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Other segments from the episode on July 29, 2016

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, July 29, 2016; Interview with Caitlin Moran; Interview (obit) Tim LaHaye; Interview (obit) Marni Nixon; Review of film Jason Bourne



This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. If you're a woman and don't think of yourself as a feminist, Caitlin Moran wants to convince you you're wrong. And while she's convincing you, she wants to make you laugh. She says that while her memoir, "How To Be A Woman," is about all the times that she got being a woman wrong because she was uninformed, underprepared or fatally deluded, she also wants it to be like an old-fashioned feminist consciousness-raising session, with honest stories about sex, self-image, weddings, marriage, childbirth, abortion and aging.

Moran is a columnist for The Times of London. She started writing for the music weekly Melody Maker when she was 16. She and her sister Caroline co-write the BBC comedy series "Raised By Wolves," which is loosely based on their childhoods. Last month, the series became available in the U.S. on the Acorn TV streaming service.

I spoke to Caitlin Moran in 2012, and we're going to hear an excerpt of that interview.

Parents, I want to let you know some of our conversation will be in adult territory.

Caitlin Moran, welcome to FRESH AIR.

CAITLIN MORAN: Thank you very much. I must tell you an important fact before we go any further on this radio show.


MORAN: It's that my hair is very big today, and I need all of your listeners to imagine that.

GROSS: Your hair's very big. Since you brought up your hair, your hair has - it's very dark with a gray streak growing across the top. Is that a little shout-out to Susan Sontag?

MORAN: It is. Simultaneously my two biggest heroes are Susan Sontag and Morticia Addams from "The Addams Family..."

GROSS: (Laughter).

MORAN: …And between those two vectors of culture, I lie.

GROSS: (Laughter) Well, I want to start by asking you to do a short reading from your book. And there are a few things that are quoted from your book by a lot of people, including our book critic. And I've come to think of these as, like, your greatest hits. So I'm going to ask you to read one of your greatest hits.

MORAN: Yeah, I think of this one as my "Born In The USA," and I'll do it in my posh reading voice.

GROSS: (Laughter) OK, great.

MORAN: (Reading) So here is the quick way of working out if you are a feminist. A - do you have a vagina? And B - do you want to be in charge of it? If you said yes to both, then congratulations. You're a feminist, because we need to reclaim the word feminism. We need to reclaim the word feminism real bad.

When statistics come in saying that only 29 percent of American women would describe themselves as feminist, and only 42 percent of British women, I used to think, what do you think feminism is, ladies? What part of liberation for women is not for you? Is it the freedom to vote, the right not to be owned by the man that you marry, the campaign for equal pay, "Vogue" by Madonna, jeans? Did all that stuff just get on your nerves, or were you just drunk at the time of survey?

These days, however, I am much calmer, since I realize that it's actually technically impossible for a woman to argue against feminism. Without feminism, you wouldn't be allowed to have a debate on a woman's place in society. You'd be too busy giving birth on the kitchen floor, biting down on a wooden spoon so as not to disturb the men's card game, before going back to hoeing the rutabaga field.

GROSS: Thank you for reading that. That's Caitlin Moran, reading from her new book "How To Be A Woman." So why do you think so many people, so many women, don't want to be associated with the word feminism?

MORAN: I think it's simply because they don't know what it means. When - one of the reasons that I wanted to write a whole book about feminism, rather than just endlessly wanging on about it in a bar - which had previously been my technique in order to spread the word for the sisterhood - it was because I was meeting a lot of younger women. And I would kind of confidently say oh, well, you know, we're all feminists here.

And they would, with a look of horror, as if I had just banged them on the knee with a fork, go no, I'm not a feminist. And you go, what do you mean? And, you know, you kind of - you run through kind of, you know, what being a feminist means, sort of like voting and, you know, rape being illegal and not being a legal possession of your husband.

And they go, oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, no, we're into all of that. I said, well, you are a feminist then. Women are feminist by default. And you live in a feminist world. The first world is feminist. You are educated equally to boys. You're expected to go into equal employment with boys. In a marriage, you are legally equal. So, you know, you cannot deny we live in a feminist world.

GROSS: What made you realize that?

MORAN: I never didn't realize it. I was, I mean, I was brought up in a kind of, you know, very hippie, liberal family. And it was just always automatically assumed that men and women were equal and indeed superior. I mean, when you've got a mother who's given birth to eight children, you know, often without any kind of medical intervention - just she gave birth to one of my brothers sort of on the bedroom floor in front of all of us -you know, you see that women are fairly capable.

So that was why it was always weird kind of, you know, whenever we did have a television - our possession of a television was sporadic because we were quite poor, and they would often be repossessed. But whenever we did have a TV, and you'd see the women on television, you'd be like, why are these women kind of pretending to be stupid or just kind of - just being all blonde and giggly and kind of only operating as an adjunct to the male characters? You know, why aren't the women as important as the men?

GROSS: Let's talk about pregnancy. You write about pregnancy in your book. You had a very difficult childbirth with your first daughter.


