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tv   60 Minutes  CBS  October 24, 2021 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT

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and ford. we go further, so you can. >> this man says prince mohammad bin salman, the ruler of saudia arabia, sent an assassination team to kill him, just as the prince did for jamal khashoggi. >> i am here to sound the alarm about a psychopath, killer, in the middle east, with infinite resources, who poses threat to his people, to the americans, and to the planet. >> how did he escape? and why is he going public? that's our story tonight.
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( ticking ) >> what happens when the main water source for the southwest begins to run dry? the colorado river serves 40 million people their drinking water, powers their homes, and irrigates 90% of the nation's winter farmed greens. to all of those demands, add the stress of a 22-year drought, and you have the makings of a crisis. these white bathtub rings, is this where the water used to be? >> absolutely. ( ticking ) >> i'm batman. >> he's played batman, and birdman, and starred in "spider-man." the irony is that michael keaton's real super power is portraying the every-man. >> yeah, 22o-221, whatever it takes. >> the salesman, the f.b.i. man, the put-upon newspaperman. an actor on a career-long crusade against typecasting, keaton is willfully unpredictable in choosing his roles. >> people talk about range. there's-- you know, it's-- flattering. but range doesn't really-- range, schmange.
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you know? ( ticking ) >> i'm lesley stahl. >> i'm bill whitaker. >> i'm anderson cooper. >> i'm sharyn alfonsi. >> i'm jon wertheim. >> i'm scott pelley. those stories and more, tonight, on "60 minutes." ( ticking )
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>> scott pelley: much of the world was horrified when saudi arabia sent a hit squad to turkey to murder "washington post" columnist jamal khashoggi. tonight, the man you are about to meet says a second saudi assassination team was sent to kill him in canada.
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saad aljabri was number two in saudi intelligence, and he was among the best friends america had against terrorism. now, saad is asking america's help. truth is hard to triangulate among spies, despots, and the middle east. you're going to hear that saad aljabri may not be spotless. but as a spymaster, saad says he has one more favor for america: a warning about a prince, with the power to trouble the world. >> dr. saad aljabri: i am here to sound the alarm about a psychopath, killer, in the middle east, with infinite resources, who poses threat to his people, to the americans, and to the planet. >> pelley: saad aljabri is talking about mohammed bin salman, who seized power behind the back of the man greeting
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president obama. that's mohammed bin nayef, then heir to the throne. but in 2017, nayef was arrested by prince mohammed bin salman. a psychopath? >> saad aljabri: a psychopath with no empathy. doesn't feel emotion, never learned from his experience. and we have witnessed atrocities and crimes committed by this killer. >> pelley: a source from u.s. intelligence told us, saad aljabri would never show up for this interview. he'd lived too long in a silent profession. the fact that he did show up is a measure of his desperation. saad is 62, married, eight children. he started as a cop, but rose to the top of saudi intelligence and earned a ph.d in the science of artificial intelligence. he could be seen in the
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oval office, with american ambassadors, the u.s. military command, and with michael morell, former acting director of the c.i.a. >> michael morell: i'm a big admirer. i found dr. saad to be extraordinarily bright. i found him to be incredibly loyal to his country. >> pelley: would you say honorable? >> morell: honorable, yes, absolutely. >> pelley: but in 2017, saad found himself on the wrong side of prince mohammed's coup. the deposed prince nayef was saad's boss. saad fled to canada, where he remains, and refuses to return. now, prince mohammed is making saad's family pay. the very day of the coup, two of his children were barred from leaving the kingdom. this is his daughter, sarah. >> ♪ happy birthday to you ♪ >> pelley: and his son omar. both planned to be in american colleges.
