No one’s going to feel bad for entertainment reporters, nor should you. They get to talk to famous people, and as long as they get their money quote, their assignment is finished (at least until it’s time to put together a sideboob gallery). You have one job: ask questions that haven’t already been asked a million times before. If someone were to inquire with Mila Kunis if she thinks the Star-Ledger‘s Stephen Whitty did his job, I’m guessing she’d say NO, before laughing at the suggestion that she “punked” him.
Strap in for the awkwardness.
The interview starts going south from the first question, when I make the mistake of asking Mila Kunis how she’s feeling.
She does not take this well.
Why “how are you feeling,” and not “how are you”?
Is she in a bad mood because this is day the explicit pregnancy details from that Marie Claire interview came out? And that Gawker.com quickly excerpted the rawest ones, making sure to get Kutcher’s name, hers, and the word “vagina” in the headline?
Ah, far more probable.
Women be cranky, AMIRITE. The peg of the interview was Kunis’ new film, Third Person, and to his credit, Whitty keeps things on track early with specific questions about the movie. Then:
It’s a somewhat harrowing tale she’s recounted before — born in the U.S.S.R., subject to that state’s anti-Semitism, Kunis came here with her parents at the age of 7, not speaking a word of English. It was so alienating, she once told the Los Angeles Times, that she has no memory of that first year beyond “I cried every day.” But she won’t talk about that now.
“I’ve talked about me moving to America in a hundred interviews,” she says. “It’s the most mundane subject possible, it’s like everyone’s immigrant story. It was much harder for my 13-year-old brother, it was much harder for my parents.”
And does she have any family left behind in Ukraine?
Well, I say, actually that’s probably good, given the situation there at the moment. Does she…
“No,” she interrupts. “I know what your next question is so let’s just skip it. You’re going to ask me what I think about what’s going on now in Ukraine. Just because I lived there until I was seven doesn’t mean I identify with Ukraine.”
“It just seems weird to do an interview about Third Person and then it becomes about Ukraine, and that’s the headline,” she says. “I do interviews and they seem like they’re supposed to be one thing, and the writer has an idea, and then they become something else.”
It’s hard to fault Kunis for not wanting to talk about something deeply personal that happened to her in a phoner about some dumb movie. In real-person terms, that’s like going to a job interview, and being asked by someone you’ve never met, “So, your dad left home when you were 5 — what was THAT about?” Oh yeah, and thousands of people will know what you said.
When I try to compliment her on a string of movies — not just Third Person, but The Most Dangerous Man in Brooklyn and Blood Ties and of course Black Swan — that have shown her taking on meatier roles, new challenges, she takes it as an insult.
“I hate when people ask me this question,” she says. “People have this misconception that comedy’s easy…I’m always looking for challenges and I find a lot of things to be challenging. It can be the director, the producer, a lot of things. I just want to work with people more talented than I am that I can learn from.”
There’s an unfortunate fallacy out there that drama is somehow “tougher” than comedy, which is bull. Good on Kunis for pointing out the misconception, even if it means she’s sticking up for Ashton Kutcher. Anyway, maybe she’s fed up with interviews because she’s waiting for that special someone to ask her THE question she’s been waiting years to hear, and if someone DOES ask it, she’ll leave Ashton and run away with them? If that question is, “Krippendorf’s Tribe: great movie, or greatest movie?” you know where to find me, Mila.