How Andrew Denton stumped Matt Damon
ANDREW Denton is back.
A decade after he wrapped up his hit ABC series, Enough Rope, the 57-year-old is returning to our screens with a new interview show on Channel Seven, which is creatively called Interview.
Like Enough Rope, the premise of Interview is simple: Two people, two chairs, one conversation. And just like Enough Rope, Denton will interview a mix of big celebrities and everyday people.
The entertainer is regarded as the best interviewer in Australia and at a media event in Sydney to promote his new show, Denton revealed the tactic he uses to get his guests to open up.
"It's the same challenge every time which is to surprise that guest enough that they are off their script," he said.
"Often a lot of what we're doing is allowing them [the guest] to be on script. We're asking them questions about things that they've been asked about before ... but it's then finding a way to ask a question that then makes them go, 'Oh, do I know the answer to that?'"
Denton cited his Enough Rope interview with Matt Damon and recalled how he stumped the Jason Bourne star with a simple question.
"To us, one of the best answers you can get to a question is silence," the TV presenter said.
"I remember once asking Matt Damon a really simple question which was, 'Are you a good actor?' And he was silent for about 10 seconds and I knew from the minute he went silent that whatever he said after that was going to be a real answer. You could see that he was thinking, 'I'm not sure I've had to answer that question. Am I a good actor?'"
Denton described how the challenge with interviewing big celebrities is that they've often been asked the same questions in other interviews.
"They are bored and it's boring for them," he said. "So it's finding that line between necessarily having to go through some of the stuff they've been asked about before but making it fresh for them as well.
"What I'm always looking for, the greatest stuff on television always, is honesty. It's part of the reason the Commonwealth Games are getting such huge audiences, because whatever goes on out there, it's honest."
A few episodes of Interview have already been filmed and Denton was relatively tight-lipped about some of the guests, but he did reveal that Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant, domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty and one of the world's best comedians will be making an appearance.
"I got a chance to sit down with the very brilliant comedian, Ross Noble," Denton said.
"Without giving away too much, it was just a fishing question to him ... I said, 'Are you always playful even when you're seductive?' Against his better nature, he contorted himself for about three minutes and said, 'I can't tell you this story, I haven't even told my wife this story.' And then proceeded to tell a story about something he had done in seduction before meeting his wife that was so gobsmacking and ultimately so funny."
Interview will debut on Channel Seven next Tuesday night at 9pm