Variety‘s Kris Tapley has posted a Thanksgiving Day “Playback” interview with Lady Bird director-writer Greta Gerwig and star Saoirse Ronan. It’s aimed at people who’ve seen the film, but that’s fine. I love Ronan’s Irish accent, and I adore Lady Bird. It deserves all the appropriate Oscar nominations — Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actress (Ronan), Best Supporting Actress (Laurie Metcalf), et. al.
The aspect that really stands out, for me, is Tapley’s engaging manner — gently chatty, streetcorner friendly, smooth. I listen to his voice and think “yeah, nice guy, cool personality…sounds like he’d be good to know.” Except I’ve known Tapley for 10 or 12 years, and have discussed stuff with him numerous times but (and I don’t mean this as a put-down) I’ve never met the guy who’s talking to Greta and Saoirse here. Honestly, not once.
And that, trust me, is totally par for the course. Guys never talk to other guys the way they do to women. Every guy is like this, myself included.
We all turn it on when we interview talented hotshots, but male interviewers really turn it on when the hotshots are brilliant, attractive ladies. The Tapley in this discussion — warm, chuckly, gentle-voiced — is way different from the guy I occasionally run into at industry parties. That Tapley is downbeat, a bit sullen, rarely a smile and sometimes a vibe that indicates he’d rather be elsewhere.
I’m also describing my own personality when I run into colleagues and whatnot. I’m much friendlier — perkier, smiley, even giggly — when I’m interviewing someone or talking to some director or screenwriter or actor I admire. When the interview ends I turn off the “sell” and default to my basic personality, which is on the wry, sardonic, occasionally glum side. But when a pretty woman enters the room that personality will vaporize in less than two seconds.
We all act like phonies at parties, but guys will sometimes outdo themselves. I’ll sometimes watch a guy I know talk to a woman at a party and think to myself “Jesus, man…are you going to just completely bullshit her or are you going to turn it down and get just a little bit real?”
On the other hand I’ll sometimes force myself in social situations to turn on my interview personality because I occasionally get tired of myself and all of my creations.