Q&A with Reade Maier: A Sneakpeak at his Father’s Adapted Showtime Series

On his charming surface, seScreen Shot 2013-09-24 at 9.24.48 AMnior Reade Maier may seem like any other student at Fordham. But if you take a look at his family tree, you’ll see that he comes from a long legacy of Fordham Rams. His parents graduated back in ’78 — they were even married in the University Church! — and then his two older brothers before him.

Not only is Reade part of a dynasty here at Fordham, but he is also the proud son of the critically-acclaimed, award-winning investigative journalist, Thomas Maier, who’s most recent book was just created into a highly anticipated Showtime series.

When I first asked Reade to talk with me about his father’s success, he looked at me seriously and asked, “Is it because I’m a walking advertisement?” I guess I looked puzzled, because he followed by saying, “My full name is Reade Thomas Maier…get it? Reade Thomas Maier. My dad’s an author.”

Off to a pretty humorous start, I asked Reade about his father’s book Masters of Sex, and the anticipation of its on-screen adaptation (airing September 29th 10 PM/ET on Showtime).

Your dad has had much success since leaving Fordham. Can you talk a little bit about him and how he got to this point?

Well his career in journalism began, actually as the editor of The Ram here at Fordham. He fell in love with it, and still calls it his “Golden Age”. That was when he would just go out and ask questions that the administration didn’t want asked. Then, after graduation he went to Columbia School of Journalism, got his masters, then he eventually ended up at Newsday out on Long Island and has been there for the past thirty years as an investigative journalist.

When did he start writing biographies and books?

He first started around 1992. His first biography was on Samuel Newhouse, and his second biography was The Life and Times of Dr. Spock. In Screen Shot 2013-09-24 at 9.25.12 AMthe early 2000s he wrote a book on the Kennedy’s, about the five generations and the political history of the family in America and his most recent book is Masters of Sex, which is being turned into a Showtime series.

Can you briefly explain the premise of the book?

It’s about the life and times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson who studied the ideas of sex and love back in the 50’s and 60’s.

How did your family react when Showtime approached your dad about buying the rights? What were your dad’s feelings?

It was very slow, because when you first hear it you don’t believe it. It was all very skeptical, ya know. He says, “Hey, Sony approached me and they want to buy the rights.” So when Sony bought the rights, he got a small paycheck but that didn’t mean that there would be any show. Then Sony started moving and things got a little more exciting as the show started to progress, as they went from writing the pilot, to casting it and then filming it. My parents couldn’t believe it was real.

Did your dad see a more significant paycheck after that?

Absolutely. That was part of the reason my parents couldn’t believe it was real. My mom said she took the money, put it in a bank account and didn’t touch it because she was so petrified that they were going to take it back.

Have you visited the sites where Masters was being filmed?

I saw some of the pilot being filmed in Brooklyn, in a hospital wing that was shut down in the 1950’s, so it kind of had the same feel as the setting in the book. I also went out to Los Angeles and watched some of the later episodes being filmed. It’s just really cool.

And you got to meet the stars of the show, Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan.

Yeah, Michael Sheen is a pretty reserved guy, seems like a cool dude. I didn’t really get to hang out with him because he was pretty busy…being the star of the show and all. Lizzy Caplan is pretty awesome, really cool. Me and my brothers are just a bunch of sarcastic assholes and you could tell she wanted to join in but had to act professional as a cast member.

So, what are your expectations for the show in relation to the book? Will there be changes?

One difference that stood out to me and certainly stood out to my dad was the reveal of a fact in the show that had taken him years to uncover for his book. In the pilot they casually drop that William Masters had a low sperm count as if its not big deal, meanwhile it took my father years of dedicated research to uncover that fact. Another difference is that every episode has its own plot, while overall the two scientists progress in their own medical research.

 How has the show changed you and your family?

Well…it’s definitely not that I’m more open with my parents about sexual things, that’s for sure. But other than that, it hasn’t really changed us at all.

Any hopes of you getting on the show?

My dad has this vision of me actually starring as him, interviewing Virginia Johnson in the last scene of the last episode. But who knows…

What’s it like seeing all of the trailers and advertisements?

It’s pretty cool, just makes it all real for me.

How will you celebrate the premiere of the show?

Probably get pretty drunk…[laughs] just kidding. I’ll be at the Showtime premiere with my family on September 26th, and then for the actual television premiere on September 29th I’ll probably just watch with my roommates.

And what do you have planned for the future, since your father seems to be living his dream?

I think I’m living the dream right now…senior at Fordham with the world at my feet. Can’t imagine that it gets much better than this.

Reade Maier (left), Masters star Lizzy Caplan (center), and Thomas Maier (right)

Reade Maier (left), Masters star Lizzy Caplan (center), and Thomas Maier (right)


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