GROSS: What - just briefly, what are some of the medical problems you had?

MORAN: I mean, most of it was that I just wasn't ready. I kind of - I did, you know, I hadn't attended any birth classes. I was insanely unfit. I was very, very overweight. And also at that time, I didn't know that I was hyper-mobile, sort of double-jointed, and basically kind of my pelvis sort of, kind of cracked in half and stretched in a really bad way. So I couldn't walk. So when I finally went into labor, not only was kind of the two parts of my pelvis grinding against each other, but the baby got stuck. It was the wrong way round. None of the anesthetics worked. The epidurals didn't work. I had five of those. They were fun. And eventually they had to give me an emergency C-section.

But I would never have written about a bad birth - because I think women do like to sit around and scare each other with bad birth tales - unless I'd had a really good one for my second birth. And I wanted to contrast it between if you go into your first birth unprepared, it could go wrong for you.

If you prepare for a birth, which I did with the second one - I was fit, I went to all the classes. And the main thing that I learned is that if you are lying down to give birth, gravity is not helping you. You know, you stand up and, you know, a baby will basically kind of fall out of you, if you keep walking 'round. But as soon as they have you, which is the medicalized birth, on your back with your feet in stirrups, you're kind of pushing a baby out sideways, and it really will feel like that. (Laughter) So you kind of want to be standing up and having it falling out.

GROSS: So I'm almost surprised that you were willing to have a second child considering the agony of the first birth, though. You know, what a lot of people say is that if women really remembered what birth was like, they wouldn't have more children.

MORAN: Oh, yeah. You're still addled. Like for the two years after you've had a kid, you are so addled with hormones. You're like, yeah, bring all the babies, I'll have all the babies. And sort of - yeah, no, sure enough, sort of like once two and a half years had passed, suddenly all the hormones left. And I was like, yeah, no, I'm OK with two.

GROSS: Well, not only were you OK with two, you actually got pregnant again…


GROSS: ...After your second child. And you decided to have an abortion. And it was not an anguished decision for you. You write that you knew immediately that you wanted an abortion. You write, not even for a second do I think I should have this baby. This isn't who I'm going to be again.

After wanting children so badly, having a very difficult first birth, going ahead with the second, and that was an easy birth - you really wanted to be a mother. You had two children. Why were you so sure that you did not want to have the third child?

MORAN: I just knew I didn't want to be a mother again. You know, I'm not a gambler. You know, I'm a calculator. I'm a planner. And I knew what the odds were of me being able to do as good a job on having a third child as I had with the last two to the standards that I wanted to, to be totally there for them. And I just knew I couldn't do it again.

And I think it's a really important thing for women to be able to just put their hands up and go, I can't actually do any more. The sort of the template of being a mother is that you're endlessly giving to the point of exhaustion. You know, that's amazing if you can do that, but for that to be seen as the norm of motherhood, that women are always supposed to give until they're exhausted, you know, to always take on all these burdens - and it's why I'm so, you know, in favor of protecting all of the abortion legislation we've got, to give women the right to go, I can't do that. I can't do it. I'm too tired.

GROSS: Well, you had no second thoughts about having an abortion and didn't experience guilt or remorse after having the abortion. And I'm wondering, are you comfortable expressing that certainty? Because a lot of people think even if you're, you know, pro-choice that you should have remorse after an abortion.

MORAN: Yes, well, this was something that I thought you were supposed to have. I mean, this is why I wanted to talk about it really honestly, you know, kind of, you know, as a writer with this fairly high profile, you know, in Britain, you know, I didn't need to write about this. I could have kept it secret.

But I just wanted women out there - you know, I wrote this book kind of, you know - I was a very confused and lonely teenage girl. And the thing that I had in my voice - in my head while I was writing this book all the time was just try and write this book with as an open heart as possible, writing it to someone who could be going through one of the big crises you had in your life. And you're just there as a friend, putting your hand on their shoulder and going, dude, I've been there.

And one of the reasons why I wanted to write about it was to go, it is actually an option not to feel bad about it. I'm not saying you should not feel bad about it, and I'm not saying that there are some women out there who won't feel bad about it, but just proportionately, statistically, one in three women are going to have an abortion. They're not all going to feel guilty.

You know, you walk into that - you know, so often, you know, you walk into that going, no, I know that I have to do this kind of, you know, I'm glad that I have the option to do this. I had such an overview of all of, you know, of all of mankind's history when, you know, I went to have my abortion, just thinking of all the women who just couldn't have made this choice. They just had to go and do this. They had to face the fear and the pain and the worry and the heartache and the exhaustion and the, you know, the loss of self that you have where you just disappear into another person, as you should.

But it should always be your choice to disappear and give yourself over to someone. You know, but to say that you have to carry to term and look after a child for the rest of your life is to say I force you, legally, to love someone. It's like saying, you know, you have to go and love another - you have to go - you know, you have to go marry someone. It's like an arranged marriage.

