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Interview with 22-Time Tennis Grand Slam Champion Rafael Nadal; Interview with "Avenue 5" and "Veep" Creator and "The Death of Stain" Director Armando Iannucci; Interview with "Infinite Folds" Artist and "I Always Knew: A Memoir" Author Barbara Chase-Riboud. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired November 24, 2022 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. And welcome to "Amanpour". Today, we bring you some of our favorite interviews
of the Year. Here is what is coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rafa. Rafa.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Thanksgiving with the man who very well could be the greatest of all time. My conversation with the comeback king, Rafael Nadal, as the
tennis legend cemented his career triumph. Then, the man who spends politically chaos into gold. "Veep" creator, Armando Iannucci, talks about
his current series, "Avenue Five". And finally, the monumental Barbara Chase-Riboud, amid one of her many retrospectives, we discuss the thrilling
life that shaped this African American artist.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
November marks the end of this year's tennis season, and what a 2022 it has been. From idols like Roger Federer and Serena Williams, "Evolving away
from the sport", to heroes of old like Rafael Nadal making unbelievable comebacks.
The Spanish king of clay laid claim to being the best ever this year, winning his 22nd Grand Slam at the French Open, extending an all-time
record. It's a road he started down when he won his first slam, also in France, at just 19 years old in 2005. And here's our conversation after he
won in Paris for an unbeatable record, 14th time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Rafael Nadal, welcome to the program.
RAFAEL NADAL, 22-TIME TENNIS GRAND SLAM CHAMPION: Thank you very much. Hello.
AMANPOUR: You know, there's so many superlatives, the greatest of all time, inspiring, unique. The only word I can think of is hallucinatory.
What you produced these two weeks, it's -- it defies reason, it defies logic, it defies physics. Do you believe that?
NADAL: Well, I've been -- yes, an interesting two weeks. Emotional two weeks we went through, yes, a little bit of everything. But at the end,
things finishes in the best way possible now. So, yes, I can't be happier and I can't be more thankful to everyone because of their support and the
love that I received during the both weeks had been unforgettable.
AMANPOUR: A lot of love. And there is the cup -- I mean, there we have it.
AMANPOUR: A great trophy. 14 times, 22 Grand Slams, a whole load of other, you know, U.S. Open, Australian Open, two Olympic gold medals. Are you
ready to declare, or at least have people say that you are now the greatest of all time? You wouldn't agree when I asked you last time.
NADAL: I honestly don't think much about that. And from the bottom of my heart, I really don't care that much, you know? I mean, I -- I think it
doesn't matter. You know, I think we achieved their dreams. I achieved my dream and I enjoy what I am doing here. I understand the question and I
know that the press and people is always carrying a lot about this stuff. But in some way, I know I'm an important part of the history of this sport,
you know. And that makes me feel proud, happy, and at the end, it doesn't matter much.
AMANPOUR: When you came off the court yesterday, in your on-court speech, you said, I never thought that at 36 years old and with all these injuries
that I would be in this position. And we see your, you know, your fingers bandage, like, Muhammad Ali after he takes his boxing gloves off. We see
your feet and you're limping today. It is an amazing achievement because you, yourself, said and you turn to your team saying, I did not think I
would be here. What then -- what made you achieve this?
NADAL: Well, yes, it's unexpected. The last couple of years have been very difficult. After the pandemic, something happened in my foot. And I am not
able to manage the pain to play often and even practice. And in the past, I have a lot of things, you know. Starting from the foot for the first time
in 2005, then, of course, the knees have been a big issue for me for such a long time. Then a couple of times I broke my wrists. I don't know.
But the only thing that I can say is going through all this, probably, challenges. I always hold the passion for -- keep going, you know. And I
always held the love for the game, you know. And I always wanted to keep going and that's -- that's probably why I am in the position that I am
AMANPOUR: So, because you've just said that, you always wanted to keep going. You know there was a whole load of gossip, innuendo, or rumor that
you might announce retirement. And in particular if you hadn't one, you might announce your retirement. Clearly you haven't done that. And you're
to Wimbledon, if you can
NADAL: Nothing changed for me, winning or losing, it don't change my mind in that case, you know. It's all about having the chance to be happy
playing tennis or not. And if the pain is impossible to manage, then you cannot be happy because live and go on court, and in the practice days
without having the chance to practice in a -- not in a fantastic way, but in a decent way, then for me, it doesn't make sense, you know.
So, I never had in my mind to announce any retirement after this event. But of course, there is a possibility that the things are not improving. Then I
don't know what can I --
AMANPOUR: So, you have a syndrome. Is it called Mueller-Weiss syndrome on your feet?
AMANPOUR: What does that actually do? And you yesterday that you had to inject your feet to numb them to play the final. Was it just that one day
or did you have to do it throughout these two weeks?
NADAL: No, I did it every -- I had to do every single day.
NADAL: Because if not, I was not able to -- I will not be able to give myself a chance to compete well, you know. Three weeks ago, I played in
Rome, and I -- after one set and a half, I started to play on one leg, because I was not able to run at all, you know. So, let's see. I am just
super happy about the things that happened. But of course, I need to keep finding solutions for that.
