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Measles Makes Deadly Return; Paul Offit, Professor of Vaccinology, University of Pennsylvania, is Interview About Measles; Denialism Over Climate Change; Award-Winning Television Comedy, "Catastrophe"; Rob Delaney, Actor, "Catastrophe" and Sharon Horgan, Actress, "Catastrophe," are Interviewed About Their Sitcom, "Catastrophe." Aired 1-2p ET

Aired April 17, 2019 - 13:00   ET



[13:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.

Measles rears its ugly head again, why the disease that was believed to be eradicated is making a deadly comeback in countries that can vaccinate

against it.

Then, comedy dream team, Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney join us on their raucously real show, "Catastrophe", and the heartache that lies below the

belly laughs.

Plus --


NIA DACOSTA, FILMMAKER: I think a lot of times we view people who are poor or who make decisions we don't agree with as having some kind of moral

character failure.


AMANPOUR: Filmmaker, Nia DaCosta, gives us the lowdown on her debut, "Little Woods," and tells Alicia Menendez why she wants people to know how

women experience poverty.

Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

We live in a world where facts are under fire, whether it's a peril of fake news, the rise of climate denialism, or even the war against vaccinations.

Vaccines are a miracle that had saved people from illnesses that have plagued humanity for centuries.

Now, young lives are at risk again, as a highly infectious disease, measles, makes a deadly return. The World Health Organization says it

still kills 100,000 people per year. And so far, in 2019, infections are up, 300 percent compared to this time last year.

While a lot of this is due to limited access to healthcare in poorer countries, we are also seeing the anti-vax movement, and measles surging in

richer nations where people are turning away from vaccines because of false information. They're spreading even faster than the illness. And the

consequences are life- threatening.

Just today, we learned that an Israeli flight attendant has gone into a measles induced coma. While the mayor of New York has declared a health

emergency after hundreds of fresh cases. Pediatrician and research professor, Dr. Paul Offit, joined me to talk about this crisis. He co-

created a vaccine for Rotavirus which is a sickness that strikes young children.

Dr. Paul Offit, welcome to the program.


AMANPOUR: It is extraordinary to be talking to you, sitting there in Washington, the United States of America, and talk about a resurgence of a

disease, a virus that we thought had been illuminated, eradicated, so long ago. Why is this happening?

OFFIT: Because people were choosing not to vaccinated their children. We eliminated measles from the United States by the year 2000. I think the

problem is that some people have forgotten about the disease and so, they don't take it seriously and as a consequence they're not vaccinating their

children. And so, measles has come back. And so, again, children have to suffer this disease. Some of them are hospitalized in an intensive care

unit. Really, it's unconscionable.

AMANPOUR: The CDC says that in about 20 U.S. States there were about 555 measles cases reported since the beginning of this year. Why is it


OFFIT: It is the most contagions of the vaccine preventable diseases. You don't even have to have face-to-face contact with someone who is sick. The

virus is spread by small droplets. If I had measles sitting this room and left the room, anybody who came into this room within two hours of being

here could catch measles, that's why the most difficult of the vaccine preventable disease to eliminate. And that's why when immunization rates

(INAUDIBLE) it's invariably the first disease that comes back.

AMANPOUR: Tell us about exactly what it does to the body. Again, I had measles when I was a kid, I had mumps, I had all the basic diseases before

there were these vaccines that we have now. Obviously, I vaccinated my own kid. But what does measles do to you?

OFFIT: So, measles virus enters usually via the upper respiratory tract, the nose and then throat, and then it spreads into the bloodstream then it

goes elsewhere. It spreads to the lungs and it causes pneumonia. It can spread to the brain and cause something called encephalitis.

Sometimes it sets up for a secondary bacterial infection of the lungs like with staff or strep. And occasionally, it kills you. Before we had a

measles vaccine in the United States in 1963, every year, 3 to 4 million people would get measles, about 48,000 would be hospitalized and 500 would

die. I think the problem is that we forgotten about all that. And so, as a consequence, we are condemned to relive it.

AMANPOUR: So, WHO says that it's a bit of a global crisis right now. Something like a hundred thousand deaths caused by measles, certainly, you

know, a year for the last [13:05:00] several. Can you trackback how the epidemic, the outbreak started in the United States? Because, we

understand, that for instance in Rockland County, New York, we know there is some Orthodox Jewish communities, also in Brooklyn, both areas, that

have seen an outbreak.

OFFIT: First of all, actually, from a worldwide standpoint, we are doing much better, we've gone from, you know, 800,000, a million cases of measles

a year -- I'm sorry, deaths from measles a year, down to now like 100,000. Actually, we are doing better from a worldwide perspective.

However, you know, we haven't eliminated it from the world. International travel is common, and when people come from places like the Ukraine or come

from Romania or come from Israel, you know, where measles is unfortunately endemic, then they bring the virus here. If there's enough of a pocket of

people in areas of the United States that aren't vaccinated, then that serves as fertile ground for the virus to spread, that's what happened in

Clark County, Washington State, that's what happened in Southern California, that's what's happening now among a very small group of

Orthodox Jewish communities who are making that choice.

Although, ironically, certainly this has nothing to do with the Jewish religion, and most people in those communities are vaccinated.

Unfortunately, a critical number aren't.

AMANPOUR: I mean, dig down into that for us. Are there legitimate reasons, religious reasons, not to be vaccinated?

OFFIT: No. I think no. I mean, I think that -- if religion teaches us anything, it's to care about our children, to care about our community, to

care about our health. Certainly, there is nothing in the Jewish religion that says don't get vaccinated.