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they are now in saudi prisons. next, the family says, prince mohammed targeted saad's son-in-law. they claim the son-in-law was kidnapped in a third country and returned to the kingdom. >> khalid aljabri: the first night he was kidnapped, he received more than 100 lashes. he was tortured. he was beaten on his back, on his legs. >> pelley: khalid aljabri is saad's eldest son. what was he told he was being detained for? >> khalid aljabri: he was being told that he was detained and tortured as a proxy for his father-in-law, meaning my dad. they even asked him a question, "who do you think we should arrest and torture, so dr. saad can come back to the kingdom?" >> pelley: their story recalls "washington post" columnist jamal khashoggi, a critic of prince mohammed. in 2018, a year after his coup, u.s. intelligence says prince mohammad sent a team to turkey
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to lure khashoggi to a saudi consulate and dismember him. saad told us that, days later, before khashoggi's murder was known to the public, he receivd a warning. a friend in a middle eastern intelligence service said another hit team was headed for saad in canada. >> saad aljabri: and the warning i received, "don't be in a proximity of any saudi mission in canada. don't go to the consulate. don't go to the embassy." i said, why? said, they dismembered the guy, they kill him. you are on the top of the list. >> pelley: saad says a six-person team landed at the ottawa airport in mid-october 2018. he says, members of the team lied to customs about knowing one another, and they carried suspicious equipment for d.n.a. analysis. the team was deported. canada seems to confirm at least part of this story, saying, "we
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are aware of incidents in which foreign actors have attempted to threaten those living in canada. it is completely unacceptable." is that the way intelligence organizations work in this world? >> morell: it's not a norm in this world. it's a norm for countries like russia and north korea; it's not a norm for almost any other country in the world. >> pelley: do you think mohammed bin salman fears you? >> saad aljabri: he fears my information. >> pelley: saad told us his information includes a 2014 meeting between prince mohammed, on the left, and the then-head of intelligence, mohammed bin nayef. it was three years before the coup. saad claims the young prince boasted to nayef that he could kill the sitting king, abdullah, to clear the throne for his own father. >> saad aljabri: and he told
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him, i want to assassinate king abdullah. i get a poison ring from russia. it's enough for me just to shake hand with him, and he will be done. >> pelley: a poison ring from russia? >> saad aljabri: that what he say. whether he's just bragging, or? but he said that, and we took it seriously. >> pelley: by "we," saad means saudi intelligence took it seriously. the alleged threat, he says, was handled within the royal family. saad told us he watched the meeting on a video recording. does this video recording still exist? >> saad aljabri: yes. i know where it is now. i know there are two copies of that. i know where they are. >> pelley: prince mohammed is 36, and wields unlimited power on behalf of his ailing 85-year-old father, king salman. the prince is admired by some for allowing women to drive, permitting movie theaters, and
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disbanding the religious police who once assaulted couples for holding hands. >> morell: there's two groups of people in saudi arabia. there are those who are very happy with mohammed bin salman. the 70% of the population that is under 30. he is not popular with the old guard, with the royal family, because he changed the system. >> pelley: but much of that change has been reckless. his war in yemen has killed thousands of civilians in what the u.n. says may be war crimes. he invited lebanon's leader to visit saudi arabia, took him hostage, and forced him to resign. he detained hundreds of potential rivals until they signed over their wealth, jailed women calling for human rights, and murdered jamal khashoggi. >> saad aljabri: i expect to be killed one day, because this guy will not rest off until he see me dead.
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>> pelley: but what does america owe saad aljabri? we asked former c.i.a. acting director and cbs news consultant, michael morell, who worked closely with saad from 2010 to 2013. is it too much to say that saad may have saved american lives? >> morell: he absolutely-- dr. saad absolutely saved american lives. he saved saudi lives, many of them, and he saved american lives. >> pelley: can you name any of those cases? >> morell: the one i can talk about is the so-called printer cartridge plot. >> pelley: in 2010, al-qaeda hid bombs in two desktop printers. they were in the air, as cargo, headed to the u.s. on two planes, perhaps intended to explode over american cities. but thanks to intelligence relayed by saad aljabri, the bombs were icepteduring layovers. are there any other examples of
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times that saad had saved american lives? >> morell: there are. >> pelley: what are they? >> morell: i can't talk about them, because they're still classified. >> pelley: are there several? >> morell: there are many. many. >> pelley: while working in that classified world, saad aljabri became enormously wealthy. prince mohammed typically accuses potential rivals of corruption, and saudi entities are suing saad in the u.s. and canada, claiming he stole as much as $500 million from the counter-terrorism budget. did you steal the money? >> saad aljabri: no. >> pelley: if you didn't steal the money, how did you get so rich? >> saad aljabri: you know, i have served a royal monarchy in a close proximity for two decades. three kings, four crown prince.
