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Matt LeBlanc Talks: ‘Because I’m much more reserved than Joey, people think I’m depressed’

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At the risk of lowering the tone right away, here’s something you might not have guessed Matt LeBlanc would do: he shaves his chest hair into symmetrical designer stubble with a special strimmer. “It’s like a chainsaw,” he laughs. “No, it’s like a trimmer thing really.” And not just his chest hair. “No, I manscape.” He manscapes? In real life? LeBlanc glances down at his body and nods. “Sure, I manscape.” But he would like to make it clear that he has an absolutely “normal-sized penis”.

For myself, I would like to make it clear that this isn’t typical conversational territory. It’s just that a new series of Episodes is about to begin, in which LeBlanc plays an actor called Matt LeBlanc who has designer chest stubble and a gigantic penis. And so here we are in a Soho club, discussing which anatomical details are really his, and which ones belong to “Matt LeBlanc”. I think this is what people mean when they say the show is very postmodern.

“Television has that weird thing,” LeBlanc observes. “You see a character in a multitude of situations over so many years, and you can’t help but think that that is who that guy must be.” He knows what he’s talking about, for after playing the part of a struggling actor called Joey Tribbiani in Friends for a decade, so fused were the two when the show ended in 2004 that LeBlanc went off to play Joey again, in a spin-off sitcom called … Joey. That wasn’t massively successful, so he took four years off – only to return last year in Episodes, playing the part of an actor called Matt LeBlanc who used to be Joey in Friends.

That makes Episodes sound both more confusing and less imaginative than it is. The comedy drama is a satire about US television, starring Tamsin Greig and Stephen Mangan as a British couple, Beverly and Sean, whose Bafta-winning sitcom is picked up by a monstrous LA network executive. Relocated to Hollywood to make an American version, the couple are horrified to see their original leading man promptly replaced by an actor called Matt LeBlanc, who used to be a huge star in Friends, but now desperately needs a new hit show to get his career back on track. This LeBlanc is wildly rich and rather cynical, quite arrogant but slightly lost, and manages to ruin both their pilot and their marriage – the former by being ludicrously ill-cast, the latter by carelessly sleeping with Beverly. Series one of Episodes ended with the calamitous news that their pilot is, inexplicably, a hit – locking the trio together in LA to make the show, and setting the scene for series two.

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Episodes is co-written by one of the creators of Friends, David Crane, and his partner Jeffrey Klarik. I only wish they had written the not-so-great Joey as well, because Episodes is clever and funny and rude and surprising, and has LeBlanc back at his best. He only agreed to take the part because Crane has known him so long that he knew he could trust him – although he admits that that can be a double-edged sword. Occasionally the script has made him a tiny bit paranoid, trying to work out which bits of his character are comic hyperbole, and which might be more accurate than he would like to think.

“I was very sceptical and uncomfortable with the idea of playing myself, because I didn’t understand what they were getting at. They said: ‘Oh, well, we’re not making a documentary; it’s not you we’re going to write.’ I said: ‘As long as it’s not me – as long as it’s a character that we can just slap my name on – and we can play with the guy. But I don’t want it factual at all.’ So what we came up with is the public’s perception of Matt LeBlanc, the celebrity.” What are the biggest differences between this character and the real him? “I can’t answer that.” Can’t? “OK,” he grins. “I can, but I won’t.”

He did ask for one or two plotlines to be taken out, but of course won’t say which – “There were a couple of things that I just wasn’t comfortable with.” Because they were too close to his real life, or for fear viewers would think they were true when they weren’t? “A little of both,” he offers cagily. Did he worry about being made to look stupid? “No, I’m not worried about looking like a prick,” he laughs, relaxing. “I am a prick!”

To prove it, he recalls the first day of filming. Having performed Friends and Joey in front of studio audiences, and then taken four years off, “The first take we do, as I’m going through it, I get to the first joke – and there’s no laugh. And I charge through and get to the second joke, and the third joke, and the fourth joke; I get through the whole speech and there’s not one laugh. And I’m like, ‘Fuck, I don’t know how to do this any more; I’ve completely fucked up.’ And they yell ‘Cut!’, and everyone starts laughing. I was like, ‘Oh, riii-ght, everyone’s supposed to be quiet.’ Yeah, I had a true Joey Tribbiani moment.”

