Sometimes an interview just goes terribly wrong. It's worse when you screw up a 10-20 minutes private sit down with someone, but one bad question or touchy subject in a five min TV interview and, well, the rest of the chat can feel like an hour of hell. That's sort of what occurred when I sat down to interview "Red Riding Hood" stars Max Irons and Shiloh Fernandez last week.
After watching Catherine Hardwicke's "Hood," which was more entertaining than most critics gave it credit for, I'd made the distinct realization that for a movie trying to steal a bit from the teen romance mold of "Twilight," there wasn't one shirtless scene featuring the picture's leading men. If any film cried out for Amanda Seyfried to come into a welder's forge and find Irons shirtless or turn a corner in the woods to find Fernandez chopping wood also topless it was this one. And considering Hardwicke's attempt at tongue-in-cheek humor throughout the thriller it was almost bizarre it was missing. In fact, when talking to peers who also saw "Hood" they immediately got the joke and wondered the same thing. I then assumed it would be a fun subject matter to discuss in an televised "junket" style interview where the talent has heard the same 20 questions 100 times already and might perk up with something new. Unfortunately, the best efforts aren't always rewarded.
As you watch the interview, you'll notice Max Irons (yes, son of Jeremy, but seemingly only charismatic off the big screen) immediately got the joke and had a funny zinger ready to go. Fernandez, however, surprised both Irons and myself by recalling a dream sequence where he did take his shirt off which was barely seen in the movie (more like a two second long shot) and Hardwicke had reminded me of minutes before. Moreover, Fernandez goes on to tell me, on what was the last day of shooting, Hardwicke told him to take both his shirt and pants off. Wardrobe then came over and provided him with nude colored thong to wear. Now, this is the 26-year-old actor's first big movie break and while he's worked on television and in indie films before, his reaction wasn't one to laugh it off. Instead, he sort of dumbfounded me by recalling his shock and I made it worse, but actually asking another question about…the thong. The rest of the interview was about as comfortable as sitting down with a filmmaker who knows you've trashed their work.
The worst part? Chances are the next time I sit down to interview either gent or run into them at a film festival cocktail party or event they'll immediately look at me and remember. It's a strong likelihood I'll be the "shirtless thong" guy from now on in their eyes.
You can judge for yourself by watching the interview embedded in this post. Perhaps it was worse for me and doesn't come across in the finished piece, but let me know, will you? In either case, no more attempts at trying to make fun of non-shirtless actors in cheesy teen flicks. That's Billy Bush's job from now on.
"Red Riding Hood" is now playing nationwide.
For year round entertainment news and commentary (without thongs) follow Gregory Ellwood on twitter @HitFixGregory