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Who's Talking to Chris Wallace

Interview with Samantha Power; Chris Wallace Talks to Gary Sinise. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired January 29, 2023 - 19:00   ET



RIDDELL: Back to you.

BROWN: He certainly does. Don Riddell, thanks so much.

I'm Pamela Brown. I'll see you again for my last show on weekend evenings at 8:00 p.m. "WHO'S TALKING TO CHRIS WALLACE?" is up next, and a last look at Philadelphia and the party there rocking tonight.


My guests tonight both turned their early careers into a mission to serve. Starting with the woman in charge of America's humanitarian response around the world. Samantha Power on helping Ukrainians devastated by Russia's war and why she thinks the U.S. needs to stay involved.


SAMANTHA POWER, ADMINISTRATOR, USAID: The stakes for me as an American, as a mother, as a citizen are very, very high as they are for all of us.


WALLACE: And actor turned activist Gary Sinise on how his most iconic movie role led him to a mission to help America's military heroes.


WALLACE: Do you think that it was somehow fate that you would end up playing Lieutenant Dan in "Forrest Gump"?

GARY SINISE, ACTOR: Well, it was certainly good fortune.

WALLACE: We have two things in common.

HUGH JACKMAN, ACTOR: Do I get a hint?

INA GARTEN, CHEF AND AUTHOR: I find cooking really hard. I find it really stressful.

WALLACE: Do you feel your life is in danger? TYLER PERRY, ACTOR: And the love of my mother is what brought me here.

WALLACE: What was the worst investment?

MARK CUBAN, BILLIONAIRE ENTREPRENEUR: There is a long list of really bad ones.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I cannot tell you how difficult this feeling.

WALLACE (voice-over): A humanitarian crisis unfolding right now. Eight million Ukrainians leaving their homeland since the war started. While Russia destroys much of the country, civilian infrastructure, Samantha power heads the U.S. agency helping on the ground.

POWER: I'm here at the crossing point where Ukrainians are entering Poland.

WALLACE: She knows war all too well on the frontlines as a reporter three decades ago, and winning a Pulitzer Prize for her book on genocide, before becoming the face of Obama foreign policy at the United Nations.

POWER: Are you truly incapable of shame?

WALLACE: Now she's leaving what may be her most difficult mission yet.


WALLACE: Let's start with Ukraine. The big issue. Your agency, USAID has provided more than $12 billion to that country since Russia invaded. What is that money going for and how are you doing in keeping up with the destruction that Vladimir Putin unleashed?

POWER: Well, USAID's job is to work with our Ukrainian partners when the energy grid is hit to get it back up as quickly as possible. We work in the food sector to try to ensure that grain that has been backed up because of Russia's blockade of the Black Sea and even now it's kind of temperamental relationship with letting grain out, we need to diversify and make sure that the Ukrainians can move grain into Europe by river, by barge, by road, by truck.

WALLACE: And are you keeping up with Vladimir Putin's --

POWER: I think so. I do think so. And it's not us keeping up, it's the Ukrainians and we're there to support and make sure that they have generators and the boilers and the transformers and the substations to replace. So we go hunting and forging on the open market to try to get them the supplies they need but they're the ones that are out there on the frontlines with their flak jackets and their helmets, you know, trying to replace that which has been destroyed, but Ukrainian morale now and its resolve I think is greater than it was even on February 24th when Russia first invaded. WALLACE: As I mentioned, $12 billion so far from USAID but you hear a

lot from people in the country, especially GOP officials that instead of spending money on other countries including Ukraine, we should spend more at home. And here is a top Republican House official. Take a look.


REP. JIM BANKS (R-IN): No more blank checks around the world to solve problems overseas when America is on its knees at home. We can't be the leader around the world when we have such big issues to solve in America.