It’s a generous anecdote, because LeBlanc has spent most of his adult life contending with everyone’s assumption that he must be as lovably dim and Tiggerish as Joey. “People will speak slowly to me sometimes. And they always ask me if I’m all right, because I’m much more low-key and reserved than my character in Friends. They think that I’m depressed, or I’m sad, or upset – but I’m just not amped up to go out in front of an audience and do a TV show. That’s not who I am.”

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Top 5 Celebrity Interviews To Read Today

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All in all, big name profiles are somewhat of a joke. They regularly pander to the star and never really uncover anything remotely near reality about their identity. They discuss how sweet they will be (“They appeared two hours late however appeared to be really self-reproachful about it!”), what they’re eating (“Reese Witherspoon cautiously eats her Udon noodle soup as she considers life, love, and circumcision… “) and how rational they run over (“Despite having millions in the bank, Coyote Fox is as yet the modest young lady from the Bronx!”) Occasionally, however, a profile like this one will turn out and really come clean about its subject. “OMG, superstars truly are bizarro egomaniacs! I knew it!”

It is kind of adorable when this happens. If you are an eager peruser of superstar chatter, it is complete happiness to see something that challenges to be straightforward. Other than this splendid takedown of LiLo, we have chosen to impart to you the five most loved bits of amusement news-casting. They’re really (heave!) engaging!

1. “Chris Evans Is Captain America” by Edith Zimmerman

In this now-notorious GQ profile, which turned out in 2011, Edith Zimmerman pays tribute to the style of composing found in old mags like Sassy and Jane by giving us a #realtalk all-access go into the universe of Chris Evans. While going through a couple of days with the motion picture star in L.A., Zimmerman opens up about the typical tease that creates amongst them and even points of interest a night in which she got squandered at his home. Individuals were blowing a gasket about this article, calling it “out of line,” yet offer me a reprieve. Edith made us keen on senseless exhausting CHRIS EVANS. If that is not the good ability of an essayist, I don’t comprehend what is.

2. “Step by step instructions to Get Under Aaron Sorkin’s Skin” by Sarah Nicole Prickett

We sort of dependably knew Aaron Sorkin was a dick (a misanthrope who at times smokes rocks? Nectar… ), yet author Sarah Nicole Prickett at long last gives us the evidence we required with this meeting in The Globe and Mail. While getting some information about his new show on HBO, The Newsroom, Sorkin treats Prickett with striking haughtiness, calling her “Web young lady” and notwithstanding showing her how to high-five appropriately. Fundamentally Prickett discovered that Sorkin treats ladies precisely the same he gives his male characters a chance to address them in his TV shows and films. Enchanting!

3. “Tiffani-Amber: Something Does Not Compute” by Mary-Ann

Cheeky invariably distributed the best big name interviews since they genuinely did not think about kissing anybody’s can. A valid example: this vintage meet with Tiffani-Amber Thiessen in which it’s uncovered that the Saved By The Bell star is a monstrous dum. Scarcely a stunner yet at the same time: LOL!

4. “Meet Your New Boss, Dov Charney” by Claudine Ko

Cheeky’s successor, Jane, kept with the pattern of good prominent name reporting, especially with this piece about America’s # 1 trendy person crawl, Dov Charney. Author Claudine Ko discusses the CEO of American Apparel jerking off before her and for the most part carrying on like a sexual stalker amid their meeting. If you at any point considered how Dov got such a terrible rep, this incredible bit of diversion reporting would be it.

