FAVORITE CELEB STORIES, PART 2

One thing that can make an interview stand out is when an actor tells it like it is and doesn’t stick to the typical Hollywood promotional playbook. My favorites in this category are all foreign born actors, like Scotland’s Peter Mullan, who’s proud of his working class background and has no patience with Hollywood egos, and France’s Michael Vartan, who the first time I ever interviewed him kept pointing out how easy acting is and made no secret of how much he hated having to kiss Madonna for “The Next Best Thing.” Then there’s Ireland’s Colin Farrell, who has become a bit more circumspect when talking about his personal life in recent years, but when he did his first American interviews, he never hid his fondness for pubs and drinking. He also swears more than any other actor, bar none. I’m just glad it isn’t my job to edit out the swear words so he can be heard on the radio.

Another thing that doesn’t work for radio is to have the interviewers interrupting the celebs while they’re speaking, or laughing at their jokes until they finish telling them. We try to strive for as clean a sound as possible. There’s one star who takes that as a personal challenge, who tries as hard as he can to crack us up. Unfortunately, he happens to be one of the funniest men alive: Robin Williams. Trying not to laugh in that case is a lost cause.

Another star who seems to enjoy his time in the radio room is Russell Crowe. In fact, he once enjoyed himself so much that when it was time for him to move onto another room for his next interview, he chased a publicist out of the room, locked the door and proceeded to take questions for another twenty minutes. I’ve often wondered if Russell’s fondness for us stems from the many awards he has received from the Broadcast Film Critics Association or the fact that he’s a musician who wants to publicize his latest album.

Other superstars who seem especially nice include Will Smith, Matthew McConaughey and the very humble Johnny Depp, who once invited one of our interviewers to hang out with him at the Viper Room when he found out how much she enjoyed his work. Perhaps most personable of all are John Travolta and Tom Cruise, who both have a knack for really focusing on the person they’re talking to and making them feel like you’re their best friend. In fact, when interviewing him for “Vanilla Sky,” Tom came in and started off by shaking everyone’s hand and said to me, “Good to see you, buddy,” even though we had never met before. Its probably part of their Scientology training, but they come off like they’re interested in whatever you have to say. Of course, John has made so many movies that for a few years, we were talking to him every few months, so maybe he did get to know us.

I once tried to find out what it takes to be a nice guy in Hollywood. At the junket for “Ocean’s Eleven,” we did a press conference with George Clooney, Andy Garcia and Matt Damon, and I asked them if it becomes harder to be a nice guy the more successful you become. George pointed his finger at me and said, “F–k you!” That brought down the house, but there have been times when things haven’t gone so well. You’ll get to hear about some of those when our series of favorite celeb stories continues in Part 3!

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5 Responses to “FAVORITE CELEB STORIES, PART 2”

  1. Trudy Says:

    Heya Brian!

    Great blog!! I had to comment on this one– I had no idea that Michael Vartan was French? How crazy! And I totally believe it about Tom Cruise– he seems friendly like that. I met Robin Williams once and know exactly what you mean– super nice, funny guy!! LOVE the story about George Clooney too– That’s hilarious!!

  2. Sophie Says:

    Don’t forget Michael Vartan is part Armenian. That must be where he gets his good looks and talent.

  3. GIGART Says:

    Brian,
    Nice site…
    I like hearing about famous people that are cool. They should be.
    Nowadays with all the reality shows and tmz, etc…all we hear about is how messed up everyone is. I will check this site more often and live vicariously through you.
    Thanks.

  4. Sas Says:

    I too agree George Clooney is a nice guy. I have worked with him and he is friendly and very down to earth – and great looking in person.
    Great site, Brian. It’s nice to let people in on the behind the scenes of a celebrity persona. They really are not much different then us – no reason to idolize them when you get to know they are just regular people who happen to be on tv or on a movie screen – nothing too extraordinary.

  5. Ann Says:

    Wow – I didn’t know Michael Vartan was part Armenian. No wonder he’s so hot!

    Keep the celeb news coming, Brian. Your site is interesting – much better then the gossip stories we hear on TMZ. Yours is the real thing – an insider’s view.

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