Do the press and those on the other side need each other?

How much privacy should those who've chosen to live in the public eye receive?  There is heady debate surrounding the subject.  Every day, more and more celebrities testify about their experiences.  Many of them work hard on their craft and are not just fame seekers; in fact fame is a mere consequence of the work they love.  It's my personal belief that everyone has the right to privacy – especially for things that happen in the private domain.  But, for me it raises a wider question about my profession.  Don't celebrities and press kind of need each other?


I have been lucky enough to be a writer, performer, director, and now a journalist.  I get to watch films before anyone else does and tell other people my opinion like it's something of value.  As a result of my work, some people might see a film I suggest, or they might avoid one I spurn.  But, the second half to what I do – an unavoidable half – is publicity.  The reason why the people who work on a film's PR allow screenings is to give the film free publicity.  You have to pay for an advert, but a reviewer will spread the word for free.  Of course, they run the risk of receiving a bad review, which is why some films choose to not have a screening before the film premieres.


It's no secret that I wasn't the biggest fan of Resistance (see my review in STUDIO's November 2011 issue), but when I was asked to attend the premiere to interview Andrea Riseborough, I jumped at the chance.


Once there, Tom Wlaschiha, Iwan Rheon and director Amit Gupta came and went... with no sign of Andrea Riseborough.  I kept getting nervous glances from the guys in charge.  People started to file in to the screen.  Andrea had not arrived yet, and by now people were starting to panic in hushed whispers.  But, just as we began to lose all hope... she arrived – ushered through by her agent and led to the important journalists first (the ones with video cameras).


I had a sneaky suspicion I might have come all this way for nothing, and she would get rushed away into the screen where they were waiting for her.  Luckily, I was given the chance to speak to her – sixty seconds, to be precise.  Andrea seemed strained, very pale and a little cold.  Our interview went like this:



STUDIO: Do you have any advice to give to other women hoping to go into acting?



After a long pause, while we waited with bated breath, somewhere in the distance a dog barks.



Andrea Riseborough: Nope.



I was a little thrown, a little shocked.  But, I shrugged it off and moved on.



STUDIO: Who are some of your inspirations?

AR: Oh, too many to say.


STUDIO: Well, who is a favourite actor of yours – someone you'd love to work with or see?

AR: I can't say. There are so many talented actors and actresses; it'd be arrogant of me to pick one.



Again, I was surprised and a little unsure of how to react.



STUDIO: What kind of process did you go through to get into this character?

AR: ...Sarah?



AR: Oh, lots of things.  Have you seen the film?


STUDIO: Yes, I went to a screening a few weeks ago.

AR: Well, Bach was a huge thing for us.  In the opening scene, that music...



And then, just as I start to get somewhere, we were cut off by her agent, who had been hovering the whole time making hurry up motions.  He wheeled her off on her continuing conveyor belt of obligation.


And so I come back to my original question: Do the press and those on the other side need each other?  The short answer is yes.  We have a symbiotic relationship.  If they didn't exist, then people like me would have no film premieres to write about.  On the other side of it, if people like me weren't writing about these things, then 'celebrity' as a concept would cease to exist.  We'd all just carry on with our lives and art, I'm sure, would suffer.


I don't agree with what the right-press have been doing in regards to invasion of privacy.  But press, much like superhuman powers, can sometimes be used for good, as well as evil.


This is something that some people, on their way up in this business, would do well to remember.  That, and you can tell a lot about a person by how they treat those less powerful than they are.  Namely a journo attending her first film premiere.


Just a thought.



Words by Hattie Davis.


Resistance is out to own on DVD now.



What do you think - should Andrea Riseborough have acted differently?  Let us know on Twitter or in the comments section, below.

"I had a sneaky suspicion I might have come all this way for nothing. Luckily, I was given the chance to speak to her – sixty seconds, to be precise."

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