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Watch: Spike Jonze’s Prickly Interview With ‘BBC Newsnight’ About ‘Her’

Watch: Spike Jonze's Prickly Interview With 'BBC Newsnight' About 'Her'

The awards season grind can often find filmmakers and actors spending months answering the same questions over and over about their films, to the point of tedium. And most of the time, everyone involved is able to stoically endure the repetitive and sometimes simplistic questions that get lobbed their way, but everyone has their breaking point. And the usually amiable Spike Jonze found his recently on “BBC Newsnight.” 

Speaking with anchor Emily Maitlis, the interview gets off on the wrong foot when she says rather reductively that Jonze’s “Her” is about ” “falling in love with your software.” And then the conversation never quite recovers. 

“Have you seen the movie, Emily?” Jonze asked. “I’m just curious what your reaction was to the movie or what you felt when watching it because the lead-in was all about falling in love with software, which really the movie isn’t about. It’s more of a love story and a relationship story, but I was just wondering what you felt when watching it.” 

The rest of the few minutes finds Jonze trying to prod an honest response out of Maitlis who mostly dodges his questions about her reactions to his film, with Jonze eventually answering a couple more questions before the interview is over. As for Maitlis, she later went on Twitter to share her opinions on “Her” which she couldn’t say to Jonze’s face (and reveals she sort of misses the entire point of the movie). Anyway, see the interview and tweets below and let us know your thoughts in the comments section. [LAist]

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Adam, (your real name is Adam Spiegel), you need some coaching on interview skills. don't be so combative and confrontational. learn how to expertly deal with the stupid one-track minded press without obviously losing your cool.

Daniel Delago

She didn't get the film at all… Possibly due to the fact that she didn't see it prior to her Spike Jonze interview. How can you ask intuitive questions about the film to the director/screenwriter without experiencing the work? How utterly unprofessional of her as a journalist.


Is a reader of these comments really to believe that there are twenty flesh and blood people — even Americans! — so celebrity-absorbed that they're outraged on behalf Mr. "Jonze" and simply must rush forward to proclaim their solidarity with a multi-millionaire Hollywood director who made a terrible movie but must nonetheless be kowtowed to as the Second Coming?

Or is it the ad agency at work?


I don't agree with Emily at on her quote " Sad, male fetish fantasy of disembodied female who does his bidding"

After viewing Her, which I thoroughly enjoyed, I was plagued with questions about technology, and how reliant we have become on it. I'm a tech junkie myself, and in the movie the evolution of technology as a companion, not just for a man, but for women as well i.e. Amy Adams character relationship with her OS. But that's not the only theme one can draw from the movie, human connection is another, and whether or not its sufficient enough for happiness. However, my favorite theme and question I guess that still effervescent for me is the end when Samantha breaks up with Theodore. The idea of technology evolving pass human understanding is so thought provoking. This movie makes you think about so many underlining ideas, and I myself like that in a great movie.


BBC2 used to have halfway-decent arts coverage in the form of The Late Show / Late Review, but alas those days are long gone.

And 'Newsnight' has *seriously* gone downhill since it got taken over by that idiot journalist who was in charge of the 'Letters to Clark County, Ohio' debacle in 2004 (Google it).


I didn't find this interview too prickly on either side, she just ran away with the ideas that had little to no bearing on the film. He did his best talking to someone who clearly had no idea what the film was about. I've seen worse interviews where the host blatantly disrespects the guest, in this case it's just ignorance.


You can easily determine the level of engagement that people have had with art as a medium by gauging their reactions to this film. One of my friends – after watching it – declared that he was wondering when such a thing would happen in reality, and that would indeed be a sad day for humanity. Then I asked him, what if this was a movie about a long distance relationship instead? How much of it would change? The answer is – almost no change at all.
This is not a movie about fetishes, or computers or falling in love with software. It is about falling in love with someone who is not there physically. Sad that people watch it with prejudiced minds and miss the point altogether.


I saw this and wondered if it would pick up online! I don't think anyone between the ages 10-35 watches Newsnight.

She interviews political figures mostly; Hollywood is kind of secondary to the programme. I wouldn't be surprised if she didn't actually watch her screener, or pay that much attention to it. It's a shame she couldn't come up with a more informed response to the film, but it's understandable (does Spike really expect every talking head to like or want to engage with his work? Presenters are a delivery system to viewers, who are the main concern in promotion.)

Respect to Spike for wanting to fight for his message, though. Reclaim the narrative. Just don't pick fights with the media when you do it.

Sam Camilleri

Well, it kind of is true. Someone does fall in love with a Machine. So i don't know what the debate was about. Prick. The smallest of things these days…. Like that Samuel L Jackson superbowl nonsense. Just a mistake. People just need to get over things. But these people don't live in the real world so i doubt they'd understand. Probably why so few understand Jonze.


Just wanted to point out that the idea to shoot a futuristic film in real locations, displaced from the actual setting of the story, originated with MIchael Winterbottom in Code 46


maybe the theme of loneliness is just too hard to spin into catchy talk show babble people seem to crave so much.


It's pretty clear from this whole deal that people just don't understand Jonze.

I went to his Q&A at TIFF this past year hosted by Kelly Reichardt and he was more interested steering the conversation toward her reactions to film and her work than his own. He's always been that kind of presence in interviews. I think it's a sense of modesty, that he doesn't really want to talk about himself or his films, but would rather hear another person's opinions on it or have them talk about their own work.

He's just a different breed, and that's why I've always liked him.


This is hilarious. Mr. Jonze demands of his interviewer that she confess she was "moved" by his movie — otherwise, in his mind, she couldn't have understood it and couldn't possibly have anything useful to say about it.

Not content with receiving praise far beyond Her's desserts (it's really about relationships, not software!; how very original!), he can't endure even one dissenting voice.

Whatever ever happened to self-loathing? Did it get thrown out with the skateboard?


Oh my. I'm embarrassed to be British. FFS, Emily, have some courage/decency/anima and engage in conversation with the man! Emily comes across as unintelligent, rude, and ugly.


In her tweets, first she makes out she has seen it – then two minutes later says in another that she wouldn't want to see it ?


Man, Jonze has a really cool jacket.


"Sad, male fetish fantasy of disembodied female who does his bidding."

Wow. Couldn't be more wrong.

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