Badlands is "a true crime podcast that dives deep into the real stories of the famous at their most infamous," spinning off from the immensely popular Disgraceland podcast (which I believe is the most downloaded music podcast ever?) I've been doing some writing for them, including the fourth season finale, which focused on the darker side of Robin Williams' life. I obviously had to approach that episode with a lot of sensitivity — you can embrace the scandal without the slander, ya know? — and I'm really, really proud of the work I did on that one.
I also had the privilege of writing the fifth season premiere, which also required some very delicate linguistic tweaking … but in a way that could not have been more different from writing about Robin Williams. Because this time, the episode explores the billionaire erotic cannibal texter Armie Hammer — ya know, that guy who played that boringly handsome guy in a bunch of great movies, but no one ever remembered him until he turned out to be really into BDSM, except then it turned out he had a cannibal fetish, too?
Anyway here's the official synopsis:
With his chiseled jawline and matinee idol good looks, Armie Hammer could have been another leading man like Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt. But Armie Hammer was not most movie stars. He wasn't even most people. On the surface, his life was perfectly curated and appeared picture-perfect, with no major public scandals or dirt-digging by the press. But his increasingly bizarre appearances in interviews and on social media, not to mention leaked videos and texts, led to shocking revelations about what was really going on behind closed doors. And what was going on was more wild than the untamed dreams of a Hollywood screenwriter.
Fair warning: this one gets pretty graphic. I wish I had a video of my wife's face when I read the script out loud and I got to that part (you'll know it when you hear it). And no, I did not make any of that up.
You can find this episode on any podcast platform; new episodes are out every week, but you can listen to the full fifth season right now exclusively through Amazon Music. This batch of episodes includes Charlie Sheen, Lucille Ball, Danny Trejo, Charlie Chaplin, and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (whose time spent playing high school baseball with my cousin was sadly cut for time, and also for being a boring detail that no one cared about).
Armie Hammer: Dirty Texts, Bloodthirsty Fetishes, and a Cannibal Kink [Thom Dunn / Badlands]
Image: Gage Skidmore / Flickr (CC-BY-SA 2.0)