On Saturday I threw in my take on an allegedly awkward Q&A with Christoph Waltz, Amy Adams, and Tim Burton for their new film Big Eyes. The Hollywood Reporter suggested things went weird when Waltz “commandeered” the panel and declined to answer moderator Dave Itzkoff’s questions, instead critiquing the New York Times culture reporter and the audience for their supposed reliance on seeking “truth” from creatives. What’s he actually talking about, contemporary cinema or my college course in metaphysics?
I had no reason to doubt THR’s summary. After all, as one UPROXX user quipped in the comments, this isn’t the first time Waltz has “[messed] with people’s heads during press junkets.” After THR published their piece, 92nd Street Y, the cultural and community center that hosted the Q&A, posted the panel in its entirety. Guess what? It’s not really awkward at all. I might use “discursive,” “thoughtful,” “introspective,” and a dozen other GRE-level words to describe it, but not “awkward.”
“Waltz made what I thought were some very thoughtful and interesting observations about how he approaches his work, and how it can’t be properly addressed in the kinds of questions (mine included) that he gets at these events,” said Itzkoff in an email. “I don’t have the same perspective as the audience, but from where I sat on the stage, I never found it awkward.”
His random giggle fits aside, Itzkoff is right. Waltz never commandeers or hijacks anything during the Q&A. Instead, he merely does what people do during a discussion: he discusses. He might throw in a big word or two, something American audiences aren’t entirely familiar with, but nothing more heinous than that.
If anything, the actor deserves a medal for remaining cognizant throughout the panel discussion. Even Itzkoff found Waltz “very thoughtful and engaged, particularly for [someone] who had just come from a full day of junket interviews.” If you don’t know what a junket is, then imagine yourself in a Groundhog Day-like scenario in which you relive the same 20 minutes with an endless stream of reporters, answering the same questions again and again.
Source: 92nd Street Y