Magazine article Variety

Journos Rate the Stars Who Give Good Chat

Magazine article Variety

Journos Rate the Stars Who Give Good Chat

Article excerpt

HFPA members recall the best interviews of the year

Every year, the 80 or so members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. fly back and forth across the U.S. and around the world, taking in upward of 150 movies, attending up to half-a-dozen press conferences a week and talking to movie stars about their latest film. Despite the punishing schedule and memory-defying list of interviews and junkets, vivid high points remain.

The most outrageous in 2012? Nearly every member agrees that it had to be Sacha Baron Cohen for "The Dictator."

"We were in New York for his press conference and he arrived in costume, with two beautiful women dressed as combat-ready bodyguards," reports Herve Tropea, who writes for TV Guide and Gala in France. "And before we could even ask him questions, he asked one of the journalists, 'What is the length of your penis?' Then he asked another one to 'Please pull your pants down.' And then he asked some of the HFPA ladies, 'Are you a man or a woman? You look like a woman, except I see you have a mustache.' It was just wild."

Tropea admits that he was "a little worried" that some of the older female members might have been offended, "but, and I was a bit surprised, everyone played the game and got into the spirit of the thing, and everyone loved him being so outrageous and over the top."

Jorge Cámara, who writes for the Dominican Republic's Cineasta, says talking to Sally Field was "a big highlight. She told us that she stayed in character, along with Daniel Day-Lewis, even when they weren't shooting 'Lincoln,' and talked to each other in character all the time. We all know how Daniel likes to submerge himself in each new role he plays, but Sally Field? So it must have really rubbed off on her. And she reminded us of the famous time at the Globes when she came dressed as a nun and flew across the ballroom on a rig, landing on John Wayne. Only us old-timers remember that!"

For Aussie member Jenny Cooney, the highlight was the May junket to historic Arundel Castle in England for "Snow White and the Huntsman."

"It was pretty awesome sitting in these beautiful, perfectly preserved rooms, interviewing the cast, and they even had guards around to make sure no one touched the priceless works of art, antiques and armor in the grand banqueting hall," she recalls. "We did the TV interviews outside because of the beautiful grounds, and Charlize Theron got very excited about all the goats eating the grass. The only uncool thing about the trip was that we had to bus it back to London as there were no hotels close by big enough for all of us to stay in."

A trip to Scotland was a big highlight for Gabriel Lerman, who writes for Spain. …

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