An awkward TV interview with an actor going viral? That’s just part of any media tour for a major movie these days. However, it’s unusual for the people of the Internet to side with the celebrity — generally, the stars are the ones mocked for their behavior, not the interviewers.
Not so much with the latest entry into the Uncomfortable Interview Hall of Fame, which occurred last week when “Paper Towns” star and British supermodel Cara Delevingne appeared remotely to talk with “Good Day Sacramento.” The three-minute chat with the local CW station started as anchor Marianne McClary accidentally called her “Carla,” and things went downhill from there.
Delevingne was unimpressed with the first question lobbed her way by McClary, who asked her about the John Green novel on which the movie is based: “Did you get a chance to read it or do you even have time to sit and read these days you’re so busy?”
“No, I never read the book. Or the script actually, I kind of winged it,” Delevingne said dryly as the anchors chuckled. “No, of course I read the book, I think the book’s amazing. John Green is an incredible author.”
Delevingne was equally puzzled by co-anchor Ken Rudolph, who asked if it’s easier for her to focus on work because she’s so busy. Delevingne looked understandably confused. “No, I don’t know where that comes from,” she replied. “I love what I do…it’s my passion, all of these things…so it’s not too hard.”
McClary asked if she had anything in common with her character, the free-spirited Margo. “No, I actually hate her,” Delevingne shot back as the anchors started to realize this was not going well. “Yeah, of course, we have a lot in common,” Delevingne clarified, adding she had used some of Margo’s quips in real life before she even read the script.
That’s when entertainment anchor Mark Allen jumped in, telling Delevingne that he loved the movie because the teens in the film “speak like middle-aged screenwriters rather than the awkward, dopey adolescent that I was.” Then things took a turn: “I saw you in London talking a couple weeks ago on TV, and you seemed a lot more excited about it than you do right now. Are you just exhausted?” he asked, sounding a tad condescending.
“Ooh,” said Delevingne, thrown off. “No, I mean, I’m still very excited. The premiere was last night. It was an emotional night, it felt like the end of an era. But I’m not any less excited than I was a couple weeks ago. Maybe I had a bit more energy, it’s the morning.”
“You do seem a bit irritated,” McClary jumped in. “Perhaps it’s just us.”
“Yeah, I think it’s just you,” Delevingne agreed.
“Well then on that note, we’ll let you go then, how about that?” McClary offered. “We’ll let you go take a little nap, maybe get a Red Bull, how about that?”
Allen tried to get back on track, throwing out the plug: “‘Paper Towns,’ coming out soon. She’s also in that Taylor Swift video ‘Bad Blood,’ everybody probably recognizes her from that as well. ”
“Yes, rush out and see it, won’t you?” McClary deadpanned. That’s when the multi-colored bars came up on the screen, and Delevingne disappeared, signaling the interview was over. The anchors were not pleased.
“Whoa…the bars!” Allen gasped.
“She was in a MOOD!” McClary exclaimed. “Jeez Louise, everything sarcastic.”
Rudolph was also not pleased. “I thought she was being sarcastic on purpose, I thought she was trying to be funny. But then she wasn’t,” he said.
“I mean these guys, they sit through all these interviews from 800 TV stations, but still,” McClary acknowledged.
“But still!” Allen protested. “You make $5 million for six weeks worth of work, you can pretend to talk to ‘Good Day Sacramento’ with some oomph!”
There’s no doubt that Delevingne was being sarcastic. But so far, a lot of viewers appear far more upset by the way the interviewers acted so deeply offended when a) Their questions were a little patronizing to begin with, and b) This is pretty much Delevingne’s TV personality all the time. While some criticized Delevingne for not playing along, many others think she had no obligation to act a certain way just to please the anchors. The argument is still raging on “Good Day’s” Facebook page, not to mention Twitter.
After Delevingne signed off, the anchors continued to lick their wounds. “She was so peppy on UK,” Allen said, mimicking her British accent: “Oh it was delightful! I loved playing this part!”
“We’ll just have to shake that one off and move on,” McClary acknowledged.
On Wednesday, Delevingne responded to the now-viral interview:
Some people just don't understand sarcasm or the British sense of humour
— Cara Delevingne (@Caradelevingne) July 29, 2015
…and a few hours later, McClary tweeted this dig:
Check out how a true class act deals with his jillionth interview: Sir Ian McKellan! « Good Day Sacramento http://t.co/Ylyqmzpcwz
— Marianne McClary (@GoodDayMarianne) July 29, 2015
[This post has been updated.]