POWER: Look, the stakes could not be higher and the consequences of walking away from naked aggression in 2023 for the cause of freedom, for the cause of our own freedom, for the defense of Europe, I think people know about villainy and what happens when villainy go unchecked, and to have a leader of a super power or at least a country with a super power sized military allowed with impunity to just go take huge chunks of a neighbor, even conquer an entire neighbor, we know from not-too-distant history what the consequences of walking away from that would be for America and for U.S. interest and the American people.

WALLACE: One of the reasons I was looking forward to this conversation is because it seems to me that over the course of your career, you embodied the inherent tension between the calculations people make when they're talking about principle from the outside versus the calculations they have to make when they are actually responsible for policy, for the effect on the ground.


How different is it when you're on the inside?

POWER: I think I definitely wear the work. You know, I carry it with me and I did as a journalist in seeking to describe what was happening and what the consequences of American foreign policy were in the hopes of influencing American foreign policy. Now I'm in the room where it happens as they say and, you know, bringing that same advocacy and that same spirit to bear but now having this tool kit to actually deploy real resources and try to bring in the private sector and other actors to care about problems that ultimately are coming home to roost more and more, whether climate change or pandemics or other transnational threats.

So the stakes for me as an American, as a mother, as a citizen are very, very high, as they are for all of us in figuring out how we manage these problems abroad as a way of looking out for our national security here at home.

WALLACE: Is it true that when you were a member of the Obama administration, that the president sometimes used to say you get on my nerves and especially when you were pushing him about intervening in Syria, yes, Samantha, we've all read your book?

POWER: Yes, that did happen, although, you know, again, you can get President Obama's own accounting of that, but at the same time, he was the one, if I wasn't in the room, if for some reason I had been left off what they called the manifest by someone or some force of nature, he'd be like, where's Sam? You know, wanting -- remember he prided himself on the team of rivals idea and wanting to see these debates play out in front of him.

WALLACE: I want to sort of drill down into this tension between principle and power inside and outside, and let's go back. Let's rewind to the '90s when you were a war correspondent covering the conflict in Bosnia and a few years after that, you wrote that book, that Barack Obama said everybody had read, "A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide," which won the Pulitzer Prize. You documented U.S. inaction in atrocities, even genocide in Bosnia and Cambodia, and in this case in Rwanda.


POWER: Rwanda was just that thing. That exterminatory impulse and we looked away. We didn't just look away, the United States went to the United Nations Security Council and demanded the withdrawal of peace keepers who were already present on the ground.


WALLACE: You said that the U.S. had a, quote, "responsibility to protect." What did you mean by that and why did you conclude back then the U.S. had done so little in so many cases?

POWER: Well, I think the track record, the history was fairly clear, you know, whether it's the Armenian genocide, the Holocaust, we all have terrible regrets about who was able to come to the United States, not taking more refugees, maybe not bombing the train tracks, big debates about that. And in Rwanda, as I mentioned in that clip that I have not seen, you know, over 100 days for the main policy response to have been to take U.N. peace keepers out, rather than to seek reinforcement or to try to sanction or put in place an arms embargo, any one of a number of tools.

And I think that was my point outside of government and remains my point in many government meetings but luckily one I think that is now much more universally embraced, which is when atrocities happen, when huma rights abuses happen at scale just as when we have, you know, a more traditional security threat, we have a toolbox.

WALLACE: I would suggest that Samantha Power in 1995 or 2003 was -- is different than the Samantha Power, fast forward to 2013 when Barack Obama nominates you to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. And here you are in Senate confirmation hearing.


POWER: The United States has a national interest, national security interest, and a moral responsibility to respond to cases of mass atrocity. When civilians are being murdered by their governments, that does not mean the United States should intervene militarily every time there's an injustice in the world. When civilians are murdered by their governments or by non-state actors, it's incumbent on us to look to see if there is something we might do in order to ameliorate the situation.



WALLACE: So the question I guess I have is from the '90s to 2013, and now in 2023, have you taken a more nuanced view? Because you emphasized there that while there is a national interest in responding to atrocities and genocide, you've also emphasized not always militarily.

