While the Emmys drew mixed reviews, this week’s film festivals closed with thunderous applause not only for their films (we forgot some), but for their stellar turnout (some of them forgot too).
Cate Blanchett, George Clooney, Taylor Swift and Julianne Moore have been interviewed and courted by critics as they have in years past. Some have become strangers due to a combination of delays caused by Covid and their own rigid self-protection rules.
Movie stars used to make three or four films a year and were constantly in front of us advertising their wares. I once congratulated Tom Hanks three times a week and the Damon-Affleck team seemed just as ubiquitous. Now even Jennifer Lawrence wants to be in the spotlight again, and Harrison Ford has also ditched invisibility.
Of course, the presence of stars at premieres is guaranteed by shrapnel in social networks. At the Venice premiere Don’t worry dear, did co-star Florence Pugh exchange even one glance with her director Olivia Wilde? Did Wilde’s co-star Harry Styles throw a dead goat into co-star Chris Pine’s lap?
As a result of these antics, the ritual known as “Celebrity Interviews” is making a comeback, stressing talent and journalists who have lost their knack. After a lengthy hiatus, Clooney admitted he had a “nervous feeling” about his return, adding, “If you think you know what you’re doing, you shouldn’t be doing it anymore.”
Even Disney CEO Bob Chapek, known for his low-key rhetoric, promised this week to “open up the third dimension of storytelling by creating a platform for an experiential lifestyle.” Maybe like Disneyland.
By coincidence New Yorker This week, a special edition of interviews with celebrities from yesteryear was published, providing a vivid insight into the lives of the likes of John Lennon, Marlon Brando, Richard Pryor and Oprah Winfrey in their prime.
Truman Capote wrote thousands of myth-busting words about Marlon Brando in his 1957 book. New Yorker a profile in which “Brando took a puff on cigarettes and apple pie and confessed his inability to love.” For Capote, “the star appeared not as a deity, but as a very young man sitting on a pile of chocolates.”
Bob Dylan, known for his press shyness, gave an interview to Nat Hentoff in which he admitted to being paranoid about the interview. “Writers don’t want to understand me. They all want to use me for something. This business of fame has to go.” As liberating as his songs seemed, Dylan still complained that he felt “constricted” by the genre, saying, “Now I write a lot of poetry because poetry can create its own form.”
Excited about his move to New York, Lennon admitted that he felt he now lived “at the center of the world”. Lennon did not miss London in 1972, but he did miss “my walls full of books and other things I hastily left”.
Unfortunately, he was on the verge of murder in his new favorite city.
In compiling his profiles, Capote acknowledged that interviews with stars represented “the lowest form of journalism”. His cynicism is countered by Michael Schulman, staff writer New Yorker who curated celebrity essays, noting that “these are time capsules, but also destinations of the mind, beckoning us to return.”
Celebrity complaints about their profilers are a time-honored tradition. In the 18th century, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, famous at that time (author Faust) bitterly complained that the “glare of glasnost” acts on artists like “poisonous rain”. Goethe, as if anticipating the culture of cancellation, said that he knew that his “future generation will break and crush.”
When planning their performances at the fall festivals, many contemporary celebrities are now ready to take this risk. And judging by their positive feedback, the media establishment wants to play along.