirit, he said, you have -- you love freedom, you're a great woman. Do you remember this?
MERKEL (through translator): Yes, of course I remember this. I thought it was a kind gesture at the time, a friendship. The fact that it caused such
excitement and it went viral, to be honest, I could not imagine that at all at the time. It was a friendly gesture.
AMANPOUR: I want to talk now about Germany and what you have done for Germany in your chancellorship. So, it's going to be D-Day next week, the
75th anniversary of the end of the war. I remember being there are five years ago. And President Orland (ph) gave a very strong speech as one can
imagine against the horrendous past of Nazism. And I remember looking at you, watching him, because I was there covering it. And I wondered how you
felt as he was really railing hard on the past.
MERKEL (through translator): For me, it was a great honor, a privilege that was accorded incidentally also to my predecessor, Chancellor Schroder,
that we, as Germans, were allowed to be there. And I mean, it's obvious if you consider what the Germans did, the sort of terror wrought during the
national socialist period, including the Holocaust, and that we today can be part of it, sitting there as guests, as partners and as friends, that
was very moving for me.
And therefore, I did find this speech [13:15:00] passionate in that situation where Germany and France setup the Normandy format trying to
bring about something for the Ukraine. I was very moved at the time. The Ukrainian president was there, the Russian president was there. And all of
a sudden, you did have issues related to territorial integrity on the agenda.
So, it was not only a solemn celebration but it was also a reminder of what still seems topical these days. So, it was very moving for me.
AMANPOUR: German president on the 40th anniversary of D-Day gave a very, very profound speech about the horrors of the Holocaust. And he said, "The
day of Germany's defeat was the day of Germany's liberation." In other words, the defeat of the Nazis was Germany's day of liberation. Do you
agree with that?
MERKEL (through translator): Yes, that was on the 40th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. And Federal President Weizsacker gave this
speech at the time. And at the time, I still lived in the GDR. So, Germany was divided, it was not yet united. So, we did take note very much
of this speech and I thought it was a very apt and appropriate description of the situation and I still think so.
AMANPOUR: Because analysts and historians today describe you as the face of good Germans, good Germany. And they also say, though, that under your
nearly 15 years in power, in some cases, those dark old demons have risen again, nationalism, populism, anti-Semitism, I mean, very dark forces that
we can see are winning in elections to an extent. They talk about your austerity programs, they talk about your compassionate, courageous
migration program, allowing a million or more people in.
What do you answer to the people who say that, you know, it was a great Germany under your chancellorship but these dark demons have risen again?
MERKEL (through translator): Germany can and will not uncouple itself from developments we see all over the world. We see this in Germany as well.
But in Germany, obviously, they always have to be seen in a certain context and the context of our past which means we have to be that much more
vigilant than others.
And I also say, yes, there is work to be done here. We have always had a certain number of anti-Semites amongst us. Unfortunately, there is, to
this day, not a single synagogue, not a single day care center for Jewish children, not a single school for Jewish children that does not need to be
guarded by German policemen.
Unfortunately, over the years, we have not been able to deal with this satisfactorily that we can do without this. But we have to face up indeed
to the specters of the past. We have to tell our young people what history has brought over us and others and these horrors. Why we are for
democracy, why we try to bring about solutions, why we always have to put ourselves in the other person's shoes, why we stand up against intolerance,
why we show no tolerance towards violations of human rights, why Article I of our basic law, human dignity is inviolable, is so fundamental to us. It
has to be thought to every new generation.
And you're quite right, the task has become harder but it needs to be done.
AMANPOUR: Is that what led you to allow so many refugees into Germany? I mean, people have criticized it. But we notice that it was the environment
that was the first in these elections, not immigration. That was down the list. So, the voters weren't punishing you in these elections for that.
And you said to one of your key ministers during the migration crisis, "Don't build walls. I don't build deadly walls."
