A Conversation with Laurence Fishburne

Post Date: 23 March 2014

Listen now:

Season 5, Episode 11

Photo of Neil deGrasse Tyson and Laurence Fishburne in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Credit:

Neil deGrasse Tyson and Laurence Fishburne in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Photo credit: Gregory Haynes

Red pill or blue pill? You get both when Neil deGrasse Tyson interviews Morpheus himself, actor Laurence Fishburne. They sat down while Neil was in New Mexico filming COSMOS and Laurence was filming The Signal, a new indie sci-fi film. You’ll get a healthy dose of reality, as they talk about Fishburne’s roles in The Matrix, Searching for Bobby Fischer, and CSI. And you’ll dive into the world of the imagination as the two sci-fi fans discuss why style can be more important than substance in sci-fi and geek out over Star Trek, Superman and Watchmen. They also talk about chess, science vs. religion, planetariums and using math and science to explore the world. Laurence tells Neil how and why he became an actor at age 10, and discusses his future plans to produce, direct, write plays and return to Broadway. You’ll also find out what role Laurence wanted to play but didn’t, and why he got the key to the city of Cambridge.

Laurence Fishburne, Actor

Clubbed to Death” – The Matrix Soundtrack
Movie clipThe Matrix
Movie clipThe Matrix
The Future is Now” – The Future
Movie clipSearching for Bobby Fischer
See the World” – The Kooks
Intro music” – CSI theme music (aka, “Who Are You” by The Who)
Movie clipContagion
Movie clipEvent Horizon


  • Mike

    looking forward to this

  • Pingback: Red Pill or Blue Pill | Bliss Unboxed

  • http://www.kennymckinney.com Kenny McKinney

    Seriously, what an awesome interview. On so many levels.

  • Pingback: Neil deGrasse Tysen tells Laurence Fishburne about t'science flub n' ‘T' Matrix’ | Hillbilly News

  • Emmanuel Gonzalez

    in the matrix, I always thought that the reason the machines kept humans in the tubes, even though they didn’t need them, was because they weren’t as cruel as humans. In the animatrix they showed that it was the humans who started the war, and the oppressed machines wanted peace and equal rights. So the machines took over the world and created this whole world for them.

  • MM

    Fishburne not Fishborne Neil!

  • Pingback: Neil deGrasse Tyson tells Laurence Fishburne about the science flub in ‘The Matrix’Jobrny's World

  • mmortal03

    It’s Fishburne, not Fishborne! lol! Otherwise, great episode.

  • Adam Jensen

    Wish this was longer

  • Pingback: Neil deGrasse Tyson tells Laurence Fishburne about the science flub in ‘The Matrix’ Erythangelse

  • Korrey

    Have I been mispronouncing Mr. Fishburnes name this whole time?!

    • Korrey

      Heyyy you fixed the pronunciation! The sky is correct once again ;)… [Thanks Jim].

  • http://economics-of-curiosity.tumblr.com/ rayhana

    You know one of my favorite part of streaming the soundcloud clip is striking at the exact right stripe of the audio spectrum to skip the advertisement and getting onto the actual talk. Just sayin’

  • Jon916

    I love you guys! Cosmos is through the roof! Lawrence, you are the example of perserverance!

  • ai

    No Beastie Boys music credit??

    • startalkradio

      Since we sample the Beasties in our opening and closing themes, we don’t put the credit on every episode. You can find them credited on the “About Us” page on our website, http://www.startalkradio.net/about-us/. However, because we never get tired of turning people on to the full songs, here are links to them on YouTube:
      “Ch-Check It Out” by the Beastie Boys from the album “To The Five Boroughs”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYpzWRk7E9I

      “The Sound of Science” by the Beastie Boys from the album “Paul’s Boutique”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCkmeP8s8W4

  • Pingback: Does Neil Tyson drive a cement? - Toyota FJ Cruiser Forum

  • Josh

    I’m pretty sure the original script involved the humans as part of the processing cluster for the matrix, but executive meddling strikes.

