By ROSIE WATERLAND
Not long ago, Mamamia editor Jamila called me on my day off and asked if I’d be happy to interview Toni Collette about her new film, The Way Way Back.
After I stopped screaming and picked up the phone I’d just dropped, I accepted without a second thought, only to hang up and immediately have one million second thoughts.
What the frig do I know about interviewing a celebrity? Nothing. I know nothing.
But, for the sake of a possible life-long friendship between me and Toni, I decided to do what any hard-hitting journalist would: fake it.
First, I’m sent to see the film in a private screening room. Already I feel ridiculously important. The film is, honestly, fantastic. Written by Oscar-winning screenwriting team Nat Faxon and Jim Rash (of the The Descendants fame), The Way Way Back follows Duncan, a shy 14-year-old boy, as he goes on vacation with his mother Pam (Toni Collette) and her overbearing boyfriend (Steve Carell). Having trouble fitting in, Duncan befriends the manager of the local water park (Sam Rockwell). The film is the perfect combination of hilarious and uplifting – definitely one of my favourites this year.
A few days after the screening (and after telling approximately 379 people I was interviewing Toni Collette), I’m sitting in the lobby of a very fancy hotel waiting to talk to my new BFF. It’s only then that I realise I may be a touch out of my league.
First of all, I brought a backpack with me. A backpack. It’s just what I carry to work everyday because it fits my laptop, but when going to visit an A-Lister… TAKE A FANCY CLUTCH ROSIE. And just as I’m cursing my bag-related idiocy (and trying to figure out if there’s somewhere I can stash it before I go in to see Toni), in walks Angela Bishop. Glamazon of celebrity journalism glamazons. She looks glorious as she strides over to the front desk in her 25-inch heels. I glance down at my Converse sneakers. Crap.
A publicist comes to escort me to the hotel room Toni is waiting in. First we wait outside an elevator. Then in a hallway. Then another. I can feel myself getting closer and closer to her inner sanctum. Finally I’m outside the door. Then… TONI.
I am actually standing in a hotel room with Toni freaking Collette. I’m beaming like an idiot. She stands up to shake my hand as her publicist says: “Toni, this Rosie from Mamamia.”
“Hi Rosie,” she says. “I’m Toni.”
“Hi,” I say. “I’m Rosie.”
I admit that this is my fist ever interview and she’s nothing but lovely about it. “Really? Oh my god – I’m popping your interview cherry!” she laughs. “I’m so excited!”
She says she likes my hair (OMG!) and we start chatting. The publicist leaves us alone, obviously having noticed I’m a professional and can take it from here. That, or she spotted my backpack and deduced I wouldn’t be asking the hard questions.