MERKEL (through translator): I'm firmly convinced that we have to learn to live in our neighborhood with a certain balance. And part and parcel of
this neighborhood is the African continent and this is why we have to help people there on the ground so people don't need to leave their home
We have on our doorstep, just imagine Syria. From Cyprus, you can almost see Syria. We have this terrible situation in Iraq and we have not been
sufficiently vigilant to see to it that people on the ground have been sufficiently cared for in the sense that they have sufficient job
opportunities, sufficient education opportunities. And so, they entrusted their lives into the hands of traffickers because they didn't see any
choice for themselves. And in a humanitarian emergency, we stepped out and helped.
But this obviously cannot endure. This cannot be a satisfactory state of affairs. We, as states, have to manage. We have to guide immigration, but
not in the sense that we shut ourselves off from each other but that we help each other in these humanitarian situations of emergency but also
[13:20:00] open up opportunities on the ground.
I'm firmly convinced of this, and I'm working for this and this is why ever since 2015, we've agreed with Turkey, with a certain agreement, to cater
for the needs of refugees on the ground but also work against the traffickers and this together.
AMANPOUR: While you have many supporters, you also have critics. One of the main critic, obviously, was the former finance minister of Greece,
Yanis Varoufakis. And of course, it's all about the austerity and the tough line that Germany took over the Brexit issue.
You are leaving. You say you'll stay in the end of your chancellorship in 2021. This is what Mr. Varoufakis says. "She was a catastrophe and she
will be missed because whoever comes next will certainly be worse." Is that a compliment?
MERKEL (through translator): Well, quite clearly what comes out of this is that Mr. Varoufakis and I have quite often and openly disagreed. I do
think that Greece will only become a prosperous country if it carries out certain reforms. I try to stand up for this. At the time, I stood up for
keeping Greece in the Euro area.
We in Germany have a saying, the more enemies you have, the more honor you garner. And in a way, I think this is reflected in this opinion that is
voiced by him. I have always stood up staunchly for keeping the eurozone together. But, of course, not at the price of our giving up on our
principles, lumping everything together and not making reforms.
AMANPOUR: You have said that you don't want to stay around so long that people are tired, you know, of looking at you, that, you know, you don't
want to be a wreck of yourself by the time your political career is ended. Are you comfortable? I mean, first of all, do you feel a wreck? Do you
feel tired? Do you understand Merkel fatigue? Are you comfortable with leaving even though you keep winning these elections?
MERKEL (through translator): Well, I set the date of my leaving this office clearly myself. I said, "By the end of this legislative period, I
will then leave." But I promise people I will stay on until the end of this legislative term and would certainly not have declared myself ready
and willing to do this interview if I felt listless and didn't want to say anything substantive on politics.
I need to be liking and passionate about this job. I need to like meeting new people, fascinating people. And this to me is a great source of
strength in this job.
AMANPOUR: Madam Chancellor, you are the first female chancellor and you are the most powerful woman in the world. I don't know whether you accept
that, but that's what everybody calls you. You very rarely talk about being a woman. You haven't defined your political career as being a woman.
Are you ready to say that you're a feminist? Are you pleased with the lot of women in the world and in Germany where even gender pay equality doesn't
MERKEL (through translator): Well, the Dutch queen at one point in time during the Women's 20 meeting helped me a little bit by saying feminism
means women have the same rights everywhere. And this is parity. What this is all about from politics to the media to the business community.
That must be our objective. We are not there yet. Quite right, and there's still a gender pay gap. And for many girls, apparently, I have
become indeed a role model during my time of chancellorship. And that has changed. It matters a little bit. But we are not at the end of the road.
I always say, one swallow does not make a summer. So, we need more women in these relevant positions and that means men have to change their way of
life. Because obviously, women cannot do what they've always done, plus have the same kind of share in social and political life. There has to be
more of a division of labor between men and women, both in professional life and in their family life. We're on the right track, and if we look at
young people, it's going to enrich society as such if this happens.
AMANPOUR: Madam Chancellor, thank you very much indeed.
MERKEL (through translator): Well, it was a pleasure and thank you.
