Q: You are known for your documentaries about our history. Would you say you're more interested in the past than the present?
A: Well, you know in our media culture, we focus only on young and hip boldface names. I'm 59, I don't recognize three-quarters of the boldfaced names I see in newspapers and magazines. I just don't know who they are. But our boldface names in American history are older people, retired people who have experience, who have memories that we need to know.
Q: What's next for you?
A: We are releasing a film called The Central Park Five in theaters the day after Thanksgiving, which will be broadcast on PBS in April 2013. This is a story of the five black and Hispanic kids who were charged and went to jail, served out their full terms for the infamous  Central Park Jogger [rape] case, and they didn't do it. We made a film about their lives. I codirected it with the filmmaker David McMahon and my daughter Sarah Burns [who's married to McMahon]. It was wonderful working with Sarah.
And we're doing the sound editing on a seven-part, 14-hour series on the history of Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt that will be out in 2014 on PBS.
Q: And after that?
A: In 2015 we have a two-part biography of Jackie Robinson, the first African American in baseball, and we are more than two-thirds of the way finished shooting a massive, seven-part, 14-hour history of the war in Vietnam, which will come out in 2016. Right now we're also writing and researching a multipart series on the history of country music for 2018, and plotting a biography of Ernest Hemingway for 2019. And I don't mean these are just ideas, we're working on them now.
Q: You're planned through the rest of the decade! Do you have a dream project?
A: I want to do a biography of Martin Luther King before I hang up my boots.
Q: What about retiring?
A: Never [laughs]. I like working.