David Marchese is one of the best interviewers in the game. His conversation with music legend Quincy Jones (who called the Beatles “the worst musicians in the world” and “no-playing motherf*ckers” and claimed that Marlon Brando would “f*ck anything,” including “James Baldwin. Richard Pryor. Marvin Gaye”) should be taught in journalism school. He also got Jon Stewart to reveal the “worst legacy” of his time on The Daily Show and Erykah Badu confessed to him that she sees “good in everybody,” including Adolf Hitler.
In his latest interview, Marchese spoke to Jason Momoa for the New York Times Magazine. It got contentious. That’s often a good thing in conversations with celebrities — otherwise, it’s a puff piece. But this one was… awkward.
It started normally enough, but then the Aquaman actor was asked about the sexual violence on Game of Thrones, where he played Dothraki warlord Khal Drogo, and whether he thinks “differently today” about his scenes with Daenerys Targaryen.
“Well, it was important to depict Drogo and his style. You’re playing someone that’s like Genghis Khan,” Momoa answered. “It was a really, really, really hard thing to do. But my job was to play something like that, and it’s not a nice thing, and it’s what that character was. It’s not my job to go, ‘Would I not do it?’ I’ve never really been questioned about ‘Do you regret playing a role?’ We’ll put it this way: I already did it. Not doing it again.”
From here on, Momoa’s answers to Marchese’s questions became curt. For instance:
Marchese: “You said you have a vision for the whole totality of Aquaman. Are you able to articulate that vision for me?”
Marchese: “Oh, man.”
Later, when Marchese about the research for Netflix’s Sweet Girl that stood out for him, Momoa replied, “I don’t really want to talk about big pharma right now.” That signaled the end of the interview for Marchese, who told the actor, “OK, I guess we’re done. Thanks for taking the time to talk with me.” But Momoa had one more thing to say:
“Yeah, and I wanted to bring something up that left a bad feeling in my stomach. When you brought up Game of Thrones, you brought up stuff about what’s happening with my character and would I do it again. I was bummed when you asked me that. It just feels icky — putting it upon me to remove something. As if an actor even had the choice to do that. We’re not really allowed to do anything. There are producers, there are writers, there are directors, and you don’t get to come in and be like, ‘I’m not going do that because this isn’t kosher right now and not right in the political climate.’ That never happens. So it’s a question that feels icky. I just wanted you to know that.”
“Yeah, well, thanks again,” Marchese responded. You can (and should) read the entire conversation here.
(Via the New York Times)