Any kind of work in the arts is a minefield of rejection. For the most part, it rolls off the back as an expected part of the job. In some cases, though, losing an opportunity sticks in the mind and refuses to leave. Dead Eyes, a podcast from comedian and actor Connor Ratliff, all about getting hired—and fired—for a role in Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg’s Band Of Brothers, is the chronicle of exactly this kind of rejection.
The show’s first episode was initially hosted on Earwolf Presents back in July, which you can listen to by clicking here. In it, Ratliff talks about getting hired as an American soldier—a small part that would have given him a credit in Band Of Brothers’ fifth episode, “Crossroads” (which Hanks directed) and possibly the series finale.
Not longer after, however, Ratliff got a call that said Hanks was concerned about the decision. “He thinks you have dead eyes,” Ratliff remembers hearing. With a little help from guests D’Arcy Carden (The Good Place), Zach Woods (Silicon Valley), and Jon Hamm (Mad Men, general Jon Hamm-dom) Ratliff describes returning to audition again only to eventually hear he was let go from the part, and discusses why this particular dismissal has haunted him for years.
If the first episode is any indication, the show goes far beyond the goofiness of the premise to examine the toll that career setbacks take on those who suffer them, which is a subject way more universal than the set-up suggests.
Dead Eyes debuts on January 23, but for now you can check out the show’s trailer on Spotify. And hey, if all goes well, maybe Ratliff’s podcast will put two decades of heartache to bed by helping him land a part (even as a dead-eyed corpse) in Hanks and Spielberg’s next World War II mini-series, Masters Of The Air.
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