You know, you have to give that love willingly. You have to walk into it with your eyes open.

GROSS: You have a chapter about not having children. And you want to express your approval to any woman who decides that that is her preference. And, you know, it wasn't always something that women could decide. I mean they didn't have the birth control to effectively make that decision even if they wanted to. And society would certainly not have approved of it. You know, any woman not having children would've seen as - been seen as, you know, tragic, sad, pathetic.

MORAN: Well, the word barren tells you everything you need to know...

GROSS: Yeah.

MORAN: ...And the same with the word spinster tells you everything that you need to know about our attitude of women who choose not to marry, yes.

GROSS: Well, do you still think that that chapter is needed, that women who decide not to have children need that kind of reassurance and that there will be some kind of societal disapproval of them?

MORAN: Oh, God, I mean it totally still needs - I mean just this week on the cover of Grazia, kind of like the biggest selling women's magazine in the U.K., was yet another picture of Jennifer Aniston with, you know, Jennifer's baby fear. And you know, we've spent 15 years discussing whether this woman is going to have a baby or not. I just think that's so rude.

It's just, you know, we don't know what issues she's got. You know, that's totally her decision. The idea that this is like a national debate that we have all the time. You know, is she pregnant? Isn't she pregnant? Does she want a baby? Is she sad? Did she still wish she could have Brad's baby? Is she going to adopt a baby? Is she going to have a baby with this new boyfriend then leave him so she can be a single mother? It's just never been an option for Jennifer Aniston not to have a kid.

Imagine if you saw George Clooney on the cover of a magazine every week with, is George broody? Is George going to adopt a baby? When is George going to have another kid? It would just seem weird. We'd seem demented, yet it's totally valid for women.

And I was spurred by the fact that having worked for women's magazines myself as a journalist, if you go off and interview a female celebrity, I'd just go in and interview them like I'd interview any human being and talk about the things that interested me. And you'd come back, and you'd file your copy. And then my editor would read through my copy and go, why haven't you asked them if they want kids? And I'd be like, well, I don't know, I interviewed Aerosmith last week. And I didn't ask them that.

GROSS: (Laughter).

MORAN: And they'd be like no, you - then she just would ignore that and go, look, just ring the PR. And just get - fix up another sort of quick phone interview, five minutes where you ask her if she's going to have a kid or not. And I'd be like, why? You know, a woman gets to 32 and even if you do it in a kind of double-back ironic way, to say to her, is your body clock ticking? Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick. I mean it's the only thing that would spur me into violence. It's just a horrible thing to keep saying to a woman, do you want a baby inside you? I mean, it's creepy.

GROSS: So I want you to read another excerpt of "How To Be A Woman." And I think of this as another of your greatest hits, another excerpt that has been quoted a lot. And it's basically about your feelings of women thinking that they need to wax their pubic area and have, you know, a clean bikini line. Would you read that for us?

MORAN: Yes, I like to think of this as my "Strawberry Fields"/"Penny Lane." It's a double-A side, this one. (Reading) I can't believe that we've got to a point where it's basically costing us money to have a vagina. They're making us pay for maintenance and upkeep of our lulus, like they're a communal garden. It's a stealth tax, muff exercise. This is money we should be spending on the electricity bill and cheese and berries.

GROSS: That's Caitlin Moran reading from her memoir, "How To Be A Woman." We're listening back to my 2012 conversation with her. "Raised By Wolves," a BBC series she co-writes with her sister, has just been made available in the U.S. on the Acorn streaming service. We'll hear more after a break. This is FRESH AIR.


GROSS: This is FRESH AIR. Let's get back to my 2012 interview with feminist and writer Caitlin Moran. The BBC comedy series "Raised By Wolves," which is loosely based on her childhood, has just been made available in the U.S. Caitlin writes the series with her sister.

Let's talk about your background a little bit. You grew up in, like, an industrial town in England.


GROSS: Your father was a drummer in a rock band?

MORAN: That's right, yes. He was our rock 'n' roll contingent. He faked his passport when he was 15 and ran away from home and did the same - he was in a kind of psychedelic rock band - and they did the same tour circuit as The Beatles kind of two years after The Beatles. But he just sort of never made it. And he never made any money. And he met my mother, who was from sort of quite a nice background.

But the presumption always was that he was going to make it as a rock star next year. So kind of when we were watching television and we saw Bob Geldof and his sort of beautiful children, I would always presume that next year I would be friends with Bob Geldof's kids. And those would be the people I would be hanging out with. And we'd all be at Live Aid together backstage. But that continually and persistently never happened for my entire childhood (laughter).

GROSS: No, in fact, you were living on the British equivalent of welfare.

MORAN: Yes, in the British equivalent of the ghetto. And it was pretty poor. Sometimes we didn't have enough to eat. And we certainly never had enough clothes. I was brought up in my mother's underwear and my father's thermal underwear, in winter, was my pajamas.

GROSS: And when - you often didn't have enough to eat, but you write when you did have enough to eat you binged...


