The Publicist:

Actors are reluctant performers when it comes to BTS interviews

Actors are reluctant performers when it comes to BTS interviews

"He went that way," the production assistant calls to me.

"Through the double doors." I give chase down the corridor, but my prey has disappeared. Foiled again, I retreat back into the lounge, slump into the sofa, and wonder how it has all come to this. Me, a full-grown adult, somewhat professional, chasing another full-grown adult, somewhat professional, through the labyrinth of an enormous hotel.

"Missed him again?" the aforementioned assistant consoles, fully aware of my dilemma, having, along with several others on the production crew, gamely assisted my efforts of the past three days to corner an obstinate Oscar-winning actor into doing his "behind-the-scenes" (BTS) interview. It's become a challenge for the entire crew, akin to a fox hunt. And this actor, trust me, is every bit as wise and cunning as a fox. Master of the polite refusal. "Sure," he always responds to my request. "Just have to make a couple calls. Ten minutes?" Then he vanishes, showing up just moments before needed on-set. Never any hostility or objection. Just affable noncompliance. As I said, he's an Oscar winner.

We'd reached the final shooting day for our BTS camera crew. We were running out of time. I considered alerting the producers to the dire situation, but it's been my experience that it only makes things worse. You don't want the actor feeling as if he has been asked to go to the principal's office. He'll usually respond with a terse, unproductive interview. So, that's the publicist's choice: Ask the producers to force the recalcitrant thespian into the chair, or repeatedly try to entice the subject voluntarily in hopes of more pleasant, extended discourse. I chose the latter, knowing that if I failed again, there'd be some 'splainin' to do to an unhappy studio publicity department.

With movie filming about done for the day, I recruit two production assistants to cover both exits. "After this last shot, he'll immediately flee the set. Do not let him past you," I plead. "I'll approach from the middle aisle so he cannot elude us. We'll box him in."

"That's a wrap," the director yells minutes later. I spring into action, sidling up to the star as he retrieves a coffee cup. "You still owe us an interview," I say. "Don't make me beg."

He wanly smiles. I can see the resignation in his eyes. "OK," he sighs. "Lead the way."

The hounds win this one. But it was a worthy chase.

Lawrence Mitchell Garrison is an LA-based freelance publicist and writer

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