AV Club’s list of “17 Notoriously Prickly Interview Subjects” features Hollywood’s most irascible personalities: Billy Bob Thornton, Bob Dylan, Marlon Brando, Lou Reed, Gene Simmons, Gallagher, Tommy Lee Jones, Robert De Niro. Two entries are especially near and dear to the hearts of fans.
Harlan Ellison logs in at #10:
Essayist/critic/screenwriter/author Harlan Ellison isn’t a prickly interview subject in the sense of many people on this list, in that he doesn’t seem to hate interviews or deliberately set out to make things hard for interviewers specifically. (Unless they seem unprepared, off-base, or otherwise likely to waste his time. His initial response to a softball opening question in a 1998 A.V. Club interview with Onion writer John Krewson: “This is by you an interview question, right? Let’s get a little more specific, since you and I both have a limited amount of life to live and I’d just as soon not turn this interview into a career.”)
Another sf fan favorite ranks even higher — at #3 — Harrison Ford:
His body language is slouched and defeated; his answers are short, curt, and mumbled; and when the questions aren’t to his liking, he lashes out.
[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]
Leonard Maltin says he learned how to deal with Tommy Lee Jones: he ignored the insults, just kept asking straightforward questions. His perseverance seems to have impressed the actor, who now >requests< to be interviewed by Maltin (on those occasions when he has to be interviewed at all).
After Forry died, I learned–much to my surprise–that one of his fans was Billy Bob Thornton, who tried but failed to rearrange his schedule to attend the Forry memorial held at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood.
Harrison Ford is notoriously shy, and also, ahem, very likely to be enhanced by a smokable drug.