AMANPOUR: So, I think it was your coach, I think it was Carlos Moya who said that at this time, at this time in your career, yes, you have to
manage the pain and you have to see how -- where that leads you. But in terms of tennis, you've got it. I mean, you've obviously got that down.
There's nothing more you that can achieve in the technical side. That it's all about the mind now.
NADAL: Well, I always think that there is room to keep improving. I understand the sport that way, you know. Every time that I go on a
practice, I go with the goal of improving something, you know. And that's the way that I understand the sport. For me to make sense, just practice
for practice, you know. When I go to practice, I go with determination to improve something, and that's the way that I approached with all on my
Of course, today, the physical issue is -- makes the difference, you know. Because if I am healthy, I can practice the proper way, I am happy, I enjoy
what I am doing. Of course, this year I am playing well. So, then the chances are increasing.
AMANPOUR: But when you're in the -- I don't know, the Australian Open final, and you're two sets down, and you're playing the guy who won the
U.S. Open final, what goes through your mind? Even here, you were -- like, when you played Felix Auger-Aliassime, I was there. I watched it. And it
was very touch and go.
NADAL: Well, on my --
AMANPOUR: What a steel trap do you --
NADAL: -- on my mind is normal thing that I lose. But if I lose, let the opponent win me, you know.
AMANPOUR: Beat you.
NADAL: Beat you, exactly.
AMANPOUR: So, he's -- they still have to beat you.
AMANPOUR: You're not going to let anything go.
NADAL: I don't have to lose. You know, I don't have to give -- I don't have to put the things easy for the opponent, you know. And in my mind,
it's OK. Things are super difficult, but let's keep trying to find a solution, you know, let's keep trying to find a way to play a little bit
better. To make the opponent fell -- feel a little bit more uncomfortable. I don't know, just try to fight mentally and in terms of tennis, of course.
AMANPOUR: You have a reputation of being just a good guy. You have a reputation of being humble. You're always generous. Where does that come
from? Where did that come from in your youth or in your experience as a winner?
NADAL: Well, I think I grew up with -- I think with good values, you know. I think my family. I never felt pressured from my family to play
tennis. I always felt the pressure from my family to be educated, to be respectful, not to win, honestly.
And that helps, you know. And I think I had the right people next to me during all of my life. And I am -- I think I am a guy that listened a lot.
Look around and tried to take the things that I like from the people, you know. And because of tennis, I think, I was able to live experiences that I
will never enjoy without tennis, you know. And know people, know different parts of the world. And in that case, you see how fortunate we are for all
of the things that were able to live.
AMANPOUR: You must feel some joy at beating Federer and Djokovic in terms of the Grand Slams.
AMANPOUR: Can you take some joy?
NADAL: Yes, of course.
NADAL: No, no. Of course, I -- as I said, of course, I want to be the player with more Grand Slams of the history, that's competition. But it's
not something that I am upset at all and it's not something that, honestly, changed my mind, you know. And isn't -- I'm --
AMANPOUR: Maybe that's how you keep achieving.
NADAL: You never know. But honestly, it's something that not bothers me, Novak win 23, and I stay with 22. I think my happiness will not change at
all. Not even one percent, you know, so.
AMANPOUR: So, people like McEnroe and Mats Wilander, and others have been saying, never again. This is never -- this record will never be touched. It
will never be broken, specifically the 14 French Opens. A, do you agree with that?
NADAL: I -- difficult to say but from myself, no. But -- I mean, I always have something in mind. That I always consider myself a very normal guy.
So, if I did it, maybe somebody else can do it. But it's obvious that the record of 22 Grand Slams, I think, is much more possible that somebody
increase that record. I am sure that going to happen. I mean, 14 Ronald Garros is something -- I mean, very difficult. I don't know, because --
NADAL: I know.
AMANPOUR: Very. very difficult. And you love Roland Garros. You always say that it's your favorite but I understand that clay is the toughest surface
to play. So, tell me about what it takes to win on clay.
NADAL: Well, clay in terms of physical demanding, yes, it is the toughest. Because in terms of tactics too, because you have more time to think, you
have more time to prepare the point. And in some way, I think it's -- in the surface that allows you to play aggressive or play defensive, you know.
You have different chances. But I love to play in every single surface, you know. I --
AMANPOUR: On all the surfaces.
NADAL: I enjoyed a lot playing on grass during all of my life, on hard, too. Even sometimes the hard court is a little bit tougher for my foot,
honestly. But I don't know, I like tennis in general in every surface. And that's one of the beautiful things that we have in our sport, that to be a
great player, you need to improve your game in very different circumstances.
AMANPOUR: Passing the torch is a big thing, you know, and we've seen a lot of young great players come up. And then they meet you, whatever round it
is, and that's it. I thought it was really sweet when Casper Ruud said yesterday, I'm not his first victim here. But he's also -- you're his hero.
When he came up, he said through your Nadal Academy. What do you think when you're playing somebody like that who clearly is, you know, hero
worshipping you but also wondering about where the torch is going to go? Do you ever think about that?
NADAL: Well, in some ways it's normal because we are old. So, it's normal that the young players --
AMANPOUR: But that's what makes it abnormal. That you are old -- I'm sorry, you're not. But for tennis --
NADAL: For tennis, yes.
AMANPOUR: -- and you're still winning.
