David Marchese has a reputation for getting quotes from celebrities that go viral on social media. With last weekend’s debut of the reworked Talk column for The New York Times Magazine, the writer is bringing his knack for celebrity interviews to a wider audience.
His “In Conversation” columns at Vulture and New York magazine were notable for getting fresh and even controversial comments from celebrities who had been interviewed countless times before.
Last year’s profile of Quincy Jones – the record producer whose storied career has put him at the nexus of culture, business and politics – had revelations about Michael Jackson, Marlon Brando, the Beatles, Donald Trump and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.
And that was a week after Jones had seemingly exhausted himself with a GQ interview filled with recollections of Picasso, Ray Charles, Malcom X, Frank Sinatra, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and even one-time Nazi propaganda filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl.
“I really just want to have authentic conversations about what somebody thinks, about how they feel about a given subject,” Marchese told Adweek. He prepares for interviews by reading every profile he can find about a subject and type up pages of questions. Marchese then winnows down those questions and memorizes them to avoid breaking up the rhythm of the interview.
Actor Meg Ryan, whose appearance in romantic comedies like “When Harry Met Sally” and “Sleepless in Seattle” helped to redefine the genre for a new generation, is featured in the first Talk column. She revealed that she’s now writing a rom-com after leaving Hollywood more than 10 years ago to focus on her personal life.
“I like the famous I am now: I walk into other people’s paparazzi photos, but I can also get a restaurant reservation,” Ryan said in the interview.
Marchese said he really wants to interview Thomas Pynchon, author of the post-modern magnum opus “Gravity’s Rainbow,” who is notoriously reclusive. That would be a fantastic “get," he noted in a Times Insider piece where he himself was interviewed.