Paper Monitor: Hellish interview

  • 3 June 2013

Paper Monitor is indulging in a spot of rubbernecking - Janice Turner's car-crash of an interview with actor Rhys Ifans.

Turner, herself, refers to it as a "truly awful encounter" on Twitter, and it will, no doubt, rank among the most deliciously gruesome of celebrity interviews.

"The interview from Hell" is how the Times signposts the rendezvous between the journalist and the actor on its front page. Safe to say, this did not go swimmingly.

There are a number of actors whose hellraiser reputation proceed them to such an extent that landing the interview should come with a health warning - the late Oliver Reed and Charlie Sheen come to mind.

But Turner apparently wasn't expecting anything untoward from Ifans - although she admits she should have spotted the "warning signs" - the email from his publicist saying that under no circumstances should she mention his ex Sienna Miller, or the report of his "slapping a guest at a pre-Bafta party".

"I expected him to be as good natured and bouncy as most-loved role [Hugh Grant's Notting Hill flatmate]," she admits.

With this in mind, Turner was probably reasonably well disposed towards Ifans. After all, as she points out, actors are not her favourite interviewees: "The game is you listen politely while they plug their film. In return you hope they will offer up - without you having to prod and pester like some celebrity stalker - the tiniest nugget of anecdote, a shard of light upon their real selves."

Well, Ifans offers it - in spades.

He starts with this greeting: "I'm going out for a fag and a p***." Hardly the Sex Pistols meet Bill Grundy, but still not very polite.

The Welsh actor appear combative from the outset.

He "takes instant affront" to a question about how often he returns to Wales.

"There's a pornographication [sic]," he says, "culturally, when I'm interviewed. You're obsessed by my Welshness as opposed to what I am."

From that point on, Turner says that each of her "friendly" questions are "picked apart with disdain".

There are too many gloriously hilarious quotes to mention. But this exchange must be reproduced in full.

Turner asks whether Ifans has settled into domesticity with girlfriend Anna Friel and her daughter.

RI: "What do you want to know? Do I worm the cat?

JT: "Well do you?"

RI: "I worm the cat and I f***ing wash up and I mow the lawn."

JT: "Really"?

Cue "Poisonous glare".

RI: "No I worm the lawn and I mow the cat."

And it's after this that Turner says the conversation "spirals downhill".

"Ifans becomes more incoherent and sweary, ranting about child abuse, how prosecutions such as those in Rochdale and Oxford are racist."

Until finally, he announces: "I wanna end this interview now. I'm bored with you. Bored. Bored."

After storming out, Turner runs into the actor as she is leaving the hotel.

"I was just bored," he reminds her.

Despite all of this, Turner admits to admiring Ifans for refusing to play the "PR game".

Apparently, according to Ifans's PR team, the slurred delivery was down to the fact he was taking "antibiotics" and the fact he lost his temper down to the fact that he had received "bad news" from Wales a few weeks ago.

Speaking of the land of his birth, according to the Daily Post in north Wales, Ifans has donated a wardrobe to his old school Ysgol Pentrecelyn, which is holding a fund-raising auction on Friday.

Apparently, Nia Mon from the school's parent-teacher association was quoted by the paper as saying the only disappointment is that Ifans won't be able to "pop out of the wardrobe to make a surprise appearance as he is filming in Los Angeles that day".

Well it certainly wouldn't be "boring" - but Paper Monitor thinks this particular PTA has had a lucky escape. Particularly if Ifans is still on the antibiotics.

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