I've said it more than once: I don't like doing celebrity interviews. 9 times out of 10 you're not really there to interview them so much as you're there to help them sell their newest movie, and while those conversations can sometimes lead to some quality copy, it's more likely that you'll be stuck asking the same nine questions that 15 other entertainment writers just tossed out. And that makes for boring copy.
But when it comes to a celebrity like Jeffrey Tambor, who does NOT have a new movie coming out next week, I find it really hard to say no. Partially because I love actors like Mr. Tambor (and have been a fan of his since THE ROPERS, for cryin' out loud), but mainly because I think it's very interesting to chat with an actor about his/her entire body of work ... or at least a few random sections that I find most interesting. But ... this is not an interview piece. (Sorry.) I did spend about 15 minutes talking to Mr. Tambor about his films and the directors he's worked with, but I'm too busy to transcribe that piece right now.
And so I'll just tell you about the man's SXSW presentation itself. You're actually in luck, because Jeffrey Tambor's Acting Workshop was probably 19 times more fascinating than the brief Q&A session we shared. Easily one of the most popular "panels" I've ever attended at SXSW (and I've seen a bunch), the workshop was packed with hundreds of eager attendees. Mostly actors, of course, but also a lot of film critics, filmmakers, normal-joe badge-holders, and film / TV fans in general.
And to say that Jeffrey Tambor has a gift for public speaking is like saying the Titanic had a gift for unexpectedly submerging.