AMANPOUR: Well, it was a great achievement to get that interview. Obviously, there's so much more to ask her. We'll listen very, very
attentively to her commencement address at Harvard where she is planning to delve more intently into her personal life.
Now, as a director, Ron Howard has created huge commercial and critical hits with films like "Cocoon," "Apollo 13," and the academy award winning
"A Beautiful Mind" to his credit. And as pop culture figure, Howard is what "The New York Times" calls an avatar of Americana.
The well-scrubbed face of the mainstream in classic movies and TV series including "The Andy Griffith Show," "Happy Days" and "American Graffiti."
[13:25:00] Now, Ron Howard's new documentary looks at the life and work of opera's legendary divo, Luciano Pavarotti.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARVEY GOLDSMITH, CONCERT PROMOTER: The maestro got to a second aria, people holding up their umbrellas, people behind couldn't see, they were
shouting and there was this noise going on. I literally rushed on stage, grabbed the microphone, and I just said, "People, could you lower your
umbrellas, everybody. Thank you very much."
The first person to jump up was Princess Diana, who had (INAUDIBLE) with an umbrella. She said, "Take the umbrella down." There was this ripple
effect all the way back through the audience. Everybody put their umbrellas down and the concert carried on.
LUCIANO PAVAROTTI, ITALIAN OPERATIC TENOR: The next aria is from the same opera that I have sung now, (INAUDIBLE). The title of the aria is "Donna
Non Vidi Mai." It means, I have never seen a woman like that. And with your permission, I would like to dedicate to Lady Diana.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Luciano Pavarotti and, of course, Princess Diana making power and influence so human. Now, I've been speaking to Ron Howard about why
Pavarotti, and of course about his own extraordinary show business life.
Ron Howard, welcome to the program.
RON HOWARD, DIRECTOR, "PAVAROTTI": It's a pleasure.
AMANPOUR: Well, it's a pleasure for me too, because you have devoted your life to making fabulous films that have entertained us. I guess ever since
you were a kid on "The Andy Griffith Show." But let's talk about your latest, "Pavarotti." What drew you to Pavarotti? Why a documentary on
HOWARD: Pavarotti became, to me, quite obvious. And because he's so charismatic, his life's journey is something that we don't know very much
about, although, you know, his is a household name, and even, you know, opera. Of course, there are those that love it, understand it passionately
and are fans, but there are so many other people who -- you know, they've heard it, they appreciate it, they don't really know.
I felt that as a filmmaker, that the subject of this man, this great artist, his life would provide an incredible opportunity to actually use
opera to help tell his story. He's so brilliant in these -- in his performances, these arias.
I'm a director. I'm watching this close-up footage that had been captured of him over the years, and it's riveting, it's powerful, and for him, it
rings true. And I felt we could use those arias in a way to help tell his story, say something about opera, create a great sound experience for
audiences. So, I really hope a lot of people see it in the theater. And tell a story that would really surprise people in an emotional way because
his was a very emotional journey.
AMANPOUR: I was stunned, and you've just talked about the sound and the music and the arias. How actually it was described how a tenor has to
construct that sound. It's not a sound that comes out naturally out of somebody's body.
HOWARD: You know what, it's almost, you know, it's almost an Olympic level athletic feat to create those sounds and yet, it's a form of expression and
a powerful one. I really decided to make the movie as somebody who always admired opera and certainly knew something of Pavarotti and knew he was a
genius. But when I watched those performances that I was talking about and I understood -- began to understand what it took to make those sounds, and
then I had the lyrics translated and I realized that opera is for the people.
That was always Pavarotti's cause, his case, the argument that he would make. It's not an elite art form. It's populist. And it's for people to
love and I felt that understanding what he was singing about at various times in his life when I felt he was coming very close to singing about
himself and his own rather operatic yet very relatable personal journey.
