' Cinema Romantico: Long Days of Junketry

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Long Days of Junketry

You probably heard about the dust-up this past week between Cara Delevingne, star of the just released “Paper Towns”, and a triad of Sacramento morning talk show hosts tasked with interviewing her. To be fair, when you’re in the employ of something called Good Morning, Sacramento you’re probably not trained or encouraged in the art of the insightful Q&A, but still. Marianne McClary could have at least called Cara “Cara” rather than “Carla” which is how she kicked off the whole ordeal, foreshadowing all the ensuing gleeful if excruciating awkwardness. Like when Ms. McClary, making like a latter day David Frost, followed up her error by asking if Delevingne had read the book on which the movie in which she starred was based. Oy vey. Even Rebecca Donaldson over at Wake Up, San Francisco would have the mind wattage not to ask if a person’s read the book on which the movie in which she starred was based.

From that already god-awful point, things merely worsened – or not, depending on your viewpoint – when Delevingne decided to become sassily sarcastic rather than a gracious drone. “No, I never read the book. Or the script actually,” she said. “I kind of winged it.” Is that impolite? Sure. Is it funny? Hell yes.

Is that Cara Delevingne or McKayla Maroney?
Some though it was too, others didn’t. McClary sure didn’t. After they cut the chit-chat sure McClary exclaimed: “I mean these guys, they sit through all these interviews from 800 TV stations, but still.” Her co-anchor Mark Allen heroically jumped in: “But still! You make $5 million for six weeks worth of work, you can pretend to talk to ‘Good Day Sacramento’ with some oomph!” (Did Ms. Delevingne earn $5 million for making “Paper Towns”? I’m not sure, but it’s whole budget was only $12 million. It’s possible that Mr. Allen took his salary figures from the same legal pad that told Ms. McClary that Cara’s name was “Carla”.)

John Green, the author of “Paper Towns”, then entered the fray, authoring a brief essay at Medium in defense of Ms. Delevingne. He writes: “She refuses to indulge lazy questions and refuses to turn herself into an automaton to get through long days of junketry. I don’t find that behavior entitled or haughty. I find it admirable. Cara Delevingne doesn’t exist to feed your narrative or your news feed — and that’s precisely why she’s so f–king interesting.” And that brings me to the overriding point of this post.

It’s easy for the public to roast these stars for going gonzo in these interviews BECAUSE GODDAMMIT IT’S THEIR JOB. But, like, don’t you have Monday Morning Meetings at your job? Aren’t they utterly pointless? Aren’t they rife with the same vapid statements and questions as the last 260 Monday Morning Meetings of the previous 5 years? Aren’t you always wondering, “Why am I even here?” Don’t you yearn to do what Cara did and make a mockery of the sham that this whole 8 AM debacle is and always has been? The press junket interview is the Monday Morning Meeting for a star. And they don’t just have one a week. They have a multitude of them for months. They have to listen to dozens and dozens of Maureen McClary’s call them “Carla” and wonder “is it hard to memorize all those lines?”

Movies have occasionally broached the topic of press junkets. “Lost in Translation” did to hilarious effect when we got a glimpse of Anna Faris’s ditzy star being asked McClary-ish questions and offering responses that probably would have made McClary guffaw with forced joy. “Notting Hill” did even better job where Julia Roberts brilliantly played it in a despairingly patient yet tired way that you just know was culled from real life. But I want more. I want a movie that’s nothing but press junkets. I want a movie called “Long Days of Junketry” (John Green, you’re a genius). I want it to star Parker Posey. I want it to show what this mindless shit does to a person. And I want the final sequences to show Parker Posey being “asked” to “Talk about what it was like working with James Franco” before smashing up the set of Top of the Morning, Tacoma with an axe.


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