The Gist

Ben Stiller’s Big Prison Break

Or, how to turn an inspector general’s report into a screenplay.

Listen to Slate’s The Gist:

Listen to The Gist via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play

On The Gist, President Donald Trump has finally made a nomination for ambassador to South Africa. And it is a terrible one.

It’s hard to make comedy when your story, like Ben Stiller’s latest direction, is based on a state inspector general’s report. Escape at Dannemora is drama through and through, based on the prison break of two men, aided by a female employee (and lover), from New York’s Clinton Correctional Facility. Stiller talks filming bad sex, turning villains into heroes, and what makes Patricia Arquette a great actress. Escape at Dannemora premieres Sunday on Showtime.

In the Spiel, get this: a podcast where the interviews never get past “hello!” and “can you hear me all right?”

Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at Slate.com/gistplus.

Join the discussion of this episode on Facebook.

Email: thegist@slate.com
Twitter: @slategist

Podcast production by Pierre Bienaimé and Daniel Schroeder.