  • Ernest

    So Coool. “I need to get my stargaze on!” hahaa.

  • Brandon Badou

    A great surprise guest.

  • Victoria Mendez

    Laurence bears a very accurate resemblance to what my father looked like 😀


    This is a joy to listen to. I hope to get to this level with my own podcast.

    Thank you guys


  • pazu7

    Great interview. In the late 90s Fishburne did a made for TV film called “Always Outnumbered” that rarely gets mentioned but was one of his great performances. And imo, the scientific implausibility of ‘humans as batteries’ issue gets a bit tedious and sort of misses the point. I saw it as a metaphor. Humans as slaves that drive the machinery that deceives them or something. The Wachowskies are always making little metaphorical riffs. As if a human could be encased in a liquid environment their entire life, living in complete sensory isolation with no actual physical stimulation, and then be up and walking around a few days later. There’s your science problem. haha. Love this series.

    • e.t.c

      i’m sure the robots found a way to keep the bodyily systems functioning. otherwise….they wouldn’t

      • startalkradio

        Did you mean to add more to this, e.t.c.?

      • msfrost

        Humans go insane, when deprived of sensory perception. I’m not convinced, that virtual Reality, is a good enough substitute.

  • LP

    That was so great! Fishburne has been a favourite of mine a long time!

  • albert14151

    Whoa! Way too much ad at the front. I cut away. Sorry.

  • http://daashedyot.blogspot.com/ The Hedyot

    Another great show. Thanks! Was wondering if anyone can tell me where in the Matrix movie that scene that Laurence mentioned was his favorite effect. I don’t recall any point where the whole team went to see the Oracle, so was wondering if anyone knows.

  • Daisy

    I love how Neil is so prepped with Laurence Fishburne’s C.V – genuine fan to all his work… but Laurence didn’t know Neil is the director of Hayden. 😀 Neil is classy like that. :)

  • Legiondude

    It’s cause of the latest episode of Cosmos, Neil spends a chunk of time about a book called “The History of Fish”

  • Tyler Whisinnand

    Neil is funny as shit!

  • Alec Karfonta

    Laurence should do rendezvous with rama

  • Karan

    YO please do a George Takaei interview! xD

  • Me

    It’s evolution. We all come from fish… wait, what?

  • Vera Comment

    its like he’s interviewing Furious Styles.

  • startalkradio

    I remember watching that for Melanie Griffith – after all, it was the 80’s. As I recall, even Ben Johnson couldn’t save it… but at the time, who knew that Laurence Fishburne was in it? Might be worth a revisit after all…

  • Robyn Van Horn

    awesome !!!

  • Casey Snipes

    2 of my favorites, exciting

  • Zac

    Really needed to hear more on Event Horizon, I cannot believe that wasn’t a feature topic.

  • Brenda

    So glad to have discovered this. I really enjoyed listening!

  • Pingback: A Conversation with Laurence Fishburne | StarTa...

  • anton joseph

    The architect did explain that the machines no longer needed humans as a power source.

  • Pm

    I has happy to know cosmos was available to watch online but it lasted just a few second when i noticed that it is available at the US only.

  • Pingback: Scattered Life Collective 28 March 2014 | Ronda Snow, Ph.D.

  • Tawani

    Just marvelous … wish it was longer

  • Pingback: Neil deGrasse Tyson tells Laurence Fishburne about the science flub in ‘The Matrix’Jobrny's World | Jobrny's World

  • Sandra

    Space 1999 shout-out! Yay!!

  • Krzysztof Kotarba

    I would love to watch cosmos online but it’s only for US territory.

  • nate

    I remember cherry 2000! hah!

  • S Huq

    This is amazing!!!

  • Shaun Mosher

    Two of the coolest dudes on the planet! :-)

  • http://ipse-cogita.blogspot.com/ IpseCogita

    His wife is most certainly Wonder Woman.

  • Pingback: A Matter of Resolve | Reflections, Rants and Raves