Mag Review: Interview
July 2007, 104 pages, $3.50 USD
By Rachel Smucker
At first, I wasn't sure why Interview doesn't get more media spotlight. It's made up of some brilliant elements: celebrity-on-celebrity interviews, stunning candid photographs, thick, turnable pages. Even the advertisements are tasteful. So what's preventing Interview from becoming the next Rolling Stone?
Think of it from a chemist's point of view -- you need a catalyst. An enzyme, if you will. After reading the too-comfy interview between Daniel Craig and longtime friend and photographer Sam Taylor-Wood, I realized that what Interview lacked was enzymes, so to speak. I almost missed the awkward, patience-trying interviewing techniques of amateur journalists, desperate to get a reaction and a good story (though I am sure Daniel Craig did not). I can't help but think of a brief interview with Colin Farrell I once read in an issue of the women's magazine Jane: a couple of jokes were made, and bam! Less than a page long, the interview was over, and I came out with the priceless knowledge never to joke about relationship status with Colin Farrell. Yikes.
So for the actors, directors, and overall famous people featured in Interview, I am sure that the laid-back interviews (read: conversations with friends over wine) are a huge relief, which can be revealing in a different sort of way. Taylor-Wood begins her interview with Craig with an obvious question ("Do you like clowns?") and continues on to unzip her pants ("Sorry, I may have to undo my trousers, they're too tight… Carry on!"), get personal ("So what do you think of the new Marmite with Guinness?"), and even summarize the point of the interview itself ("The great thing about Interview, though, is that … [it's] two relaxed people exchanging ideas"). If you're looking for the deeply personal, but not so shocking side of Craig, then this interview is for you.
But what Interview lacks in mind-blowing confessions, it makes up in hilarity and sincerity. The exchange between Robin Williams and John Krasinski, for instance, co-stars in the film License to Wed, illuminated both of their abilities to find humor in just about anything, which, for two people who regularly play the "funny man" role, is often rare. Williams alone takes on five different accents -- among which are Wile E. Coyote and James Lipton -- while Krasinkski easily keeps up. In a serious-but-funny moment, Williams thanks Krasinkski for the cards he sent him while in "Club Medicated."
Though not all interviews were conducted on a celebrity-to-celebrity basis, there were enough to make a lasting impression of Interview's particular style. Other famous faces have included Reese Witherspoon, Natalie Portman, and Lindsay Lohan -- typical front-cover types, but whose appearance in any other magazine would lack the cigar-smoking, feet-up-on-the-table ease of Interview.
Even the few other "common" features, such as music reviews and fashion spreads, have their own twist. "The Body Electric" takes what could have been a simple piece on sports in fashion and centers it around the poem "I Sing the Body Electric," by Walt Whitman -- imagine a lanky Asian model in boxing gloves and short-shorts surrounded by the words, "examine these limbs, red, black, or white, they are cunning in tendon and nerve …" A clever, powerful way to break up the hefty interviews of Paul McCartney and Daniel Craig while maintaining a steady stream of thought-provoking yet visually stimulating content! Thanks Interview. It just makes me like you more.