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they've been nice to me. they've been very generous. it's a tradition in saudi arabia royal family. they take care of people around them. >> morell: i don't know if dr. saad was corrupt in any way. i wouldn't be surprised if he wasn't, because he's such an honorable man. but i also wouldn't be surprised if he was, because everybody, to some extent, had their hand in the kitty. and king abdullah allowed it, permitted it. >> pelley: but in the saudi lawsuit against saad, the canadian judge has said there is "overwhelming evidence of fraud," and so she has frozen his assets as the case moves forward. the saudi government declined an interview, but in a statement, it said, "saad aljabri is a discredited former government official with a long history of fabricating and creating distractions to hide the financial crimes he committed.
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he implies that stealing was acceptable at the time. but it wasn't acceptable nor legal then, and it isn't now." saad says he's thinking only of his imprisoned children. >> saad aljabri: i have to speak out. i am appealing to the american people and to the american administration to help me to release those children and to restore their life. >> pelley: saad aljabri told us he's recorded a "death video" that reveals more secrets of the royal family, and some of the united states. he gave us a short, silent clip of the video which, he told us, "could be released" if he is killed. it includes a message to omar and sarah, his imprisoned children. >> saad aljabri: i told them, i'm sorry. i tried my best. >> pelley: does the united
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states, as a country, owe anything to saad? >> morell: do i feel some obligation to dr. saad? yes. does the united states of america? the people at c.i.a. do. the people at c.i.a. do. you know, whether the country does or not, i don't know. it's a little bit of a hard question. >> pelley: it's been hard for presidents to stand up to mohammed bin salman. neither the trump nor biden administrations publicly sanctioned him after khashoggi. saudi oil isn't as important as it once was, but countering iran is, which has led to a certain tolerance of a menacing prince. ( ticking ) >> dr. saad aljabri on the hit squad he says mohammad bin salman sent to silence dissent. at
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>> bill whitaker: this past week, california declared a statewide drought emergency. it follows the first-ever federal shortage declaration on the colorado river, triggering cuts to water supplies in the southwest. the colorado is the lifeblood of the region. it waters some of the country's fastest-growing cities, nourishes some of our most fertile fields, and powers $1.4 trillion in annual economic activity. the river runs more than 1,400 miles, from headwaters in the rockies to its delta in northern mexico, where it ends in a trickle. seven states and 30 native american tribes lie in the colorado river basin. lately, the river has been
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running dry due to the historically severe drought. the majestic, meandering colorado river, that cut through these red cliffs, carving the grand canyon, is a wonder of nature and human ingenuity. the glen canyon dam created lake powell and, 300 miles down-river, lake mead sits behind the hoover dam. these reservoirs are now being sucked dry by 40 million different straws-- that's the number of people in booming western states who depend on the colorado to quench their thirst, power their homes, water lawns and splash in the sun. its waters irrigate farms that produce 90% of the country's winter greens. to all these demands, add the stress of a 22-year drought, as dry as any period in 1,200 years, and you have a river in crisis. these white bathtub rings; is-- is this where the water used to
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be? >> brad udall: absolutely. >> whitaker: brad udall, a climate scientist at colorado state university, went out on lake powell with us. so all of this would have been underwater? >> udall: yeah. >> whitaker: so what does this tell you about what's happening on the colorado river? >> udall: well, it's a signal of the long-term problem we've been seeing since the year 2000, which is, climate change is reducing the flows of the colorado significantly. >> whitaker: lake powell and lake mead, the two biggest reservoirs in the country, were nearly full in 2000. today, they are at just about 30% capacity. >> udall: the lake's now 155 feet below full. it's dropped something like 50 feet this year. >> whitaker: and it's still dropping? >> udall: yes. and that's when power generation actually becomes to come into question. >> whitaker: so it drops so low that it may not be able to generate-- >> udall: it may not be able to generate power. >> whitaker: --hydroelectric power?
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>> udall: yeah. >> whitaker: brad udall has strong connections to the river. as secretary of the interior, his uncle, stewart udall, opened the glen canyon dam. his father, congressman mo udall, fought to channel river water to arizona. as a young man, brad was a colorado river guide. today, he analyzes the impact of climate change on water resources. is the west on a collision course with climate change? >> udall: in some ways, yes, but we have fully utilized this system. we've over-allocated it, and we now need to think about how to turn some of this back. because the only lever we control right now in the river is the demand lever. we have no control over the supply. so we have to dial back demand. >> whitaker: 70% of colorado river water goes to agriculture. when the federal government declared the water shortage, it triggered mandatory cutbacks.
