Return to Transcripts main page
Interview With Kaleidoscope International Trust Executive Director And LGBTQ Plus Activist Phyll Opoku-Gyimah; Interview With "Bad Sister" Actor And Executive Producer Sharon Horgan; Interview With "Spellbound" Singer And Songwriter Judy Collins. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired December 13, 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. Here is what's coming up.
As Africa rises in global influence and President Biden hosts the summit of leaders, the stain of anti-LGBTQ laws clouds progress on the continent.
Correspondent Nima Elbagir reports from Ghana, where a new bill could destroy lives, and activist Lady Phyll joins me on set to share what she's
hearing on the ground. Then.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHARON HORGAN, ACTOR AND EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "BAD SISTERS": Everything bad that could have happened, has happened. Except that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Writer, director, and star, Sharon Horgan, on her dark comedy calmly hit, "Bad Sisters", and other catastrophes. Plus.
AMANPOUR: A simple gift of song from folk music legend, Judy Collins.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
Two events in Washington today tell a story about Americas global priorities. First, President Biden hosts a summit with African leaders to
recognize what the administration calls the continents enormous potential and promise. As not just the U.S. but China, Russia, and Europe, all jockey
for advantage there.
The second important event in D.C. today has the president hosting a signing ceremony for the Respect for Marriage Act, the bipartisan bill that
requires the federal government to recognize same-sex marriage across the country.
Meantime, in Africa, there is a gaping human rights hole where homosexuality is outlawed in many countries, like Ghana. So, while their
presidents visit the White House, a draconian new bill being debated at home would criminalize, not just same-sex conduct, but any support of LGBTQ
rights. If it becomes law, it could spark new surveillance and new violence against an already marginalized community.
And what makes this new bill particularly problematic, correspondent, Nima Elbagir reveals how U.S. and western aid donors who pledged to support gay
rights have also funded supporters of this controversial bill. And in recent years, at least $5 million in aid from Europe and in the United
States went to projects involving churches in Ghana whose leaders have a long track record of hateful rhetoric against this community. Nima and her
team traveled to Ghana to see the human cost. And their report is part of CNN's ongoing series on gender inequality called "As Equals".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): The Jamestown Lighthouse in the capital Accra overlooks the
Atlantic. The historic gold coast inexorably tied by the slave trade and Christian missionaries to the American shoreline, an ocean away. Ties that
remain to this day. Today, the nearby market is a busy and vibrant.
ELBAGIR (on camera): This is the beating heart of Accra, you can buy pretty much anything here. And here, like much of the capital, the spirit
of God, the word of God, is omnipresent.
ELBAGIR (voiceover): And you can see its influence in all corners in this religiously conservative society.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The usherers of the LGBTQI Plus movement are completely at variance with the laws and principles of the almighty God.
ELBAGIR (voiceover): A national prayer rally entitled, Homosexuality, a Detestable Sin to God. But it's also across mainstream TV.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): In this country, I am going to say it, they will say it's hate speech. If you find any gay person in your
neighborhood stone them to death.
ELBAGIR (voiceover): The guest, a leading opposition party member and the presenter are discussing a draft bill being debated in parliament that
further criminalizes the LGBTQ Plus community.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The Ghanian pastors who are gay --
ELBAGIR (voiceover): It's often disguised as family values, but if passed without amendments, U.N. experts warned it will be a recipe for conflict
and violence across Ghana.
A CNN, "As Equals" investigation has shown these same churches backing the anti-LGBTQ Plus bill received funding from U.S. and European governments.
Over $4 million to the catholic church and over $1 million between other protestant churches, taxpayers' money. Even as they, for years, preach to
further criminalize being gay in Ghana, their position has been no secret.
In press releases, churches were publicly vilifying homosexuality. In one instance, calling to stop those who propagate this evil agenda of those
with abnormal sexual orientations. And in another statement, homosexuality is an affront to human dignity. This rhetoric and the bill it spawned has
real life consequences.
ASIBI (PH), ACCRA RESIDENT: This is like the Rasta, demo (ph), Camp to area.
ELBAGIR (voiceover): Asibi (ph), not her real name, wants to take us back to her small neighborhood in Accra. She identifies as queer. For a long
time, no one knew, but she believes she always stood out.
ASIBI (PH): I didn't really get along with anyone generally because I had, like, this label of a slut, which was weird, like, from the time of age of
seven, people feel like I was a slut because I like to hang out with the boys.
ELBAGIR (voiceover): Asibi (ph) was outed when this video of her helping to clean up a local LGBTQ Plus center was broadcast on various national TV
stations. The center was shut down following calls from religious leaders. The videos from the community center went viral and exposed Asibi (ph) to
her community and family.
ASIBI (PH): All of a sudden, I became this devious devilish bad person. And all kinds of stories were concocted about me.
ELBAGIR (voiceover): At this point, Asibi (ph) says she could still live in her home. It wasn't until her neighbors said a man who looked like a
relative was outside her house was a group of male friends that she felt in danger.
ASIBI (PH): He would have probably kidnapped me, hold me up somewhere, probably at the family house, and tried various tactics to cure me. Things
could've gone anywhere from a physical assault to corrective rape.