NADAL: Well, yes. And for me, is something very beautiful that today I can still be competitive against players that -- they are young and they watch
us play on TV when they are growing, you know, is something that -- it's beautiful. I think it's beautiful for them. It's beautiful for us. And
that's a good combination, you know, generations are facing each other, I think creates something specials.
AMANPOUR: Now, I want to ask you about the war in Ukraine and the fact that Wimbledon, for instance, has banned Belarusian and Russian athletes.
Do you have a view on that?
NADAL: Well, first of all, the world of tennis is zero. So, when you see plenty of families, kids dying, suffering, then the rest of the things
doesn't matter, you know. It doesn't matter if Wimbledon do one thing or another thing or if ATP does or do one thing or another thing because the
real thing and the real drama is that people is dying, you know. And a lot of families are suffering, that is the main thing.
The rest other thing, doesn't matter. But of course, if you ask them about the position of Wimbledon, I -- from my humble point of view, I have a
clear view. I understand what Wimbledon did. I respect what Wimbledon did because it's something that, from my point of view, is fair enough because
they have, in some way, the pressure of the government and they have the point of view. But from the ATP side, they have to protect their members
too, you know.
NADAL: So, it's not about what Wimbledon did is terrible and what ATP did is the right thing. No, I think both ways, both things are good. Everyone
is defending their interest and I respect both things. And nothing is better than the other but, in that case, I have my colleagues on the tour
that I know them very well that they can't say much, honestly. But they have --
AMANPOUR: Like Medvedev and others.
NADAL: Exactly. But they, for sure, don't have nothing to do with the war, you know. And they can't do anything. So -- and they are not in favor of
AMANPOUR: Here, there was a little bit of controversy that, for instance, those who pay for the prime-time slots, the TV slots, mostly chose men's
matches. I think there's might have only been one in the evening, one female match, and there's been some calls to level it out a bit, put more
female matches on in the evening. Where do you stand on that?
NADAL: I don't think that's the case. It's always a lot of talk about the equal and stuff and I think prize money is equal, matches on the center
courts are equal. Two matches per day, women, two matches per day. Men, during the day that is when the women are playing two matches and the men
are playing only one match. The television, it's open, you know. We see the matches on TV in open channel, in France television, for example. During
the night you see in a private broadcast. So, not everybody is allowed to watch our matches during the night sessions. So, from --
AMANPOUR: So, you think it kind of equals out?
NADAL: So, my -- from my perspective is if I have to say what I think, it's -- we have to find the right balance, it's -- we are losing more than
the women in that case. Because the women are showing two matches in an open broadcast for everyone. So, everyone in the world can see more women
matches than men matches.
AMANPOUR: And what about you? Do you prefer playing at night or do you prefer playing in the day? There was a lot of talk about when you play
Djokovic? It was --
NADAL: Oh, yes. Well, depending on the place. You know, for example, U.S. Open, night session is amazing. I like to play there, you know. But Roland
Garros, for us, well, I had been playing in Roland Garros for -- in 17 years. So, I know Roland Garros during the day. So, you like to play in the
conditions that you are used to playing, you know. Since the beginning that I played the U.S. Open, I know the U.S. Open for the night sessions too.
But not here.
AMANPOUR: Do you think you'll play the U.S. Open? I ask because it's a hard surface, and you're talking your feet and things.
NADAL: If I am --
AMANPOUR: If you can, you will.
NADAL: Of course.
AMANPOUR: And, I guess, finally, what makes Rafael Nadal happy? What makes you -- beyond tennis?
NADAL: Well, first of all, the good health of myself, of course, and the people that I love. And because without health, the rest of the things are
impossible, you know. And I am not talking about injuries, no. I am talking general health, you know.
NADAL: Then, I think I am lucky that I have my friends since I was a kid, the same group of friends, a very close family next to me. I don't know.
Share moments with the people that I like is what really makes me feel happy.
AMANPOUR: Rafael Nadal, thank you so much.
NADAL: Thank you very much.
AMANPOUR: Congratulations on make history. Thanks for being with us.
NADAL: Thanks so much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And since that interview, Nadal has embarked on a whole another journey, becoming a father for the first time. Now, to the world of TV and
film. This year has seen more political twists and turns than most from nail biting midterms elections in the U.S. to Britain's 45-day prime
It's this kind of chaos that fuels creative mind of Armando Iannucci. Beloved for his comedies that poke fun at the absurdity of politics and
society in works like, "The Thick of It", "Veep", and "The Death of Stalin". For his latest show, he leaves planet Earth with "Avenue Five".
It's a sitcom about a tour spaceship thrown off course. I spoke to him about season two amid a time of political chaos here in the U.K. just after
British Leader, Liz Truss, released the economic policy that spooked market, would crash the pound, and spell her doom.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Armando Iannucci, welcome back to the program.
ARMANDO IANNUCCI, CREATOR, "AVENUE 5": Good to be back.
AMANPOUR: Your finger is on every pulse all the time and it has been a very dramatic week, shall we say, in Britain --
AMANPOUR: -- even in Italy, around the world.
AMANPOUR: What do you make of the pound crashing, the new prime minister, and I'm going to ask you that because, you know --
IANNUCCI: There's a lot --
AMANPOUR: It --
IANNUCCI: -- there's a lot going on.