POWER: Every case has a context and it is the responsibility of advocates and writers as well as policy makers to take those contexts into account. So have I changed? Of course. I hope I've grown. I hope I'm more sophisticated in understanding what works in what circumstance. You have to look at each case and the toolkit that exists, and the toolkit is much more challenging today than it was then.

WALLACE: I want to look, examine two cases. One where the U.S. did intervene and one where it didn't, and see the lessons are from those. First of all, the decision to intervene in Libya's civil war in 2011. You were a member of the Obama National Security Council at the time. You were one of the strongest voices who persuaded him to join with other countries to stop Muammar Gaddafi. I asked him about Libya near the end of his presidency. Take a look.


WALLACE: Worst mistake?

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Probably failing to plan for the day after what I think was the right thing to do in intervening in Libya.


WALLACE: After we intervened in Libya and stopped the civil war and took down Muammar Gaddafi, rival militias fought for years, ISIS set up an operation in Libya, and by the end of his presidency, Obama said the Libya mission didn't work. Do you agree with that?

POWER: Well, it succeeded in the short term in stopping Gaddafi from carrying out his threat to exterminate, in his own words, the rats, the opposition, you know that.


POWER: That's no small thing. But, I mean, there is no question that the chaos that ensued, the fracturing, the inability for the interim authorities and the perennial interim authorities, and then the elected government to consolidate, you know, security over the country, that has, you know, made life incredibly difficult for the people of Libya. The deep seeded cleavages that Gaddafi had helped perpetuate by not allowing for debates and political pluralism erupted into the kind of violence that we have seen.

WALLACE: 300,000 civilians were killed in the civil war in Syria. You called, when you were at the U.N., you called what President Assad and what Russia were doing to the people of Aleppo, one of the headquarters of the resistance, you called it barbarism and absolute evil. Take a look.


POWER: Are you truly incapable of shame? Is there literally nothing that can shame you? Is there no act of barbarism against civilians, no execution of a child that gets under your skin, that just creeps you out a little bit? Is there nothing you will not lie about or justify?


WALLACE: And yet President Obama refused to intervene militarily and even ignored his own red line after Syria used chemical weapons against civilians. Was that a mistake? Should we have intervened?

POWER: Well, I think President Obama made a calculus born to some extent of what you were just arguing in the Libya context, which is that fundamentally on the ground there has to be a certain unity in order for an intervention to be more than stop gap, and I think that's a very -- that was a very reasonable judgment to come to.

WALLACE: Does Samantha Power think we should have intervened to try to stop the slaughter of 300,000 civilians and the devastation of parts of that country?

POWER: I have to just say my focus today really is on the atrocities of the present. Again, I've written plenty on this. This is not about Samantha Power. This is about what can the United States of America do in the face of very significant geopolitical threats in the face of malign actors who increasingly have the support from very large, well- resourced financiers. What can the United States of America do in order to mitigate the human consequences of brutality, bring peace at a time when conflict -- we have more conflict today than we've had at any point since the end of the Cold War.


And in order to see these trends that I think are worrying all of us where democracy is sort of on its back heel that also entails being much more aggressive in supporting reformers we can actually set countries up to not find themselves in the crosshairs of violence.

WALLACE : Still to come, I dig deeper into Samantha Power's evolution from reporting the news to making news. Plus, she tells me how sports changed her life and the dream job that never panned out.


POWER: That's what I wanted to do, but history interrupted and I found myself very moved by world events.



WALLACE: Well before Samantha Power was a war correspondent or a Pulitzer Prize winner or an ambassador, she dreamt of doing something very different. We talk about that as we continue our conversation about her evolution through the years.

Let's go back to Bosnia in the '90s. You said at that time that you wished you worked at the State Department so that you could resign to protest U.S. inaction.


And I guess the question I have is, when you were the U.N. ambassador in 2016, why did you choose not to resign over what was going on in Syria and the decision by the Obama administration not to intervene?