ELBAGIR (voiceover): Corrective rape, the mistaken belief that the victims' sexuality can be changed by being forced to have sex with the
opposite gender. Asibi (ph) had to leave the country for a number of months. She had no choice. The police are not here to protect the LGBTQ
Plus community. It's already illegal to be gay.
SAM GEORGE, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: It's already a criminal offense. So, you must be minded if you're committing a criminal offense that you cannot seek
rights in the committing of an offense.
ELBAGIR (voiceover): This is Sam George, a key proponent of the draft bill called the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family
Values. The new bill criminalizes not only same-sex relationships and marriages, but also identifying as LGBTQ Plus, promoting, and funding of
LGBTQ Plus groups, and public debate or education on sexual orientation and gender identity.
GEORGE: Let's be also very clear here that there is no evidence or whatsoever that inception of this bill -- of the introduction of this bill
into parliament has increased the wave of violence against practitioners of LGBTQ activities.
ELBAGIR (voiceover): And yet, LGBTQ Plus Ghanaians are increasingly targeted.
ELBAGIR (on camera): So, some of these are forced confessions?
ALEX DONKOR, LGBTQ PLUS RIGHTS DIRECTOR: Yes. Some of these are forced confessions, right. Some of these I even posted on social media, like --
they were treating themselves.
ELBAGIR (voiceover): Alex Donkor says, he receives these videos almost daily now. What you are about to see is disturbing. Video seen by CNN show
attackers growing increasingly brazen, filming their violent abuse of people they alleged are gay. Forcing them to confess, and in some cases
name other people who are also gay.
ELBAGIR (on camera): It's not just the capital Accra, violence is permeating across this country. People are really afraid. Friends and
neighbors are turning on each other. For the safety of the people we're meeting, we've agreed not to disclose their location.
ELBAGIR (voiceover): A worrying trend is that people need only to be accused of being part of the LGBTQ Plus community. Mobs take it upon
themselves to dull out what they perceive as vigilante justice. In effect, a witch hunt. These men, after being beaten, falsely accused a woman of
being a pimp. Her life, as she knew it, was destroyed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They said I was selling gay men and women for sex.
ELBAGIR (on camera): But your case was dismissed?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
ELBAGIR: And nobody believes that you're innocent?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, until this day, no one believes me. No one believe I didn't do it. So, I lost everybody. And I was also four months
pregnant and I lost my baby, and it was one of the most painful things. I cannot forget that.
ELBAGIR (voiceover): The church's place Ghana is indisputable. The church's position towards the LGBTQ Plus community, undeniable. The
position of some western donors, like the U.S., who say they stopped donations before the new legislation but refused to clarify whether they
still support church projects, unconscionable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And a note on the tragic reporting by Nima, none of the churches in this story responded to CNN's multiple requests for comment. The Italian
government told CNN, it is not responsible for the use of these unidentified funds. The United States blamed the previous administration,
but would not clarify if it continues to support church projects and Ghana.
So, how could this law impact the LGBTQ Plus community, not just in Africa, but around the world? Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, known as Lady Phyll, is executive
director of Kaleidoscope Trust, which works to uphold the human rights of LGBTQ Plus people across the Commonwealth. She is British, of Ghanaian
heritage, and I asked what she's hearing from members of the community at home in Accra, right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Lady Phyll, welcome to the program.
PHYLL OPOKU-GYIMAH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, KALEIDOSCOPE INTERNATIONAL TRUST AND LGBTQ PLUS ACTIVIST: Thank you so much for having me.
AMANPOUR: What is the most striking aspect, to you, the activist, in Nima's report from Ghana? What struck you the most?
OPOKU-GYIMAH: Well, I watched that and I have to admit I was incredibly emotional. And the young lady struck me, she was the one sat in the car,
talking about her experience, and just that -- sort of, painful remembrance of how she was treated and how she was exposed. And I guess, the other
parts of Nima's documentary that struck me was really about the young men who were targeted and who were beaten in there. And although there was a
trigger warning, I don't think anyone can prepare themselves for seeing that level of violence and fear.
AMANPOUR: And it is striking given that so much of it is described as a vigilante justice and just individuals taking the law into their own hands.
I want to remind you of something that you said in a different interview. In Ghana, there were no words or language that weren't derogatory about
LGBTQ people. That's, you know, your memory of that.
AMANPOUR: So, it must be -- what are you hearing from people on the ground now in terms of what they're fearing once this law comes into effect?
OPOKU-GYIMAH: I guess the fear is a well-founded fear. Anyone that's targeted based on sexual orientation, they fear having to go underground,
they fear having to lie about who they are, they fear not being able to retain, keep their jobs, not have housing, they will be destitute and on
the streets, and be even more of a target. So, the fear is definitely about, you know, these so-called vigilantes, going after them in a way that
they can't even survive, let alone thrive.
AMANPOUR: One of the most extraordinary elements of this bill is that even if you know somebody who is gay or LGBTQ Plus, and you don't report on
them, you too could be subject to the law and penalties. I mean, that goes way beyond what we've seen elsewhere limiting the rights of that community.
This is, like, total erasure and totally eliminating any part of society that has any sympathy or compassion.
