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Interview (A Movie Review)

Updated: Aug 11, 2022



Starring Steve Buscemi, Sienna Miller, Michael Buscemi, Tara Elders, David Schecter, Molly Griffith, Elizabeth Bracco, James Villemaire, Jackson Loo, muMs, Doc Dougherty, Donna Hanover, Wayne Wilcox, Danny Schecter and Philippe Vonlanthen.

Screenplay by David Schecter and Steve Buscemi.

Directed by Steve Buscemi.

Distributed by Sony Pictures Classics. 83 minutes. Rated R.

The celebrity interview is not as glamorous most people think.  A lot of my friends think it’s a romantic and exciting experience – and I suppose in many ways it is – but in the long run for both sides it’s just a job.  Both sides have heard (or asked) the same types of questions before, usually quite often.  Both sides are (usually) cordial, and yet not completely true to their own personalities.  Both sides are trying to skirt the line between what is appropriate and inappropriate to say.  And in general, a publicist is somewhere in the vicinity to make sure that nothing too incendiary flares up.

Celebrity interviews are almost nothing like they are portrayed in Steve Buscemi’s movie Interview.  (At least, not any interviews that I have done – maybe I’m doing something wrong…)

Which is not to say that Interview is a bad film.  In fact, it is a very good one.  But it takes some major liberties on the process.

This can be (and is in this case) a fair move.  It serves the story and adds a level of intrigue, hostility and sexual tension to the whole thing which doesn’t really exist.  However, as someone who has been through the process, I feel obligated to point out that this isn’t the way these things work.

Steve Buscemi plays Pierre Peders, a political correspondent who is being punished by his editor, who suspects (apparently accurately) he has been fudging some sources and demotes Peders to lifestyle features.

The first of these “punishments” is a one-on-one interview with Katya (no last name needed, thanks…).  Katya is the beautiful star of a popular series called City Girls, as well as doing a bunch of cheesy movies.

The interview is a disaster from the start.  Peders is obviously contemptuous of her work and hasn’t bothered to write questions or even read the artist bio.  He is also extremely rude, which the actress picks up on and gives back as good as she gives.  They quickly give up and split from the restaurant, however, nearby he is in a taxi accident which is tangentially caused by her.  (It’s a bit of a stretch, but I guess she is the type of person who stops traffic.)

Because he is hurt, she takes him up to her loft, where they start to talk, drink and carry on a cat-and-mouse game of innuendos, flirtation, rudeness and confession.  As the night gets later and later, they both are admitting things they never imagined they would.

While there are several supporting roles in the early going, this is essentially a two-person film.  The acting is – as you might imagine, pretty incredible.  It’s a given that as an actor, Buscemi is always good, even when he is taking cheesy sell-out roles.  The real surprise is that Miller is his equal, keeping up with him and even trumping him periodically.

Interview also has a tragic backstory which is at least as interesting as its plot line.  It is a remake of a Dutch film by filmmaker Theo van Gogh (a descendant of famous artist Vincent).  Interview was to be the first of van Gogh’s planned American remakes of his films.  Stars Buscemi and Miller had signed on to the project when the director was murdered in 2004 by a Muslim extremist who felt that one of Van Gogh’s other films was sacrilegious.  Buscemi stepped in to take over the directorial reins.  However, the credit at the very end of the action – For Theo – lends a pall of tragedy to the whole affair.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2007  All rights reserved.  Posted: August 3, 2007.

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