I mean, the three major texts that serve as for the Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths all were written well before 1796, which was when the first

vaccine was invented, the smallpox vaccine. And all those three major texts care deeply about health. So, no. I think that, frankly, exposing

your child to unnecessary harm and then therefore exposing those with whom your child comes in contact to unnecessary harm is a profoundly unreligious

thing to do.

AMANPOUR: So, just to figure out how now to reimpose what you all call the herd immunity, this is what the mayor of New York has said about the



MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO, (D-NY): Today, we are declaring a public health emergency effective immediately. This will mandate vaccines for people

living in the affected area. The Department of Health will issue violations and fines to people who remain unvaccinated.

The only way to stop this outbreak is to ensure that those who have not been vaccinated get the vaccine. It's crucial for people to understand

that measles vaccine works. It is safe, it is effective, it is time tested.


AMANPOUR: So, presumably as a doctor, you agree with that. But how does one enforce, enforce mandatory vaccinations if that's what he is


OFFIT: Right. Well, there's actually a distinction between mandatory vaccination and compulsory vaccination. What the Mayor De Blasio is

arguing for is mandatory vaccination, which is to say he's asking citizens in his -- in those communities to be vaccinated. If they don't get

vaccinated, then they have to pay a societal price, like a fine, for example.

In Philadelphia in 1991, we had, in a several month period, we had 1,400 cases of measles and nine deaths that centered on two fundamentalists

Christian churches. They were faith healers. Meaning, they didn't believe not only in vaccines, they didn't believe in medical care. And so, they

served as the epicenter for that outbreak.

We have compulsory vaccinations, which is to say, those parents, by court order, had to be vaccinated, and did. And so, I think the Mayor De Blasio

is stuck in many ways. I mean, he wants to stand up for the health of those communities, and the only way to do that is to say, "You really need

to be vaccinated because vaccines are safe and effective."

When people in the community are making the decision not to be vaccinated, they are making it based on bad information. They have this misconception

that the vaccine is dangerous when it's not. And so, what do you do in situations like that? I think, ultimately, you have to, at times, compel

people to do the right thing. I mean, we compel people to stop at stop signs, we compel people to sit in car seats, or else they get a ticket,

because it's the right thing to do. It's the safe thing to do. I feel sorry for Mayor De Blasio because he is in such a tough spot.

AMANPOUR: If you do try to force people, who, for whatever reason, think a vaccine is dangerous, it may make them go further underground, so to speak.

OFFIT: Right. But what else can you do? I mean, the fact of the matter is, they have this false concern that the MMR vaccine, measles mumps,

rubella vaccine is dangerous, it's not dangerous. I mean, they believe it might cause autism, which isn't true, or it might cause a variety of other

chronic diseases like, you know, diabetes or multiple sclerosis or hyperactivity disorder or whatever, that's not true.

So, when people then that are making that choice, what do you do? I mean, isn't it your alienable right as a citizen to allow your child to catch and

transmit a potentially fatal infection? I think the answer is no. And I think what Mayor De Blasio is doing is standing up for those children.

Now, might there be [13:10:00] a backlash? There might. But I think that the alternative, which is to allow that virus to continue to spread, allow

that virus to continue to cause suffering and hospitalization and the possibility of death is just too awful to imagine. And so, he is stepping

forward at a time, hopefully early enough where that won't happen.

AMANPOUR: What happens if it goes undealt with, if it's not vaccinated?

OFFIT: I think we lived through the nightmare scenario in Philadelphia in 1991 when we had 1,400 cases and nine children died. We were pretty slow

to react to that. I mean, to essentially force people to be vaccinated because I think when it comes to the law, we don't like to tell people how

to raise their children, we certainly don't like to tell people how to practice their faith. But occasionally, a line is crossed and that's been

true here where you do have to stand up for those children.

I mean, I think we always assume that parents are making the best decision for their children, but that's not always true. And in this example, it's

not true here.

AMANPOUR: So, tell us, talk to me them about the fact that mostly in the United States or other developed nations where we've seen this disease be

eliminated in the past, it is mostly now a question of these hoaxes, this anti-vax movement, how dangerous has that been? Are we seeing, in other

words, are the chickens coming home to roost and how dangerous could it continue to be?

OFFIT: Well, the World Health Organization now list this so-called anti- vaccine movement as one of the top 10 global health threats. I mean, not only in the United States do we have these unfounded, unscientific fears

but we export those fears to other countries. And so, you are seeing now, you know, other places also who adapt this sort of -- this notion that

vaccines are causing more harm when they're not. And now, you are seeing, you know, vaccine preventable diseases come back at some level.

You know, what's frustrating, I guess, for me as a doctor is that there's so much in medicine that we don't know, there's so much we can't do. This

we do know, specific germs do cause specific diseases, there's ways that we can prevent them. And when you watch parents' sort of turn their back on

that, expose their children to unnecessary harm, it's very hard to watch. Invariably, it is the children who suffer our ignorance here.

AMANPOUR: Now, talk to me a little bit about people, maybe at my generation or earlier, who have been vaccinated as kids but maybe didn't

have multiple vaccinations and maybe didn't know that you have to keep updating them. We understand that an Israeli flight attendant has slipped

into a coma now, having contracted measles, she might have encephalitis and she had been vaccinated as a child.

OFFIT: Right. So, vaccines, like any medical technology or technique, is -- are not 100 percent effective. I mean, the measles vaccine, for

example, one dose of measles vaccine converts about 92 to 93 percent protective efficacy. The second dose gets you up into the high 90 percent

range. But like anything, it's not 100 percent effective.

