Monday, 8 October 2007

Jamie Foxx for breakfast

Being given the opportunity to interview A-list celebrities is not to be taken lightly. Even more so when the only other interviews you have done are with local people about local issues; and to be honest they don’t really come under the same category.

So when you get an email cheerfully asking ‘do you want to interview Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Garner’ you do a double take and think for a few seconds while your brain fills with both excitement and worry. A cheeky smile crosses your face at the same time as you ask ‘what am I going to ask them?!’

Luckily the interviews were only confirmed two days before they were taking place. This meant there was less time for me to worry - I just had to get my head down and plan. It turned out that Jamie Foxx and co-stars Jennifer Garner and Ashraf Barhom were all in London promoting their new film The Kingdom: a fast paced and yet thought provoking action thriller set in Saudi Arabia.

After spending most of Tuesday and Wednesday planning I managed to rush to the cinema for an advanced screening the night before the interviews. The Kingdom is an interesting take on a now common theme – terrorism – and touches on many factors that Hollywood tends to ignore such as how the ‘enemy’ perceive things. It’s well worth a watch if you are stuck for what to see on Orange Wednesday’s.

So planning done I now had only a few hours to panic until judgement day. The interviews, or press junket, took place at the very plush Dorchester Hotel in London. Being my first junket I wasn’t sure of the general order of things went so it was nice to have an ITV Local colleague there for moral support. After being ushered in to the ‘waiting room’ we sat amongst the other journalists, ate free cakes and went over our notes. As we looked around and recognised people from Sky News and GMTV we realised just how big a deal it was. It didn’t help the nerves.

So a few blueberry muffins later and it was my turn. I was whisked away to first meet Ashraf Barhom; an Israeli actor who plays Colonel Faris Al Ghazi in The Kingdom. The interview went surprisingly well and I was very happy with the outcome. Although I only had five minuets with each actor (you have to struggle to understand the floor manager in the background as they hold up fingers indicating how long you have left) is was comfortable and a confidence boost.

What you don’t realise when you see this type of interview on the TV is the amount of other people that are standing in the room at the same time. Jennifer Garner, who plays FBI agent Janet Mayes, stood out perfectly in a bright yellow dress as she sat in a very dark room amongst six other people, two cameras and a multitude of lights and backdrops. She was sweet, polite and an enthusiastic interviewee.

Last of all was Jamie Foxx – the man himself. As much as you try and seem like you have been in that situation before you loose all composure when you walk in to a room and there is an Oscar winning actor/musician/stand-up comic in front of you. Having said that Jamie Foxx was softly spoken and friendly as he spoke about his character Ronald Fleury - it made the interview much easier.

The minutes had sped past and suddenly it was all over – and all before lunch! It was surreal, exciting and definitely the high point of a career that hadn’t started that long ago!

To watch all three interviews click here.

Plus there should be more exclusive interviews from the ITV Local team in the near future so keep logging on to our What’s On channel.

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