Employee of the Month

Tim Blake Nelson on Why We Need Socrates and Why There’s Only One Daniel Day-Lewis

The writer, director, and actor talks ancient philosophy and shares behind-the-scenes stories from the set of Lincoln.

Tim Blake Nelson is quick to toss compliments to his Lincoln colleague Daniel Day-Lewis, their director Steven Spielberg, and his pals Joel and Ethan Coen. But Nelson’s humility belies why iconic auteurs, like Steven Spielberg and the Coen brothers, who have their pick, repeatedly cast Nelson to perform with a tour de force like Lewis. Like a great shortstop, Nelson, who stars in the Coen brothers’ Oscar-nominated Western The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, is attuned to what his fellow actors and directors need, without ever losing sight of the bigger picture.


Since he graduated from Brown, where he studied the classics, and then Juilliard, Nelson has batted it out of the park with his plays-turned-films, Eye of God and The Grey Zone. His highly anticipated new play, Socrates, premieres at the Public Theater in April.

Nelson speaks to Catie Lazarus about why he cast former Boardwalk Empire star Michael Stuhlbarg and reveals why Day-Lewis turned away President Barack Obama and Bill Clinton from the set of Lincoln. Then, singer Jill Sobule, who made a splash in the ’90s with songs like “Supermodel” and “I Kissed a Girl,” talks about Fabio, Katy Perry, and her new album, Nostalgia Kills.

Podcast production by Cameron Drews. Theme song by Lady Rizo.