GROSS: ...And that your siblings - or at least your sisters - binged, too. And you ended up becoming very overweight. You got fat.

MORAN: Oh, the whole family did. I mean, even now sometimes just for a laugh, I'll arrange for - to meet all my siblings in an all-you-can-eat buffet.


MORAN: Even 20 years after we got out of that scenario they'd just, all of a sudden, just be hovering there just, like, with the tray going - after three minutes you get into that kind of carbohydrate tunnel. And you're like, we could just not bother with the plate. Let's just pile it straight onto the tray. Let's eat the whole tray of food. Yes, no, it was very much a wax and wane, binge and fast. So, yeah, no, we all became very, very fat.

And also, we were taught at home, which kind of - my parents were quite apocalyptic. They kind of believed that the end of the world was nigh and also that they couldn't be bothered to get everybody's school uniforms ready for school, so a combination of those - that very prosaic thing and that complete belief in the end of the world meant that we were taught at home. So all that happened was there were just seven enormously fat, pale, shy, socially awkward children stuck in a very small house all day watching the classical musicals of MGM whilst eating an enormous amount of cheese.

GROSS: And it sounds like you had to do a lot of the parenting of your siblings.

MORAN: Yes, which I never resented then. I mean, I've always been very, very cheerful. And my diaries at the time have all the joyful ebullience of an idiot. It's just sort of stuff like, moved the deep fat fryer onto another sideboard, looks great. Found a new way to store shoes - in a cardboard box under the stairs, brilliant.

GROSS: (Laughter).

MORAN: So I was just, I was enormously cheerful, because all the heroines that I read about - that's why books are so important to me, like kind of, you know, Jane Eyre. She's poor and working class and a bit gobby. And she triumphs. And Anne of Green Gables, she's kind of an orphan and a bit weird. But she triumphs. And Annie in "Annie," you know, it was all about that kind of like, you know, girls from restricted means making it, which is kind of very much the trope of heroines from like sort of the late 19th century, early 20th-century literature. So that was, you know, the stuff that I clung to.

GROSS: Do you think that being fat contributed at all to...

MORAN: Not losing my virginity till I was 17? Yes. Definitely.

GROSS: (Laughter).

MORAN: Yeah, definitely. Yes.

GROSS: I was going to say to your sense, your early understanding of feminism because the whole kind of feminine thing was something you weren't going to easily fit into.

MORAN: Yes. I mean I was brought up in the '80s. I was born in 1975. So by the time I got to 10 and I kind of knew that I probably was going to have to be a grown-up lady at some point, the feminine role models that I had were kind of the cast of "Dynasty" and "Dallas." And I just found that terrifying. I was just, I just remember sitting there sadly going, I'm just not going to make it. I'm just - literally, it was like being a woman was a boat that was leaving a dock and it was already too far away for me to jump.

I mean how could I, this fat girl in Wolverhampton, you know, just who had no clothes - I didn't have a coat, I was wearing a dressing gown for a coat, a tartan dressing gown - look like Alexis Colby Carrington or beautiful Cybill Shepherd in "Moonlighting?" Or, you know, or even Agnes DiPesto in "Moonlighting?"

I just couldn't, you know, I would cling to people like Doris in "Fame." And it was kind of like, but it's OK. It's just her personality that will get her through. I know what, I'll have a personality, instead. That'll be useful. You just wanted to be normal. It wasn't even being beautiful. I just wanted to be smooth and thin and have, and you know, have beautiful glossy hair and lovely clothes and be able to walk in heels. And I thought that once I did all of that stuff that my life would begin.

And I sort of remember getting to about 28 and 29 and still really realizing that I subconsciously thought that, that when I was perfectly smooth and perfectly thin with perfect hair and beautiful outfits, and I could sort of spring out of bed and just put on a beautiful kind of - beautifully tailored skirt suit and go down and drink half a cup of coffee before going, must dash, and getting into a cab...

GROSS: (Laughter).

MORAN: ...that would be the point where my life would begin, and just realizing I was never going to do that even one day ever, let alone that be my life. And I think loads of women have this idea that their life is going to start at some point, once they've busted all these problems of being a woman, once we're thin and we're pretty and we've got all of our clothes and stuff, that's when our life will begin. And you meet people at 48 who are still thinking that, and 58.

GROSS: So if fabulous for you wasn't going to be the perfect skirted suit and the expensive clutch handbag and the heels and everything, how did you redefine fabulous for yourself?

MORAN: When I realized that I couldn't, I wouldn't be fabulous - I just thought I could be so, that I could just be a muse. Like it still hadn't occurred to me I could actually do anything in my life. I had given up on being beautiful. But I thought I could kind of inspire boys to write songs about me. So I became a music journalist at the age of 16. And I had sort of dyed bright red hair down to my waist and sort of stomping around in my little Dr. Martens boots. And I just sort of tried to stand around being fascinating and saying amazing things - often things that rhymed in the hopes that they would be able to pick them up and just turn them into lyrics straight away.