So, when -- for example, anti-vaccine, people will say, "What do you care what I do? I mean, you were vaccinated." That assumes that vaccines are

100 percent effective, which is not true. It also assumes that everyone can get a vaccine, which isn't true, because there are certainly hundreds

of thousands of people in the United States who can't be vaccinated because they are getting cancer chemotherapy or they're getting immunosuppressive

therapy for their chronic diseases or they are too young.

So, I think it's a selfish act, actually, to not just only put your child but those who they come in contact at risk.

AMANPOUR: So, let's just broaden this out a bit. Because, obviously, this deliberate desire not to vaccinate your children is one thing, but in the

rest of the world is often something else. As we've said, the WHO has identified this as a major problem. Apparently, the case of measles around

the world has increased 300 percent. Describe for me what's happening around the rest of the world where it's not just deliberate, it's a major

problem of access.

OFFIT: Right. So, different cultures sort of determine different vaccine uptakes. And a number of African countries, for example, it's a matter of

access. I mean, these are resource poor countries that often don't have the access to vaccines or don't have the place to get the vaccine. And so,

groups like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are doing everything they can to try and make those vaccines available to those areas.

But if you look, for example, in the Middle East, like United Arab Emirates or Qatar or Saudi Arabia, those vaccine rates are close to 100 percent. If

you look in the Scandinavian countries like Sweden or Finland, vaccine rates are close to 100 percent even though they're not mandated there. But

yet, in Western Europe, you know, measles is fairly endemic because vaccines aren't mandated and people choose not to vaccinate. And so, it

does seem to be that culture determines whether one is likely to get a vaccine or not.

But I think the hardest part, you're right, is that in those areas that are resource poor, where they don't have access to vaccines, I think groups

like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are doing a yeoman's job at really getting death rates down in those countries.

AMANPOUR: You, again, are in the United States of America where there is currently an assault on facts and evidence in science. I mean, the

president himself has used the word [13:15:00] -- you know, he sort of entertained this anti-vax, you know, movement to an extent, and science and

evidence, is being held up to question and ridicule.

Beyond just measles, a person in your position, what do you think the country is in for next, whether it's in disease, this one or others?

OFFIT: Right. I think you are exactly right. I think we have moved sort of from scientifically literacy into scientific denialism, people just

declare their own truths even though they're wrong, like vaccines cause autism or creationism and evolution are equally valid hypothesis or climate

change is a hoax.

I mean, I think we will suffer that. I mean, we moved from, you know, the age of darkness into the age of enlightenment because of science. Because

of science, we live 30 years longer than we did 100 years ago. To turn our backs on science, which I feel at some level we are doing, is something for

which I fear will we will pay an enormous price down the line.

AMANPOUR: Dr. Offit, if you could stare down the barrel of that camera and talk to the people in the communities which are not vaccinating their

children, what would you say to them now, given what we know to be the case with these outbreaks and deaths?

OFFIT: A choice not to get a vaccine is not a risk-free choice, it's a choice to take a different and more serious risk, and we are starting to

see what that risk looks like. Now, you have over 250 people in New York who are suffering measles, we have 20 people who are hospitalized, we have

five people in the intensive care unit, we are on the verge of watching people die of a completely preventable infection. Please, please vaccinate

your children, please don't put them at unnecessary risk. Please.

AMANPOUR: Dr. Paul Offit, thank you so much indeed.

OFFIT: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: Well, that was the plea of a scientist and a doctor. And one of the other major crises is denialism over this scientific evidence of

climate change. Protests continue the world over trying to get governments to listen now.

In London, the group Extinction Rebellion are continuing to close down some of the city's busiest roads. While in France this week, 16-year-old

climate activist, Greta Thunberg, made an emotional plea to the European Union to do something before it's too late.


GRETA THUNBERG, CLIMATE ACTIVIST: Deforestation of our great forests, toxic air pollution, loss of insects and wildlife, the acidification of our

oceans, these are all disastrous trends being accelerated by a way of life that we (INAUDIBLE) fortunate part of the world see as our right to

seemingly carry on.


AMANPOUR: She's only 16, and clearly, it's a really hard burden for her and she's emotional. But she continues, she still at it. Today, she met

with her fellow climate activist, Pope Francis, in Vatican City.

Now, we turn to a different kind of catastrophe, if I may, actually, I'm talking about the award-winning television comedy, getting major plaudits

for its fun yet authentic take on marriage and parenthood with a dash of nuance included. Here's a look at something many working parents of small

children trying to take a vacation might recognize.


ROB DELANEY, ACTOR, "CATASTROPHE": You should be able to handcuff your kids to the airplane seat. They'd be all, for like a minute and then they

would be fine. Have a super trip to Vermont. I hope you get trampled by a moose.


DELANEY: I know. I mean, what was her problem? (INAUDIBLE) like two or three times?

HORGAN: Yes. Actually, my kids told her she shouldn't want -- Shrek jump here. Oh, my God. I need to stop for a second. I'm so tired I could cry.

DELANEY: Well, put on your sunglasses and cry.

HORGAN: I can't. I (INAUDIBLE) pop one of the lenses out.

DELANEY: Oh, honey.


AMANPOUR: "Catastrophe" is the brainchild of the Irish writer and actress, Sharon Horgan, and the American comedian, Rob Delaney. The fourth and

final season of the show has debuted on Amazon Prime, where once again, it's getting rave reviews from viewers and critics alike. And Sharon

Horgan and Rob Delaney join me now from Los Angeles.

Welcome to the program.

DELANEY: Thank you. Thank you very much.


DELANEY: And I just want to say, Sharon and I made sure to vaccinate each other before we went on air.

