Tuesday, 2 August 2011

A celebrity interviewer on celebrity interviewing

There was a wonderful piece in the Times newspaper on the 21st of July. It's reprinted here, and I thought was worthy of some note.

The article is more a controlled shout of rage than any sort of essay. It's written by someone who evidently made and still makes their crust conducting these types of interview, who needs an outlet to vent some job-dissatisfaction, under the pseudonym Victoria Smith. 

She is, it seems, sick and tired of the lack of spontanaeity and autonomy that her job has come to entail, one that either used to be more fun, or to which she looked forward to with intense excitement. 

That excitement has worn off, leaving a bleak viewpoint on stars and their world. 

"In a world of boundless PR power, where small, screechy women in Tinseltown office blocks decide exactly what will be written about their clients in UK newspapers, the star interview is .. a meaningless joke."

In movies like Notting Hill we get a view of what these interviews are like, but..

They don’t mention that personal publicists, direct from LA, often sit in on interviews, just behind your shoulder and in their client’s eye-line, waiting to pounce on any inappropriate question (ie, one that doesn’t begin with “So tell me Angelina, what was it like working with . . .”)

That reminds me of the stupifying boredom of watching the extra features in a DVD. Precious wasted hours of interviews with even the most talented of actors - mindful of keeping their career alive - saying how great it was to work with [insert famous director's first name]. This is what made the suggestion so entertaining that Ridley Scott and Harrison Ford did the most ordinary thing for two strong personalities to do - not get on very well, supposedly - when making the scifi masterpiece Blade Runner. 

When himself asked this (in an interview that didn't fit the stereotype given by last weeks Times article) Ford answered tactfully and with some common-sense that in any job you run into difficult working relationships. 

All true, and celebrities will be told by their publicists that they must show their 'best side'*, but they truly seem to be hiding their personalities in the process, hiding - you would think - the best and only thing they have in the world. But the film industry doesn't seem to work like that.

* see this gruesome news item and interview with Paris Hilton for a celebrity's worst nightmare, with some journos apparently out to get her.

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