POWER: Because I had the incredible privilege as I do now of working on a given day to try to improve conditions in dozens of countries, and when I was U.N. ambassador, again, at the risk of going back, when there's so much to talk about that's happening in the present, when I was U.N. ambassador that was preventing mass atrocities in Central African Republic, it was launching a campaign to get female political prisoners out of jail, which was shockingly successful given the circumstances at the time.

It was helping John Kerry negotiate the Paris Climate Accords. It was bringing an Ebola epidemic in West Africa to an end just by mobilizing U.N. resources.

WALLACE: So there's a bigger picture, is what you're saying.

POWER: I mean, in any given day as I like to tell my team and tell myself, there's always something we can do that is useful, that is helpful, but that is a privilege I have in, you know, being so fortunate to be serving where I can see definitely a bigger field than what I was living under siege in Sarajevo in my early 20s.

WALLACE: I want to talk now about you. You grew up in Ireland. You came to this country when you were 9 and you say that you became America, as you put it, playing sports and even in college you say, your ambition was to be a sportscaster, or as you put it, the next Bob Costas. Really?

POWER: Yes. Well, once I couldn't play professional sports, which became very clear early, and once my college sports career sort of flamed out a little bit that was the next best thing, right, was to get --

WALLACE: So you were a little leaguer here? POWER: Oh, yes, but my hands are not together in the way that they

might be --

WALLACE: Was it tough --

POWER: That's a horrifying --

WALLACE: Was it Ty Cobb or -- there was some great player who --

POWER: There was. But it certainly wasn't me. But, no, I loved -- it was a way of fitting in. It was every immigrant I think finds their currency and for me, it was to rattle off RBI, you know, statistics. I moved to Pittsburgh where the Pirates were winning the series. The Steelers were winning the Super Bowl. So I went to college. I was part of a team that had a sports talk show. I did play by play for the college basketball team, and some color commentary for the baseball team. And that's what I wanted to do.

But history interrupted and I found myself very moved by world events and detoured from that, but I took the journalism that I'd learned to be a sports journalist and then parlayed into at least trying to learn how to cover the war in Bosnia.

WALLACE: So you met your husband, legal scholar Cass Sunstein, in the 2008 campaign, and there you are in your rainy wedding day.

POWER: Ireland. That's Ireland. It will shock you to hear that that's a wet day in Ireland.

WALLACE: You gave your two children very Irish names, Declan and Rian, but around the time you were courting, your husband wrote a book in which he said that there should be no marriage, government should get out of the marriage business, and it should all be domestic partnerships. What did you think about that, particularly at a point when you were about to get married?

POWER: When you're married to Cass Sunstein, who writes as prolifically and as often provocatively as he does, you do not get in the business of parsing his latest thought experiment or his latest missive. I'm not going to comment on my private back and forth with my husband. I think I already -- on the way over to this interview, I was arguing with him about one of the things he's writing now. So no more -- he speaks for himself.

WALLACE: I want to take a sad turn here. You said the worst day in your professional life was in 2016 when you went to Cameroon to visit a refugee camp and your motorcade struck and killed a 6-year-old boy. How terrible was that?

POWER: I mean, I think anybody can imagine what that would be like. It was -- as I said, the worst day in my professional and personal life. I mean, it was -- you ask yourself had we not come to bring support to these communities, you know, this little boy, would he still be playing, you know, out on the streets? So --

[19:25:07] WALLACE: Let me just pick up here because you didn't know. You were in another SUV. You find out and you say, I got to go back. I've got to go back to the home of Toussaint, that little boy, and your security team says far too dangerous. Boka Haram, other groups, they're around. We can't retrack, retrace our steps, and you insisted on it and you went back.

POWER: I did, yes. I mean, I don't think -- I think anybody would have gone back and to me, a family is grieving in the moment. I mean, again, there is no words really to describe that, to see Toussaint's siblings, and to know all that they'd be missing as they went ahead and, you know, we have done our best in that community to make sure that things that the community was lacking, you know, that they had and that they could remember the boy, also for what came to exist that wouldn't have existed but for his short life on the earth.