AMANPOUR: All right. Have you vaccinated your kids, that's what I want to know?

DELANEY: Oh, yes.

HORGAN: Yes, of course.


HORGAN: We are not insane.

DELANEY: Constantly.

AMANPOUR: Well, listen, you know, that first clip that we just showed in the introduction, it just shows to parents dealing with the normal hurly-

burly of everyday life, including, you know, trying to rein in your kid, Sharon, as you are just having a little sort of weak moment there, wanting

to have a cry.

Explain for us why this has taken off. Why do you think it has? We all know why we love it. But did you think it would, you know, hit such a

funny bone, such a nerve?

HORGAN: Oh, no. I mean, we are [13:20:00] delighted that it has, but I don't think we had any idea that it necessarily would. I think we just

wanted to be very honest and paint a real picture of what it's like to keep a relationship going, once you throw kids and, you know, all the other kind

of catastrophes of life into the mix. And --

DELANEY: Yes. I think if we did have a secret sauce for our show, it's that it is written by one man and one woman. So, I think the viewers can

maybe smell that.

AMANPOUR: Yes, indeed. I want to get back to how you guys first met, right. Essentially, on Twitter, I mean, you weren't dating, it wasn't a

dating app but you met on Twitter because of the professionalism and the humor. I mean, tell us how you actually met on Twitter.

DELANEY: Yes. I mean, I noticed now, almost 10 years ago, that Sharon followed me on Twitter, and she had created a sitcom a few years prior

called "Pulling," which was just the greatest sitcom I've ever seen in my life. And so, I wrote to her and I said, "Thank you for following me on

this silly website."

And she wrote back, and then we became friendly. She came and saw me do standup and then we would work together on little stuff. And then one day,

we just thought we might, you know, see if we could write a sitcom together.


HORGAN: Yes. I mean, that's sort of it in a nutshell. But I'd also, you know, from seeing Rob's standup, really loved how he talked about stuff and

really loved how he talked about marriage in particularly. And so, I think we sort of knew it would work, you know, our styles together, blended.

AMANPOUR: Well, I mean, what were you trying to tell us all about marriage? Because look, it is extraordinary, and you do, you know, look

like you are having sort of real-life discussions, but you also -- I mean, look, there's a lot of angst, there's a lot of humor, there's a lot of, you

know, tears, there's a lot of laughter, but in the end, you don't really have massive rows. When one of you, you know, sort of kind of irritates

the other one or, you know, get some angry, it's not like you storm out and you never talk to each other again or have the big sun (ph), you managed to

have a mature response that perhaps a lot of couples may not have in the end. How do you come up with that?

DELANEY: I mean --

HORGAN: Well --

DELANEY: -- we just -- I think we wanted a show that marriage is interesting. I think we felt a lot of sitcoms, not all of them, because --

of course, there are great ones. But some of them sort of did marriage a disservice and kind of made it look like a slug, which marriage usually,

seems to me, is either you are like you want to kill your spouse, and not in a funny way like you are figuring out, how do I kill them and you want

to wipe the browser history so you don't get caught. I mean, you are really planning their death.

Then five minutes later, you are like -- you have your -- you're wrapped around their ankles being like, "I can't believe you let me kiss you ever."

And so, it's -- you know, you rocket between those two poles, it's not like -- you're not like, "Hey, she's driving me nuts," or like, "All he does is

golf," that is ridiculous. No marriage is like that, it's those two poles.

HORGAN: Yes. And also, we realized -- I mean, when we put them in a difficult situation, when something terrible happened and they did argue or

did sort of decide they weren't going to talk anymore, that's not very interesting on-screen, having two people, you know, just constantly

shouting at each other or not communicating at all.

So, we would find ways for them to make each other laugh, and I think that's also a little bit of the secret sauce in it, is that they just

really like each other's company, better than anyone else in the world. And they like making each other laugh, it's their favorite thing.

AMANPOUR: Well, I mean, that's it.

HORGAN: It's kind of easy with those characters to go from, you know, crazy hate to laughter.

AMANPOUR: Well, I think you just kind of nutshelled it for me. They like each other's company better than anybody else in the world and they like to

make each other laugh and they'll, you know, stick through the horrible stuff to get to the other side.

And it's, again, extraordinary because this was essentially a one-night, one-weekend stand, right? I mean, Rob, you, I mean, in the show, you guys

had a one-night, one week stand, and you still in series 4, have -- you have her number in your cell phone as Sharon Sex London, still, you know,

after all that you've been through.

And then --

DELANEY: Yes. I mean, I think --

AMANPOUR: Go ahead.

DELANEY: Well, we just would have been so sad. I mean, we thought about that, but then what happens, you know, three years into your marriage, you

look at your wife's number and you're like, "You know what, [13:25:00] why don't I just send that down to just her name, like the cute little thing

from the beginning, you know, that's lovely." So, I think, you know, not doing that is sort of one illustrative little nugget that, you know, is

sort of a key to that relationship.

HORGAN: Yes. But also, it was like, you know, we are hungry for jokes.


HORGAN: And any time we could sort of just get an extra one, you know, whether it's just showing Sharon London sex or anything we could sort of

repeat and get laughs from, we will.

AMANPOUR: Well, here's another clip, again, from this final season, and it's when Rob is coming home and there's going to be a work dinner with the

boss and his wife, and you are telling Sharon about it.


DELANEY: We've been invited to a dinner with the big Ray-Ban via boss and his wife.

HORGAN: We've been invited? Me too?


HORGAN: Oh, God. Really? When? I hate work dinners.

DELANEY: You've never been to one. I've literally never once asked you to come to a work dinner.