OPOKU-GYIMAH: Uh-huh. And this is what makes this bill anti-LGBTQI Plus bill so horrendous. Because it doesn't just target LGBT Plus persons, it
targets allies and those supporters, and those who wish to, you know, embrace what human rights and dignity is about.
When you think about Ghana's cultural and rich heritage, you understand that we're about equality, freedom, and justice. And I love the country
that I'm from, but right now, I absolutely despise what is happening to people on the ground that are fearing for their lives on the daily basis.
AMANPOUR: I want to play for you, because clearly there's a lot of pressure rising in the International Community. The president for the
United States is hosting the president of Ghana and other African leaders at this Summit. Africa is bursting onto the, you know, world stage with
increased influence recently and it's really making the most of it, but there's pressure as well. Also, from the E.U., there's pressure.
And today, there was an E.U. human rights event in Ghana and one of your ministers responded. This is the attorney general, minister for justice, it
was to mark international Human Rights Day. This is what he said about this issue.
GODFRED YEBOAH DAME, ATTORNEY GENERAL AND MINISTER FOR JUSTICE OF GHANA: The state abhors all forms of violence and brutality targeted at all
persons in Ghana. The state does not lend its support to any personal organization that advocates for the causing of harm to person, including
those of different religions and sexual orientations.
AMANPOUR: So, what do you say? He says, the state abhors any violence and would not encourage any violence or violation of human rights. Is that
enough for people of Ghana?
OPOKU-GYIMAH: Absolutely not. It's not enough that these words have just been echoed. What needs to happen is making sure that we start looking at
who is funding organizations against the hate of LGBTQ Plus people. We need to look at, you know, how organizations and civil societies are able to
hold space and congregate in a way that they can speak about mental health, sexual health, reproductive rights, and all of the other facets that makeup
who they are in order to support their daily lives.
AMANPOUR: You know, I've been to Ghana. I did some reporting there a few years ago. And the first thing you see, certainly in Accra, the capital, is
every two meters, just about -- I'm exaggerating, but it's massive, the number of evangelical churches. I mean, they just dot the skyline and
they're very, very powerful.
And this bill comes from an anti-gay politician and a coalition of those who are anti or forms of LGBTQ Plus. And they have support, allegedly, from
U.S. and European like-minded organizations, religious organizations and other such organizations. What can be done to arrest it there? I mean,
you've just talked about the international support.
AMANPOUR: How can one stop the U.S., Europe, and the others from actually sending money? And we're talking about millions of dollars and tens of
thousands of pounds over the last several years.
OPOKU-GYIMAH: See, I think that this is a much bigger conversation because it's quite easy for us to say we want to stop this. But when there are deep
rooted ways of looking at how funding travels into particular organizations, to churches, to mosques, wherever that may be. You have to
ask yourself, what kind of due diligence are they doing and checks, sort of, emulating the same models as colonial -- colonizers did in the first
So, I think the stopping of this is about working with organizations, like the one I work with, Kaleidoscope Trust. Money others like Human Dignity
Trusty which are looking at policies, practices, behaviors. Working alongside friendly missions and also embassies that can say, this is wrong.
And really making sure that that voice is heard loudly and clearly. But not just saying it is wrong, but thinking about exactly where they direct their
I think businesses also have a major part to play in speaking about human rights and what we call sustainable development goals which are called
STG's. It's about leaving no one behind.
AMANPOUR: You know, you just mentioned a, sort of, a throwback to the colonial area -- era, so that outsiders can't suddenly demand that African
nations abide by X or Y because it's just like what happened before. Here is the dilemma that the U.S. ambassador recently, you know, talked about in
the way she addressed this issue in Ghana. Just listen to how she framed it.
VIRGINAIA E. PALMER, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO GHANA: The United States is not asking for special rights for LGBTQ persons. We are asking that they
receive the same rights that all other Ghanaians do. I also want to be really clear that we're not trying to promote homosexuality or anything
like that. We're -- we do not want your straight children to be gay. We want your gay children to be safe.
AMANPOUR: So, that is threading that needle that you were talking about.
OPOKU-GYIMAH: Uh-huh. It is interesting listening to her because you can tell there is an amount of diplomacy and being sensitive to the needs of
not wanting this to be seen imposition. And I think, it's right to say that. As I speak to you, this is not about imposition. This really is a
rally clarifying (ph) call out that people need to live free, safe and equal lives regardless of their sexuality and sexual orientation.
And if something like this bill gets passed, this will have devastating impacts, ramifications on not just the LGBTQ Plus community but many
And I think that if we're not wise and careful, what we will see is violence and hate crime go up exponentially, even more so than what we saw
in Nima's report when she -- they were talking to LGBT rights Ghana.
AMANPOUR: Again. Your organization is the Kaleidoscope Trust. And it's about trying to move this reform in the Commonwealth nations.
AMANPOUR: So, I've spoken to several of the African leaders, members of the Commonwealth, and each and every time I obviously bring up this issue.
This is what two of the leaders I spoke to over the last few years have told me. The president of Uganda and the president of Kenya. Take a listen.
