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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

September 24, 2009 at 12:45 PM

Interviews: How young is too young?

A big part of my job is interviews: fielding them, preparing for them, doing them, writing them up. It’s not my favorite thing to do — I’m shy, so asking strangers probing questions is something I find difficult — but usually the people are interesting, and sometimes I get some good stories out of it. (My friends have all heard about how flirty Colin Farrell is, how Robert Duvall demonstrated a tango for me, and how David O. Russell and I danced together.)
I have a few rules about interviews. I don’t do the interview if I don’t like the movie (with very rare exceptions), or if I can’t see the movie beforehand (with no exceptions). I don’t interview dogs. (That is not a figure of speech; I was offered an interview with one of the Air Buds a while back. I declined, though I’m sure he was charming. I just couldn’t see myself chatting up a canine. I didn’t not go to journalism school for that.)
And I have a sort of You Must Be This Old To Be Interviewed By Moira rule regarding kids, like those You Must Be This Tall things on rollercoasters. I was once offered an interview with an actor who was then 7 years old, and I just don’t think little kids should have to compromise their dignity by answering silly questions from people clutching recorders. Let the adults do that. (Of course, it’s entirely possible that some of these extremely poised movie 7-year-old are actually in their 20s and are just very, very good actors. I’ll never know.) My rule gets fuzzy once kids get past maybe 10 and can better fend for themselves. I was just offered an interview with the 12-year-old actor who stars in “Where the Wild Things Are,” and I’ll probably talk to him, assuming the movie is interesting. But I hope he’s not too slick.
And I don’t interview inanimate objects, or inanimate actors for that matter. But if, say, the green dress from “Atonement” made itself available, I’d talk to it in a heartbeat.

(One of my favorite movie costumes ever. Photo courtesy Focus Features.)

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