AMANPOUR: I'd like to just play a clip from your film that was historic anyway, it's not something you produced because they did it, the three
tenors, but you focus on it and this obviously is Pavarotti, it is Carreras and it is Placido Domingo. Here's the clip from your film.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSE CARRERAS, SPANISH TENOR: I think a good way to know a person is sharing the stage with him. You know what kind of determination. You know
what kind of tears he's bringing to every performance?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At the moment of being on the stage, there was a competition. It's like anything you do, I can do better. That feeling was
in the spirit of the moment, you know? Boy, what a phrase you did. Now let me do this one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Kind of rare when you see all these people at the top, top of their game collaborating rather than competing. So I thought that was
really interesting to show that as well.
HOWARD: It was great. Well, they were collaborating until the performance started. And then as Placido Domingo mentioned, he says, "Well, then the
competition sort of started." But they were having fun with it. It was, you know, but yes, for them, it was a one-time thing too, you know, just to
get Jose back on stage and sort of relaunch his career, which was a great gesture of friendship, and yet it -- they became the biggest act in the
world for a couple of years.
And Pavarotti, without a doubt, was one of the greatest superstars of his generation, and -- but he was not without controversy. And I felt like it
was very, not only supportive, beyond supportive, it was courageous of the family to make this footage available, to offer this interview time and
their honest, honest answers.
But there's, you know, there's just powerful love there despite some disappointments and some turbulence in relationships.
AMANPOUR: Oh, some disappointment, some turbulence. I love the way you say that, because I actually think that is remarkable, that you got his
wife, his lovers, his second -- last wife, everybody, including his three daughters, to speak to you so openly.
Remind us of the depth and breadth and, you know, he did betrayals. He betrayed his wife but yet to the last minute, she stood by him as well.
HOWARD: Well, I mean, we did, I think, 53 interviews. Not all of them made it into the final film. Some of them are so remarkable, the family,
you know, Bono, his managers and, you know, it's -- Placido and Jose Carreras, incredible.
But everyone wanted to participate because, you know, despite, you know, moments in their relationships that were very disappointing, even
heartbreaking, the overarching feeling about their relationship with him was they were grateful for it, they respected him, and he had this sort of
honest -- honesty and a joy for life and a romance for life that seemed to transcend any and all of that turbulence in the end.
And in fact, I think what the family gives us is not only a deep understanding of their character but also a kind of an object lesson in
forgiveness without forgetting and it's very moving.
AMANPOUR: You have actually done -- if I might just read some of your archives, I mean you've done a definitive -- the definitive work on
mermaids which would be Splash, the definitive work on a space flight, which was Apollo 13.
I just wonder how you have sort of stayed kind of normal since you've done all that stuff and it's all been so many accolades but you also started as
a kid, as an actor on The Andy Griffith Show and then Happy Days. What was your sort of north star? What kept you normal?
HOWARD: I think that I simply grew up feeling that that kind of creative problem solving, you know, working on behalf of the audience by sharing a
story that [13:35:00] collectively is believed in by the production company and the people involved, is a great way of life.
It's satisfying. People enjoy it. And for me, I found throughout the decades I continue to grow with it through the collaborations and through
the stories that I get to explore, whether it's fact or fiction.
So it's something I've always been grateful for and appreciated but I think because I always grew up in it, I was never a fan first. I was always a
participant first and then I became a fan later so there wasn't really magic around it. It was just a way of life really.
AMANPOUR: I just want to ask you whether it's true or not. Obviously, when you started directing, apparently Henry Fonda is the person who
suggested you start directing.
HOWARD: Well, he knew I had an interest. I was on a television show with him for a couple of years and he had known my father from the theater
production of "Mr. Roberts." My father had been in that with Henry Fonda.
But he saw that interest that I had, that passion. I was making a lot of Super 8 movies. I was writing little short scripts when I was about --
this is when I'm 16-years-old or so.
And he was the one who said, well if you really love movies, you should become a director because that's a director's medium. And he actually gave
me my first film theory book and his suggestion was, look deeper. Look deeper at this medium. You've grown up in it, but you know, it's a medium
that has a lot to say.
And he also said, if you don't take risks, really kind of risk your career every couple of years or so, you're not really giving the medium, the
audience or yourself the -- you're not doing justice to any of those.
