One of my earlier junket experiences was covering the Disney adaptation of The Bridge to Terabithia. Now, I am not much for Disney anything, nor anything shiny, happy G-rated kiddie fare, so it was probably a mistake to have me cover this one in the first place. But whatever.
Evidently The Bridge to Terabithia is a beloved children’s book about the wonder of imagination and all that magnificence. I never read it, so I am sure I wasn’t appropriately excited to get to interview the author (Katherine Paterson) or her (grown) son (David) who had adapted her book for the screen. They were still pretty interesting to interview, though, which is a shame because my interviews for this movie were on-camera and we had a notoriously lazy video guy from the website, which means there was a zero percent chance he was going to use these interviews.
Then I had to interview the director, Gabriel Csupo, who is Hungarian or Bulgarian or something. It was here that I discovered my true inner fear of interviewing someone who is not a native English speaker. He pretty much answered all my questions in the first minute (obviously doling out memorized speaking points) and then leaving me struggling to find things other than, ‘So, Hungary, huh?’ for the rest of my time.
When I was done with him, I moved onto the two kid stars of the movie, whereupon I discovered the only thing I hate worse than interviewing non-native English-speakers on camera is interviewing kids. In short, they are either over-rehearsed or unpredictable, and either way it makes it difficult to get useable answers from them. Little Josh Hutcherson fell in the latter category, and he was busy trying to ham it up and kiss my hand (slightly hilarious). But his co-star, AnnaSophia Robb, was clearly of the other variety. She was clearly one of those super poised, super groomed Hollywood children who smiles like a robot and spits out exactly what she is supposed to say. Nice enough, but still slightly terrifying. One day she’ll be on the cover of Playboy with a heroin needle in her forehead and I can say I knew her when.
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