YOWEN MUSEVENI, UGANDAN PRESIDENT: They are people who are deviated from the normal. They are not killed, they are not harangued, they are not
persecuted, but we do not promote them. We don't promote and flaunt homosexuality as if it is an alternative way of life.
WILLIAM RUTO, KENYAN PRESIDENT: We do not want to create a mountain out of a molehill. This is not a big issue for the people of Kenya. When the issue
you have discussed about homosexuality and the rights of LGBT will come, the people of Kenya will make a choice, and we will respect the choice of
the people of Kenya.
AMANPOUR: So, two presidents, both are at the White House by the way, as we speak, basically saying that those -- that there is no violence directed
at the community. I saw you shaking your head.
OPOKU-GYIMAH: it's almost heartbreaking to hear that because sometimes those who hold power and privilege are very far removed from the people on
the ground. And when we see these direct attacks on the individuals on a daily basis, they're not seeing that.
And, you know, just hearing words like normal and we're not promoting. No one's asking you to promote. What we're asking you for is safety. What
we're asking you for is human rights. What we're asking you for is dignity and respect and the right to live our lives free from violence and fear.
AMANPOUR: Can I ask you because you mentioned again and we talked about the colonial era. Is some of this a hangover from that? I mean, in this
country where we are right now, the U.K., there were anti-gay laws until just recently. It was a crime to be homosexual. Is this a hangover that
still exist there or --
OPOKU-GYIMAH: Yes. Absolutely. So, Kaleidoscope Trust work is about working to uphold human rights for all LGBTQ Plus people. And our work is
done in the commonwealth because of these colonial era laws that existing countries. We currently have 67 countries which still criminalize LGBTQ
And in the Commonwealth, itself, we see that some of the, you know, criminalization is anything from imprisonment, lashes, you know,
vilification, ousted from families, and put into places where it is dark and soul-destroying place. So, it is a hangover from these colonial era
laws. And whilst we've moved on in the U.K., we've seen that the same blueprint is remaining in these countries.
AMANPOUR: And that's where you're trying to end?
AMANPOUR: Lady Phyll, thank you so much indeed.
OPOKU-GYIMAH: Thank you so much for having me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And on a positive note, Lady Phyll points out that LGBTQ rights are on much firmer ground in the Caribbean where only yesterday, Barbados
repealed colonial era laws that criminalize same-sex relations. Joining several neighboring countries that already took the step.
Now, also on a positive note, writer, director, and actor Sharon Horgan, may be Ireland's best known comedy export. She created and stars in two
massively popular series. First, "Catastrophe", the warts and all look at marriage which she created with the co-star, Rob Delaney. And now, "Bad
Sisters". A pitch-black comedy that's a breakout hit on Apple TV. It's a story of a clan of sisters prepared to go to extraordinary lengths to stop
an abusive husband. Here's a clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Families, they're complex.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm warning you. She doesn't respect to you because you're weak.
SHARON HORGAN, ACTOR AND EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "BAD SISTERS": She wasn't always like that. He's sucking the life out of her.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, it's such waste. He dies of cancer or something.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then why not give nature a helping hand?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: A bit of trailer there. Sharon Horgan, welcome to the program.
AMANPOUR: As we are watching, I mean, both of us had a visceral reaction.
HORGAN: He's -- he's still --
AMANPOUR: He is a horrible person.
HORGAN: Yes. He still makes my hair stand on end. But we -- I mean, he turned out to be a great villain.
HORGAN: You know, we hoped, but you never know. And he just, like, he grabbed that role and I really, really went for it.
AMANPOUR: So, Let's go back to a little bit at the beginning. It's a story about five sisters, the Garvery sisters.
AMANPOUR: And it's about -- I really don't want to give any spoilers in case, you know, people have not seen this breakout hit. And it's about John
Paul, who we know from the beginning dies, so that's a spoiler. And he's the awful line. You also come from a very big family, right? You have a lot
of siblings. Did any of that, sort of -- I mean, did that, sort of, inform your decision to do this or --
HORGAN: Yes. Yes, yes, it did. So, it's based on a Belgian series called, "Clan". And it's the same premise that it's about five sisters and one of
them is married to a monster. And so, the other sisters decide that they -- they're going to kill him but they're very bad at murder. So, they keep,
sort of, trying and failing. And that's how it sort of works on an episodic basis.
But when I first watched the show, the thing that really drew me to it was that the sisters and that -- you know, sibling camaraderie. And I've got
two brothers and two sisters, big Irish family. And I just felt like I knew how to bring that joy to the screen. And it -- because if you didn't enjoy
spending time with those sisters as a group, you aren't going to root for them when they keep trying to kill this guy, you know. And you got to root
for them every 10 episodes. That's a long time to --
AMANPOUR: To root for people who want to kill somebody?
HORGAN: -- who want to murder.
AMANPOUR: I just want to note, because you said, you know, it's a Belgian -- it's an adaptation of a Belgian series. Why did -- is it that just
because Ireland is your home country or what was it about Ireland? Because it's certainly beautiful.
HORGAN: It is, right?
AMANPOUR: It's just beautiful. The whole scenery is an antidote to the very dark comedy.