AMANPOUR: -- it's a lot going on.
IANNUCCI: That's -- I mean, it's like things are happening faster than in the last season of "Game of Thrones." I mean, it's -- and that was hard to
keep up with.
IANNUCCI: This is just non-stop. I -- you know, we haven't really worked out who Liz Truss is. But already was saying but she must go.
AMANPOUR: And you obviously made your name with satirizing British politics.
AMANPOUR: In "The Thick of It" but also, also the day to day. And we have a very, very apt clip regarding money. Here we're going to play it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Bank of England is in chaos following the discovery that the pound has been stolen. As the news broke, trading rooms were
plunged into chaos. Even seasoned campaigners known for grace under pressure reduced to squawking the days panicked cry --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's happening?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- what's happening? The pound was stolen at 1:30 this afternoon by thieves dressed as cleaners. They drove a white Montego.
Helicopter police gave chase. Helicopter police gave chase. But despite the shunt, the men escaped making good with their legs across open ground.
IANNUCCI: We made that about 30 years ago.
AMANPOUR: Did you ever imagine that actually the pound would literally be stolen 30 years later? I mean, it's slumped.
IANNUCCI: And then we do -- I mean, we do -- we did things like "The Thick of It" where you knew -- you try and picture the worst that could happen.
And then it's depressing after you've betrayed it that someone rings up from my home and says, how did you find that out? And you realize, oh, it
did happen. You know, we're trying to project the fantastical. But when beyond fantasy actually happens in real life, I think it's time to stop.
AMANPOUR: Well, your portrayals have been pretty skewering of politicians and spin doctors, but there's an earnestness to a lot of your characters.
AMANPOUR: Do you feel this slot is earnest?
IANNUCCI: No -- I mean, I want politics to work. That's why I spent a lot of time doing things like "The Thick of It" and "Veep" because I -- you
know, I want to show where has it gone wrong? Where are the frustrations? And what can we do about it? I mean, I'm always asking the viewer, what
would you do if you were in that position?
I think that at the moment though, we now have a generation of politicians who have grown up kind of cost playing politics. You know, I'm sure Liz
Truss wants to be Prime Minister since the age of six, probably had a poster of Margaret Thatcher up on her wall, and practiced speeches, you
know, into a kind of hair dryer.
AMANPOUR: They say she was a Liberal Democrat.
IANNUCCI: She was a -- yes, yes.
IANNUCCI: Until about 20 or 21. So, yes, she's run the whole gamut of center-right policy initiatives over the decades. But I think they grew up
wanting to fulfill that role of Prime Minister the way some people say they want to be a celebrity when they grew up. They don't quite know what it
means. It just looks interesting. And I think it's a performance towards that. So, on the way there, they don't actually pick up the knowledge,
wisdom, skill and experience that's required for a job.
AMANPOUR: Well, actually even worse, because from their own mouths, remember during Brexit, the actual idea was to dis experts.
AMANPOUR: Remember Michael Gove.
AMANPOUR: The British people have had enough of experts.
IANNUCCI: We've had enough of experts. Well, I think we've now had enough of non-experts, really, because what's happened is the sort of the amateur
dramatic version of politicians are now in power. And they don't quite -- they can't quite handle the script that had been given.
AMANPOUR: What about the script in your other land? Italy, your party Italian as well. You tweeted on Sunday that you weren't thrilled with the
Italian result. So, how concerned are you? You said, I started the weekend a depressed Brit and now I ended a depressed Italian. Can't wait for
AMANPOUR: You know, some people can't say these times are just way too ridiculous even to satirize, or way too serious, even to satirize.
IANNUCCI: Yes. I think we've got to not see it as ridiculous. we've got to start seeing it as worrying, you know. And that's not to say that people
are wrong to vote the way they do. I think it's about asking ourselves, why are more and more people feeling so frustrated? So, frustrated with the,
you know, mainstream politics, that they feel the only way they can vent their anger and frustration is by going to, you know, certain load or
That's the reason I made "The Death of Stalin" was I thought, we grew up thinking that democracy is fixed and preserved, you know, and it will stay
there forever. It isn't. It has to be defended and renewed all the time. You have to encourage more and more people to participate in democracy.
AMANPOUR: I don't know how you would describe Putin, but given that you did that film then, and all the hallmarks of bowing to a dictator seem to
be on display right now in Russia around Putin.
IANNUCCI: Yes, yes.
AMANPOUR: Not telling him the truth. Again, it's really prescient.
IANNUCCI: And it's like very soviet. It's like, you know, the announcement of the results of referendum, you know, they -- were back in the days of 93
percent of the population faulting to go with Russia. Even in areas where Russian doesn't fully control, somehow a magical 93 percent were persuaded
at the very last minute of the argument to vote.
It's -- and I mean, "The Death of Stalin" was, you know, it was about events in 1953. I actually shot quite a bit of it in Kyiv, in Ukraine. And
one of the saddest things was we shot a scene where people are getting on the train to try and get to Stalin's funeral. And that was shot at the
station in Kyiv where I then watched on the news on CNN, people at the station in Kyiv trying to get on the train to get out of Kyiv. And I just
thought, this shouldn't be happening now. This was a film we made trying to remind people of what happened 70 years ago.
