Roger Ebert chuckled yesterday at the repetitive questions Up In The Air director Jason Reitman has been getting, as illustrated in this pie chart. This moves Ebert to say, “Young Jason, there once was a time — I know you will find this hard to believe — when subjects provided honest answers to such questions. Why, it was within the lifetime of many now living…”
Yeah, I know. There was even a time when journalists asked questions that couldn’t really be categorized, much less put into a pie chart. Every two or three years I get all weepy and sentimental by linking to that 1992 Movieline piece I did about the New Journalism glory days (mid ’60s to early ’80s) called “Ten Interviews That Shook Hollywood.” Some of the better celebrity interviews of this period conveyed, to put it mildly, a certain skepticism — an attitude that said “don’t buy the studio gloss — let’s actually take a look at this person.”
The piece offered summaries of the juiciest celebrity interviews I could find at the time. Among them were Truman Capote vs. Marlon Brando (“The Duke in His Domain,” The New Yorker, November 1957), Rex Reed vs. Warren Beatty (“Will The Real Warren Beatty Please Shut Up?,” Esquire, October 1967), Robin Green vs. Dennis Hopper (“Confessions of a Lesbian Chick,” Rolling Stone, May 1971), Tom Burke vs. Ryan O’Neal (“The Shiek of Malibu,” Esquire, September 1973), and Julie Baumgold vs. David Geffen (“The Winning of Cher,” Esquire, February 1975).