For something that everyone agrees is either dying hideously or is actively and deservedly already dead, the celebrity profile seems to be in robust and luridly purple health. Yes, its purpose is often advertorial for some film or TV property, and yes there is no guarantee that you’re going to get anything interesting out of even an interesting performer who has answered similar questions dozens of times and mostly is just trying to get through some publicist-chaperoned lunch or other. But when Oscar Isaac is available, some outlet is going to say yes, and some writer will turn whatever they get into a story about Home And Forgiveness or whatever. Silly though it may be, it would also be silly to waste the opportunity to have lunch with Oscar Isaac.
Every now and then, though, we get a profile that’s interesting enough to redeem the broader enterprise. GQ‘s Gabriella Paiella wrote just such a profile about Nicolas Cage for the magazine’s April issue, and so Drew and I had her on the podcast to talk about the Nicolas Cage Experience, and her own experience of it.
Drew, as readers and listeners likely know, has written a number of such profiles, and while I am mostly not permitted to be around important or influential people (I have been told that they find me unsettling) I have at the very least read a bunch of good and bad versions of those stories. And so while we talked a bit about Cage—the movies he makes and the decisions he makes, how and why he makes them, and the many pets that fill his Las Vegas home—we also talked about how a writer goes about figuring out and writing a story like that, and about people like these. Paiella is, for my money and I think also for Drew’s, just about the best person doing this kind of thing right now, and so talking to her about this type of writing also meant talking about her conversations with Paul Schrader and Steve Buscemi and Rob Delaney, among other subjects.
After a brief moment to remember the time that Prince took it upon himself to redecorate Carlos Boozer’s home, and despite an unexpected timing out of the lighting in Gabriella’s location that briefly plunged our podcast into darkness, we ventured into the Funbag. There we found questions on the best practices for traveling alone, and a prompt to consider songs ruined by repetition in film or television. Because I am so relentlessly positive, and driven to bring that positivity to as many people as possible, I answered that one by mentioning a recent video that elevated my appreciation for a song I have loved dearly for many years.
We will not top the Black Sabbath Wombat, in this podcast or any one likely to follow. There’s just no way to do that. But between including this graceful creature and Nicolas Cage’s personal menagerie, I’m prepared to call it a win.
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