HORGAN: What will they want from me?

DELANEY: I don't know. Your wife like presence.

HORGAN: Yes. But should I be chatty like Michelle Obama or should I be more like Jackie Kennedy, you know, like, "Don't say much when I do say

something," really make (INAUDIBLE) like (INAUDIBLE) the queen?

DELANEY: I think I'm going to say you can't make it.



AMANPOUR: I mean, I'm still laughing at that. And so -- but the relationship, the marriage, was kind of a shotgun affair. Because in your

one-night, one week stand, Sharon gets pregnant, and you guys decide, actually, to get married. I mean, that's not normal. How does that


HORGAN: Well, I mean, they decide to make the best of a terrible situation. And I think like in that very, very first episode, you can see

that it's more than just a one week stand. You know, they sort of declare a couple of things to each other at the -- when the Rob character is flying

back, you know, that makes you sort of, you can tell that they've left a sort of mark on each other.

And I guess the question is, would they have gotten back together if she hadn't been pregnant? I don't know. Would they have seen each other

again? I don't know. But, you know, it does, it does happen. I guess the thing was they are at a certain time in their life, or she was anyway where


DELANEY: Oh, yes. I mean, they weren't 22.



HORGAN: Those decisions kind of have more important.


HORGAN: I think you tell me in the pilot episode that you're like, "What age are you?" Well, I'm like, "I don't know if I'm going to keep the



HORGAN: He's like, "Well, you know."

DELANEY: You don't want to --

HORGAN: Look at the old clock there.


HORGAN: So, it's sort of a needs must kind of thing. But underneath it all, they definitely really like each other.

AMANPOUR: And in the show, obviously, Rob, you moved to London. And in reality, for making the show, you moved your family to London. What was

that like for you?

DELANEY: I mean, the first couple of years are a blur, honestly, because we were working so hard on the show. And also, we thought that we were

only going to move there for six months and then the show would be canceled. So, we literally put all of our stuff in L.A. in storage and my

wife took a leave of absence from her teaching job and we were like, "Dude, stay right where you are, we'll be right back." And now, it's coming up on

five years, "Catastrophe" has ended and we still live there. And it's great.

I mean, the U.K. is wonderful. You've got the NHS, there's no guns, you know, you can take a double-decker bus. So, it's -- U.K. is a great place

to live and we are pretty happy there.

AMANPOUR: Yes. NHS being the National Health Service, which everybody here is very relieved to have. Yes. Well, I'm going to get to that in a

moment because I know it played a very, very important role in your personal life, Rob, in your family life.

But, Sharon, I just want to ask you as well, because somewhat similar, not exactly similar, but I think that in your own personal life, you and your

husband, well, you weren't married at the time, right, you got pregnant and decided to get married.

HORGAN: Yes. That is what happened. I mean, you know, yes. I'm from a Catholic, Irish Catholic family. So, the getting married thing was kind of

-- I mean, even though I was of a certain age at the time, it was still -- you know, it was still best that I got married once I found out I was


We -- actually, we used the scene in the show, where we tell my parents that I'm getting married, and then my dad says, "I thought you were going

to say you were pregnant for a minute." I go, "Yes, that as well. That's also part of this."

But yes, it's just -- it's exactly what happened. I mean, it was longer, it wasn't a six-night stand, it was a six-month stand. So, there was a bit

of a -- there was something or there. But yes, it was the same deal. I was kind of what else was I going to do I guess at that point in my life. I

thought well, I'll dive in what happens --

AMANPOUR: Do you think --

HORGAN: -- and then we sort of speed life.

AMANPOUR: Life imitating art and art imitating life. I mean it really is amazing how it's so connected to so many people. And there are a lot of

people, even within my workplace who are thrilled that we are talking to you today because you really reached out and grabbed so many people.

What do you hear, Rob and Sharon, from people who write to you about this? What are the biggest messages that they tell you about what they are

getting from this?

DELANEY: I mean a big one is people ask us if we are secretly filming them in their homes, and using their lives as fodder for the show. Another big

one, that we really love to get is couples that watch it together.

There are people who say, this is the only show my husband and I or my wife and I watch together. And that is a wonderful feeling, to have something

that people can enjoy together. Yes, we are proud of that.

HORGAN: I think it's that they feel like whatever representation we put on screen makes them feel less like monsters, you know? Like hearing those

sort of things said out loud, how difficult it is, or how much you might hate your partner at certain points, or how you just want to get away from

your baby, you know, how you want to go back to work so that you can have some peace.

Like all of those things sort of said out loud make people feel a little bit less awful.


HORGAN: And I think that helps.

AMANPOUR: And maybe give people permission to feel, in all these ways that inevitably happen in couples and relationships.

HORGAN: Yes. And other sorts of aspects as well. I mean there is an episode where I lose my dad, but I don't have the kind of correct emotional

response and I don't cry and I don't mourn him.

And I had one of the moms in my school come up to me and say that she felt exactly the same. I mean the tears came, eventually, but it just made her

feel less sort of, alone in that awful feeling that she wasn't doing it right, you know?

AMANPOUR: And Rob, there's another clip that we are going to play because it really centers around you because it's not all light and fun, there are

also dark moments. And you, in the show are an alcoholic, you've had many episodes getting drunk, you had a car accident, and you've been to rehab.

And here you are and Sharon talking about it.


ROB NORRIS: How did you know I was in Austin?

SHARON MORRIS: Find my phone.


MORRIS: The app thing.