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pinal county, arizona got hit hard. >> waylon wuertz: pinal county alone, we're going to be losing 300,000 acre feet of surface water. that's water that would be delivered from lake powell, lake mead. as part of the colorado river. 300,000 acre feet is 98 billion gallons of water. >> whitaker: waylon wuertz farms 500 acres in pinal county, south of phoenix. his family has tilled soil here for four generations. it's some of the most productive land in the state. crops from pinal county are shipped all over the country. wuertz grows gourds, cotton, and alfalfa-- profitable but thirsty crops-- and his allotment of colorado river water is being cut by 70%. this is colorado river water? >> wuertz: yeah, kind of the-- the lifeline of our irrigated
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a.g. here. >> whitaker: this comes straight in from lake mead? >> wuertz: correct. this is-- through hundreds of miles of canal system. it's made its way down here to central arizona. >> whitaker: and what percentage of your water is supplied by this canal? >> wuertz: it's been close to 50% of the water that we've used to-- to farm here. and, this next year, it's probably going to drop down to about 20% of the water that we use. >> whitaker: that's one-seventh of what he was getting a decade ago. to use less water and make ends meet, wuertz sold more than 300 acres to a solar farm. he dipped into retirement funds to repair and restart old wells. he laser-leveled his fields to make irrigation more efficient. but it's just not enough, in the middle of this drought. >> wuertz: no, it's not enough. >> whitaker: so next year, he told us, he'll have to leave 150 acres uncultivated.
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>> wuertz: what you see green here is eventually going to die. i hope we'll have enough water to plant it in the future. but more than likely, it's going to stay brown for quite some time. >> amelia flores: all the water- users are going to have to give up something to keep that water in the lake. >> whitaker: amelia flores is chairwoman of the colorado river indian tribes, a reservation of four tribes a few hours west of phoenix, with the oldest and largest water rights in arizona. after being moved to reservations, southwest tribes got rights to about a quarter of the river's flow, but government red tape and lack of infrastructure have prevented them from using their full allotment. flores told us, until this drought, tribes were never included in water negotiations. why had you not had a seat at the table before this? >> flores: because the tribes have always been overlooked in the policymaking, and-- and in-- in the law of the river.
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but that day has come to an end. >> whitaker: when western states first divvied up the colorado river in 1922, and later, when the federal government built the hoover and glen canyon dams, the future seemed boundless and manageable. through negotiation and court battles, states worked out agreements-- the law of the river-- to split the water equally between upper and lower basin states. the lower states use just about all their allotment, and it's fed their tremendous growth. the upper states have never used their full share. now, they are booming, and say they need the water they've been promised. i can see the bathtub rings around here too. >> zach renstrom: we're trying to keep every drop of water we can into this reservoir for next year's drinking water. >> whitaker: zach renstrom manages the water system for washington county in southwest utah. st. george, the county seat, is one of the fastest growing metro
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areas in the u.s. its population grew 29% this past decade. the state of utah gets about a quarter of its water from the colorado, but most of washington county has only one source, the virgin river, which fills this reservoir. >> renstrom: so right now, we're in the process of implementing really strict conservation measures. and if the cities don't adopt those standards, then we'll be out of water very quickly. >> whitaker: what is "very quickly?" >> renstrom: within the next five to ten years. >> whitaker: so, in the midst of this drought, utah is proposing to build a $1 to $2 billion pipeline, able to bring 27 billion gallons of water a year from dwindling lake powell. utah says it's entitled to the water by law. you're talking about siphoning off water from a lake that's already at a critically low level, to help a city grow in the desert. >> renstrom: every state on the
