Monday, September 27, 2010

Ben Lyons from E! Part 2

Here is the rest of the interview that I had with Ben Lyons!

7. Who has been your favourite person to interview?

I got to do him last night, Matt Damon. Matt’s a really interesting guy. He’s very forthcoming with stuff about his career; he’s one of my favourite actors. Yeah, Matt Damon’s probably my favourite person to interview. I loved interviewing Daniel Radcliffe, Harry Potter. That kid’s awesome. He’s really nice and self-deprecating. He’s lived a really interesting life, I mean; he’s this iconic movie character for the most of it. And Charlize Theron I liked to interview. Those are probably my three favourites that I get most excited for.

8. Have you done print journalism?

Yeah, I write for LA Confidential Magazine. I did profiles on different people from Zoe Saldana to Adam Shankman. I recently did Kristen Bell and Malin Akerman. And I write for E! online here and there. But I do enjoy more doing it on air. I have more fun on TV.

9. What’s the hardest part of your job?

The hardest part of my job is constantly remembering that there is an audience at home that’s living vicariously through you. Sometimes certain actors would come up and my time with them might be limited and I might want to ask them certain things that I’m interested in but maybe our audience at home isn’t interested in. So it’s finding that balance of “okay what are the people who are watching this going to really enjoy” and what do I really enjoy. It’s my one chance to talk to somebody so am I going to ask them something so inside...or say people watching our network aren’t the biggest sports fans so I don’t want to talk to Matt Damon about the Patriots game yesterday, but I kind of do, you know what I mean? So I just have to balance. It’s tough to constantly remember who you’re doing these interviews for, in a way.

10. So you’re here for TIFF. How would you describe the experience on the Red Carpet?

Well TIFF red carpets are intense. The space is limited and there are journalists from around the world. Sometimes it’s the world premiere, the first time the movie’s ever been shown, so you don’t have the chance to see it before. But they’re fun. You never know who is going to show up. They’re exciting, they happen so quickly. It’s a big rush of energy. Every carpet is different, depending on who the talent is. I was just in Spain this summer for the premiere of Knight and Day and Tom Cruise spends 3 hours at the red carpet. He signs every autograph for the fans, takes every picture and talks to every journalist along the line. But then like last year, George Clooney, I did him twice up here. For Up in the Air and Men Who Stare at Goats and he doesn’t really stop. He kind of just does a fly by; a quick little question and moves on. So everybody’s different. And you kind of have to feel out the scenario and manage your expectations that way, if that makes sense. I know if I’m doing a George Clooney premiere, I’ll be lucky to get 1 or 2 questions, let alone 10. But then you do Blake Lively the other night, and I talked to her as long as I wanted to talk to her. So everyone’s kind of different.

11. So do you get to travel a lot?

Yeah, that’s been such a surprise. When I first got the job, I just moved to LA. I’ve been living in LA about 3 or 4 months before I met E! And then I’ve been living in LA for a year when I got the job full time. And I didn’t know I was going to travel as much as I have. And I’ve been to Egypt and Italy and London a dozen times and Hong Kong and Australia. Travelling for work is one of the great pleasures of my life. I love being able to go on a business trip - I’m on a business trip right now, eating pancakes with you. So yeah I’ve come to Toronto like 5 times, Sundance 5 times, Comic-Con and all these great industry events in cool cities and places around the world. Travelling for work is awesome. I also see the power of film and how celebrity is a universal language. People around the world love these movies, they love these actors and directors, and really when you go and travel and see it first-hand, it gives you a new appreciation for it. It’s cool.

12. So where is your favourite place you’ve travelled to?

Australia is incredible. Australia is very awesome. I would love to live there. The people are really friendly, the women are beautiful, the food is delicious, it’s outdoorsy, Sydney’s a wonderful city...Australia’s probably my favourite.

13. What advice do you have for up and coming journalists?

Ben (laughs): You mean for you?

Me: Yes...

B: I don’t think you need any advice. You’re doing just fine. I think it’s being open and surrounding yourself with good people. And it’s treating whether you’re interviewing a huge star or somebody who’s just starting their career, to approach the interview the same way, in terms of your research and in terms of just keeping that genuine curiousity. But surrounding yourself with good people is the key. There are a lot of weird people in media, in journalism, in Hollywood. And you can deal with them, but you have to have that inner circle of good people in your life. Will Smith has a good quote, he says, “You can tell a lot about a person by the 5 people they spend the most amount of time with.” So take a look in your life and look who you spend the most amount of time with. You know, family, friends, but just in your everyday life, who are you talking to, emailing with. And that can give you a good sense of yourself and where you’re going in your career.

14. Where do you hope to see yourself in 10 years?

I want to be really fat on a golf course, chilling. I hope to be as excited about my career in 10 years as I am now. I don’t know if I’ll be on E! I hope I am. I want to be producing movies. I want to be producing television shows. I started executive producing a series for E! right now for our international markets, which is really fun to do. I just want to be excited to go to work every day because then it doesn’t feel like work. Yeah that’s hopefully where I’ll see myself in 10 years. And a wife and kids would be cool too.

Thanks again Ben, it was great to meet you!

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