AMANPOUR: Well, those are two very good pieces of advice. I just wonder, you also worked with Bette Davis when you directed her. Apparently, she
was a bit hard on you but when she likes you, what did she do?
HOWARD: She kept calling me Mr. Howard, Mr. Howard, Mr. Howard and I kept saying -- I was 25-years-old. I said, Ms. Davis, please just call me Ron.
And she said, "No, I will call you Mr. Howard until I decide whether I like you or not" and then like slammed the phone down.
So now I'm tossing and turning in the night but after our first day of working together where she took some of my direction and she liked it, I
said, well, Ms. Davis, thanks very much, you're finished, we'll see you tomorrow.
And she said, "Good day, Ron." And she patted me on the butt. So it was a big win. Big win for young Ron.
AMANPOUR: I guess lastly, and quite seriously, and somewhat politically, you are doing "Hill Billy Elegy," shooting it in Georgia. And you have
said that you will not do the production there because of the latest very draconian anti-abortion rule.
And so just tell me about that and would you also not participate not film in other states which have recently passed very strict and restrictive
legislation? Because certainly Glenn Close has said she won't even film there.
HOWARD: We've made the decision to stay and film there because we'll be complete long before this is either signed or not signed in January. And
we didn't want to pull the production and all it means to all the people who are already committed to the movie who live there, work there, and make
their living there.
However, we did let it be known, my partner, Brian Grazer and I, through our companies, Imagine Entertainment, we did let it be known that if it
were to be signed, we would boycott Georgia as a state. We have too many collaborators in front of and behind the camera, women who feel very
passionately about it, as do we.
And you know, we hope that production companies and artists standing up and letting it be known that if this actually becomes the law of the state, it
is going to influence the state's viability as a production destination. And so, I suppose we hope it's influential. It's the way we feel.
AMANPOUR: And for other states as well, Alabama, the others who just enacted very restrictive laws?
HOWARD: It's a kind of a rollback and it's --
AMANPOUR: Would you boycott them as well?
AMANPOUR: Yes. Ron Howard, thank you very much indeed for being with us.
HOWARD: Pleasure. Good to talk to you.
AMANPOUR: So that was quite a dramatic commitment on behalf of women's rights. And now, slightly our tongue in our cheek, we go from Richie
Cunningham to Stacey Cunningham, who has well and truly smashed the glass ceiling over Wall Street.
Stepping on to the trading floor as an intern in the '90s, she has now taken the helm of the New York Stock Exchange, becoming the first female
president in the organization's 200-year plus history. She told our Hari Sreenivasan why she [13:40:00] thinks Wall Street has a PR issue.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
HARI SREENIVASAN, CONTRIBUTOR: So you have been the president for a year now, what have you learned?
STACEY CUNNINGHAM, PRESIDENT, NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE: You know, I've learned so much more about our mission because I always came from the
trading side of the business. So when I look back, I spent my time growing up on the trading floor and I understood the markets and I've always been a
But now in this role, I spend a lot more time with our listed companies and they're out changing the world in such a variety of different ways, it
really puts into perspective what the mission of the New York Stock Exchange is. And that's to help companies raise money so they can go out
and change the world and that's been the most fun over the past year.
SREENIVASAN: You said you grew up on the floor. I mean, at the time when you started, what was it, as an intern or as a runner, there probably
weren't that many women on that floor. I mean it's a totally different type of culture. How did you --
CUNNINGHAM: I was definitely outnumbered. But you know, I think when you are somebody what stands out in a crowd, it can cut both ways, right?
There are pros and cons to that.
And for me, in my own personal experience, it was fortunate because I had a much higher profile as a woman on the floor. So when I walked around,
people knew who I was.
And I think there were a number of people that took me under their wing pretty early in my time on the floor and helped me learn the business
pretty quickly. And so for me, it worked out pretty well and I think I had a higher profile than some of my male counterparts.
SREENIVASAN: We have kind of a global audience today. If they're not familiar with what the value of a stock exchange is, why are they around
today the way that they are?