NORRIS: You need to stop surveilling me. OK. I'm not planning a bank robbery. I'm going to AA. I'm working in a charity shop plus my real job

and doing the best I can. And you're just -- I mean it's like, making a murderer up in here. Are you trying to drive me back to the bottle?

MORRIS: Oh my God. Now, I've heard it all. Does that make you feel good, blaming it on me?

NORRIS: It feels great.

MORRIS: Those are for Frankie's lunch.

NORRIS: Really? Did he pay for them? Or did I?


AMANPOUR: Again, it's just -- it really -- there's so much in the world today about addiction and alcoholism, and depression and all the dark side

of life that inevitably, many people live with and don't quite know how to, in many cases, express or get help for.

I think that whole part of you, Rob, and the way you relate to Sharon in this program, is probably very helpful to a lot of people who may be in the

Same situation?

DELANEY: Yes, I hope so. I mean we do our best, we really do try to, if the facts of the show "Catastrophe" are not real, we at least want all the

feelings to be.

And life is funny, and life is difficult and painful. And so we do try to not shy away from any sort of corner of the human and relationship

experience. So, yes. I mean, of course, we then sprinkle it with no shortage of jokes, but we really do try to keep it real, wherever and

however we can.

AMANPOUR: So it brings me to obviously, what's happened in your family. You lost your young son to cancer, to a tumor. [13:35:00] And after he

died, you came back to work.

I mean here you are, working with Sharon on the final season, as you are mourning and grieving. You've talked a lot about it. And I just wonder

what it was -- did that help you? Was that part of the process? What was it like?

DELANEY: I mean, so my son Henry died now, 15 months ago. So that's really like the blink of an eye, you know. And when I first started

writing the fourth season with Sharon, I'll be honest, I did it because -- not because I cared if a fourth season of the show existed, but because I

wanted my kids and my wife -- my surviving kids and my wife to just see meet go to work to show some sort of semblance of normalcy.

So I started working just a couple of days a week at first and really not caring what came out, you know. And then over time, I began to enjoy the

process. And then when we were really humming, and you know, polishing scripts and stuff, by then I was enjoying it.

And that didn't mean that I didn't grieve, that didn't mean that I didn't cry at my desk, or have to leave sometimes and just go lie down because

grief is so exhausting, you know? So, the show itself, I wouldn't say was therapeutic for me, but sort of going through the motions and working on

something intensely, I don't know, did offer some sort of structure or scaffolding to my life that allowed me to grieve and have the grief move

through me as it continues to do it.

So I'm glad I did it. I'm very surprised that I begin to truly enjoy it. And I'm in still, shocked, that we produced the season that we are very

proud of.

So, yes, I mean that's kind of -- I don't remember what your question was but I just spoke for a couple of minutes.

AMANPOUR: No, it was that. And I just wonder Sharon, I see you looking at this man who's your friend and your collaborator, how did you react also?

Because you are sitting with him writing and you are watching this grief unfold as well.

HORGAN: I was just, you know, in all of him every day. You know, that he was there. It's difficult for me to talk about it but -- because it was

not my tragedy.

But I, you know, I was just there for him if he needed me. Sometimes he did, sometimes he didn't. Like Rob was saying, sometimes he just needed to

cry and oftentimes you run out of the right thing to say because you can't say anything right because nothing you can say is ever right.

But every day, I was just amazed by him, and I don't know how he did it and I never will, but yes.

AMANPOUR: Again, I think your story is well-known, especially to the people who love the show. And it will mean a huge amount to people knowing

what you've gone through and how you've gone through it. And I just wonder, and certainly, I'm sure a lot of your fans wonder, this is the

final season on television, but will there be more of Catastrophe? Will there be a film? Will there be more seasons at some point, more series do

you think?

DELANEY: Well, we don't have anything planned right now. I think to date and we reserve the right to change her minds. But I am proud of us for

getting to the point where we were like, I don't know that I have anything else to say on this topic. And then like putting a pin in it because

there's pressure to do more. But we don't want to make any bad ones, you know?

HORGAN: And also, we were delighted with how we ended it.

DELANEY: Yes, we do. We are very happy with it.

HORGAN: It is sort of turned out exactly the way we had it in our heads. And, you know, I think for us, we love writing together, and it was

something that was very easy to do together. And it's usually not easy.

And so I think we hope at some point, down the line, we'll do that again. But for now, I think these characters, they are going to sleep for a little

while anyway.

AMANPOUR: Well, we'll miss them.

DELANEY: Like the end of Ferris Bueller, Matthew Broderick [13:40:00] comes out, he goes, "What are you still doing here? Go." So all of the

people were like "Make a season five." We are like, oh just go, go get pregnant, go travel the world, go live your own life.

AMANPOUR: Well, we will miss them, Rob Delaney, Sharon Horgan, thank you so much indeed for joining me.

We turn now to a film that tackles issues plaguing America's small towns, shining a spotlight on health care and housing, "Little Woods" follows two

adopted sisters in North Dakota whose troubles have tangled up in poverty, is played by rising stars Lee James and Tessa Thompson.

The film was Created by the first-time director and writer, Nia DaCosta. And she spoke to our Alicia Menendez about what she was aiming for.

ALICIA MENENDEZ, CONTRIBUTOR: Nia, thank you so much for joining us.

NIA DACOSTA, DIRECTOR, LITTLE WOODS: Of course. Thanks for having me.

MENENDEZ: I loved this film. Congratulations. What led you to this?

DACOSTA: Well, you know it's kind of a weird roundabout story but I was living in London, getting my Masters after graduating Tisch at NYU. And I

have this weird sense of like, homesickness.

