At this point in my career, I like to think that I’m a pretty good interviewer. The more time you give me with someone, the better the conversation will be, and the deeper we’ll get into certain ideas.
The real frustration of on-camera interviews is that they are, by their very nature, short. If you get five full minutes with someone, it’s a luxury. And those aren’t what I would call conversations. They are rapid-fire exchanges where you’re trying to get one great answer out of it, and that’s if you’re lucky.
It becomes even more complicated in a case like my recent conversation with Michael Shannon for the new film “The Iceman,” where he stars as Richard Kuklinski, a real-life Mafia hitman. It’s a solid film and a great performance, and I wanted to talk to him about the work he did in the film and the research he did on the real guy.
At the same time, I am well aware that he’s playing General Zod in “Man Of Steel,” and that there is such a huge appetite for information about that film that I was basically obligated to ask him about it, even though I try not to be the guy who only asks about projects other than the one the person is there to promote. So often, it feels like people just run down the next five things listed in IMDb and never actually discuss the thing that was just finished, and I don’t like to be that interviewer.
It was out of my hands anyway. As soon as I did mention Zod, I was given the gesture that things were wrapping up, and I got hustled out of the room pretty quickly. Shannon is one of those actors who we’re going to be watching for decades to come, and while I was bummed that we didn’t get to have more of a conversation this time, I suspect we’ll cross paths many, many more times in the future, and that this is a conversation that is just beginning.
“The Iceman” opens in limited release tomorrow.
“Man Of Steel” arrives in theaters June 14, 2013.