HORGAN: I know. Well, I wanted to shoot something in Ireland for so long. And when Rob and I made a "Catastrophe", we had my Irish family and we
would do some Irish scenes. But we never had the money to go to Ireland and actually treat them. So, I never felt like I was showing Ireland in all of
But I don't know, it's like there was a few reasons. I think when I watched the Belgian original, there was just something about the look and feel of
it that I felt would translate well. And then the idea of a big family. And, you know, he's a very religious man. And I felt that that would, sort
of, just play well as well. And once we kind of worked out that this swim that the sisters take every year, the swim in the 40-foot that you see in
the first episode. Once I, sort of, worked out that that was going to be a big important part of their lives and I thought, it has to be shot there
because this is amazing.
AMANPOUR: Right. So, I'm going to play a little bit of the clip from the swim. I know we have two clips. Let's get the swim up first. And I just
want to -- you just called him a monster. But actually in this series, you call him, the prick.
HORGAN: The prick, yes.
AMANPOUR: Yes. So, just setting this up because soon --
HORGAN: You're going to hear that.
AMANPOUR: -- there's no way to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's one Christmas.
HORGAN: It's not just one Christmas. We're losing her. She is not like the girl she was. She's getting quieter and smaller.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can't go around the shadow of the prick.
EVE HEWSON, ACTRESS, "BAD SISTERS": She was always quiet.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's bullocks.
HEWSON: What's bullocks about it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just not true.
HORGAN: Becka, she wasn't always like that. He's sucking the life out of her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, that's your character. Eva, you're the oldest sister. And all of you are actually grieving your own parents who have died. And you're
sort of, almost like the den mother to all of your sisters. And each and every one of you has a case against the prick.
AMANPOUR: But it's serious, right?
AMANPOUR: I mean, obviously, it's serious because it's about domestic abuse, it's about psychological abuse. Tell us a little bit about what he
does to your sister, who's his wife.
HORGAN: Yes, it's a kind of -- yes, he's an abuser. But it's the kind of abuse that I don't feel has sort of have been shown on TV before because --
I mean, you sort of see domestic abuse that's violent or sexual abuse. But this is a kind of coercive control where he's kind of just stripping away
her personality and her strength of character and sort of isolating her and using, you know, financial control.
And I have not, sort of, seen that shown in a TV character before. And actually, since it has gone out, it's been upsetting but also kind of void
me a bit that it was the right thing to do. Because so many women have come out and said, you know, either that is me or they have, you know, a sister
or a friend or, you know, a niece or someone in that kind of situation.
So, it -- but it was scary to do that, because if you are talking about something as serious as that, you really -- in a comedy as well -- and I
know it is comedy drama, but, you know, at times it's really daft.
AMANPOUR: I mean, it's daft and dark.
HOGAN: Yes, daft and dark. It's going to be a new genre. We just have to figure it out --
AMANPOUR: Daft and dark. I mean, some -- anyway, we're going to play another clip --
AMANPOUR: -- where you are just saying it, laying it out there. OK. Here we go.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOGAN: We can't just kill our brother-in-law. Bibi, do I wish he was dead? Yes. He is a piece of -- but that is not how -- you know, that's not how
life, society works, OK? You cannot just explode a man.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, just so that you know, we can say prick one word on the air, but we can't say the other word. So, we bleeped the other word. Just in
case you're wondering.
HOGAN: It's better. It's better.
AMANPOUR: Yes. It's better. So, we can't just explode a man. But, again, this is all about -- all your attempts to do precisely that.
AMANPOUR: Did sometimes you worry whether it was too dark, especially in some of the instances? Like J.P.'s mother? Again, I'm not going to do
HOGAN: Oh, God. Yes. Yes. We did. But the great thing about -- well, the original and our version as well is that his crimes kind of worsen over the
course of the season. Like he starts off as someone that you just think, I wouldn't want to sit across the table from that man. He makes my stomach
churn. And by the end of it, it's -- you know, it's really brutal.
You know, criminal behavior. And so, yes, we did worry. We really worried. But I kind of feel like you do sort of end up loving those sisters so much
and everything they do is out lot of love. And even the stakes -- the mistake they make hurt them badly. And so, yes, we just have to keep our
fingers crossed that an audience would be onside enough.
AMANPOUR: And they have been. I mean, I think you're absolutely right.
AMANPOUR: It is extraordinary to see, despite, as you say, verging on the criminal world. The criminal.
AMANPOUR: The public roots for you, which actually goes to the depth of what many, many women suffer in silence and are never take it matters into
any sort of accountability. You know, you mentioned Rob Delaney and looking into the previous relationship, which was marriage. And it was an warts all
amazing, you know, look at marriage.
AMANPOUR: You've kind of used your career to explore human relationships. The very, you know, normal ones but very deeply and in a different way.
AMANPOUR: How did that come about?
HOGAN: Well, I think it is just because I realized that that's what I seem to be good at, you know. I mean, I guess what's different over the year is
that I've kind of found a different genre to tell -- to still talk about relationships, but just in a slightly different way because I was thinking
that I was getting sort of stuck in this sort of sitcom kind of bubble.
