2009: A Year’s Worth of Interviews – The Top 100 Quotes

Some people think that the life of a work-at-home entertainment writer is one of the most lax jobs out there, since the perception is generally is that all you do is sit around and watch DVDs, occasionally venture out of the house to see movies or concerts, and then sit in front of the computer and write about them. Okay, it’s a fair cop. But when you throw interviews into the mix, there’s a bit more work involved. First, you’ve got to get the interview (they aren’t always handed to you on a silver platter), then you’ve got to do the research to make sure that you can ask some halfway knowledgeable questions, and after you conduct the interview, let’s not forget that you’ve got to transcribe it, too. In other words, yes, there really is work involved…and when I went back and discovered that I’d done well over 130 interviews during the course of 2009, I suddenly realized why I’m so tired all the time.

For your reading enjoyment, I’ve pulled together a list of 100 of my favorite quotes from the various interviews I conducted for Premium Hollywood, Bullz-Eye, Popdose, and The Virginian-Pilot this year, along with the links to the original pieces where available. As you can see, I had some extremely interesting conversations in 2009. Let us all keep our fingers crossed that I’m able to chat with just as many fascinating individuals in 2010…

1. Pamela Adlon: “In the first season (of ‘Californication’), when we had the threesome with the nipple clamps, I was, like, ‘I don’t get this, I don’t know how you’re gonna do it.’ And then, all of a sudden, there’s a crane with a camera hanging over our heads, and you’re, like, ‘Okayyyyyyy. But how are you gonna sell this? How are you gonna make it work?’ And they ended up shooting it brilliantly, cutting it together, and it just all ended up working without me having to compromise my own personal morals.”

2. Jonathan Ames: “After my first novel, my mother said to me, ‘Why don’t you make your writing more funny? You’re so funny in person.’ Because my first novel was rather dark. And I don’t know, but something about what she said was true. ‘Yes, why don’t I?’ Maybe I was afraid to be funny in the writing. But since then, seven books later, almost everything I’ve done has a comedic edge to it.”

3. Ed Asner: “I loved journalism until the day my journalism teacher, a man I revered, came by my desk and said, ‘Are you planning on going into journalism?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘I wouldn’t.’ I said, ‘Well, why not?’ He said, ‘You can’t make a living.’”

4. Sean Astin: “When somebody brings up a movie (of mine) that I haven’t heard about in a long time, I feel like a 70-year-old pitcher at a bar somewhere, and somebody walks in and says, ‘Oh, my God, I was in St. Louis and I saw you. You pitched a shutout.’ It’s real. I really did do that, because someone today remembers it.”

5. Darryl Bell: “The legend of ‘Homeboys in Outer Space’ has become much more incendiary than the actual show. It’s funny how I usually challenge most people who talk about how much they disliked ‘Homeboys’ to name me five episodes. Most of them can’t, because they just bought into the ‘oh, it’s awful, just the title. Oh, it’s terrible.’ What’s interesting is that I had a great conversation with Chi McBride, who was doing ‘The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer,’ which, if you want to talk about in terms of the imagery of what was wrong, that show was much more infamous than ‘Homeboys.’ Yet it’s not remembered in the same way because the title didn’t grab you in the same way. I remember Chi pulled me aside and he was, like, ‘Look, everyone who is criticizing what you’re doing would take your job from you in two seconds. All of them. So all I can tell you is that this is one blip on both of our careers, and we are moving on.’”

6. Adam Campbell: “For some reason, people always pick on the British sensibility, and we always come across as stupid, but remember: we used to run this country!”

7. Nestor Carbonell: “Let me make this perfectly clear: I do not wear make-up, and I do not wear eye-liner. This is something I’ve had to deal with my whole life. I remember I was in college in Boston, I had a commercial agent, and they sent me out for some print commercial stuff. And they called me into the office and said, ‘Look, we called you in to talk to you because we just want you to know that…well, we don’t think you need to wear eyeliner.’ And I’m, like, ‘What?’ ‘Yeah, it’s okay, you don’t have to wear it for print ads.’ ‘No, I’m not wearing eyeliner!’ And I kept dabbing my eyes and saying, ‘Look! No eyeliner! I’m not wearing any!’”

8. Elaine Cassidy: “The last two days of shooting (‘Harper’s Island’) was probably the most hardcore, the coldest anyone has ever been. It was like your head was freezing, and my motivation for most scenes was, ‘The minute this scene is over, I’m heading straight over to that heater to get warm.’”

9. Chris Cornell: “I started as a drummer, so I sort of took on singing duties by default. I had sung backgrounds and some lead vocals from behind the drums in different bands that I’d been in, and I’d gotten great responses for the songs I would sing. I really started pursuing the possibility of being a lead singer based on the fact that I was working a full-time restaurant job and then playing gigs at night, hauling drums around. One day, it just dawned on me that, ‘Hey, I could be in a band and be the singer, and it would be a lot easier!’”