And it was devastating, and so I try to find motivation in all that is difficult and again, above all the difficulty for his family is something that I know they're living with to this day.

WALLACE: Up next, actor Gary Sinise reveals his true feelings about being known forever as Lieutenant Dan. Plus he gives me a tip on who needs to be on this show.


SINISE: There is somebody that Chris Wallace needs to talk to.


WALLACE: And a little later, Tyler Perry's new project with an old friend, Oprah, and the cold call that started it all.


PERRY: I found she loves to do that to people, that just -- so everybody goes away. What? No.






LT. DAN TAYLOR, FICTIONAL CHARACTER: I didn't ask you ask to pull me out of there, Goddamn you.


CHRIS WALLACE, CNN HOST, "WHO'S TALKING TO CHRIS WALLACE": His big break and movies earned him the nickname.




WALLACE: But Gary's Gary Sinise's long and storied career has included lots of memorable characters. From "Of Mice and Men."


GEORGE MILTON, FICTIONAL CHARACTER: I spend all of my time telling you things and you forget them.


WALLACE: To "President Harry S. Truman."


GARY SINISE, PORTRAYING HARRY S. TRUMAN: Is there anything I can do for you?


WALLACE: In blockbuster films --


KEN MATTINGLY, PORTRAYED BY GARY SINISE: Jack, give me a read back on that last procedure.


WALLACE: And primetime TV.


WALLACE: But as we'll find out, for Sinise, it was that supporting role alongside Tom Hanks.


LT. DAN TAYLOR: I'm Lieutenant Dan Taylor. Welcome to Fort Platoon.


WALLACE: That put the actor on the path to find his life's true mission -- serving our nation's heroes.

Gary Sinise, welcome. I am delighted to have you here as a guest.

SINISE: Thanks so much, Chris. Great to be with you.

WALLACE: I want to start with a book you wrote a few years ago called "Grateful American: From Self to Service." Is that how you see the arc of your life from focusing on yourself and your acting career, to focusing on service to the military and veterans?

SINISE: In some ways, yes. When I started to write that book, I thought -- I was encouraged to sort of document some of the interesting places that I'd been to serve back -- give back to the military/

I've been on bases all over the world and hospitals everywhere, and some of my folks that work with me, encouraged me to sort of document some of that, and then I started to do that and it turned into an autobiography of, you know, how I -- this journey from self to service and how I got there.

WALLACE: And as you made that journey, where there are times, particularly as it went on that you began making choices, you know, I'm not going to take this project because it's taking me away from my commitment to service.

SINISE: I think so, or the opposite, or I took -- there were a few projects I took because it kind of fit right into what I was doing on the, you know, on the service side.

You know, I don't know. I had some great opportunities. I mean, I can't complain about my acting career.

WALLACE: I know that.

SINISE: Yes, I mean, it's been great. I started a theater company. The theater company did very well. We went to Broadway. We did a lot there.

I've had a blessed career in the movie and television and theater business. I've done amazing things. I've worked with amazing people, and it really played a major role, if not the key element in what I'm doing today on the service side.

WALLACE: Let's circle back. You've made reference to it, to 1974, when you helped co-found the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Highland Park, Illinois. Take a look at this gang of folks. So young, so talented.

Let's show some of the pictures of who those folks became -- John Malkovich, Laurie Metcalf, and two people who I suspect people don't know their names so much, but they've seen them forever, their faces and their great work -- Jeff Perry, Terry Kenny -- how was it to start out as an actor with folks like that?

SINISE: Well, it is just one of those things, you know. I don't know. We put a collection of people together and it kind of clicked and we hung together, we stayed together, and a lot of people went off and they had great careers in the movie and television business and our theater now is what, nearly 50 years old.

It's a Chicago institution. We've built buildings there and it's a great American story when you look at it. Not just a bunch of kids getting together, they have nothing absolutely nothing in common.


WALLACE: So, Malkovich who I only know from his work. I've never met the guy, but you know, he seems like an unusual character in life, is he?