HOGAN: But I think using with "Bad Sisters," because it has this thriller element and, you know, it's a murder mystery, essentially.
HOGAN: I kind of -- I was actually surprised how much I enjoyed doing that, you know.
AMANPOUR: And that's having a bit of a renaissance right now. If you look at the "Knives Out," "Glass Onion."
HOGAN: Oh, yes.
AMANPOUR: Even the Agatha Christie's "Mousetrap," which is murder mystery.
AMANPOUR: Is going to Broadway after 70 -- I mean, it's really --
HOGAN: And even like "White Lotus." I mean --
AMANPOUR: And "White Lotus."
HOGAN: "White Lotus" is all about relationships but there is something there about --
AMANPOUR: Murder at the heart of --
HOGAN: Yes. I'm waiting to find out.
HOGAN: And whether it's like a who has done it or a how done it.
AMANPOUR: Can I ask you, because, you know, this is obviously more serious? Your co-star, Rob Delaney, was sitting in this chair a few weeks
ago, talking about his new book, you know, a heart that hurts is a heart that works, based on the grief that he and his family felt, obviously, and
experienced when they lost their child, their less than three-year-old child to brain cancer. This is what he said to me. I just want you to talk
about it afterwards.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROB DELANEY, AUTHOR, "A HEART THAT WORKS": And I do know that the rug can be ripped out from under you in a way where your skull will be fractured,
you will go temporarily blind, you will go mad, you will try to fix it and you won't be able to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: That's just a snippet of what he has said. And he has been reading the book actually on the radio. And it's also really touching
people's hearts and touching almost like a moment where people want to open up about grief. All of these things that you all, you know, work so hard on
maybe just have not been explored in a way that is accessible up until now.
HOGAN: Yes. Well, I think it takes -- you have to be in touch with your feelings. You have to be open. You know, and you have to be willing to
explore those difficult areas and put yourself on the line, I guess. And, you know, Rob's absolutely brilliant at that. You know, when we were write
together, it just like pours out of him because he is an open, sensitive, beautiful person.
And, you know, I kind of think a lot of people within the creative industry are. I mean, it's why sometimes they're really can be difficult. You know
what I mean? They're just like They feel like porous (ph), you know, and they sort of feel it all.
So, I mean, it's -- if you can inject that into the work, you know, whether it's TV or film or whatever, I think, you know, it's a beautiful thing to
be able to do that.
AMANPOUR: It is amazing. And just about "Bad Sisters," there is another series that's been green lighted?
HOGAN: Yes. I was just trying to write it though.
AMANPOUR: But it will be different?
AMANPOUR: It will be all yours right now because it won't be the Belgian one you just won.
HOGAN: Yes. Well, now, you're making me extra nervous.
AMANPOUR: I think you can handle it, Sharon Hogan.
HOGAN: I'll tell you, what we have is five great girls, and that is all I need I hope.
AMANPOUR: All right. Thank you so much.
HOGAN: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Thanks for being with us.
Now to a singer/songwriter whose decades long career continues to flourish at 83. Judy Collins is up for another Grammy award for her latest album
"Spellbound." It's her first record that's made up entirely of all her own material, from working with Leonard Cohen, to sinning for President
Kennedy. She tells Walter Isaacson about the personal and musical journey that has got her to this moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALTER ISAACSON, CNN HOST: Thank you, Christiane. And, Judy Collins, welcome to the show.
JUDY COLLINS, SINGER AND SONGWRITER, "SPELLBOUND": Thank you so much. I am so glad to be here with you.
ISAACSON: It's been 60 years of a storied career. You've had, I think, 29 albums this -- earlier this year. "Spellbound" came out, your new album.
And yet, at age 83, you are forever young. Tell me how it feels to have such success after all six decades.
COLLINS: It is an amazing thing. I am sure that you'll identify with this. Today is as good as it gets. And I woke up today and I was actually alive
and ready to roll. And so, that's really the price, I guess you would say, because there were many times during my career when that wasn't true. And
so, I am so lucky today because I've got my house, my home, my husband, my career, my adventures, the things that I want to do next. And so, it feels
like the road is clear and I am on it.
ISAACSON: You talk about times when that wasn't the case and that's reflected in this new album. Tell me about some of those times.
COLLINS: Well, I have written about, oh, for instance, Arizona. One of the songs on the album is really kind of a meditation on being in lockdown in
Tucson, Arizona when I was diagnosed with tuberculosis. I was -- it was 1962, and I was in big trouble. I was having a terribly gurgle my lungs and
I didn't know what was wrong. And I wouldn't go to a doctor because I didn't want to slow down the train, you know. And I had just come back from
doing Carnegie Hall, opening for Theodore Bikel, my friend Theodore.
So, it's up and down. Then you get on the plane after New York at Carnegie Hall and go to Tucson to the Ash Alley and there were two kids that ran
that Ash Alley. And when I sang that night, they said to me, I think we're going to take you over to the doctor.
So, from my wild ride across the country and into what I was looking at, it was 50 more shows, I was in the long wing at the end of this tunnel at the
end of this hospital looking out at the hills and the beautiful colors of Arizona, and that is where I wrote this song.