AMANPOUR: So, I wanted to pick up on that because0 you said all your satire is about trying to defend democracy --
AMANPOUR: and try to promote it. How? I mean for those who think you're just ridiculing it, for instance, let me just do a for instance for you.
So, in "Veep," Selina Meyer's campaign slogan of continuity with change was later used by the Australian politician Malcolm Turnbull, who became prime
minister, continuity and change.
AMANPOUR: Was that an accident or do you think you took it from that?
IANNUCCI: I -- it was a --
AMANPOUR: And what does it mean even?
IANNUCCI: It was an unfortunate accident. I mean, that's the thing that -- you know, if people maybe criticized me for denigrating politics. My answer
to that is always, look, I want it to work. You know, I -- the fact that politician's cop y our phrases is not my fault, you know. It'd be different
if I was copying their phrases in our shows.
The fact that we come up with something stupid and yet someone there arbitrarily and randomly decides to use that seriously, then that's on
them, that's not on me. One of the reasons I stopped doing "The Thick of It" was because phrases of it started turning up in Parliament. We had this
AMANPOUR: Omnishambles, yes.
IANNUCCI: Which was used about the budgets and various other things. So, I am now reaching that point where I think I don't want to be doing a kind of
perpetual joke about politics as it was. I actually much more -- I'm much more serious about wanting to persuade people to take a good hard look at
politics and ask themselves what is going wrong? What are we fighting for? Why do politicians not connect with us?
AMANPOUR: You said, you'd -- you kind of had enough maybe of ridiculing politics and making that a joke?
IANNUCCI: Well, on a sort of day-to-day detail basis.
AMANPOUR: Yes. But now you've changed to putting your joke lens on space travel.
AMANPOUR: "Avenue 5."
IANNUCCI: "Avenue 5" ascent in the near future, it's a space tourism is taken off, there's a cruise liner 6,000 people. The journey is meant to
take eight weeks. Something goes wrong. If you just get knocked off course by just 0.1 of a degree, it can make a huge difference. They're stuck for
So, suddenly, you're stuck in a very pleasant large, you know, floating hotel with 6,000 other people but for a long time. So, what do you do?
Who's in charge? How to structure work? What's the class system? Does the economy class, coach class, first class disaster?
You know, can you pull all the branding off your hotel room because you're going to be living in it the next day? You know, who comes up with the
rules? Is the law and order? Who are the police?
AMANPOUR: And what about conspiracy theories? I want to play a --
AMANPOUR: -- clip from season --
AMANPOUR: -- one.
AMANPOUR: Which is this one. And it's really very, very, very good.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mike? It's VFX guys, visual effects. It's a projection. It's not even very good ones. That guy is going to be headed to
the greenroom any minute now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, the green room.
HUGH LAURIE, ACTOR, "AVENUE 5": No, no. What are you talking about?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's going to go the greenroom. It's fine.
LAURIE: He's a desiccated man. We just saw a man become desiccated.
AMANPOUR: That's Hugh Laurie, obviously, as --
AMANPOUR: -- the captain of the ship. But that's again, the relationship of people to truth and to conspiracies.
IANNUCCI: Yes. I mean, that was made, in fact, went out just before the pandemic reached that point where people were starting to say there is no
pandemic. I demand --
AMANPOUR: And people started saying that already when you made that?
IANNUCCI: Not when we made it --
IANNUCCI: -- but when it was going out. Demanded to be -- for shops to open up so that they could go shopping and tear off their masks. And, you
know, it's all -- you know, there's no -- there's -- it's, you know, it's all been made up. It's a conspiracy to do as though. What gives us the
idea? I mean, we just -- life, you know, it's -- you see these habits forming, you see patterns forming. Groupthink is becoming such a thing.
You know, we saw it in the rise of, not just Trump but Bolsonaro in Brazil, Erdogan in Turkey, the populist leader who can whip people up, and we can
see, you know, and it's reminiscent of the 1930s in Europe. The -- you know, people who are desperate after depression, want someone to come along
and say, I have the magic solution.
AMANPOUR: But it's also about truth and I think that's one of the --
AMANPOUR: -- most serious victims, if anything, these days.
IANNUCCI: This is -- I mean, this is the most serious thing, which is where we are now. We're in a position where what we believe is equated with
what we know. So, evidence is just one part of the whole equation really. You know what you feel. And if you feel something is true, then that's as
valid as it being true. That's -- which then means it's very difficult to know what is true and what isn't true.
AMANPOUR: So, now series two --
AMANPOUR: -- is season two is out.
IANNUCCI: In season two, we discovered that there's now a TV show back on Earth, trying to imagine what life must be like up in space. And then
people start believing the TV show more than -- and behavior in space is affected by how they're portrayed on Earth. And the TV show on earth is
affected by, you know, how people of it.
So, it's the whole business of like, what is true, what is real? Are we just absorbing. The thing we did in the pandemic was absorb itself in
streaming content, just to kind of take a might, you know, are we just drowning in our own entertainment rig?
AMANPOUR: Do you think that people got may be more susceptible to all of this sort of conspiracy theories and questioning the truth during the
pandemic because of what you're saying --
IANNUCCI: There's an element of that. The fact that we're all --
AMANPOUR: -- we -- in vibe (ph) so much?
