It was on the set of Warm Bodies that Rob Corddry said to me, “I love talking to people like you. You’re an actual fan. You know this stuff.” We had been talking about all of the other journalists that were standing around staring and he asked me why one of them had asked to see the book. I explained they hadn’t read it (because I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to tell a celebrity that kind of stuff) and they asked us for insight. It was that moment when I realized that as a fan, I had power.
It was also the first time I realized how scary interviewing can and can not be. Why? Because I realized how much pressure is on the celebrity as well as me. Two people under pressure can be combustible.
There has been much talk over the past few days about Cara Delevingne’s interview with Good Day Sacramento. Some people took her interview as her being a bitch, but I took it as the interviewers being assholes.
Guys – interviewing is not easy. I remember when I had to sit down with Hailee Steinfeld (I say had to – but it was an honor) I about puked. It was my third time interviewing her, but my first time alone. She talked to me about bangs and cookies and of course Enders Game. But she made me feel so at ease. I told her I was nervous and she asked why. Truth is – we all have an idea of what meeting a celebrity is like. We have an idea that they will be a certain way and we don’t want it to be anything but that way.
As interviewers we are afraid of asking the same old questions. We’re terrified that the person we are interviewing won’t give us great answers. We’re listening to every answer and hoping that we have something in there to bounce new ideas off of.
But that’s our job. It’s our job as interviewers to take a celebrity in any way they come. Happy, angry, sad – it’s our job to point them in the best light. It’s our job to ask questions and to find new things to ask. Yes – I have asked celebrities before which member of One Direction is their favorite because it’s been the only thing I can think of. I have talked with Nicholas Hoult about knitting, Asa Butterfield about pop tarts, Zoey Deutch about humidity – but it was because I would rather do anything than ask if you read the book.
A good interview should be a conversation. It should feel natural. If the person you are interviewing is in a bad mood you find a way to be positive and still be kind. But the people at Good Day Sacramento weren’t professional. They weren’t kind.
I will be the first to tell you that I hate interviews. There is so much pressure and you need to be on your game. But at the end of the day, it can be some of the best times of your life. If you just take a moment to hear what is being said. But you never, ever have the right to be rude to anyone in this life, and people should remember that.
Your sound bite doesn’t always have to be about the movie, the book – it can be about the human. Because at the end of the day you need to remember you are talking to a human being and that makes them special enough.