SINISE: Now, there is somebody that Chris Wallace needs to talk to. John Malkovich. Absolutely. Because he is a funny guy, he is a hilarious person. We've been friends now, you know, like I said, nearly 50 years. We've done incredible, incredible things together and he is funny.

WALLACE: All right, let's move forward to 1994 when you got your big breakthrough role, as Lieutenant Dan in the movie, "Forrest Gump," and I want to start with a scene and this is where Forrest rescues you from the battlefield in Vietnam over your very vociferous objections.

Take a look.


LT. DAN TAYLOR: I told you to leave me there, Gump. Forget about me. Get yourself out.

Didn't you hear what I said? Goddamn it. Put me down. Get your ass out of here. I didn't ask you to pull me out of there, goddamn you. Where the hell do you think you're going?


LT. DAN TAYLOR: I've got an airstrike inbound right now. They're going to nape the whole area. Don't you stay here, goddammit. That's an order.


WALLACE: You were trying out, auditioning for other parts at that time before you knew whether you're going to get that role. Do you think, in somehow looking back, in the arc of your life that it was somehow fate that you would end up playing Lieutenant Dan in "Forrest Gump"?

SINISE: Well, it was certainly good fortune. The movie did so well. Maybe it was some kind of destiny. I mean, I never realized that at the time that the role would play a greater part in my life than just, you know, being in a movie, and having it be another part that I did in a movie because years later, you know, when I started walking into hospitals to visit our wounded, they recognized -- they didn't know who I was, but they recognized my face from "Forrest Gump."

And they started -- they wanted to talk about Lieutenant Dan and I realized early on, that's going to be part of the story that I share with these wounded veterans. And it certainly played a great significant part in my career, changing things. I hadn't done that many movies before that, but much greater role in my life as a wounded veteran and connecting me to the to the military and the Vietnam veteran community and the wounded that we have. And we have so many real life Lieutenant Dan's now that you know, if I

can share something positive from the movie with them, and it helps them, then I'm all too eager to do that.

WALLACE: The next year, you were in another movie with Tom Hanks. You played Ken Mattingly in Apollo 13. Mattingly was the guy who gets bumped from the flight for a medical reason.

They think he has the measles. He was exposed to the measles. He, in fact, didn't have the measles, never got it, and he ends up coming up with a way to bring this crippled spaceship back home. Here you are there.


KEN MATTINGLY: Here we go. CMC unit. On the computer.

JOHN: Ken.


JOHN: Is your computer on now?

KEN MATTINGLY: Up and running. How do we look? John?

JOHN: I think we got it, buddy.


WALLACE: I love watching you watching that scene.

SINISE: Well, I haven't seen that for a while.

WALLACE: You know it's a hell of a movie.

SINISE: It was a great movie to be in. Ron Howard did such a fantastic job directing that movie.

WALLACE: Is it true you had your choice of roles of the two astronauts who will go up with Hanks on "Apollo 13," or this role and you chose this role?

SINISE: I had my choice of which one I wanted to audition for, so I picked Ken Mattingly because I thought his story was so interesting that he gets -- you know he's so much a part of the mission getting ready and then he gets pulled from the mission and then he becomes vital to the solution at the end and I just liked that story quite a bit.

WALLACE: A few years later, you're in another movie with Tom Hanks, "The Green Mile."


WALLACE: What do you think of Tom Hanks? SINISE: I love him. He is a wonderful guy, and he has been a good

friend all these years. We did three movies together during that 90s period with "The Green Mile." We haven't really worked together since, but we've stayed in touch. He's a wonderful guy has been a great supporter of my foundation, obviously very caring person about the military and whatnot. He's done some great things and I am proud to call him a friend.


WALLACE: When we come back, the turning point in Gary Sinise's career and what it's like to be a conservative in Hollywood.


WALLACE: Do conservatives in the entertainment industry need a support group?