And it turned out to be this weird Americana sense of like American culture that I really missed. And I sort of had to interrogate that, like what

exactly am I talking about when I say like America, Americana. Like what does that mean for me as a woman of color, a New Yorker?

And as I was trying to like figure this out, I watched Winter's Bone and Country Strong. And I was like sorting through like what a movie like that

would look like with a black protagonist, with two women living in a rural part of America.

MENENDEZ: You've never been to North Dakota?

DACOSTA: No. Never. I didn't even really know it was going to be centered in North Dakota, initially. I've been researching like just rural

parts of America like where do I want this to be set, where is the best place to tell my story.

I knew it was going to be about health care and I knew there would be an abortion story. I knew I wanted to talk about how women in particular

experience poverty, like how it can be a gendered experience.

And then while I was trying to find a place in America that was the most difficult to access on abortion, I found this little part of Northwest

North Dakota and inside of the town of Williston. And Williston is going through a massive wall.

But at the time, while researching that part of the country, I realized what was happening in these urban towns and how it's been, not only like

redrawing the oil map of the world but also changing how these people live.

So like male to woman ratio would be two to one, for example. And that's the first thing that I was like oh, wow, that's insane. And also a really

great place to tell the story about how women experience poverty, how they have to access health care, all these things, how different it is for them

living in a place like that.

MENENDEZ: I want to take a look at a clip from the film. This is Tessa Thompson, who plays your protagonist Ollie. She has in the past been a

drug runner.

She is now reformed. She is on the brink of getting a new job which is going to lead her to a new life. And in the middle of the job interview,

her past shows up. Let's take a look.


SHEILA: So Ollie, your probation officer, Officer Carter --

OLLIE: Carter.

SHEILA: -- has told me so much about you. And I think it goes without saying that he must see a lot in you if he's willing to vouch for you.

OLLIE: Do you know what, will you just excuse me, I have to go to the bathroom.

SHEILA: Oh, of course.

OLLIE: I'm sorry. What? What do you want? I'm busy.

FLIRTY MAN: Bernie told me.

OLLIE: (Bleep) your little Bernie bill. What do you want?

FLIRTY MAN: I want a cut.

OLLIE: What?

FLIRTY MAN: I know you are selling again and I don't appreciate losing customers because you decide to get back in the business. So I'll make you

a deal. Give me a cut. I don't get greedy and I don't get angry.

OLLIE: I don't know who told you but --

FLIRTY MAN: You keep selling and you give me 30 percent. You're going to cross the border for me. You're not going to lie to me.


MENENDEZ: Ollie has gotten back to drug running because her sister is pregnant, the mother's house is in foreclosure. And you have a line in the

script that I love. Your choices are only as good as your options are. These are characters with no good options.

DACOSTA: Yes. And I think that's a lot of what I wanted to talk about, which was, what drew me initially telling the story was I care a lot about

these issues but the way that they were covered was so political and so from a distance point of view from anyone's actual lived experience.

And I think a lot of the time, we view people who are poor or who make decisions we don't agree with as having some kind of moral character

failure when really it's just people do what they can with the resources they are given.

In particular, the characters in this film, the resources that are given aren't great but their needs are great. And so their choices are really

only as good as what they have on them, it's as good as their options. And so I really wanted that to be the crux of the story.


DEB: How much over the whole pregnancy, I mean bare minimum, how much is that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It depends on your insurance. Your co-pay could be as little as 10, 20 a visit.

DEB: Yes. What if I lost my insurance?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No reimbursement. But if you do it right, you can get 12 prenatal visits and some prenatal vitamins. So pregnancy and birth

is going to be about $8000 or $9000. And if you need a cesarean, $12,000.

DEB: Being pregnant cost $8000?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm afraid so, honey.


MENENDEZ: You're a person of relative privilege. I mean you grew up in a city. You went to boarding school.

You went to an elite institution for a college. What was your access point for talking about this type of challenge?

DACOSTA: It was acknowledging and realizing that. Because I grew up, I would say, poor. My mom would hate me saying that but I didn't grow up

with a lot.

And occasionally, I would feel the struggle. My mom kept it that way with me because she is a wonderful mother and person. But you know like I went

to private school for most of my life but that was not because it was easy, it's because I got like 99 percent scholarships. And also my mother would

be paying off my middle school when I was in high school, and high school when I was in college.

And I still have like six figures of student loans which I will pay off one day, maybe. But at the same time, I live in New York City, a pretty

voracious place. I have access to a lot of resources.

If I get sick, I can literally walk to the hospital from my house, I can take the train to a Planned Parenthood if I need to get an IUD or a checkup

or anything. If I don't have insurance, which I didn't have for a very long time after college, usually there's a way to figure out what to do.

And that's because of where I live and the legislation that's in place and the organizations that exist here. And so when I realized, oh actually,

like I have so much at my fingertips.

And women in a similar situation with me living in places like this do not have those resources. And if they have those resources, they don't have

the information or the ability to access them. So that for me was really what pushed me to work on this story, realizing my relative privilege and

wanting to explore that.

MENENDEZ: I want to look at another clip. It was pretty early in the film where you have the sisters visiting their mortgage broker to try to

persuade him to sell them back their house. Let's take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been a rough time for a lot of people.

OLLIE: Yes. And here we are trying to keep the one thing that we have that nobody else is going to want. Trust me, if you saw the house, you

would pay us to keep it. Can you let us just give you half the money? Please?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll see what I can do.

DEB: I hate begging.

OLLIE: Me, it doesn't exactly float my boat either but three grant would be better than six.

DEB: It might as well be 50,000.

OLLIE: Money is money is money when you ain't got it.

