Ask a dozen entertainment journalists what's the best way to get a good interview and they will give you a dozen different answers. But the single most important thing for me to remember is make sure you talk less than the person that you're interviewing. Typically they don't want your opinion about why a character did this or the filmmaker did that, and they almost never want to know what you thought of the movie as a whole, unless that reaction was 100 percent positive. So when I sat down to transcribe my interview with writer-director Nicolas Winding Refn, whose latest film Valhalla Rising was released in Los Angeles this week, I was discouraged to discover that I seemed to spend at least as much time talking as listening.
Thankfully, we were able to have a long and in-depth discussion of his work and his career, starting with Valhalla but soon moving on to his upcoming projects and the process of developing each film in the context of his previous ones. Not unlike his latest film, Refn is a model of still confidence, measurement and thought that makes his point clearly and compellingly. And even if I occasionally offered more explanation or opinion than was necessary, I was pleased that the only reason our interaction wasn't a good interview was because it was in fact a great conversation.