Emma Stone, ahead of the release of Netflix’s Maniac, covers the new issue of ELLE and specifically requested to be interviewed by her close friend Jennifer Lawrence. Emma Stone + Jennifer Lawrence? It would have been an instant sell for the magazine, obviously. They’re two of the most successful young movie stars in Hollywood. Of course ELLE would want to get them in the same room.
But … is this becoming a trend? A sh-tty trend?
A couple of weeks ago, there was an article in the Daily Beast about Beyoncé’s Vogue September issue, about how she wasn’t interviewed and instead wrote her own answers. And whether or not it was an “insult to journalism”. I understand the writer’s position…but I also don’t think it’s fair to put this just on Beyoncé and not engage in a more complete assessment of the state of celebrity journalism. Remember, Angelina Jolie covered Harper’s Bazaar last year and she wrote a letter instead of being interviewed. Last year, Jennifer Aniston was interviewed for Harper's Bazaar by Amy Sedaris, a close friend. Recently Jen covered InStyle and the interview was with another friend, Molly McNearney. The points that the Daily Beast brings up, about follow-up questions and journalistic curiosity and unbiased challenges during the conversation being lost when Beyoncé decides to interview herself also apply when a celebrity decides to be interviewed by their celebrity friend, non?
That’s not to say that I’m complaining, about either Beyoncé’s self-documentaries and self-interviews or Emma Stone and Jennifer Lawrence interviewing each other. That’s really the whole point of Interview Magazine, the conceit being that celebrities will be more forthcoming with their friends, reveal more about themselves. It’s a grey zone though, non? Because does this leave room for objectivity?
Or… is this even a thing? Celebrity magazine profiles, for years now, have been a jerk-off exercise anyway, so who gives a sh-t whether or not it’s Beyoncé by Beyoncé or Emma Stone by Jennifer Lawrence. There have been many proper magazine writers over the years who’ve produced profiles that are no less dick-sucky or circle-jerky. For the reader though, it wasn’t all that interesting. Half of it was inside jokes and the two of them mocking each other or exchanging quips. It’s one thing to watch that, say, on a late-night talk show. Or on their Instagram or Facebook account. Because you can see their expressions, read their body language. But reading it? What’s the value to me, the reader? Especially when there are such great writers out there right now producing such great content. Why do I care?
Or are the pictures the point? If that’s the case, you better make sure the pictures are worth it. Emma looks great in these shots. But by tomorrow I won’t be able to distinguish between these ones and other magazine photos. So. If the story isn’t sticking and the pictures aren’t sticking… what is working here?
It only makes you appreciate more the work of writers like E Alex Jung, Caity Weaver, Taffy Brodesser-Akner, Hunter Harris, Daivd Marchese, Jia Tolentino, Jada Yuan, Kevin Nguyen – those are the pieces we want to spend time with, that tell us something, that teach us something. I’m still trying to figure out what there is to take away from Jennifer Lawrence interviewing Emma Stone.