I picked up a copy of Esquire magazine the other day, solely for research purposes. I gave up on Esquire a while back, mainly because most of the time it comes off as the most pompous of American magazines. But I'm researching some magazine design stuff, and one thing I can say whole-heartedly about Esquire, it's one of the best designed magazines out there. Except the covers. The cover designs are a gimmick gone wild. A year or two ago, they started doing these type-heavy covers with a celebrity of some sort standing in front of the type, like it was on a wall or something. It was cool the first time I saw it, annoying the second, and now--in about it 25th or so issue--it's just ugly and unimaginative. Having a format is great. Flogging it to death is not.
The current issue of Esquire features an interview with actor Christian Bale (not Kristen Bell--say the two names and be amazed how close they sound) that defines the celebrity interview in the pages of this magazine. I don't think I've ever read one that wasn't more about the interviewer than the subject. This one is a case in point. Admittedly, Bale would be a hard nut to crack. He clearly doesn't like to do press. But this time out the interviewer argues with Bale about the Q&A format the actor insists upon, to avoid being misquoted. After all, it IS an interview, so questions must be asked, answers should be forthcoming, even from somebody as reticent as Bale. The interviewer doesn't agree and spends most of the article sneaking in his own thoughts about Bale.
Bale argues that interviewers tend to be people who want to be novelists and "got stuck interviewing me...so they're writing these novellas..." And the interviewer, who writes almost incessantly about his chafing under this Q&A format bears him out when--late in the article--he writes, "He (Bale) leads the way out to a balcony overlooking the Pacific where there are rich men in blazers with icy cocktails and frosted wives."
Yep. Frustrated novelist for sure.