WALLACE: Gary Sinise's stage, TV, and film career spans four decades, but his main focus now is serving America's heroes. We continue our conversation with the moment everything changed for him.


WALLACE: Somewhere along the line, acting becomes less important to you and service to the military and veterans and first responders becomes more important.

In 2003, you formed the Lieutenant Dan Band and you end up playing all over the world.


WALLACE: Was 9/11, Gary, a turning point for you?

SINISE: No doubt. No doubt about that. In fact, in my book, that's the chapter in my book that references what happened on September 11th and how that affected me is indeed called turning point.

The first big trip I did to Iraq was in 2003, in June of 2003 and it was a big, big USO sponsored tour called Project Salute, and there were 180 people on a donated Northwest Airlines 747. We all got on that airplane and went to Kuwait, landed in Kuwait and you had all kinds of entertainers on there.

You had basketball players and football players and cheerleaders and comedians and Robert De Niro was there. I mean, it was a gigantic thing.

We were going all over the place for about six days doing things. Kid Rock was on that tour and all kinds of people. And I saw -- and we would do shows, and what would I do as an actor? I just go out and talk to the crowd and they'd all yell "Lieutenant Dan" at me and whatnot.

And then when I got back, I started talking to USO. I said, you know, I play music. I'd like to, you know, do that. And eventually, after about six of those handshake-waving at the crowd tours that I did, they let me take the band, and we've played over 500 shows for the military at this point.

WALLACE: In 2011, you took it up a big notch because you created the Gary Sinise Foundation, which among other things, creates smart homes for severely wounded military officers and for their families, and we have you touring a house with one of those severely wounded people named Jake Murphy, take a look.


JAKE MURPHY, WOUNDED VETERAN: Smart Home is unbelievable. You don't realize what impact it is going to make until you experience it.

SINISE: There's your smart stuff.

MURPHY: Yes. on the wall, there's a smart pad. This is family room.

SINISE: There you go. Look.

MURPHY: I've got TV.

SINISE: And if you're here by yourself or something, and you've already gotten into bed, you've taken these off.

MURPHY: Right. Oh yes.

SINISE: You know, it is like --

MURPHY: Lights are off.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Literally like a good night button that closes the shades, locks the doors.

MURPHY: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Turns off all the lights.


WALLACE: Tell me the ways you and your foundation have -- and you can see it right there with Jake, changed the lives of these people who have given so much to defend our country.

SINISE: It's a great feeling to know that we have the trust of the American people who donate so that we can do that kind of thing. This is a program we call RISE, Restoring Independent Supporting Empowerment. I got into homebuilding back in 2009 or 2010. When I started my

foundation, home building became just one of our programs. So now we've given away you know, over 80 homes, nearly 80 homes I think and we have many more on the schedule.

I have met so many extraordinary people that have inspired me and motivated me and each time I see one cross the threshold into the new house that's going to make their life easier and more manageable. It's a good, good feeling to know that there is something that we can do to give back to these people who have done so much.

WALLACE: I want to switch subjects on you a bit. You're one of the relatively few conservatives in Hollywood. you've contributed over the years to John McCain to Mitt Romney, and you helped co-found a group of like-minded people in Hollywood called Friends of Abe. Do conservatives in the entertainment industry need a support group?

SINISE: Well, that's something you know, we don't talk about out here that much. That was just you know -- something came together back in the early days of the Iraq War for me and I think so much was motivated by, as I said, what happened to our Vietnam veterans and the lack of support that they got and the way they were treated, and then we regretted it later on.


SINISE: And during the Iraq war, I felt like, I didn't want our Iraq War in Afghanistan veterans to fall prey to any of that kind of stuff. I just wanted to get in there and support them.

So I started looking for people that were just in the same camp with me on that subject, and I found other folks in the movie and television business who enjoyed getting together, and that's what happened there.

WALLACE: As we mentioned earlier, the Steppenwolf Theatre Company started in Highland Park, Illinois, which, as we all know, was the scene of that horrific July 4th shooting.