GROSS: (Laughter).

MORAN: I mean, I was just trying to save them time. You know, I wanted a "Layla" written about me. You know, I would've had a "Rita" written about me. I would've become a traffic warden if I'd had to. But that never happened. And it was - again, the penny didn't drop until too far into my life and I would just hope that another generation of women aren't as stupid as my generation was. I just realized I was going to have to do it myself. If anyone was going to write a song or, you know, or a book, or make a film about a girl like me, it was going to have to be a girl like me, and quite literally, me.

GROSS: Thank you so much. It's really been great to talk with you.

MORAN: Thank you so much. It's been a hoot.

GROSS: Caitlin Moran, recorded in 2012 after the publication of her book, "How to Be A Woman." After we take a short break, we'll listen back to interviews with two people who died this week - Christian fundamentalist leader Tim LaHaye, who wrote the "Left Behind" novels, and singer Marni Nixon, who dubbed the singing for Natalie Wood in "West Side Story" and Audrey Hepburn in "My Fair Lady." And David Edelstein will review the new movie, "Jason Bourne." I'm Terry Gross, and this is FRESH AIR.


This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. Tim LaHaye, who was a prominent figure in the Christian fundamentalist movement, died Monday at the age of 90. We're going to listen back to an excerpt of our interview with him. Lahaye co-wrote the best-selling "Left Behind" series, 16 novels published between 1997 and 2007.

When I spoke with him in 2002 after the publication of the ninth novel, 50 million copies of these novels had already been sold. The stories are about the apocalypse and the second coming of Jesus. The series imagines what would happen during the rapture. Millions of born again Christians are instantly raised into heaven.

The non-believers are left behind on earth to face seven years of tribulation, wars, plagues and other catastrophes until the final battle between Jesus and the anti-Christ. In these books, the anti-Christ is the former head of the United Nations. LaHaye was a longtime leader of the Christian right. He co-founded the Moral Majority. In 1987, he briefly served as co-chair of Republican Jack Kemp's presidential campaign.

LaHaye also co-founded the Council for National Policy, a secretive group whose members were described by as among the brightest lights of the hard right. Here's an excerpt of our interview.


GROSS: Tim LaHaye, I'm going to ask you to describe your understanding of the end of days. What happens at the end?

TIM LAHAYE: Well, the Bible is very clear. If you take it literally, it's very clear about the events in the last days. The next major event on the prophetic calendar is what we call the rapture of the church, when Christ shouts from heaven and all the dead in Christ - for 2,000 years, there'd be billions of people who have called on the name of the Lord as their Lord and Savior.

They'll be resurrected. And then we which are alive, all believers on the earth today - and only God knows how many, I hope it's maybe 1 or 2 billion people that have received Christ while they're alive - and they will be transformed. And we meet in the air. Then we meet the Lord, who we meet in the clouds. And then we meet the Lord in the air.

And then we'll ever be with the Lord. But then, and this is what the Book of Revelation covers and what we cover mostly in our fiction series "Left Behind" is the events that will happen here on earth. And they're detailed in the Book of Revelation. And you'll find the time of wrath, the wrath of God, on those who reject him and follow the forces of evil.

GROSS: So first comes the rapture in which the believers rise to heaven. And then comes the seven-year period of the tribulation, which is filled with war and plague and famine and all that stuff. And the people experiencing that are the non-believers, the people who have been left behind on earth. And how does that end?

LAHAYE: Well, that ends by Christ finishing his coming. In the rapture, he comes in the air. But in the seven years later, he comes to the earth. And he conquers the anti-Christ armies as they're gathered in Armageddon. And then he sets up his kingdom. And then you have what everybody craves for, peace on earth, goodwill toward men. And you have the government of Christ.

It's a time of righteousness, a time of justice and a time of blessing. And it lasts for a thousand years.

GROSS: So the creation of Israel is, in your mind, a sign that the end is near. Now, what happens to the Jewish people in your vision of the end of days?

LAHAYE: Oh, they're going to go back into the promised land, and they're going to rebuild their temple. And they're going to set up their temple worship. You know, it's been 2,000 years almost that they've had no worship. Ever since 70 A.D. when the temple was destroyed, they've had no sacrifice. And so they will return to that.

GROSS: So although the establishment of Israel is important in your vision of the second coming, Jews themselves will have to convert to Christianity in order to be saved and those who don't will be condemned to suffer here on Earth during the tribulations and then basically to go to hell if they haven't converted after that?

LAHAYE: That's a good summary of what's going to happen. Just because you're a Jew does not mean that you don't have to make the same decision that everyone else does. The Bible refers to men all-encompassing in the words whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. And so he doesn't discriminate between Jews or Gentiles.

It's God's will that all men be saved and receive Jesus as their Messiah.

GROSS: You believe that the only true faith is born again Christianity and that only born again Christians will be redeemed and go to heaven. During this time on earth, what is your feelings toward people of other faiths or your feelings about people who are Christian but not born again Christians? Do you have respect for their faiths?

