The sad truth of celebrities is many of them are just dull
In an interview on Sixty Minutes on Sunday Tara Brown asked Michael Buble why he became a singer.
He responded with ‘You want the truth or do you want a good story?’
Brown wanted the truth (being a journalist what else could she say?) and he gave it to her: ‘I wanted to get laid.’
And there it was an honest and simple answer. It was shocking. Shocking that he didn’t go on for five minutes talking about his musical influences, how much he admires Frank Sinatra, blah, blah, blah.
In answering the question the way he did Buble highlighted one of the conundrums of the celebrity interview, journalists want the truth and a good story but often the truth isn’t that interesting and certainly not interesting enough to make a story.
Journalists want anecdotes, ideally humorous and/or exclusives ones. They want sound bites and quotes. Short and simple answers will not do.
And so celebrities are trained to expand, exaggerate and embellish in interviews. Those who don’t, for example Joaquin Phoenix on the David Letterman show, tend not to get invited back when it’s time to promote their next film/album/book etc.
Frankly, the Phoenix interview was the most entertaining interview I’ve ever seen. One-word answers, no-word answers and mumbling all from behind dark sunglasses and a forest of facial hair.
This was the real Phoenix, not the quotable, camera-ready version of Phoenix.
Even if the rumours are true and it was all just a bit of a laugh on Phoenix’s part, it was still very entertaining.
You could just imagine the producers cringing in their chairs, wishing for it all to be over. However I tend to think it wasn’t a hoax, just a case of an incredibly bored actor forced to do the promotion parade for his latest film.
Fame does not an interesting person make. The only difference between a famous actor and a non-famous actor, aside from their respective bank balances, is that one is recognised by lots of people and the other isn’t.
But this doesn’t stop journalists, talk show hosts and radio presenters falling over themselves to interview the latest evictee from the Big Brother house or the latest ‘one hit wonder’ pop starlet.
No wonder so many egos get inflated; they’re led to believe by the media that they’re more interesting, wittier and wiser than the average person.
The media’s appetite and reverence for fame has spread to the general public causing many people, particularly our youth, to be sucked into thinking that celebrities are more interesting than the average, anonymous Joe and what they have to say of more value.
I tend to feel a little sorry for those celebrities who are uncomfortable with the spotlight of fame but feel pressure to present themselves as being someone other than their true selves in order to make a good interview and promote themselves and their product.
And let’s face it; interviews are really just glorified advertisements.
Some celebrities (like, say, Nicole Kidman) aren’t very good at even pretending that they’re interesting but at least that makes them seem like real people.
Most celebrities are all too happy to talk about themselves ad infinitum.
However with the exception of Tom Cruise jumping on Oprah’s couch and refreshing answers like ‘I wanted to get laid’ these interviews are painfully unmemorable, one blending into the next with clichéd questions and equally clichéd answers.
Surely the world has had enough of clichéd interviews and politically correct answers.
Imagine George Clooney being interviewed about his latest film and speaking honestly, uncensored. Would it go something like this?
“Actually I couldn’t stand Julia Roberts; she had bad breath and wouldn’t stop whinging about the catering. I’m only in this acting gig for the money and the women. I don’t give a crap about artistic merit. I mean, look at me; I’m just another no-talent actor with good hair. Even I don’t take me seriously.”
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