My interview with him here from a few weeks back in New York.
It took place at the London Hotel, in the midst of a really intense day: I had to race uptown for three different interviews and then back to the iW offices as it was Spirits nomination day and Gotham awards night. I was also running on a very few hours of sleep.
When it came time for Mr. Jenkins, I was totally unprepared, which usually spells disaster because my awkward social skills need direction when it comes to interviews. Questions on a piece of paper, at least. Especially for someone like him, who I was honestly a little starstruck by due to my years of Six Feet Under obsession. Earlier that morning I am certain I made Melissa Leo think in her head, “Who is this guy? And why does he have a job in this profession?” So I didn’t want to go down that road with the Fisher family patriarch.
But it ended up going really, really well. I was surprised to find the interview was in the hotel restaurant, not a set up room (a first). And over coffee (me) and diet cokes (him), we found a really nice flow. He seemed so genuinely modest and kind, and initially even nervous. Though I’ve realized that some people I’ve interviewed – despite many of them performing as a profession – are not comfortable in interviews. But then when they see me, they immediately seem relaxed if only because they must think to themselves, “Why is a short teenage boy interviewing me?” And this automatically makes me the vulnerable one, not them, and they feel free to open up.
Jenkins was obviously thrilled about The Visitor‘s reception. He also interrupted our conversation about its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival to ask:
“Are you from Toronto?”
“Sorry, its just the way you say Tor-On-Toe”.
“You mean, Tor-On-Oh.”
“Yes. You say like they do.”
“Well, I’m one of them”
“I knew it!”
And in perhaps my favourite moment in a while, he told me I reminded him of Emile Hirsch. To which I actually blushed and said aloud, in a very ah-shucks/gee-whiz way, “Thanks Richard Jenkins!” The only celebrity look-a-like comment I’ve ever got was when I was seventeen and a cater waiter at Holiday Inn-on-the-freeway weddings, an EXTREMELY drunk 75 year old woman who was sorta coming on to me told me I look like a “young Reodardo DiCaprio” (and then I lost my virginity).
But then Mr. Jenkins told me it was from his experiencing working on The Mudge Boy, which was to suggest I reminded him Emile Hirsch playing a very awkward gay boy. But I’ll take it.