Saturday, September 13, 2008


Well, the interview with Billy Bob is over and it went off without a hitch. Know why? Because I didn't get to speak to him!

That's right, Paramount fucked us over. Late last night, they contacted my editor and informed him that since our circulation size isn't large enough, we were being demoted to interviewing Michael Chiklis. Which, let's face it, is much cooler than interviewing Billy Bob. So I was pretty thrilled about speaking to him, but also a bit panicked, since I had prepared all my questions for Billy Bob, I only got notice 12 hours before the interview, and I was notified at a party while I was drunk.

So I woke up and went into Mildred's and did a bunch of Mildred's bullshit (it was crazy busy for some reason, even though it's been pouring for the last 24 hours). At 1:35, I went out to my roommate's car in the parking lot behind Mildred's, and dialed the conference call number and entered my code. DJ Caruso, the director of Eagle Eye, was doing the first round of interviews (all the community college reporters were stuck with him), but the e-mail that gave me the code for the conference call said that it was MANDATORY (bold, capitals, and italics theirs) to stay on the line for all three interviews, because if you leave early or enter late, you'll disrupt everyone. So I sat while they all interviewed DJ Caruso, who was whatever. Then I was cut off and had to dial back in for Chiklis. So clearly it wasn't mandatory.

But I did it and sat through roll call (which consisted of the Paramount girl saying, "Who's here?" and then all of the rabid journalism students jumping all over each other to announce their name and school - my recording of the interview has me saying, "Dann-" every once in a while, only to be cut off by some crazy girl from Bryn Mawr), and then we waited in awkward silence for 15 minutes, because Chiklis was late. He makes his own schedule or else it's CLOBBERIN' TIME! (I couldn't resist.)

Finally he showed up, and right as the Paramount girl announced, "Michael Chiklis is here!" some old woman knocked on the car door. Fucking great. I opened the door to see what was going on, and she said, "I'm visiting apartment 5 and I think you're in my parking spot." Just so you know, I was parked next to two totally open parking spaces. But she needed MINE.

"Uh... I'm on a conference call right now, sorry," I tried. But she wasn't having any of my crap. "Just move your car so I can park here." What? What the hell is going on?

Totally confused - and mortified at the thought of this conversation carrying through the phone into Chiklis's ears - I tried one more plea: "I'm on the phone with Michael Chiklis. From 'The Shield'," I whispered, covering the mouthpiece with my hand.

Clearly not a fan of FX corrupt cop dramas, she just repeated, "Please move your car." At this point, I just wanted her to leave, because Chiklis was already starting to greet us, so I gave in to her demands and started the car.

"LIVIN' ON A PRAAAAYYYEEERR!" the radio BLASTED. My roommate had apparently been rocking out on the drive to Mildred's to our local classic rock station at full volume. Chiklis definitely heard that. Not only was I pumping insanely loud music to all of the journalists and people at Paramount and fucking Michael Chiklis, but I was pumping insanely loud Bon Jovi. Could this situation get any more embarrassing?

Answer: yes. But not for me.

The first question was from a student at Stanford ("Oh, I've got the dummy crowd, huh?" joked Chiklis), who clearly is Shia LaBeouf's NUMBER ONE FAN. His question? "What was it like working with Shia LaBeouf?" It's important to note that he pronounced "LaBeouf" as "LaBOOF".

Chiklis rattled off some stuff about how dedicated and nice Shia is, and then the "reporter" cut him off and said, "Yeah, he has some sweet roles, you have to admit."

"...What?" said Chiklis.

"Sweet movie roles!"

"Sweet roles? Yeah, I guess..." answered Chiklis, clearly confused.

"I mean, Indiana Jones?!" gushed the fanboy.

At this point, I was trying my hardest to stifle giggles.

After we got the future Mr. LaBOOF off the line, things went pretty smoothly. It was already established in roll call that I would get the final question, and my heart started to race as one by one the other people asked all of the hastily-prepared questions I had just written. I was left with nothing.

"And the last question is from the University of Wisconsin-Madison."

This is all I could come up with on the fly: "Uh... Hi, Michael. You were talking earlier about how hard it is to play a character like the Secretary of Defense, who has so much pressure on his shoulders. What did you do to prepare for a role like that? How did you get into the mind of such a powerful man? Did you, like, follow Donald Rumsfeld around for a day?"

Thankfully, Chiklis laughed. Luckily I was recording the interview, because I have absolutely no idea what his answer was. I was far too busy wiping gallons of sweat off my face. Next thing I knew, he was done talking and there was just awkward silence. "Uh... Thanks, that was great," I said, and he replied with, "Thanks!" END CONVERSATION. Seriously, just like that Paramount cut us all off. So I guess I had the last word with him? No one else even said thank you! It was really strange and I feel like I made a total fool of myself.

I toyed with tuning in for Billy Bob's interview, but I decided to go back into Mildred's and help out, since it was crazy busy and I was still on the clock.

Now my dilemma is I have no idea what to write about. I don't really care about this movie, and Michael Chiklis is in about 5 minutes of it. So somehow I have to find an interesting angle for this story. I have about two weeks to do this, but Jesus Christ.

Oh, and then I closed out the night by coming home and blowing the power for our entire first floor. We will be without electricity down here all weekend.


hpneybunny said...

Too bad you can't include the "Move your damn car" lady. I really like the 'this is what being a college critic is like' angle.


tishamay said...

Your life is like a movie, and I think you should be the one being interviewed.