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colorado river was allotted so much water, and a water budget. and so, with their water budget, the state of utah has decided that it wants to use a portion of its water here in st. george, utah. >> whitaker: but it was a budget that was set when water was plentiful. it isn't anymore. what is utah hoping for? >> renstrom: utah wants the right to do what every other basin state has done. we want to make sure that we have water for our future, for a hotter, dryer scenario that's coming up. >> j.b. hamby: building a multi- billion dollar pipeline to pump out more water from an already rapidly declining reservoir simply doesn't make sense in the 21st century. >> whitaker: j.b. hamby is vice president of the board that runs california's imperial irrigation district, one of the richest agricultural regions in the country, with the single largest allocation of water on the entire river. >> hamby: there's a lot of urban growth and sprawl occurring in other parts of the colorado river basin that's really not necessarily sustainable. >> whitaker: hamby says
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california's imperial valley farms have cut water usage almost 20% since 2003, but points out as the population of st. george, utah grows, so does its water use. >> hamby: we need to think and rethink about how we grow, and if we grow and where we grow. >> whitaker: st. george would say that they're not asking for more-- they're asking for what they need. >> hamby: i think what we all need to have is a reality check, here, and recognize that we live in an era of limits right now, and that's not going away anytime soon. in fact, it's only going to get worse. >> whitaker: a big part of the problem is the law of the river itself, a hodgepodge of rules and regulations pieced together over the course of a century. for example, after all the litigation and negotiations, the law ends up allocating more water than actually flows down the colorado. and this: in times of shortage, channels that provide more than
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a third of arizona's water must run dry before california is required to cut back. so-- so, wait a minute-- arizona is being called on to cut its water intake before california has to give up even one drop? >> udall: pretty amazing. it can't work in today's world. and it's, in some ways, a little microcosm, right, of this whole law of the river, with these systems that have been put in place that just don't work. they can't work. and that's why a rethink's needed. >> whitaker: one example of rethinking? the colorado river indian tribes agreed to leave fields uncultivated, leaving 48 billion gallons-- almost three feet of water-- in lake mead. the state of arizona agreed to pay them for their losses. >> flores: my people want to help during this drought. we want to save the river, because for centuries, the river
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has always taken care of us, so now, we have to take care of the river. >> udall: that's what negotiations are all about, right? it may be there are ways to conserve, and figure out how to get the same goods and services for less water. let's let a.g. grow crops that use less water. let's figure out how to make cities use water as efficiently as possible. so, i mean, we need some optimism here, right? >> wuertz: this desert ground... >> whitaker: but as we saw at this meeting of pinal county farmers, optimism is in short supply. >> wuertz: the farmer who's prepared their whole life, worked the land, farmed the land, is getting the short end of the stick. >> whitaker: farmers here and across the southwest feed the country. but it takes more than two- thirds of the colorado river to produce the bounty. with lake levels dropping, arizona farmers like waylon wuertz fear their fertile fields could become desert again.
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>> wuertz: you're going to see drastic cuts, a drastic change of what next year has to bring. and for my particular family farm, we're doing all that we can to keep it going. but i have a feeling it's just a matter of time before none of this exists. ( ticking ) ♪ say it'sright ♪ght, it's all ♪ have a good time 'cause it's all right ♪ ♪ now listen to the beat ♪ ♪ kinda pat your feet ♪ ♪ it's all right ♪ ♪ have a good time 'cause it's all right ♪ ♪ oh, it's all right ♪ metastatic breast cancer is relentless,
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limited availability in select areas. call 1.877.only.att. >> jon wertheim: it's almost like, when no one was looking, michael keaton crept on to hollywood's a-list, and then never left. except that we were looking. keaton's films have, collectively, grossed billions at the box office. he's played birdman and batman, and starred in "spider-man." the irony is that keaton's real power is portraying the every-man.
