Nowadays movie stars seek publicity not only from magazines and movie posters, but also by actively participating in interviews. These appearances on TV may seem completely random at times, like if ABC stated: “Oh and by the way, Tom Cruise decided to stop by our office this morning for an interview”, but when it comes to Hollywood, nothing is ever put out there without a purpose at the right time.
These interviews are taken mostly in order to promote movies that recently came out, or maybe even before the release date, just to increase the hype for the viewers. Other types of appearances involve the actor talking about a recent happening (marriage, divorce, new baby) in order to boost popularity and hopefully establish an ethos, a personal brand, that might make that actor truly one of a kind. In other words, these conversations that are seemingly casual are most of the time just another advertisement for actors.
In the interview I chose, Matthew McConaughey comes out to talk about a new movie he’s a protagonist in, Interstellar. He appears on ABC on his very birthday, and since this talk takes place a few days before the film’s release date, it means he really is determined to advertise his role and the movie itself. It is clear that the purpose of the TV appearance is to promote Interstellar and not because of any personal story such as a scandal or sensationalistic news (to build up ethos), but as the great actor he is, Mr. McConaughey is able to merge the two things. In fact, while advertising his movie, he also uses his most famous quote “Alright alright alright” in a voice that made his characters (and his persona) very famous. Using his charisma, he’s able not only to promote Interstellar but also to reconfirm himself as a great actor with great capabilities and loved by the general public.
The audience of the interview, inexistent in the actual TV program, is probably very demographically generalized as the talk was featured on early evening ABC, when even people who work are able to watch TV. That is, most probably, to attract the broadest share of the public to go see the movie, and since both the actor and the interviewer stated twice that the movie would come out on the following Friday, it seems clear that the purpose was to increase an audience base.
The point of view of the interviewer is also obvious since the beginning, as she appears very comfortable in talking to Mr. McConaughey. We could almost state that she was positively biased in talking to him, as she herself invited the audience to go watch the movie. Also, the interview seemed scripted as if they already ran through it a couple times, mostly because they seemed to say the very same things and had very similar attitudes on the cast, the movie and his persona. In fact, as she was the one who brought up his charismatic quote, she seems to be actively trying to promote his ethos more than he is, and she seems to have produced the movie from the way she invites everybody to go see it.
As a result of all these characteristics, the interview is pleasant to watch but clearly artificial, as more than a “Q&A session with Matthew McConaughey” it appears as “Matthew McConaughey talks to himself while promoting Interstellar”. Although I enjoyed watching my favorite actor being my favorite character on TV, I wish the interview had been less than an ad and more of a talk.
Link to the interview on YouTube.