CUNNINGHAM: Yes. It's funny because if you ask anyone on the street, they could tell you that they know what the New York Stock Exchange is. Around
the world, they can tell you what the New York Stock Exchange is.
Many of those same people can't actually tell you what we do, right. And so if you think about the role that the exchange plays is it helps to pair
up companies that are looking to grow their businesses and raise some money with investors who have money that they want to share in their success.
And it was our founding fathers that said, hey, we want to have this financial framework that's going to allow people to grow their businesses.
And the benefit that comes from that is there's job creation. As companies are raising money and they're growing, they're creating jobs, 45 million
people are employed by the companies that are listed on the New York Stock Exchange. That's a lot of jobs, right.
There's also the benefit of making their services and products available to the masses and not just the few with means. So it really allows them to
scale the overall business so that everyone has access to it and at a more cost-effective level.
And then three, and importantly, it allows investors to be able to share in their success. So dreamers and entrepreneurs can say, hey, I know this
company and I like what they're doing, and I want to put my money alongside them. And then as they grow, they get that benefit back.
That's why it's so important for companies to go public. Because if they stay in the private markets, then the everyday investor doesn't get to
share and doesn't get to dream alongside them.
SREENIVASAN: How much of it is everyday investors versus -- I think there's a sort of perception gap. I mean, half the country has some sort
of stock in their 401(k) or some sort of their future tied into what's happening in the stock market which also means there's a big chunk of
people that don't. But why should people be paying attention to what's happening at the stock exchange?
CUNNINGHAM: I think a lot of people have the perception that the stock market is about the wealthy and is designed for the wealthy and it doesn't
impact them. And the reason why I think they're mistaken is very often they do have a 401(k) and they have investments in the stock market or they
have an individual investment that they've made.
But you can start at either they have an individual investment, they have an investment in their 401(k), they're employed by a company that's a
publicly traded company, or they are indirectly employed by a publicly traded company. And all of those things mean that it is about them and it
is about their growth and their opportunities.
And so I think it's really important that when we think about the changes we want to make in the stock market, we're thinking about who are we here
to serve and we're here to serve investors and the companies that are looking to raise money.
SREENIVASAN: Are more of the transactions now done by kind of what I would consider the big fish, the banks, and the people that are representing the
retail investor or actual people, you know, well, it used to be called your broker but clicking at their terminals and saying, I want to buy 25 shares
CUNNINGHAM: Technology has, without a doubt, reformed -- changed the industry the way it's changed many other industries. And so even those
brokers that are representing the end investors are not only using technology in a different way, they're using wrappers in a different way.
So for example, exchange-traded funds are an area of growth where they give investors access to types of investments they would typically not have
played in, right. Whether they're currencies or different fixed income or different products that they may not have known so well if they -- the ETS
put them in a structure that they are familiar with, that trades more like stocks.
And so that's something where you see end investors are still getting access to opportunities through a variety of ways, whether it's mutual
funds or [13:45:00] ETFs or their brokers or their professional market makers as well. So you're right, the ecosystem has changed a little bit
but at the end of the day, we're still here to serve investors.
SREENIVASAN: Public market in its nature sort of prides itself on transparency. Have you been watching what's been happening in the
blockchain space and in cryptocurrencies? And is there some future where we are trading across these public ledgers with maybe fewer intermediaries?
CUNNINGHAM: I think when you look at new technologies that come to market, it's important to think about, first, what are the problems that we need to
solve and are there new technologies out there that can help us solve them and not the reverse. You don't want to look at a technology and say, hey,
how can I use this if you don't actually have a need to use that.
You mentioned blockchain. Blockchain wouldn't, in today's day and age and its level of evolution, be able to process the amount of data that we
process in the U.S. equity markets. So I don't look at that as an immediate solution for a problem that we actually don't have.
We process 80 billion messages in a day. That's pretty significant and that's part of why you've seen that evolution and technology be implemented
into the market. People can't process 80 billion messages but neither can blockchain.
