Oscar hosts won't make any nasty jokes
Updated: 2011-02-23 15:10
LOS ANGELES – When the producers of the Academy Awards settled on the idea of staging the Oscars as a visual journey through movie history, they decided the hosts should be young, energetic actors who could pull it off.
Come February 27, viewers will see James Franco, 32, and Anne Hathaway, 28, travel back in time in an ambitious opening montage and become immersed in a digitally-enhanced "virtual" set. To kick off Oscar week, The Hollywood Reporter corralled Franco and Hathaway for their first interview together.
RICKY GERVAIS MADE SOME ENEMIES AT THE GOLDEN GLOBES. AND AT THE 2005 OSCARS, CHRIS ROCK SINGLED OUT JUDE LAW AND DID A WHOLE BIT ON HOW HE WAS IN EVERY MOVIE. A LOT OF PEOPLE THINK IT HURT LAW'S CAREER. ANY ZINGERS PLANNED?
Hathaway: I hope Chris Rock never says that about me. I can guarantee that if you're looking for someone to call people out, we're not your hosts. I think that humor is really difficult to pull off, and I'm not particularly adept at it. I wouldn't feel comfortable doing it. Also, I don't mean to sound overly serious, but I am the youngest host in history and I have no business being cynical or calling anyone out. I certainly haven't earned the right to do that.
HOW INVOLVED HAVE YOU BEEN IN THE CREATION OF THIS NEW PLAN FOR THE SHOW?
Hathaway: The show was pretty much laid out when we were asked. We were given a presentation. So we knew the concept behind the show and what the moving parts would be. We're not writing the jokes or the scenarios but we are collaborating with the writers to figure out what fits. It's so different doing live comedy, that's kind of the scariest thing about it. Being funny in a movie usually has to do with how committed you are to your character. But standing up and telling jokes is not something that comes easily to me.
YOU MUST HAVE WATCHED SOME OLD OSCAR SHOWS. GOT ANY FAVORITES?
Hathaway: Jack Palance, man. Jack Palance doing the pushups (on the 1992 telecast), I can watch that forever. And the way Billy Crystal incorporated it into the show. "Jack Palance just bungee-jumped off the Hollywood sign." "Jack Palance is now in space." All these kids from Peter Pan did this really sweet, earnest song, and Billy Crystal comes out and says, "Jack Palance fathered all those children." (Laughs).
WHO'S GIVEN YOU THE BEST ADVICE ABOUT HOSTING?
Hathaway: Alec Baldwin, when I ran into him a couple weeks ago, said "the thing to remember is, it's not about you."
Franco: I talked to Jon Stewart. He's done it twice (in 2006 and 2008). He said he felt a little weird doing it because he didn't feel like he was exactly from that world. He talked about this with Letterman too, and they are comedians, talk-show hosts, and here they were presenting to film people and they kinda felt like outsiders. Because of that, it wasn't necessarily antagonistic, but there was some sort of disconnect. He said we'll be fine because we're more insiders, though I feel like kind of an outsider.
YOU'RE A NOMINEE (FOR "127 HOURS"). DOESN'T GET MUCH MORE INSIDER.
Franco: Oh yeah, I forgot.
DO YOU FEEL LESS PRESSURE NOW?
Franco: Well, nobody is shy about saying Colin Firth is going to win. I've accepted that. By hosting, it makes it easier to go to the events and not feel like a total schmo.
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