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the salesman, the f.b.i. man, the put-upon newspaperman. an actor on a career-long crusade against typecasting, keaton is willfully unpredictable in choosing his roles. but, he is consistent in nailing them. and at age 70, he's still at it. find michael keaton a character he finds appealing, and, to borrow a phrase, it's show time. forget about meeting at some precious malibu bistro or on a movie set. michael keaton wanted us to meet him in his element, so we did, here-- on his 1,000-acre swatch of trout streams and mountains under montana's big sky. >> michael keaton: wow, look at that. >> wertheim: it's easy to be humbled by the sheer vastness of the place. not that this is a movie star in need of any ego reduction. >> keaton: as soon as i bought this place-- soon as i bought it-- and it was a dream of mine from the time i was a little kid-- it hit me. like, it was crystal clear that
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i don't really own anything. you don't really-- you-- we're renters. you know, i don't own this. this is just-- i just happened to make a transaction. >> wertheim: just passing through. >> keaton: passing through. >> wertheim: after a short drive up a dirt path, we discussed range of a different sort. we asked keaton about his staggering versatility, the key to his success and hollywood longevity. >> wertheim: go down your imdb page and, in the best possible way, you get whiplash. i see this archetype, american male, and it's lawyers, and newspaper men, and doctors. >> keaton: i guess that's true. i guess, yeah. if i went-- and i've never seen my imd-- imdb? or im-b-d? ( laughs ) which one? i can know-- which-- which one comes first-- but i-- but, yeah. well, if you put it like that, i'd go, yeah, pretty much. but it's a representation of all kind of, you know, within that. like, but-- who's the person in that job? you know, what's-- what's the person in that job? >> wertheim: right, right, right, right. >> keaton: people talk about range. there's-- you know, it's--
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flattering. but range doesn't really-- range, schmange, you know. it, like-- >> wertheim: really? >> keaton: yeah, well, range-- >> wertheim: i would think you'd take pride in that. >> keaton: i do. but i don't think of it in terms of, "well, you played that. then, you were funny. and then, you-- then you were a sad man. and then you--" you know, that's not really, to me-- range. you know, you go inside the-- the person, you know. >> wertheim: is there range within a character? >> keaton: yeah. because they're human beings, you know. >> wertheim: and that includes one superhero. this may be the ranch "batman" built. keaton bought it in 1989, the same year as his biggest blockbuster. >> keaton: all right, listen... >> wertheim: but by then, he had already established his m.o., delivering a certain believability to a broad array of characters: a stay-at-home dad, a crazy-haired poltergeist... >> keaton: it's showtime! >> wertheim: ...a washed-up actor, a founder. in each of them, keaton does, well, that keaton thing. he projects a disarming
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intensity. his brows arch. the eyes narrow. the mouth puckers. and we are buying his character. >> keaton: i'm here because i think the story is wrong. is it? >> wertheim: even before his trademark staccato patter kicks in. >> keaton: i used to kind of think i had to flee from-- me, you know. and then later on, there's something in me that's-- that's okay. i was never afraid to go to a dark or scary or really, really, really raw places-- ever, ever. but also i didn't want to look back and go, "you kind of-- kind of wussed out," you know? and sometimes there's no crime in saying, "this is pretty easy. just-- just open your mouth, and let the words come out, and-- and tell the truth." >> wertheim: this sixth sense for authenticity first came to keaton in the most un-hollywood of places: keaton's home in western pennsylvania. it was a seminal moment in his childhood when his family won a black and white tv in a raffle. >> keaton: so what i watched and learned and-- and grew up on and
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loved was really television-- old westerns primarily, which i loved. i wanted to be those people. ( laughs ) >> wertheim: you didn't want to be gene autry. you wanted to be the cowboy. >> keaton: oh, yeah. and, you know, the thing is, i never bought those guys, even at a young age. i said, "they're too pretty. they're too clean. they probably don't smell." from the time i was young. i had to believe everything i was seeing. >> wertheim: michael keaton grew up the youngest of seven kids, raised in a working-class town outside pittsburgh. his father was a civil engineer; his mother ran the show at home. keaton was an altar-boy-- literally-- and he says, a decent student, as long as there were nuns around. he attended kent state university for one year, and then seriously committed to what had, till then, been vague designs of acting and performing stand-up comedy. >> keaton: i mean, everybody has the hard memories, the embarrassing tough times, and the down times. you know, no-- no money or no-- you know, living in ( bleep ) places.