So that's something that, you know, you want to first focus on what are we trying to achieve? Are there ways that we can strengthen the market? And
is there technology out there that can help us do that and not the reverse? Doesn't mean that there's not a place for those things in certain aspects
of our businesses.
SREENIVASAN: Recently, there was a big splash with Spotify doing a direct listing, going directly to the public without underwriters and so forth.
And I think Slack has also filed similarly, paperwork for -- to do that. Is that something that's going to become more common?
CUNNINGHAM: That's really an interesting phenomenon. So when Spotify decided to become a public company last year, they saw the value that the
public markets provide.
So if you think about what do you get from a public listing, there are a lot of benefits. One is you can raise money and there are -- we have the
deepest markets for raising money.
Two, it helps raise the awareness and brand and visibility of your company, which helps you attract more investors and more customers. So if you're
looking to grow your business with some of the public companies that we hear from want the good housekeeping stamp of approval of being public.
Third, it provides a depth of liquidity, you know. So you want a lot of access to buyers and sellers. It's like jumping into a swimming pool where
there's plenty to go around and so you don't get that in the private markets quite the same way.
And then fourth, it also provides a way -- by having a stock, you can engage in M&A and so you can buy other companies and use your stock as a
currency to be able to do those things.
So Spotify didn't need to raise money and they didn't need the brand visibility. They didn't need those first two things but they were
interested in having an opportunity for their employees and early investors to be able to trade the stock and to be able to use the stock to
potentially merge or partner with other companies.
So, because they didn't need those first two things, they thought, hey, I'm going to take a different path and we're not going to go with the
traditional IPO. They just wanted to start trading as a public company one day.
So we worked on that for a year and a half with them. And now, as you mentioned, Slack is following in their footsteps. It's interesting for
companies to say, what do I actually need to achieve and do I need to use the traditional solutions or can I try something new?
I don't think it becomes the norm because some of those companies do want the first two items and they are more interested in having the traditional
roadshow with banks that help them through that process. So, I don't think it's going to replace the norm but I certainly do think we'll see other
companies trying that out.
SREENIVASAN: There's also been concern over the past few years about what most people don't recognize, dark pools. This idea that there's actually a
huge chunk of trading that's going on, not on the New York Stock Exchange or not in NASDAQ, not some place where you can track it publicly but buyers
and sellers are kind of quietly meeting somewhere else.
And consumers like us don't really have any visibility into what type of transaction's happening back there. How do we figure out how to work with
CUNNINGHAM: Yes, I think you're right. A lot of people don't realize how the markets have changed. So traditionally, stocks mostly traded wherever
they were listed and now they can trade across a number of different exchanges and dark pools.
Roughly, 40 percent of the market is trading in those dark pools that you reference or not on public exchanges. And when I say public exchanges,
we're showing our prices out to the world. So when you go log into your online brokerage account and you want to see what the value is of a stock,
you're seeing the highest price bid and the lowest offer and, like, what's that quote in that stock. That's being set by the exchanges.
Then those other venues are taking those prices to match trades themselves elsewhere so they're not actually contributing to determining what the
value is of a security. So it's important that we balance the benefits of having both on exchange and off-exchange trading.
And there are benefits to having off-exchange trading. When you're a very large investor, you don't want to move the market too much by saying that
you're going to be a buyer [13:50:00] of a large size. So that gives them some anonymity where they can sort of get things done over a period of time
without moving the market too much.
So -- but there's a balance, right? And I think at 40 percent, we start to worry about the integrity of the public prices and making sure that it is
really reflective of supply and demand because that's critical. So we spend a lot of time in D.C. with the SEC and others making sure that it's
understood how important it is that that public price does reflect what's best for investors.
SREENIVASAN: And it seems like that's one of those things where investors are going to say, you know what, this is all stuff that's happening in the
high rollers room in Vegas, I'm never really going to see that. And maybe someone comes out and flashes their million-dollar chip but I don't know
whether I'm going to get the best price based on what these big shots did overnight.
CUNNINGHAM: Yes. I think without getting too far into the weeds, many of those investors are trading in the dark pools themselves, even if they
don't know it, right. So their broker is trading in those places.