5. “M.I.A’s. Agitprop Pop” by Lynn Hirschberg

Lynn Hirschberg is no more peculiar to penning questionable big name profiles. In the 90s, she talked with Courtney Love for Vanity Fair and mentioned that the vocalist was all the while utilising heroin while pregnant — a reality Love fervently denied. In any case, this made a torrential slide of horse crap, which in the long run brought about the association of Child Services. Uh oh! In 2010, Hirschberg by and by demonstrated that the pen is mightier than the sword when she composed this blistering profile of M.I.A. in The New York Times. Hirschberg calls attention to the numerous logical inconsistencies in the pop star’s life, including her claims that she’s a political radical who lives on the edges of society when truth be told, she dwells in a house in Brentwood with her super-rich spouse. M.I.A. was naturally pissed about the piece, however, and got Hirschberg to admit to a misrepresent. In any case, the American open never honestly took a gander at M.I.A. a similar way again and her collection, which turned out not long after the piece, wound up failing.

For more such talks, subscribe to Talk Column today!

Disclaimer: All images are sourced from the web. No copyright infringement intended.

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THE JULIAN SCHNABEL INTERVIEW: “I NEVER THOUGHT OF ART AS A CAREER”

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Mr. Schnabel, when does a work of art become important in your opinion? Do you need external confirmation, or is it something explicitly personal?

I don’t think something is important just because an audience likes it. Most people make art and movies as a job and if a lot of people go to see it they make money and that is their sign of success. I am not making judgment here, but their goal is strictly business-oriented. I don’t do this as a business.

So commercial success doesn’t interest you?

Do I think it’s good if people like it? I have to like it. If I think that something is good, it is fine. I mean Gladiator came out when my movie Before Night Falls came out. Gladiator won the Acadamy Award, Russell Crowe won the Acadamy Award. Would I rather be Ridley Scott? No. Do I think Javier Bardem’s performance was better than Russell Crowe’s, although Russell is an excellent actor? Yes. Javier Bardem’s performance was better. Did we win the Oscar? No. Does it matter? No. I mean he was the first Spanish actor to ever be nominated for an Academy Award. What does that say about the Academy? There is a level of chauvinism over there; it’s a club.

Do you think your indifference to the system has actually made you more successful?

Well I can’t just say yes to that, because then I would sound like the guy everybody says I am supposed to be: the arrogant, self-satisfied Schnabel. (Laughs)

But what you can admit is that you made quite an interesting transition from acclaimed artist to successful filmmaker. How did that come about?

I thought:If I feel like I should do it, I should do it. I shouldn’t worry that the art world is going to say, “Oh, Schnabel thinks that we’re not good enough for him, he is going to make movies now. The art world is not big enough, he’s going to make movies.” Then when the people liked the movies they said, “Oh, now he is a better movie director than a painter.” But that’s not really true. I happened to do it just the same way as some artists write letters. Van Gogh wrote letters and so we have a book of his letters to Theo. It is a great thing to have. The guy is a painter but he happened to write good letters also.

Are you interested in bringing the film and the art world a bit closer together? During the 2010 Toronto Film Festival you premiered with the exhibition Julian Schnabel: Art and Filmwhich seemed to aim at that.

Maybe it should have just been called Paintings That Have Something To Do With Film. I think the idea was that maybe people from the film world would go and see the museum and it would bring these worlds together. I don’t care if those worlds are together or not. My attitude toward it is similar to the way Joseph Beuys left the Kunstakademie open so anyone who wanted to come, anyone who was interested in art, could come. Whatever brings somebody in so they can have an art experience is a healthy thing.

Do you prefer filmmaking or painting more?

I prefer to paint; I don’t have to translate anything. I don’t have to know if it is good or bad while I am working. I don’t want to think when I am working. Even if I am making a movie, I get to a point where I throw the script away. I know what I want people to do and ultimately it is a spontaneous kind of activity. They need to be able to feel comfortable enough to trust me so they can do something and know I won’t let them get hurt. They end up feeling that way and that is why the movies are good. But I prefer to paint.

Unlike painting, movie making is extremely collaborative. Do you have to fight to get your way sometimes?

I am my biggest critic. I have final cut on my films and I don’t care how much money they ultimately make. If I would have made The Diving Bell and the Butterfly in English, it would have made more money. But it wouldn’t be the movie that I wanted to make and I think the other people in charge had to swallow that when I told them about my intent to make a French movie. The guy is French and I am not going to have French people watching American people making believe they are French in France and then they are reading French subtitles.