Do you respect them as Catholics or Jews or Muslims?

LAHAYE: Well, I respect them for what they believe. In fact, I try to be respectful toward all people and yet disagree with what they believe. That should be my right in a free society. But it's my responsibility before God to confront other people with the truth as it is in Christ. A lot of people say that you should know the truth and the truth will make you free.

But they take it out of context. The truth there is Jesus. Jesus is the truth. He is the way that God has prescribed to come. And he says no man comes to the Father but by him. I'll tell you a little secret. I was in the Holy Land when they were having a religious conclave. And who should be walking down the hall toward me with an entourage but the Dalai Lama.

And I didn't know - here I am a minister from America visiting. And I just stuck out my hand and shook hands with him and said, sir, has anyone ever explained to you who Jesus Christ really is? If they haven't, I'd be glad to spend an hour with you and just share with you the truth about him. And his aide, of course, brushed me off and told me that he was busy.

He didn't have time. But that was just an involuntary response to a man who is very religious and very pious and probably very sincere. But he doesn't know the truth of the way to God. And I think we Christians have to be ready at any moment to share that truth with them.

GROSS: The rapture takes place during your series of novels. And that's when people who are believers get just instantaneously lifted into heaven. And in your novel, suddenly their kind of personal effects are left behind. But the people have disappeared, you know, leaving behind, like, earrings or clothing or other personal effects. Would you like to be alive during the rapture?

Do you think that it makes a difference to your soul whether you die before the rapture or whether you're here for the actual rapture itself?

LAHAYE: No, it doesn't make any difference for your soul. But I'll be honest with you, my wife and I have kiddingly said, you know, we've been married for 55 years. We would love to be part of the rapture instead of either one of us having to face death of the person we love, to go together in the rapture.

And it's a comfort to us to know that in the twinkling of an eye, in a moment, Jesus could shout and we could be translated into heaven forever and ever and ever and ever.

GROSS: Well, Tim LaHaye, thank you very much for talking with us.

LAHAYE: It's been my privilege. God bless you.

GROSS: Tim LaHaye, recorded in 2002. He co-wrote the "Left Behind" series and co-founded the Moral Majority. He died Monday at the age of 90. After a short break, we'll listen back to an interview with singer Marni Nixon who also died this week. She dubbed the singing for Natalie Wood in "West Side Story" and Audrey Hepburn in "My Fair Lady." This is FRESH AIR.

This is FRESH AIR.


MARNI NIXON: (Singing) I could have danced all night. I could have danced all night and still have begged for more.

GROSS: That's Marni Nixon on the soundtrack of the film "My Fair Lady." Audrey Hepburn played the role of Eliza Doolittle in the film, but Nixon did the singing for the role. In fact, she dubbed vocals for some 50 films. She dubbed Natalie Wood's singing part in "West Side Story" and Debra Carr singing in the "King And I." Although classically trained and an actress in her own right, she would often not be credited for her singing and mostly got very little compensation. Marni Nixon died earlier this week at the age of 86.

We're going to play an excerpt of the interview I recorded in 2001 with Marni Nixon and Rita Moreno when they were celebrating the 40th anniversary of the film "West Side Story." Moreno played Anita in the film. Natalie Wood played Maria. Here's Marni Nixon singing the part Maria with Jimmy Bryant, who did the singing for Richard Beymer who played Tony in the film.


NIXON: (Singing) Tonight, tonight, it all began tonight. I saw you, and the world went away. Tonight, tonight, there's only you tonight. What you are, what you do, what you say.

JIMMY BRYANT: (Singing) Today, all day, I had the feeling a miracle would happen. I know now I was right.

MARNI NIXON AND JIMMY BRYANT: (Singing) For here you are, and what was just a world is a star tonight.


GROSS: Marni Nixon, you dubbed the singing for Natalie Wood. Did she know when she got the part that she was going to be dubbed, that she wouldn't be singing herself?

NIXON: No, I think the problem always during the picture was that I think it was very unclear that she didn't know how much of her voice could be used. They didn't tell her that gradually, I guess, as they worked with her that maybe it wasn't going to be good enough because they were afraid to upset her. And it created an atmosphere of - I felt very uneasy.

And when we recorded the songs, actually, they said they were going to record them with her doing the complete songs with maybe there were combinations of me doing the high notes within those complete recordings of hers and then they would record me doing the complete songs. And then they said they were going to combine those electronically later on, which I knew was not really possible to do. I think they created a monster, really, because they - she would listen to her takes, and it's very hard to know whether you're good or bad if not really being a singer - and these huge speakers that magnify any kind of discrepancy. And anyway, and they would tell her afterwards, oh, Natalie, it is just wonderful, absolutely wonderful.

GROSS: Oh, that's so awful.

NIXON: And then they would turn to me and wink, and I just felt like I wanted to cringe.