DEB: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you can get us half the total mortgage in one week, we can redistribute the rest across future payments.

DEB: That's great.

OLLIE: Yes, thank you so much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're welcome.


MENENDEZ: You deal with the economic downturn, the housing crisis, the opioid crisis, access to reproductive care. And yet the film doesn't end

up feeling like explicit commentary on any of those things. How did you thread that needle?

DACOSTA: I don't know if I tried to do that purposely. I knew I definitely didn't want to have a political statement that I was making

inside of the film. I didn't want to take away from the human stories, from the characters what they're going through that relationship.

But when I was looking at Williston in particular and other urban towns in the area and also looking up at the industrialized towns, all these things

just coexist. Like everything is an ecosystem so it wouldn't have been honest if I just talked about abortion or if I just talked about the oil

boom, or if I just talked about housing.

And there's a version of the movie that's just at one thing and it's just a movie about one woman's journey to try to go to Canada to get an abortion.

But I've realized there was just so much to tell and so I wanted to be honest about how dynamic and complex it is.

MENENDEZ: The other thing I noticed watching that clip is that you have sisters, one adopted, which allows you to place a black character in this

landscape, which you said was something you knew you wanted to do. So how did you arrive at that as the mechanism for having Tessa?

DACOSTA: Well, they're both adopted, actually. [13:50:00] How did I write about it? Well, I know I wanted the black lead. And I think a part of my

experience being in some private schools as being the only black person, being in a really white area, so I'm familiar with that feeling and how

that -- what that's like.

And like private school, I was also surrounded by rich, white people, so that's like a whole other thing. But I know what that's like and I think

that is an interesting dynamic.

And then I'm really into the concept of like the family you choose. That's been a big theme in my life, not just with my friends but also within my

family. I have aunts who I'm not related to but the family you choose. You choose to care for people.

And so that was just something I thought would be really important. And, yes, I like having women of color, especially black women at the center of

my stories. That was kind of inevitable.

MENENDEZ: This film is a blending of genres, part western, part thriller. When you were in the room and you were pitching into people, did people get


DACOSTA: Yes, thankfully. And it's because I had road maps like Winter's Bone and Frozen River to throw at them and say, look, look at these films.

These were about women, they're about a rural part of America. It was about their struggles, it's about them doing things that weren't great but

things they had to do because of the lives they led, and it was so great at winning drama.

I got to use those two examples. And I love those movies, which is really great. So that was useful.

But at the same time, the only people who say yes to this movie where the people who said yes. In a way, it's like people were like "Wow, I love it,

great, very sad, very drama, very difficult." And I was like I know, but.

So of all the people I talked to, like maybe probably not hundreds but sometimes I think it's over a hundred, only like six or seven said yes.

MENENDEZ: And yet neither of the films you just referenced had a black female leader?


MENENDEZ: And so how did that further complicate those conversations?

DACOSTA: I mean interestingly I think it's an interesting balance of by the time I was pitching to a certain number of investors, Tessa Thompson

had been in Creed. She just hasn't done the right people. So people were like really excited about her.

But before she was involved, the black lead definitely was like, "Oh, well, you know." And it wouldn't be -- I mean you're not really allowed to talk

about it in that way but it was definitely a part of the conversation in sort of coded ways. But because of who Tessa is, it actually made it a bit


MENENDEZ: You have said that you write and love complicated women with agency. Why do we not see more of that in film?

DACOSTA: I think honestly, on a social level, we don't really enjoy complicated women with agency.

MENENDEZ: In real life.

DACOSTA: In real life, yes. And I think also in Hollywood if you actually just look at the beginning of Hollywood, it's actually insane. I know we

are supposed to be this liberal area but really, it's really not that progressive.

So, now people are really starting to realize. Like actually like complicated women with agency are interesting and everyone wants to watch

them. Captain Marvel just came out and yes, that's a Marvel film but it's the second highest grossing one so far.

MENENDEZ: Among your next projects is the remake of Candyman, classic horror film.

DACOSTA: Sequel, sequel.


DACOSTA: Yes, spiritual sequel.

MENENDEZ: With Jordan Peele producing. Why that?

DACOSTA: Oh my gosh, why not? How could I say no? So Candyman, when I was growing up, when I was younger, was so a part of the fabric of like

sort of the cultural fear, sort of in the same names like Bloody Mary because you say his name five times, Mary, he comes, he cut you, and you


And I love horror films. I love genre films and horror in particular. And being able to take, to do a story like that, with, that's about black

people in a way. I mean the first film is a bit complicated, we could talk about that.

But it's about a set of the black community. It's about black people. It's about stories about black stories and history and the horror of it,

and the injustice of it in ways. But it's in this horror context, which is really interesting.

And then on top of that, Jordan Peele I think is just an amazing brain. He's wonderful, a wonderful human. And I love to get out and it just made

sense. It was just really -- it's truly like an honor to be directing that film.

It's kind of exactly what I wanted to do next, which was to do something bigger, do something with a larger scope and to do something in a genre


MENENDEZ: Because you want to do it all?

DACOSTA: Yes, I do. Yes. I want to do -- I want to keep scaling up. I want to make bigger and bigger projects but also be able to go back and do

smaller things but always at the center of these stories being women, in particular women of color, women of agency who are complex and dynamic an


MENENDEZ: Thank you so much.

DACOSTA: Thank you. It was so great.

AMANPOUR: Nia DaCosta on women there pursuing those important stories and bigger projects.

And that's it for our program tonight. Thanks for watching. And remember, you can always listen to our podcast and see us online at

And you can follow me on Instagram and Twitter.

Thanks for watching. And goodbye from London.