The Motion/Captured Interview: Jeremy Piven, Craig Robinson, and Ken Jeong

08.13.09 8 years ago

Press days are just weird.  It’s just a weird rhythm to get into.  You show up at a hotel.  You go upstairs, eat some food, relax for a minute, then go down the hall, get on camera three or four or five times in a row for five minutes with each person.  Sometimes it’s two people.  And the whole time you’re talking, someone’s counting down.  And you’re hoping that somehow, something’s going to happen.  Something real.  A moment that is worth you getting up after three and a half hours of sleep, driving an hour and a half in the morning, maybe ten minutes less than that coming back.  Sitting around for as long as four hours to do a total of 25 minutes on camera.

And for the actors or directors or whoever else might end up in the mix, it’s a pretty damn strange experience every time, I’m sure.  One interview after another.  One face after another.  Every single one of them walking in with some bit, some thing they want to do or say to justify being on video.  Every one of them wanting to get you to do something special, something that would really make their junket moment different from alllll those other junket moments.

It’s a wonder when you get something honest or unguarded, or barring that, something truly outrageous, worth watching and passing on to other people.

[more after the jump]

Jeremy Piven strikes me, after two encounters with him in the last month, as a somewhat guarded media figure now.  And with, I’m sure, fair reason.  He’s taken a lot of shots in a lot of columns and different outlets, print and online.  And people certainly seem to have an opinion about him.  He was a friend of a friend a lifetime ago when I was much newer to Los Angeles, and I think he is still, at heart, the same guy I met back then.  He’s wildly confident on camera.  And I mean that very specifically.  Wildly confident.  He’s the kind of confident that says, “You want me to get on a rocket powered skateboard and go off the side of a mountain?  Ummm… sure.”  I’m not sure how I think this interview went.  I think he wasn’t crazy about one of my questions in the middle of the interview, and I think that’s because of how I asked it… not what I asked.  Judge for yourself.

Then there is the unlikely duo of Craig Robinson and Ken Jeong.  Both appeared in “Knocked Up,” and since then, they’ve both worked nonstop.  Robinson was one of the best things about “Zack And Miri Make A Porno,” he is consistently hilarious on “The Office,” and he walked away with the otherwise-painful “Miss March.”  And Dr. Ken… well… it was Neal Brennan who said that Ken’s appearance as the naked guy who jumps out of the trunk in “The Hangover” managed to set Asians back “an inch and a half.”  I thought he was particularly funny in “Role Models,” and in general, he’s been getting looser, more unhinged the more he works.  How unhinged?  Well, as soon as I introduced myself to the two of them as “DrewfromHitFix,” here’s what happened:

Shocking, right?

This was early on a Sunday.  And suddenly, Craig Robinson’s yelling, “Give him the shimmy!”  And Ken Jeong IS ACTUALLY DOING IT.  That’s what I’m looking for.  Something that looks like everyone involved is actually awake, reacting to something instead of nothing.  And in this one five minute burst, all of what I listed before… the getting up, the driving, the early, the miserable… it’s worth it.  Cause that was a great moment, and that’s the best you can ever hope for from these things.

And just like that, I was out and done and on my way home from Beverly Hills.  There were other interviews, but done before these, and I’ll have the rest of my “Goods” coverage here on HitFix today, including my review, and interviews with Alan Thicke and Ed Helms and David Koechner and Rob Riggle.  “The Goods” opens on Friday.

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