GROSS: So what was her reaction when she was told, well, it's going to be done by Marni Nixon, your voice isn't going to be used in the songs?

NIXON: Well, I think - from what I've heard - now, I - this is only secondhand, I...

GROSS: You weren't there.

NIXON: ...Only heard it through the musical powers that be, and they said that she was just absolutely furious and stomped out of the studio in a total rage.

GROSS: Well, Marni Nixon, when you were doing the singing, it must have been complicated since Natalie Wood thought she was singing for real. You know, she was lip syncing to her own recording. And then what - did you have to sing in such a way as to match her lip movements?

NIXON: Well, you - that's usually the process is that it's always the actors that has to come in and has the job of mouthing to her track or anybody's track. And so when she had filmed it to her track, the problem was also that she wasn't in sync with her own track. And I said, well, how am I supposed to fix it up if her lips are already not in sync with the orchestra? And they said, well, you'll figure out a way (laughter). And so that - that's the hardest way. I mean, it's so much better if it's pre-recorded and decided, and then she has to do it. And then maybe you just fix up a few little spots, but this was in every single song, practically, it was that way.

GROSS: It was also a question of feeling how that person feels when they're singing those particular lines.

NIXON: Yes. I was not able to sing "A Boy Like That." I was dubbed by another person for "A Boy Like That" for a very simple reason, not because I can't sing, but because at the time I was practically a coloratura, which is a very, very high-rangy voice. And I could not reach the low notes in the beginning of the song which starts (singing) a boy like that who killed your brother.

And then it goes up very high to (singing) very smart, Maria, very smart.

And I couldn't reach those low notes, so they finally said, well, we're going to have to find somebody for you, which, of course, broke my heart. And they brought in a woman named - at the time a girl named Betty Wand who sang for me. And let me tell you how difficult that is. I sat in the control room trying to tell her because I started this conversation about feeling how Anita was feeling at that time. But Betty Wand was the singer. She was not an actress who sang, and she just couldn't get it the way I wanted it.

GROSS: Oh, that's terrible.

NIXON: Oh, it's heartbreaking. It's heartbreaking because I wanted it to sound - it should have almost been a growl - a boy like that, you know - barely sung. And she ended up sounding - and whenever I hear it, I just - my stomach knots up because she sounded almost like a cliche Mexican. She was going (singing) a boy like that who'd kill your brother.

GROSS: (Laughter).

NIXON: I wouldn't dream of ever singing the song that way, and I'm not, by the way - I'm not making fun of her. That's the only thing she was able to do.

GROSS: Just to clarify what's happening in the scene for listeners who might not have seen the movie - Maria's boyfriend, Tony, has just killed Anita's boyfriend at a rumble. And he didn't mean to do it. He didn't want to do it. But he did it to revenge the murder of his best friend. And so Anita - you, Rita Moreno as Anita - is saying, you know, a boy like that who killed your brother, you know, how can you be in love with him? And Natalie Wood is saying I had a love - I have a love and it's all that I have. So that's...

NIXON: But Anita's not only saying that. She understands when she comes into the bedroom that this girl, Maria, who was a virgin 'til then...

GROSS: Right.

NIXON: ...Has slept with her boyfriend's murderer. Maria, of all people, has just bedded with this young man.

GROSS: Marni Nixon, you dubbed Natalie Wood's part on this duet. What's your experience of this duet?

NIXON: It might have been one of the duets that - and maybe Rita would know - that was planned for me to do all along. So maybe she was singing to my voice during the filming. I've forgotten that completely.

GROSS: You know, what, Marni? I think your voice was on that one.

NIXON: Come to think of it, I don't think she could have even stretched into that. I think it was just the musical directors approved of it. I think I heard her sing it in the rehearsal studio and got a feeling of what it was supposed to be. And then I just recorded it, so we didn't really do a duet together.

GROSS: Now I have to play this duet that we've been talking so much about. So...

NIXON: Now you're going to hear a very Mexican girl (laughter).

GROSS: Right. So imagine on screen we're seeing Natalie Wood and Rita Moreno, but what we're hearing in this duet is Marni Nixon and Betty Wand...

NIXON: Betty Wand.


NIXON: (Singing) Oh no, Anita, no, It isn't true, not for me. It's true for you, not for me. I hear your words and in my head I know they're smart. But my heart, Anita, but my heart knows they're wrong. You should know better. You were in love or so you said. You should know better. I have a love, and it's all that I have right or wrong. What else can I do? I love him. I'm his, and everything he is. I am, too. I have a love, and it's all that I need.

GROSS: That's "A Boy Like That" from the soundtrack of the movie "West Side Story" with the voices of Betty Wand and Marni Nixon. Nixon died Sunday. My interview with Nixon and Rita Moreno was recorded in 2001.

Coming up, film critic David Edelstein reviews "Jason Bourne" starring Matt Damon. This is FRESH AIR.