IANNUCCI: Yes, we're all isolated and yet strangely connected in that we're going through the same experience. We're all watching to take our
minds off it. We're watching dramas and comedies and music and wherever. But also, we have a lot of time on our hands.
AMANPOUR: You mentioned your mother, and you mentioned COVID. And I know that she passed away --
IANNUCCI: Yes, on the days of --
AMANPOUR: -- during COVID?
IANNUCCI: Yes, not because of that.
IANNUCCI: But like a lot of people who were suffering from dementia, she was in a -- she was 93.
IANNUCCI: As soon as things shut down, that social interaction was gone. And I think a lot of people switched off. I think that was a fairly common
event early on in the days of the pandemic.
AMANPOUR: Were you able to see her? Were you able to say goodbye?
IANNUCCI: I was -- we had to say goodbye on FaceTime, you know? I had an inkling as things were about to shut that I might not see her again. So, I
went to see her. We had a long, long very good chat. But I think, you know, I'm not bitter about it, because I think she had a long --
IANNUCCI: -- healthy life.
AMANPOUR: 93 years.
IANNUCCI: I'd rather she hadn't gone through, you know, what was about to happen. I think a lot of people had far more terrible experiences. They had
loved ones taken from them very early, that they couldn't be with, you know? And I think there's that -- and I don't think we have yet reached the
point where we can process that, because it's still ongoing.
I think we will process it. And I think, you know, what happened in the U.K. with Boris Johnson and his parties, I think that will not be
forgotten, irrespective of who the Conservative Prime Minister is going to the next election. I think that's something that's still lodged in a lot of
AMANPOUR: I was going to ask you what impact, if any, your mother had, or what influence on your work, your life.
IANNUCCI: Well, I mean, my father was -- you know, he died in his 50s. But he was actually a partisan in the -- in Italy at a young age. He was 16,
17. And I remember him saying that, you know, two things are important, education and democracy are the most important things in life, you know?
And there was someone who had a very early age had to decide. Had to make some tough decisions about what he was going to do, you know.
And again, go back to what I was saying earlier, we expected in 2020s, those huge moral decisions are not ones that we have to face, like the, you
know, the generation, my mom's generation, who lived through the Second World War, and then had to, you know, deal with the after effects of that.
We think we don't have to deal with that. But we look at what's happening in Ukraine. And it --
IANNUCCI: -- and it's certainly at our doorstep and say it's happening now, because we haven't -- we're not being loud enough.
AMANPOUR: We haven't attended it correctly.
IANNUCCI: In nurturing and renewing democracy.
AMANPOUR: Can I just ask you one thing, actually, one more.
IANNUCCI: Yes, go ahead.
AMANPOUR: There's a whole brouhaha going on in the U.S. and elsewhere about "woke casting."
IANNUCCI: Yes. Yes.
AMANPOUR: So, we talked about it I think when you cast Dev Patel in David Copperfield.
IANNUCCI: That's right. Yes.
AMANPOUR: Yes. And now we see the black actress Halle Bailey who's in "Little Mermaid", she's getting attacked online. Non-white elves being cast
in "Lord of the Rings" also got hit. Did you get hit by the way for David Copperfield?
IANNUCCI: Not --
AMANPOUR: And how do you explain this?
IANNUCCI: Not that I know of. I'm sure if I explored the comments section - -
IANNUCCI: -- on various, you know, online websites. But I don't understand -- you know, a mermaid is a mermaid. A mermaid's breaking news. Mermaids
don't exist. They're fictional. There are no rules as to what a mermaid looks like other than it has a big fin. That's it.
For me, I decided that David Copperfield was a universal story but it's about our hero, David Copperfield, who feels slightly marginalized all the
time. Now, it was about class, but I just thought, there's so much that resonates with a lot of us today. Me, being a, you know, an Italian in
Scotland. A Scott who works in England, a Brit who worked in America. Always that thing of, you know, am I in? Am I out? Where am I?
I think that just resonated with me and it resonates with lots of people. So, I wanted to make a costume drama that felt like it was talking to the
audience out there today, rather than it looked like a historical artifact.
IANNUCCI: Other people will want to do historical accuracy, whatever, that's fine. But to have a golden rule for how mermaids should look or how
elves -- elves also, spoiler, don't exist.
AMANPOUR: Are you sure of that conspiracy theory?
IANNUCCI: I am absolutely sure. No, I am absolutely sure. I've looked at it. I've Googled it. They don't exist.
AMANPOUR: Armando Iannucci, thank you very much indeed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And you can watch "Avenue 5" on HBO and HBO Max.
And finally, a monumental moment with the award winning artist, Barbara Chase-Riboud. A master of her craft since the 1950s. Her staggering
sculptures, like the Malcolm X series, have made her a superstar. But she's also a best-selling author and poet. The life around the work is no less
fascinating. She is a walking history lesson about the literary and cultural giants of her time.
Currently, the subject of several retrospectives across the world. And we met at the Serpentine Gallery here in London, where she's showcasing seven
decades worth of work in an exhibit called "Infinite Folds".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Barbara Chase-Riboud, welcome to our program.
