Connor Ratliff’s excellent Dead Eyes podcast wrapped up its first season last week no closer to unspooling the reasons why he was fired by Tom Hanks from the 2001 HBO miniseries Band Of Brothers for having “dead eyes.” He couldn’t get the original casting director to speak to him, nor could he get Hanks himself. Ratliff did, however, chat about it with guests like Jon Hamm, Bobby Moynihan, Zach Woods, Aimee Mann, and D’Arcy Carden, as well as Band Of Brothers stars Ron Livingston and Stephen McCole, with whom he’d have shared a scene had he not been so unceremoniously axed.
One guest Ratliff didn’t expect to swing by was Seth Rogen, who called in after hearing Moynihan discuss getting cut from 2014's Neighbors on a previous episode. The result was a revealing and funny interview in which Rogen unpacked the pitfalls of casting and reflected on his own (failed) audition for Band Of Brothers, which just about every working actor was trying to score a role in at the turn of the century. But that wasn’t the end of his involvement.
In last week’s finale, Ratliff sought to exorcise his demons by finally, two decades on, acting out the two lines he was once denied speaking by the world’s nicest actor. He got Livingston and McCole to join him, but couldn’t get ahold of Damian Lewis, who played U.S. Army Major Richard Winters. Enter Rogen, who, with his signature chuckle, agreed to join Ratliff for a bit of actorly catharsis.
The group’s faithful and slightly disorienting recreation begins roughly 37 minutes into the episode, though we’d recommend listening to the full thing for some compelling stories from both Livingston and McCole, who each had very different experiences on set. (McCole cracks that he performed better in their recreation than he did in the actual miniseries.)
What a second season of the podcast looks like is anyone’s guess, as Ratliff appears to have confronted the what-ifs and insecurities that the firing triggered in his own life. That said, Ratliff’s journey may not be over until he finally speaks with Hanks. Granted, perhaps none of us will feel complete until we speak with Hanks.
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