Elvis Mitchell In TCM's House

Turner Classic Movies has a new interview series, a fresh installment of Private Screenings and a special featuring the late animated genius Chuck Jones as part of a robust slate of original programming this year.

The vintage film network will pull the curtain open on TCM Presents Elvis Mitchell: Under The Influence in July, with Hollywood critic and interviewer Mitchell talking with celebrity guests about how classic film influenced their lives. Among those on the mat with Mitchell: actors Edward Norton, Richard Gere, Laurence Fishburne, Bill Murray, Joan Allen and John Leguizamo, as well as Oscar-winning filmmakers Quentin Tarantino and Sydney Pollack.

In September, Private Screenings, Walter Mirisch bows, as TCM host Robert Osborne conducts an intimate discussion with the Oscar-winning producer and former president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in which he talks about B pictures, as well as such classics as The Magnificent Seven, West Side Story and In the Heat of the Night.

The following month, TCM premieres Chuck Jones: Memories of Childhood. The special is drawn from interviews with Jones, just prior to his death in 2002. John Canemaker, who earned an Oscar for his animated short The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation, led the conversations, which cover Jones's rough childhood and abusive father and how those factors led to his work in cartoons. Further, the special features animation Canemaker created to complement the interview.

There's also plenty of original action before fall. Beginning May 7 at 8 p.m., the network will unveil “TCM Salutes Frank Sinatra,” a month-long film festival on Sundays and Wednesdays. The stunt marks the 10th anniversary of the death of “Ol' Blue Eyes.”

In June, TCM will unspool the month-long retrospective “Screening Asian Americans” and “Identities in Motion: Asian American Film and Video,” which marks the third time TCM has taken an in-depth look at ethnicity in Tinseltown.

Sunday nights at 8 p.m. in June, the network will showcase “TCM Essentials Jr.,” an opportunity for parents to introduce their progeny to classic movies.

“Our 2008 slate takes TCM to a whole new level, both in terms of the caliber of talent featured and the depth with which we are going to examine the art of filmmaking and the social issues influencing and influenced by cinema,” said TCM senior vice president of programming Charles Tabesh in a statement. “We look forward to bringing these exciting projects to classic movie fans of all ages.”