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but that's, like-- that's, like, not a big deal to me. you know, that's-- that's just part of the deal. >> wertheim: but his nostalgia has its limits. he recalls the perils of the open mic. i heard a story, when you followed an irish folk singer up on stage? >> keaton: ugh. >> wertheim: what happened? >> keaton: well, first of all, this ( bleep ) gy would wear, like, one of those knit sweaters, like, in july. you know, one of those, like, fisherman sweaters. >> wertheim: he's committed to the role. >> keaton: yes, totally committed to the role, you know. he's going to sing that song where, like, all the kids in the family went down in the ship, you know, in the cold ( bleep ) irish sea." and i'm going to go, "hey, everybody, how you doing?" >> wertheim: not much of a warm- up act. >> keaton: no. >> wertheim: in los angeles, keaton sharpened his improv chops in the clubs on sunset and on the small screen. >> keaton: i do. >> wertheim: then, his big break-- he caught the eye of a seasoned comedy writer who recommended him to a hot director in town. >> keaton: i got an audition. and then i got a callback, another callback, another callback, another-- i think five
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or six. >> wertheim: all for the role of billy blaze. >> keaton: yeah, billy blaze. yeah. how you doing? i'm bill blazejowski. you can call me billy blaze. you must be chuck, right? nice shoes. >> wertheim: "night shift," directed by ron howard, marked keaton's first movie, an electric, breakout comedic performance, one that still holds up. >> keaton: i need the car keys. you got them? thank you. >> wertheim: with license to improv, he steals scene after scene as bill blazejowski, the antic-frantic morgue attendant moonlighting as a pimp. >> keaton: love brokers, ha, ha! >> wertheim: you seemed to get that guy. >> keaton: yeah, i got that guy. it was kind of there on the page. you know, the-- like, i'm an idea man, that was the fundamental thing. this is bill. idea to eliminate garbage: edible paper. and they were welcoming in all the improv. >> wertheim: you could bring your improv chops. >> keaton: yeah, yeah. yeah, they were good about that. >> wertheim: kind of the best of both worlds. you're not doing stand-up. but, like-- >> keaton: 100%. >> wertheim: he would lean on those skills one year later, in "mr. mom."
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>> keaton: we're going to rip these walls out, and then, of course, rewire it. >> ron richardson: yeah, you're going to make it all 220? >> keaton: yeah, 220, 221, whatever it takes. >> wertheim: but right before hollywood could corner keaton solely as a comedic actor, he swiveled in the opposite direction, with movies like "clean and sober" and the thriller "pacific heights." not a lot of typecasting here. accident or design? >> keaton: i wanted to set it up so that i had more shots. i wanted to be able to play a lot of different things. because, i learned real quickly that they were going, "oh, we like when he does that. get him to do that. let's hire him to do that thing." i thought, "oh boy, that could, i think, frankly, i would have been out of the business." people would have been, if they're not bored already, bored to tears early with me. >> wertheim: this overlay of light and dark convinced director tim burton that michael keaton was right for the lead in his next big budget movie: "batman." keaton would embody bruce wayne as a complicated, even tormented
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tycoon, hell-bent on justice. hardcore fans of the dc comic hero were horrified about casting mr. mom as the caped crusader. >> man: what are you? >> keaton: i'm batman. you know, i have a long memory. you know, so a couple occasions where, you know, people were kind of-- not just, maybe did more than doubt you. you go, "okay, i'll wait." >> wertheim: peers, or reviewers, or? >> keaton: just things that happened a couple times. you just kind of clock it. >> wertheim: you remember that stuff. >> keaton: yeah. >> wertheim: so you're coming into this role, and you're the new batman. >> keaton: yeah, yeah. no, i am the-- batman. >> wertheim: you're the batman. but you've got this lineage... >> keaton: yeah. let's be clear about that. no, i'm kidding. ( laughs ) batman, the first batman, i think tim and i both knew if that doesn't work, that one, i had awareness of. i thought, "ooh, this-- this could really fail." ( laughs ) >> wertheim: yeah, i mean, it strikes me, that's another risk of a different kind, right? >> keaton: yeah. yeah. there was a lot of pressure on that movie for everybody.
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>> wertheim: holy gamble-that- paid-off, batman. the movie made more than $400 million and catapulted keaton to a new plane of stardom-- proof that resisting conventional hollywood wisdom had its advantages. keaton continued his game of character hopscotch in another 30 movies, from shakespeare to "spotlight." some brought more box office success than others. but when he wasn't acting, keaton was a hands-on dad to his son sean, who is now 38 and a successful songwriter in los angeles. and keaton had reached a point where he could be choosy. in 2014, enter "birdman," and keaton's almost absurdist role that earned him a golden globe for best actor. hardest role you've had? >> keaton: mostly, yeah. it had to be so specific, and so precise. you actually had to be, like, on a certain word, or a point in the sentence, and geographically in a spot. like, on-- in a hallway or down a set of stairs.