We knew you were a talented filmmaker and painter, but we didn’t know about your photographic skills until you recently toured the world with a Polaroid exhibition.

First of all, I didn’t intend to be a photographer and I didn’t intend to be a movie director. I am not a photographer, but I took photographs. And the photographs that I took are very physical; they are like paintings in a way.

Why did you start taking pictures in the first place?

Because I was dissatisfied with how my work looked when it was photographed by other people. I wanted to show the way paintings look inside places where I am working. So I was taking these pictures over the past eight years and I didn’t have any intention to show them and this woman came and looked at them and said: do you think we can show those photographs? So to cut it short: was Stanley Kubrick a photographer? No. He was a movie director. But he took photographs that are a gift to see.

Are you in a way proud of all these different careers?

I don’t have a career as a photographer and I don’t want a career as a movie director, and I don’t have a career as a painter.

You don’t have a career?

No, I never thought of art as a career. I thought it was more like a monastic practice. It is something that you do – you can’t not do it. If I made money doing it, I would do it; if I didn’t make any money, I would do it.

Could you live without art?

If I never made another movie, I probably could live okay. I made the movies that I made, I think I did a good job, but if I couldn’t paint, I don’t know what I would do. If I couldn’t paint, I think I would be a problem. I would definitely be a problem to the people who have to put up with me, live with me, deal with me. I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. I would go surfing I guess and live in the jungle or something like that. You know, obviously I’m not perfect but the thing I am best at is painting.

Source: The Talk

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FROM THE NEIL YOUNG TALK: “YOU HAVE TO BREAK OUT OF IT”

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Mr. Young, do you see yourself as a provocateur?

My life is not a political campaign. I just write about what is on my mind. I just play whatever I feel like playing. Whatever is in my soul at the time is what I want to do. I have, thank god, enough people who are still interested in what I am doing so that I can go out and keep doing it.

Do you think music can still change how people think these days?

I think that it can cause reflection and discussion, which is all you can do.

What about in the past?

I try not to look back. I’m looking forward. I’m worried more about what I’m going to do next week than I am what I did last week. There are too many things to do. Looking back is for everybody else.

Well, let me have a look back. I’ve read that you refused to be filmed at Woodstock. Was that really true?

I believe it was.

Why?

That was a turning point when music was becoming media and music was turning into an industry instead of a direct communication between musicians and the audience. In my view, cameras had no place on stage. They could film from far away and it wouldn’t bother me at all.

Live performance of Heart of Gold in 1971 by Neil Young. At the beginning of the video, Neil Young searches his pockets trying to find the right harp.

Do you think music today is too corporate?

Well, I can’t imagine American Idol in the ’60s. It’s so different you can’t compare it. The idea that there is a contest for who can pose the best. They are all just imitating other people. I don’t know what that is.

Unfortunately that garbage works.

Well it’s the media. The media has got the whole thing. (sarcastic) But we don’t have to worry about that in the United States. We’ve got CNN. We have the best political team on television working the story, so we’ve got no problems. (Laughs)

So, what excites you these days?

Well, when I get excited about anything nowadays it’s either new music or energy. Those are the two subjects I’m most concerned with.

Your own new music?

Yeah, I’m always open to new stuff. I don’t sit and try to figure out what to do, I just wait for an idea to come.

And what excites you so much about energy?

We’re working on building an automobile that doesn’t have to go to a fueling station, that creates its own fuel. That’s really what I am focusing the rest of my life on. I am finished with everything else as far as I am concerned.

Besides music of course…

The music is great and it is nice because it gets people thinking, it moves people, but ultimately, to make a real change in the world, it’s going to have to come from energy. It’s going to have to come from physics and science.So I am working with physicists, scientists, and engineers around the world trying to build this car.

“We have been lulled into addiction and everything is built around it and you have to break out of it and think outside of the box.”

Source: The Talk

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