BARBARA CHASE-RIBOUD, AUTHOR, "I ALWAYS KNEW: A MEMOIR" AND ARTIST, "INFINITE FOLDS": I am so happy to be here. Thank you for inviting me.
AMANPOUR: This is an incredible exhibition. I mean, it's monumental and that's not a play on words because you --
CHASE-RIBOUD: There is a play on words.
AMANPOUR: Yes. Why do you call it "Infinite Folds"?
CHASE-RIBOUD: "Infinite Folds" because it means that I can manipulate wax sheets into infinite shapes, infinite creases, plaques, all -- anything you
want to do. And this is very important because it's a technique that can only be used once.
And if you lose your wax, you've lost the sculpture.
CHASE-RIBOUD: So, there's always this angoisse of, you know, is this the last sculpture or is this the first sculpture?
AMANPOUR: So, angoisse is obviously French for anxiety.
CHASE-RIBOUD: So, angoisse is always there, but angoisse is always there with power. And, you know, if you have this kind of power to manipulate the
forms, then it's very tranquil, you know. You calm down.
AMANPOUR: And tranquil means calm.
CHASE-RIBOUD: You calm down. And you keep going. And since I work directly in the foundry, I have all this noise around me and all this activity and
all of this Italian language. But I am so focused on what I am doing until I could be -- you know, I could be in a sound box. I don't hear anything.
AMANPOUR: A lot of these have never been seen publicly. Many are in private collections as well. I just want to ask, you mentioned seven
decades of work. You're in your early 80s now. Are you still manipulating wax and bronze?
CHASE-RIBOUD: You know, people say, are you still -- first of all, are you still alive?
CHASE-RIBOUD: And second of, are you still working?
AMANPOUR: Not working. Working in this intricate and difficult, noisy, tactile way.
CHASE-RIBOUD: Well, I didn't know how long, you know, I'm going to be able to go on. But as long as I can stand, as long as the series keep coming and
the new series that love musicas (ph), you know, Josephine was a big surprise to me.
AMANPOUR: So, let's talk about Josephine, because one of the key sculpture is in this exhibition is Josephine, Josephine Baker, who you obviously
respected and admired as a kid, and then you met. Tell me what Josephine Baker means to you.
CHASE-RIBOUD: Josephine Baker is, you know, an icon like -- exactly like Malcolm X. She is someone who came from nothing, who came from zero, and
who made herself into a world figure, into a world leader. She is, you know, the epitome of invention. She's also the epitome of rhythm and of
movement. Suddenly, I had this idea of doing movement, which is futurist. It is. It is the sort of memorial to a hero.
AMANPOUR: And in this exhibition, there is plenty of African influence, Asian influence, particularly Chinese. I mean, like the color behind me.
CHASE-RIBOUD: Well, yes. Well, you know, it is -- you know, it is the world. And when I made my first big trip, which was to Egypt in 1958, I
realize that, you know, the western world was not the center of the universe. That there was all kinds of civilizations, peoples, and there was
all kinds of sculpture and there was all kinds of architecture. And so, for the first time, I was -- you know, I was amazed at what I found and I just
wanted to gather everything together.
AMANPOUR: You left your own country, you left the United States, I guess, to see other centers of civilization. But why did you move to Europe in the
CHASE-RIBOUD: I was just following my star. I had -- it was not political. It was not necessary. It was simply one step, one step further.
AMANPOUR: It's really interesting that you say it wasn't political and it wasn't necessary. Because Josephine Baker, James Baldwin, a lot of African
American artist did have to leave, or felt they had to leave in order to be appreciated.
CHASE-RIBOUD: Well, they found what they didn't have in the States, which was freedom. Which was --
AMANPOUR: Did you find that?
CHASE-RIBOUD: -- which was freedom, movement. And Josephine came and sort of conquered France. She showed France, they adored her in France. They --
she showed France what movement really was, which is what I wanted to do with Josephine.
I simply wanted, you know, everybody to know who she was, what she came from. This little ragamuffin from St. Louis who didn't -- who was an
orphan, who was dancing in the street for pennies at eight years old.
AMANPOUR: You met -- well, Josephine, we've just talked about her.
CHASE-RIBOUD: I met her.
AMANPOUR: And what was it like meeting her?
CHASE-RIBOUD: It was astounding because it was her last performance in Paris at the Bobino. Four days later, she had died.
CHASE-RIBOUD: And I had been backstage with friends of mine who were, sort of, the opening act of her return to -- her last return because she made
many returns to the theater. And, you know, I saw this little lady. You know, short, fat. And I said -- you know, I said to my friends, this is
Josephine Baker? And she looked at me and she said, wait.
And as soon as the curtains opens, I saw this transformation, which was that sculpture. And she just -- she grew a few feet. She expanded with her
headdress. And there was this goddess, you know, who just -- you know, the curtains opened and the French just went wild, they just went crazy.
AMANPOUR: And you have a sculpture in another room that looks very much like Giacometti like.
AMANPOUR: Very thin and emaciated. It's the Eden, right? Adam and Eve and the canopy.
CHASE-RIBOUD: Well, that was my first with France, with Paris and with surrealism. It was Giacometti. It was Giacometti. And then, I met him
through Henri Cartier-Bresson one day.
AMANPOUR: The great photographer.