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The Final “Harper’s Island” Chat: A Killer And A Survivor

Well, kids, it’s over: “Harper’s Island” has reached its conclusion, and we finally know who the killer is. I get the impression, however, that many people had it figured out long ago. As for me, I’ve said it elsewhere, but just for the record, I’ll say it here as well: I never really had a theory, because I was too busy enjoying the ride. As a result, I didn’t have nearly as many problems with the final episode as, say, Michael Slezak over at EW’s PopWatch Blog. Now, that’s not to say that I didn’t spend a fair amount of time saying to my wife, “It couldn’t be that person, could it? That’d be too easy, wouldn’t it?” But never once could I be heard to suggest that I had any real idea as to who was knocking off folks on a weekly basis.

I did, however, find myself growing increasingly enthusiastic about seeing who the Victim of the Week was. It’s hard to tell how many people were reading these interviews, since – with the notable exception of Jim Beaver – the majority of the comments tended to be criticisms of my victim numbering (in retrospect, I never should’ve started counting them in the first place, but it’s far too late to worry about it now), but I’ve certainly enjoyed talking to the various folks over the course of these 13 episodes. If nothing, I feel that, by doing these weekly interviews, I managed to bring “Harper’s Island” to the attention of some of my friends who might not otherwise have been aware of it, so I’ll take my sense of accomplishment where I can find it.

One last observation: if you dug the show, or if you missed the first episode or two and figured you’d never be able to catch up, then you’ll be pleased to hear that the series will be released on DVD on September 8, 2009. Better yet, it will be filled with loads of bonus material, including some of the scenes you may have read about in these interviews which didn’t make the cut. If you want to get your pre-order in right now, all you have to do is click right here.

And with that bit of shilling for CBS/Paramount out of the way, let us move onward and offer up the final installment in our “Harper’s Island” interview series…!

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A Chat With “Harper’s Island” Victim #12

It was a gut-wrenching death on this week’s “Harper’s Island,” partly because it was gruesome, partly because you were forced to sit there knowing full well that it was impending and couldn’t be stopped, but mostly because it was a character we knew more about than just about anyone else on the show.

This is another one of those cases where, although I wasn’t rooting for this person to get the call from Karim, I was still very much looking forward to talking to the actor in question…and, in fact, I enjoyed the interview so much that, although I’m not going to mention the person until after the jump, I will at least say this much to random web surfers who happen upon this entry: you don’t have to be a dedicated viewer of “Harper’s Island” to click onward. You could just be a fan of the work of David Milch (“Deadwood,” “John from Cincinnati”), or of “Supernatural,” and you’d still enjoy reading what lies after the jump.

So what are you waiting for?

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No new “Harper’s Island” victim interview ’til Wednesday, but…

…I do have a teaser for my upcoming interview with Bill Pullman about his new film, “Surveillance,” which has a “Harper’s Island” connection.

I don’t think many people outside of the TV critic community are aware of this, but Harry Hamlin wasn’t the first actor to play the part of Uncle Marty in “Harper’s Island.” Several months before the series premiered, CBS offered up to critics what’s best described as the pitch reel for the show, giving an idea of how it would kick off and approximately what we could expect as far as the feel of the series. By the time the show actually premiered, however, some of the actors remained the same and some didn’t…and the most notable actor who didn’t make the transition was the first man to fill the shoes of Uncle Marty: Bill Pullman.

Back in January, series producer Jon Turteltaub referred to Pullman’s appearance in the pitch reel as “a ‘While You Were Sleeping’ favor,” referring to the 1995 Sandra Bullock film in which Pullman was directed by Turteltaub.

“He’s a great guy to work with,” Pullman told me. “I don’t know whether he had somebody else or what it was, but it was kind of at the last minute. Or maybe it’s because that’s the way those things happen. Maybe the money only came together at the last minute, TV being what it is. But he knew he wanted to get somebody, and he said, ‘Listen, there is no obligation to do anything with the series afterwards, but I just need something for now. If you do it, fine, if you don’t do it, fine, too.’ But I loved the chance to go up there, and, you know, it was kind of a whacked character. I had a good time, and the actors who were there were good. I really liked Elaine Cassidy.”

So there you go: a “Harper’s Island” factoid you may not have known before. Hopefully, that’ll hold you ’til Wednesday! And as a bonus, here’s the trailer for Pullman’s film, “Surveillance,” which is pretty creepy in its own right:

  

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A Chat with “Harper’s Island” Victim #9

This was, for my money, the best episode of “Harper’s Island” to date. It was fast-moving, full of action, scares, and information. More importantly, however, the characters finally started to get to the same approximate place that we the viewers are. So raise your hands: who was surprised to see this week’s victim get it? There was a constant suspicion that, as a suspect, this person was almost too likely to be the killer, but having their name taken off the list leaves the pool as wide open as it’s ever been.

Head over the interview with this week’s victim. It’s waiting for you after the jump…

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