Sunday, March 28, 2010

YOU MAKE SURE THAT YOU SAY WHAT YOU ACTUALLY THINK AND WE MAKE SURE THAT WE WRITE WHAT YOU ACTUALLY SAY: Our friend Dan Fienberg on Chloë Sevigny, John Mayer, and the art of telling the truth: "Much of my job is conducting interviews and I know the tremendous rush that comes from a subject going off-message. Sometimes you sense they're saying things that might blow up in their faces, but that doesn't really give me an Interviewer's High. What gives me that high is when I can hear that they're thinking about answers, rather than just regurgitating the same old bullet points."


  1. Jennifer8:54 PM

    I said the other day on my blog that honesty isn't going to be tolerated or appreciated any more, given the nasty backlash (and badly done forced recanting in CS's case) regarding her, JM, Megan Fox, Katherine Heigl, Amanda Seyfried, etc. for saying well, anything that isn't the party line. Apparently the overall message in our culture, one I've seen on plenty of the internet, is "shut the crap up and don't say anything, or just say mealy-mouthed things that don't mean anything. For the love of god, don't be honest about what you think."

    And I think that's sad. Yeah, some of the above said stupid stuff, but some of it wasn't wrong either. And I think it's a pretty crap world that doesn't allow people to call a spade a spade. Yeah, CS could have said similar things without using the word "awful," JM could have rephrased to say, "Uh, I haven't dated any black women, but yes, some are attractive," and KH could have said, "I just don't think this is my year for an Emmy," and I won't argue that saying it better was necessary. But being forced to have a leash on at all times, when they all do jobs where they are forced to talk about themselves and what they think on a frequent basis, is awkward at best and fake at worst. I appreciate people who say the honest thing, even if they look stupid at times. It lets you know that these are still real people, not fake shells we all watch on TV.

    So far I think the only one that's gotten away with his honesty in the last few years has been Robert Pattinson for pointing out tha Stephenie Meyer is a pervy thinker, Edward is a twisted SOB, etc. I don't know how the lynch mobs haven't gone out for his blood yet, and I wish I could figure out how he dodged that bullet when no one else has. I guess Twilight fans are just that nuts that they don't care?

  2. bella wilfer1:55 PM

    I think, as an employee of any job, you have to walk a fine line between being honest and still being respectful of your employers.  If someone was interviewing me about what I thought about my employers (who, honestly, are fantastic, so luckily I wouldn't run into the above issues anyway), I would have to make sure I was saying something I wouldn't mind them hearing (or, if I was saying something that would piss them off, that I would be okay getting fired).  I think actors are allowed to be honest about the reason for taking certain jobs (no one thinks Brendan Fraser's doing Furry Vengeance to win an Oscar), but they also need to be mindful of biting the hand that feeds them.  Yes, people should be allowed to call a spade a spade, but - just as in ANY OTHER PROFESSION - sh*tting all over the people who paid you tons of money to take whatever role you took is really not cool.

    Not sure why actors should be able to be absurdly disrespectful to their employers when none of us can or would even consider doing... I have no problem with any of the above saying to friends and family that they really hated this season of Big Love or they thought their character was getting boring on Grey's or whatever, but those are not neccessarily appropriate conversations to have with the media, ESPECIALLY before you have those conversations with your boss.

    I do think CS's weird retraction (and inappropriately blaming the journalist for "misquoting" her when it was clearly a Q/A format) wasn't the ideal response - would've preferred something along the lines of how she was discussing the matters with the Big Love writers rather than continuing to rant in a public forum.

    I am all for people being honest, but listen - there's a level of honest you probably don't want to go when millions of people are listening and your job is on the line.  Again, not sure why this is different for famous people than it is for any of us who might be interviewed in a forum where our employers would hear. /rant.

  3. isaac_spaceman2:01 PM

    Sure, they could say all those things.  That's not to say that they should.  Hollywood is an ego-driven place.  I'm sure that it's not a good idea career-wise for an actor to criticize the people who give her or him jobs, particularly if they're as successful and well-respected as Apatow and Rhimes, or as successful and successful as Michael Bay.  If you want fans to love you, you probably shouldn't adopt the public profile of an ingrate or a self-satisfied racial tourist; if you want producers to hire you, you probably shouldn't call them names or insult their work product.  I didn't think that CS came off ungracious in her interview, but Heigl and Mayer and Fox certainly did, and any resulting injury to celebrity honesty is just collateral damage from the application of common-sense self-interest. 

  4. for a further exposition on the topic of truth in interviews, there's an insightful chapter in chuck klosterman's most recent book about it

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