ISAACSON: Let me quote a lyric from the song you just talked about, "Arizona." When you talk about you healed all of the wounds that were
hidden and left them for all to be seen. I think you were fighting not only tuberculosis, you've had alcoholism, you had some family issues. Tell me
how that song now, this son now, helps you process all that and how did you process it back then?
COLLINS: I had a -- you know, I wasn't -- I was literally in lockdown. But my marriage was in trouble and I was on my way to a divorce anyway. But I
had my journal, which I've kept pretty regularly for all these decades. And so, I was able to write and sync and be by myself and be focused on this
glorious outdoors, the gold and the red and the blue and the birds. It was spectacular.
So, it was very healing to me. And every time I sing it and I said, you know, that was a lucky break that I got. I got it exactly at the time that
I needed it. And that's always true when I sing it as well. It gives me the break I need to reflect.
ISAACSON: Well, as you say, you didn't write songs at first and you're well known, of course, for covering songs by everybody from Bob Dylan to
Leonard Cohen to, you know, Joan Baez. This album is the first one, right, that is all original songs you wrote. Why did you make that pivot?
COLLINS: I started recording in '61. And then, in 1966 -- and I had made five albums by them, of other people's songs and a lot of traditional
things. And then, I met up with Leonard Cohen and he said, I don't understand why you're not writing your own songs. Everybody else is, why
aren't you? And I raced home and wrote a song called ""Since You've Asked," what I give you since you've aske is all my time together. And that was my
And I've written -- in these past 60 years, I've written about 60 songs. I've recorded them on albums with songs from other artists, of course,
everything from "Both Sides Now" to the "Northwest Passage." When 2016, I started writing a lot of poetry and to be sort of the feeder for the songs.
And I said to my husband, I'm going to do any poems to 90 days and he said, well, why don't you do 365 days? And then, by the end of the year, you'll
have a year's worth of poetry and probably some songs.
So, I did that, and I harvested out of that 365 days a lot of songs. And when I came to the end of the year, I thought, you know, you were right.
And I've got a ton of songs and I went on writing. And by the time the COVID locked us down, I said, oh, this is life changing. You know, after
the plague came the renaissance.
ISAACSON: When you jumped on that folk music train and it comes out of Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie, they tend to be protest songs. They tend to
be political songs. And that was true throughout the 1960s. Why did folk sort of become the soundtrack of the '60s politics?
COLLINS: Well, it's a good question, but it was a natural scent because previous to that, in the '50s, you needed a big band. You needed a big
dress. You needed a big name. You needed a lot of noise. You needed to be very expensive and hot and get it done, but it was hard.
And so, there was a kind of a growing underground of the folk singer with the one instrument, with the one song and with a message which was quite
often beautiful. I am a maid of constant sorrow. That was my first album -- my first song in my first album, or perhaps the Irish songs about, then
tell me Sean O'Farrell, tell me why you're hurrying. So, there was a mixture of political music, traditional music, old, old, old songs, brand-
Dylan was starting to write and writing things like "Tambourine Man." But he also wrote "Masters of War." So, it was a combination of exotic,
esoteric beauty and, you know, get down, get to it, protest music. ISAACSON: But you and Pete Seeger in the 1960s could turn things that you wouldn't normally think of as a protest song. And just by the way you did
it, it would feel that way in particular, I remember, turn, turn, turn to everything. There's a season.
ISAACSON: Tell me about that one. You did it with him, right?
COLLINS: So true. It had -- it comes from the bible. He wrote it out of one of the verses in one of the bible chapters. And it has --
ISAACSON: Wait. Give me a few lines of it.
COLLINS: To everything turn, turn, turn, there is a season, turn, turn, turn. So, I guess it gives you a feeling of surrender and acceptance, but
also you know, that you have to go on and you can't just accept the fact that you may have done something right today, but tomorrow will come and
you'll have to do it again. Aren't we seeing that of late?
ISAACSON: The soundtrack, I think of my early years was your cover of "Both Sides Now." And there is a wistfulness to that song. And yet, when I
heard "Spellbound," this new album, it was almost capture the same way in that song. So alive, we were young together once upon a long last time.
Tell me about those two songs and wistfulness and seeing life from "Both Sides Now."
COLLINS: My sister called me after she heard "So Alive" and she said, who is that about? Because there's a line in there about you always left by
dawn. We slept in a single bed and you always left by dawn. And I said, I think it's about a young singer who's unfortunately gone at an early age.
His name was David Blue and he had a single bed and he always left by dawn. You know, that was -- those were the days.
When I moved to New York in 1963, I was divorced. I had come straight from the hospital in Denver. I -- first I was in Tucson for a couple of months
and then, they moved me to the National Jewish Hospital in Denver, which is my hometown, so to speak. The first thing that I did out of a hospital bed
from Denver was to go to Washington and to sing for President Kennedy at the dinner for the president, which was a (INAUDIBLE) event, which they
have. I think they have it on a regular basis, and I was lucky enough to be invited to the 1963.00 event.
ISAACSON: You wrote and recorded most of these songs during the pandemic. And I think you did it in person, right? Tell me about that experience.
