Celebrity interviews exist on a strange spectrum of self-awareness. From enigmatic to overshare-y, it’s all for publicity, leaving it as the readers’ job — should they care at all about something as trivial as celebrity journalism — to deduce where the subject’s quest to create a character intersects with a real moment of clarity. It’s tough. Think, for instance, of Mike Tyson in Details, calling Che Guevara “a pussy” or Inception star Tom Hardy’s gay sex. Or the rapper Freddie Gibbs in Complex, running off about beef and violence, with strings of profanity and even anti-Semitism. There’s New York‘s “The James Franco Project,” a study in posturing. And then there’s American Psycho and The Rules of Attraction author Bret Easton Ellis. He has this interview thing down, in his own way.
Ellis is a veteran of saying anything to get a rise out of people, often recycling his own genius by testing ideas on his hilarious Twitter only to repeat them later in interviews. Like when he called The Hills “a modern masterpiece,” or wrote “I’ve been waiting for this day for-fucking-ever” of J.D. Salinger’s death.
Behold, in the Financial Times of all places:
Who is your perfect reader?
There’s something admirable about Ellis knowing the inanity of these press tour Q&As, acknowledging so with irreverence, but still playing the game by both living up to his reputation and constantly coming up with more dumb, topical or controversial shit to say just to get a rise out of people. Oh, and to get noticed. Here, Mr. Ellis — this is what you wanted, right?
Who would you choose to play you in a film about your life?
Someone impossibly good-looking. Robert Pattinson for my younger years – and then Mel Gibson.
We all play our roles, we all get paid.