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Unable to launch a book tour amid the global pandemic, John Lithgow recruited his celebrity friends for a series of video readings promoting the release of his new book of satirical Trump-inspired poems.
Speaking to The Late Show host Stephen Colbert, the actor detailed how he was able to produce the project, which features a total of 21 two-minute video readings of his work from Trumpty Dumpty Wanted a Crown: Verses for a Despotic Age ahead of its Sept. 30 release.
“This is the COVID era, you can’t do a book tour. So a couple of months ago I thought up a bright idea,” Lithgow, who wrote and illustrated the book, told Colbert. ” I called up my director friend Tim Van Patten. He called up these three brilliant young guys he works with who created something called Triptych Studio.”
The Emmy-winning actor said that’s when he reached out to friendly Hollywood talents like Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Samuel L. Jackson, Joseph Gordon Levitt and Whoopi Goldberg and asked them to get involved. “I called up about 19 of my absolutely terrific actor friends and a couple of political journalists … even an epidemiologist,” Lithgow explained. “I asked them to record a single poem of mine, just as we’re recording now, in their living room, on their iPhone and send them into these Tryptic Studio guys.”
The late-night show then featured a clip of Meryl Streep reading Lithgow’s allegory of Donald Trump, “The Tiger King,” before Lithgow shared that his plans were to release a new video once every four or five days leading up to the election. When Colbert suggested that his invitation to read Lithgow’s poems must somehow gotten lost in the mail, the actor told The Late Show host thathe had been considered.
“You were actually — you were on our list, but I was a little afraid you would be anxious about the conflict of interest,” the actor said before he and Colbert began laughing.
“I’m such a strong supporter of the President. I understand. Thank you for being so sensitive,” Colbert joked.
Watch the full segment below.
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