I think what -- where I get concerned and frankly, we've been very vocal around some of the policy decisions that are being made by the SEC will
actually skew even more to the dark. And in February, we announced that we're suing them because of some of the changes that they're proposing that
we think will lead to worse prices for investors at the end of the day but a better experience for dark pools versus exchanges.
And we want to make sure that we're not continuing the trend of putting more benefits to trading in the dark versus in the light. You're taking
more risk when you're showing the world what you're doing and raising your hand and saying, hey, here are my prices.
You're taking some risk for that. And so we want to make sure that people still have the right incentives to do that.
SREENIVASAN: How do we increase access, only about one percent of all the companies in the world are actually on the exchanges. Sometimes you're
limited by which exchange they're on or sometimes you're limited by, let's say, what access your broker has to those shares and stocks and so forth.
But how do we encourage more people to be in this public sphere?
CUNNINGHAM: I think it's balancing between the benefits of being a public company and the additional obligations. So the reason why we have
obligations on public companies is to make sure that investors are protected, right.
And that there's a -- when they're listed on an exchange, there's a certain level of standards that they've met and that's part of what our listing
grants them is that, yes, you've complied with these rules. But they also, then, get the benefit of the liquidity of the public markets and all of the
benefits that they get there and the discipline and governance that comes from being a public company.
So there's a lot of good that comes from being public. But if you continue to add on to those obligations, whether they're regulations that they need
to meet or in more recently, we're getting a lot of requests for them to meet certain standards around environmental issues or social issues, and
that's where we get concerned that if we build the number of restrictions on public companies, companies will just stay private.
SREENIVASAN: You know, because interestingly, this sort of information marketplace, we're seeing social platforms and others start to make
decisions on what type of speech do they want to regulate, what kind of companies should I host, right?
So if you're a site that's spewing horrible, venomous stuff, now there are credit card processing companies, there are social networks that are just
saying you're not going to be on our system. The New York Stock Exchange is not Facebook but you are a platform for these places. Is there a
threshold where you say, this is not a company that we want to be listing?
CUNNINGHAM: I think what's really important and I think it's appropriate for those companies to make decisions based on their own stakeholders of
what companies they might want to do business with or how they want to approach their customer base and what they want to allow, entirely
For me, our mission is to make sure investors have access to the most options, so we're not going to say those companies can't be public. If
they comply with the laws and they comply with our listing standards, they'll be listed.
SREENIVASAN: Because if they're so horrible, basically the markets will speak.
CUNNINGHAM: Market forces should determine, right. People should put their money in with the businesses they want to support and that they stand
SREENIVASAN: There was a recent poll about millennials in investing, now slightly more than a third of them under 35 are not investing in the stock
markets. Does that pose any sort of a long-term challenge for you?
CUNNINGHAM: Yes. I think there's a little bit of a PR issue for the stock market. I think people feel like the financial markets in general, you
know, are not about helping people.
And so I think that's something that I think is important for us to make sure people recognize the value that they can get and the value that they
serve to society. And that's a good -- it's a good thing.
I do think we see a lot of younger people leveraging new investment tools like ETFs, right. They're certainly active in the ETF space or they have
access to things they may not have access to before.
So I'm not overly concerned but I think it's something that we need to make sure we're prioritizing. What is the story of the financial markets and
how do they serve the public in a helpful and productive way and not just, you know, [13:55:00] about the wealthy?
SREENIVASAN: Best case scenario, 10 years out, 15 years out, what do stock markets in the world look like?
CUNNINGHAM: I think our underlying mission is the same. Helping investors plan for the futures. Helping companies raise money. We do that in
different ways than we did 10 years ago or 20 years ago and I think that will continue to evolve but I think the mission stays the same.
SREENIVASAN: All right. Stacey Cunningham, thank you so much.
CUNNINGHAM: Thank you.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
AMANPOUR: And it will be fascinating to see how the markets evolve as this millennial generation flexes its economic muscle.
But that's it for now. Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.