CHASE-RIBOUD: And so, it was like -- well, it was like meeting with Josephine Baker. The -- and Giacometti had been, you know, a mentor and a
kind of hero to me since school. And so, I went to his atelier, that was the poorest abitation I have ever seen. It was a shack. The -- it was
beyond poverty. And we walked in and I saw this Egyptian mummy coming towards me, covered in plaster from head to foot with his curly -- white
curly hair with the sort of cigarette smoke coming out of this tombow (ph). And, you know, I was -- that was it.
AMANPOUR: Albert Giacometti, one of the great sculptures of the 20th century.
CHASE-RIBOUD: One of the greatest cultures in the world.
AMANPOUR: And what did you make of James Baldwin? You met him too.
CHASE-RIBOUD: James is a good friend of mine. Longtime friend of mine. The sweetest man I think on earth. And I met him the first time in full mentor
at the Literary Prize that I had -- that we had to cover for "Life Magazine."
And so, that was the first time I met him. And it was -- you know, it was magical. I met -- also, there was Miller, there was Henry Miller. And I
couldn't believe, you know, that I was in -- you know, I was in the presence of the whole literary, European literary scene.
AMANPOUR: Well, which is a beautiful turn into what maybe not many people know that you are polymath, you're not just a drawer and a sculptor, but
you're a poet, and you are a writer. And you've had best-selling novels. Tell me how you got to write the story of Sally Hemings, who keep --
everybody knows was the enslaved -- not wife even, partner of Thomas Jefferson.
CHASE-RIBOUD: That's an accidental history. I found the story of Sally Hemins and I was convinced that it was true. And my idea was to write a
long epic poem about an enslaved girl in Paris at the beginning of the revolution. That was -- you know. And my editor, who was Toni Morrison.
AMANPOUR: Toni Morrison was your editor?
CHASE-RIBOUD: Yes, because she edited the first poetry book. And so, she said, you know, Random House wants a big historical novel. They do not want
a poetry collection. So, you've got to do it.
AMANPOUR: Was Jacqueline Onassis a tall instrumental? She was at Random House and I think she was a friend or yours and she --
AMANPOUR: -- pushed you to do it or no?
CHASE-RIBOUD: She -- the whole story of Jacqueline and me goes back to -- it goes back to '74. And the weekend that I spent with Jacqueline on
Scorpios (ph) with -- looking at the Christina (ph) and sitting on the beach.
AMANPOUR: But it became a best-seller and it was really important --
CHASE-RIBOUD: Well, because --
AMANPOUR: -- part of that historical puzzle.
CHASE-RIBOUD: -- I sat on that beach and I thought, this is the only woman in the world who would know what it is about pillow talk and the power and
the presidency of the United States, she lived it.
AMANPOUR: This is Jacqui Onassis?
CHASE-RIBOUD: Yes. This was Jacqui Onassis. And so, I told her the story and I told her, you know, I don't think I can do this, you know, without
help. And said -- and she turned to me and she said, Barbara -- in her little whispery voice, Barbara, you've got to write this book.
And by the time I had written maybe 100 or 200 pages, Onassis had died and she had taken on a job at Viking as acquiring editor. And so, she kept
calling my agent saying, has Barbara finished this book yet? Has Barbara finished this book yet? And then, one day, you know, I laid it on my
agent's desk and she sent it to Jacqueline and she bought it.
AMANPOUR: And the rest is history?
CHASE-RIBOUD: Which save the book, because nobody knew what was in the book. It was just Jacqueline's little project. You know, it was supposed to
be a coffee table book. And, of course, the surprise came when it became the center of a huge controversy which lasted 38 years.
AMANPOUR: The fact that Thomas Jefferson was kind of outed --
AMANPOUR: -- as having had an enslaved --
AMANPOUR: -- mistress who was the mother of six of his children.
AMANPOUR: And you were the one who put that --
CHASE-RIBOUD: Yes. That's -- I put it on --
AMANPOUR: -- into the history, on the table.
CHASE-RIBOUD: I put it on the page. I put it on the page.
AMANPOUR: Well --
CHASE-RIBOUD: And got hell for it. But in the end, in 1997, the DNA arrives, innocently also, and it was true. And so, everybody had to take a
step backwards, get rid of me because I was -- you know, I was the voice of doom. And so, that's how I made history.
AMANPOUR: It's remarkable.
CHASE-RIBOUD: You know, it's --
AMANPOUR: It's remarkable.
CHASE-RIBOUD: And history is history.
AMANPOUR: It is. So, now, you're writing -- is it your first memoir, "I Always Knew"? It's published.
CHASE-RIBOUD: That too is an accidental -- it's an accident. I found at the death of my mother that she had saved every single letter I wrote from
Europe to her in Philadelphia. And, of course, I didn't realize that she had been doing this to make -- a surprise. And I thought -- you know, I
thought this is the secret, I think this moment that I adore and I finally -- you know, I finally read them and I realized that they were love
letters. They were love letters from me to her and she had kept every single one of them.
AMANPOUR: Barbara Chase-Riboud, thank you very much for being with us.
CHASE-RIBOUD: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And Barbara Chase-Riboud's "Infinite Folds" exhibit is at the Serpentine until the end of January next year. And that is it for the
special addition of our program. Thanks for watching, and goodbye from London.