I know you're a big supporter of the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms under the Constitution, but do you have any feelings at all about whether there should be more controls on semiautomatic weapons and high-capacity magazines?

SINISE: I'm not the guy to know exactly what to do about all of that, or, you know, the one thing I do know is that you can't get rid of guns, guns are here to stay, they've always been a part of the American story.

So what do we do now that we seem to have this easy access to guns when we shouldn't? Or people that get guns that shouldn't have them? What do we do? It's a complicated situation. I don't think there's one solution that you can say, well, if we just do this, we won't see this kind of thing happen again. And can anybody say that? I don't think so. WALLACE: There is one other way in which you've taken the road less

traveled during your career. I want to put up a picture again of the Steppenwolf Group. You and that very pretty young lady there in front of you. Her name was Moira Harris. She was an early member of Steppenwolf.

The two of you have been married for 41 years, and you're in the process of moving your family and your foundation from Hollywood to Franklin, Tennessee. How come?

SINISE: Yes, we were looking for a family change. I think it was a family decision. First, you know, we started talking to our daughters about, you know, what would you ever consider -- because we have little grandchildren and we wouldn't have gone --

WALLACE: Aren't they the best?

SINISE: Yes. Fantastic. We wouldn't have left, you know, if they didn't want to do that.


SINISE: And I thought it would be a good place for the foundation, actually. I mean, it is a no tax state, state tax, so that'll be good. I want to always be mindful of how we spend the people's money.

Tennessee is centrally located, it'd be a beautiful place for me to kind of be based with easy access to multiple military installations all around the country.


WALLACE: Coming up the surprise phone call that made one of my guests nearly walk into traffic.


WALLACE: Finally tonight, a new World War Two blockbuster is in the making, and some pretty big stars are leading the charge.

"Six Triple Eight" tells the story of the US Army's first predominantly Black women battalion. The cast currently includes Oprah Winfrey and Kerry Washington with Tyler Perry in the director's chair.

Last fall, I sat down with Perry who opened up about his friendship with Winfrey, and a surprising way it started.


TYLER PERRY, ACTOR/MOVIEMAKER: Rushing home from school to watch her on television was a big deal for me, because there was this woman who looked familiar like she was a cousin, friend, sister of mine that aunt, too, was so inspiring and so smart.

And it was very rare to see Black people on television, and she was one of the first Black people on television where you actually got to hear her have an opinion every day.

I remember when "Diary of a Black Woman" came out, I was walking down the street in Las Vegas. My phone rings. I'm like "hello" as I am in the middle of a million things. And she says, "Hi, this is Oprah," and I almost walked into traffic, right?

So that's where it all started and here 18 years later --

WALLACE: I mean, just a cold call? No set up that I will call you with X.

PERRY: Nope. And I found she loves to do that to people. She'd just go, "This is Oprah," so everybody goes way, "What? No." Yes, good thing I didn't hang up on her. But 18 years later was still great friends.


WALLACE: Winfrey and Perry's "Six Triple Eight" is releasing on Netflix. It's Perry's fourth film for the streamer following his hit, "A Jazzman's Blues." I asked him why he has teamed up with Netflix to release these big dramas.


WALLACE: Since 2020, you've made three films for Netflix. And I wonder was part of that trying to get a broader reach both racially and geographically?

PERRY: I think most of it was just where the industry is going. I've had an incredible run with Lionsgate, but also for many years I've been told that movies with Black people in them or Black leads or Black stars or Black writers, there is no international audience for those films.

So I've never had an opportunity to have a film that opened theatrically be released around the world, but having these movies open on Netflix and having them be number one in several countries dispel that myth completely.


WALLACE: You can watch my full conversation with Tyler Perry, as well as tonight's interviews with Samantha Power and Gary Sinise anytime you want on HBO Max.

And we'll see you back here on CNN next Sunday when I'll be sitting down with legendary quarterback turned broadcaster, Terry Bradshaw and famed astrophysicist, Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

Thank you for watching and good night.