This is FRESH AIR. Our film critic David Edelstein has a review of the new movie, "Jason Bourne." The character was created by Robert Ludlum who wrote a series of "Bourne" novels. Bourne is a CIA assassin who goes rogue after losing and regaining his memory in the first book of the series, "The Bourne Identity."

Matt Damon played Bourne in the hit film adaptation and went on to make two sequels, "The Bourne Supremacy" and "The Bourne Ultimatum" with director Paul Greengrass. Now nine years after "Ultimatum," Damon and Greengrass have returned with "Jason Bourne."

DAVID EDELSTEIN, BYLINE: The fascinating thing about the new "Bourne" movie, "Jason Bourne," is how it makes the evolutionary case for multitasking. See, it's not enough that Bourne, the CIA pariah played by Matt Damon, can box, Kung Fu fight and drive at high speeds on the wrong side of the road. To keep from being killed, he also must hold in his brain the idea that he's being watched by a limitless number of cameras on a limitless number of screens.

To beat the watchers, both across the street and across the ocean, he must anticipate their watching, watch them back and also, if possible, listen to them, which means bugging them while they're watching him, all while boxing, Kung Fu fighting and driving at high speeds on the wrong side of the road.

As an actor, Damon has too much integrity to pretend he can multitask to that degree and still be, you know, a fun person. So he turns his face into a mask of stoicism and gives the dullest performance of his life. It's in service to the movie, though, which he co-produced. I'm sure he thinks, I'll win that Oscar next year.

The movie isn't much fun either, but wow, does it wow you. Coming back to the series after nine years, director Paul Greengrass clearly knew he had to beat all the "Bourne" imitations, those cookie-cutter thrillers shot with jittery cameras in a faux documentary style - does he ever. He creates teeming, claustrophobia-inducing frames with the action off-center. When Bourne punches someone, the camera jerks in the direction of the blow, as if you're being hit.

Throw in jaw-dropping chases, like when Bourne pursues an assassin who steals a tank-like SWAT vehicle and pulverizes half the cars in Vegas, and you barely notice the dialogue is one terrible line after another. Here's the plot, people chase Bourne around the world trying to kill him. Well, the first person chasing him wants his help.

She's an ex-CIA agent played by Julia Stiles, acting on behalf of a Julian-Assange-like figure bent on exposing CIA ops going back decades, among them the one where Bourne was recruited as an assassin, which happened before the first film, "The Bourne Identity." She also knows stuff about Bourne's dead dad that will help him understand his life and maybe, down the road, crack a smile.

Alicia Vikander plays the CIA computer whiz tasked with tracking Bourne, who thinks she can bring him back into the fold. The CIA director, played by Tommy Lee Jones, disagrees, and also grumbles about those damn civil liberties interfering with national security. At one point, they reach Bourne on a phone while watching him from thousands of miles away.


ALICIA VIKANDER: (As Heather Lee) Bourne, my name is Heather Lee. I’m not in charge here. I wasn’t here when you went missing. I can see you’re going through the old Treadstone files, re-tracing your history. I know you’re looking for something. Let me help you find it.

TOMMY LEE JONES: (As Robert Dewey) Give me that phone.

VIKANDER: (As Heather Lee) Yes, sir.

JONES: (As Robert Dewey) Jason, this is Robert Dewey. Do you remember me? Jason, your dad was a patriot. He could see the threats that America was facing. And like you, he chose to serve his country out of a profound sense of duty. He would not want to see you harm the agency. You have to stop this, and you have to stop it now.

EDELSTEIN: Tommy Lee Jones' dyspeptic deadpan is the only fun thing in "Jason Bourne." In one scene, he's in a restaurant with a tech billionaire, a Steve-Jobs-like guru, who's fighting to protect his customers' privacy. Two people walk by and Jones stops talking and stares at them until they pass. And that stare is one of the funniest things I've ever seen. He looks so mean.

Too bad his character concocts a conspiracy that would make people who think NASA faked the moon landing roll their eyes. The movie packs in a lot of relevant stuff - the threats posed by a surveillance state, the lack of online privacy, the morality of Edward-Snowden-like leakers and even the economic meltdown in Greece, which factors in when Bourne and an assassin get swept up in an Athens riot.

Watching the movie requires multitasking. You have to pay attention to multiple screens to keep the spatial relations straight while the camera is, in effect, yanking you around. Are the successive thrillers like "Jason Bourne" proof that our brains have evolved enough to follow multiple data streams at dizzying speeds? And if so, why did I leave the movie feeling brain damaged?

GROSS: David Edelstein is film critic for New York Magazine. Monday on FRESH AIR, my guest will be writer Jay McInerney. He became famous in the '80s for his semi-autobiographical novel "Bright Lights, Big City." His new novel, "Bright, Precious Days," is about middle age, marriage and fidelity. It's also about writing. One of the main characters is an editor and publisher.

I hope you'll join us. Our technical director and engineer is Audrey Bentham. John Sheehan directed today's show. I'm Terry Gross.

Transcripts are created on a rush deadline, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of Fresh Air interviews and reviews are the audio recordings of each segment.

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