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specifically word perfect. and it was really hard. scary every day. >> wertheim: do people in your line of work have rivals, like athletes? i mean, are you, you know, "hey, bill murray, i'm coming for you"? >> keaton: i don't know. you know, that's the thing. there's nothing we can do. you know, we can't go, like, box each other. ( laughs ) you know, i mean. we're all in a brother and sisterhood to some degree, you know? like, you know, the criticism of people's performances i find really bush league, you know? it's like, "what do i know?" i'm not sure i even know enough. and i'm not being humble. i'm being honest. i don't-- i don't know that i even know enough to say, "well, that's not any good." >> wertheim: in his latest project, keaton is back to interpreting the american male. "dopesick," out this month, is a hulu mini-series about the country's opioid epidemic. >> keaton: i would never prescribe a narcotic for moderate pain. >> wertheim: keaton plays a doctor in a coal-mining town overwhelmed by oxycontin. but this time, he admits there's a little more to the part. >> keaton: you know, that means
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a lot to me, because, you know, i lost a nephew to fentanyl and heroin. >> wertheim: what's it like when you have this kind of personal connection to a role? >> keaton: you have to remove the emotion and just, like i keep saying, you know, what's-- what's the job at hand, you know, what's-- i'm just a storyteller. >> wertheim: befitting a man who pivots from role to role, keaton is especially thrilled by pittsburgh's transition from steel to tech. he returns home often, and invited us to a modified steel mill-turned-innovation center not far from where he grew up. keaton is an investor in a construction company, nexii, that here in pittsburgh plans to make eco-friendly alternatives to concrete. >> keaton: i get this. and i actually like it. and if i'm going to-- man, just look at this summer. if i'm going to have an opportunity to do anything and put my money where my mouth is, you can't just have an opinion
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about climate change anymore. it's, like, here, now. >> wertheim: the bill's come due, huh? >> keaton: that's right. the bill's-- the bill's come due. >> wertheim: keaton would happily spend more time here-- and in montana-- if it weren't for that pesky day job. he just finished filming "the flash," reprising his role as batman, 30 years after he left the franchise. and we had to know-- but, is this bruce wayne still the tortured, somewhat dark figure he was, as we recall? >> keaton: ish. he's kind of-- you know, i can't give too much of this away. i'm one of those guys who goes, "well, i-- i-- i'm not giving that ( bleep ) away." go see the movie. >> wertheim: how's the costume fit? >> keaton: proud to say, i slipped right back into it. > wertheim: you're 70 years old, and you're still kicking bad guys' ass. that's got to feel good. >> keaton: yeah. if you know anybody whose ass needs kicked, just don't call me. ( laughs ) ( ticking ) . >> welcome to cbs sports hq,
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presented by progressive insurance. >> i am james brown with the scores from the nfl today, tennessee massacres, sam donald gets, big day burr recognize baltimore and a blow youth, the packers make it six straight while the champs showed no mercy when beating the bears. for 24/7 news and highlights go to >> eck. paper tickets. we're off to a horrible start. ...but we can overcome it. we're not gonna point out our houses, landmarks, or major highways during takeoff. don't buy anything. i packed so many delicious snacks. -they're -- -nope. would you say, ballpark, when group two is gonna get boarded? 2 hours and 58 minutes. progressive can't protect you from becoming your parents, but we can protect your home and auto when you bundle with us. someone should've left home earlier.
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gates, who rose through the national security and intelligence communities. most of them are now retired or gone. we can only wonder if the present state of american politics is capable of producing their successors. i'm bill whitaker. we'll be back next week with another edition of "60 minutes."
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captioning funded by cbs and ford. we go further, so you can.
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captioned by media access group at wgbh delilah: i know that you lied to me. robyn: dee, there are things in this world, things that no one should have to experience. (shutter clicks) (laughs) make sure you send me that. no! call 911! there's a new cop on you. thanks for the intel, detective. mallory: you knew, didn't you? that she wouldn't be there. dante: never seen unless she wants to be. i'm just getting started. (indistinct shouting, clamoring) (glass shatters in distance)