COLLINS: Well, we had -- the first recording session we had was in 2019, before this all broke out. And I did -- I recorded a couple of songs. I
recorded the "Arizona" song, which, of course, is on the album. And I recorded "Grand Canyon," I Believe, and perhaps one other song, "A Girl
from Colorado," probably. Then we moved into the pandemic, but we found a studio in -- I think it was in Astoria, which was open during the pandemic.
So, sometime in March or April, we went off and did a recording session there.
And we got -- you know, we all wore masked except when we were singing, so to speak. So, it worked out fine. There was a lot of help during the
pandemic enough for me to get my work done. Thank goodness.
ISAACSON: Tell me about your writing process and how you decide on things.
COLLINS: My first way of learning songs is to make a tape. For instance, Leonard used to send me songs every -- about every 18 months he would send
ISAACSON: Leonard Cohen, yes.
COLLINS: Leonard Cohen. He would send me another little tape with a bunch of songs and he'd say, figure out what you want to sing. So, I would play
them, I would play a bunch of songs. And then, when one stuck in my mind and I heard it sort of in real-time and I know it was for me.
Now, the finding of songs is that when I hear it, I know it. I've had a lot of magical situations come into my life. For instance, one night I was
sound asleep. I was actually probably passed out. It was 1967. So, that would have been -- that was the life then. And I was still drinking. By the
way, I am now 45 years sober, which is a miracle. And I thank you and everybody in the world who helps me to stay. Sober.
And I woke up at 3:00 in the morning, and it was Al Kooper on the phone. He was a friend of mine. And he said, I have a surprise for you. He had been
to a party at one of the clubs and where the Blood Sweat and Tears was playing. And he ran into this girl. She was a girl then, she was young. And
she said, I write songs. And he said, oh, and are they any good? And she said, yes. And he said, can I hear them? And she said, why don't you come
home with me? And I said, well, she was good looking. So, I went on with her and it was Joni Mitchell, and he put her on the phone with me at 3:00
in the morning and she sang me "Both Sides Now."
ISAACSON: And then, you did that great cover of "Both Sides Now." Sing a little of that force, if you would.
COLLINS: Oh, well. It's very easy because everybody knows it because it was such a big hit. Bows and flows of anger hair.
COLLINS: You'll hear and you'll know it, you know, because you've heard for century now.
ISAACSON: Tell me about the auto accident you had when you were 17 and how that affected you.
COLLINS: Oh, God. I finally wrote about it in this album. I wrote about it. For years, I wrote about it. It's called ""Hell on Wheels." I was
working at one of the mountain resorts in Grand Lake. It was wonderful. It was called Jenny Lemons Lodge. And I was there the summers of -- when I was
16 or when I was 17.
When I was 17, I had a driver's license, a learner's license, but I didn't have a car. But I decided that I would try to borrow a car and go over to
the Stanley to visit a friend of mine who was working and living in Estes Park. And so, I got in that car, drove over, had lunch with her. And we
had, you know, a couple of drinks. I don't know. Enough for me to be not behind the wheel, but I was young, I was crazy.
And so, I got in the car and took off and I hit a dirt road in -- on my way back to Grand Lake. And suddenly, I found myself stuck between a fence and
a road. And down on the road to my left. sitting by the road were two little babies sitting on this little blanket. They were fine. But I had
missed them by a mere a few feet.
And their dad came running out of the house and screaming at me and saying, you know, I'm going to call the cops on you and I'm going to get you out of
here. I'm going to get a rope and pull you out. Well, he went to do that and I rocked my car back and forth and got out of the mess and sped away.
But it has haunted me ever since.
And so, one of the songs on the album is called "Hell on Wheels," which already has helped me to finish. I finally pulled it out after years are
mulling over the lyric and trying to figure out how I could make it work.
ISAACSON: The folk music of the '60s and '70s was driven by protest, politics, other things. I get the feeling now, and correct me if I'm wrong,
that folk music has lost some of that energy or drive or urgency. Is that right?
COLLINS: Not in me. Not in my life. Not in my writing. Not in what I wanted to hear. And how I can see through the mist of the dust that was
coming up around us, how I can see how the clarity of what we saw and did is appropriate today and still must be paid attention to.
ISAACSON: Judy Collins, thank you so much for being with us.
COLLINS: God bless you. Thank you so much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: The one and only. And finally, a show of unity today in Paris as dozens of countries and organizations pledge more than a billion dollars in
aid to Ukraine at a conference that was hosted by the French president, Emmanuel Macron. And where President Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised allies for
standing united to defend Ukraine against Russia and his relentless bombardments of the cities. And the Ukrainian people sent a defiant message
to President Vladimir Putin, you won't steal Christmas, despite the Kremlin best efforts to keep them dark, cold and depressed.
In liberated Kharkiv, they installed the Christmas tree there in the underground metro station. It is the safest place in the city right now.
Solidarity and hope, surely, that is also what Christmas is all about.
That's it for now. And if you ever miss our show, you can find the latest episode shortly after it airs on our podcast. On your screen now is a QR
code. All you need to do is pick up your phone and scan it with your camera. You can also find it at cnn.com/podcast and on all major platforms,
just search AMANPOUR. Remember, you can always catch us online, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.