I'm not sure what Stephen Whitty was expecting when he started the interview with Mila Kunis, but whatever it was, he probably didn't get it. Actually, it's painfully apparent that there was a lot that he wasn't getting with this interview.
In his piece for the Star-Ledger (h/t Uproxx), Whitty aims to illustrate a profile of the actress who is currently promoting the movie Third Person. Whitty opted to ask her questions he already knows the answers to, questions she's heard a million times. And when Kunis called him out on it, buddy freaked.
So what began as a profile of Mila Kunis the actress soon became a journey into Whitty's own trepidation and insecurity, attempting to explain away the awkwardness by any means necessary and trying desperately (so very desperately) to get him to respond to him positively.
Right off the bat, Whitty can't seem to get it right:
It turns into a pretty bumpy ride, too, as every question I ask over the next 25 minutes seems to strike her as either dull, insulting or burdened by some sort of agenda. Halfway through, I begin to wonder: She is engaged to Ashton Kutcher, after all. Am I being punked?
Because it couldn't possibly be that he's asking shitty questions. Nope, her gruffness must be the work of her man. Ashton, get out here you scrappy rascal!
Or, as I suspect still later, is she in a bad mood because this is day the explicit pregnancy details from that "Marie Claire" interview came out? And that Gawker.com quickly excerpted the rawest ones, making sure to get Kutcher's name, hers, and the word "vagina" in the headline?
Yep. She's in a bad mood. She's pregnant, she must be emotional. Keep in mind, this is all part of the introduction of Whitty's piece. The best is yet to come.
The interview is basically a 1700-word sad trombone noise, in which he ponders why Kunis isn't responding to him like she does in all those other pieces he saw or read. Seriously. In the 1,694-word piece on the interview, 664 words are dedicated to his internal monologue about how awful the interview is going and how hard he's trying to get her to respond to him.
When he attempts to ask her about her family's move to the US from the USSR, she doesn't give him much ground at all—she clearly doesn't want to talk about it. After a couple attempts to ask her about her connection to Ukraine:
"No," she interrupts. "I know what your next question is so let's just skip it. You're going to ask me what I think about what's going on now in Ukraine. Just because I lived there until I was seven doesn't mean I identify with Ukraine."
"It just seems weird to do an interview about 'Third Person' and then it becomes about Ukraine, and that's the headline," she says. "I do interviews and they seem like they're supposed to be one thing, and the writer has an idea, and then they become something else."
B-b-b-but #NotAllInterviews! In a last-ditch effort to salvage the situation, he tries to plain suck up to her.
When I try to compliment her on a string of movies — not just "Third Person," but "The Most Dangerous Man in Brooklyn" and "Blood Ties" and of course "Black Swan" — that have shown her taking on meatier roles, new challenges, she takes it as an insult.
"I hate when people ask me this question," she says. "People have this misconception that comedy's easy… I'm always looking for challenges and I find a lot of things to be challenging. It can be the director, the producer, a lot of things. I just want to work with people more talented than I am that I can learn from."
Then he ends with this gem:
...[M]aybe Kunis is ticked off at all reporters in general, after seeing that Gawker post. Hell, maybe she just picked up the phone after an awful bout of morning sickness (not that I'd risk offending her by asking).
And to be fair, it could all be me. Certainly in the past she's given a number of great interviews to other writers where, instead of seeming brusque or bored, she seemed candid and involved. So, signing off, I tell her I'm sorry this one seemed to upset her so much.
Great. He mansplains her attitude as OOPZ PREGNANT and then apologizes that his being but a humble reporter (again, not the crappy questions) made her emotional. This is a cautionary tale of when crappy journalism meets sexist rhetoric. But who knows? Maybe Ashton is behind all of this and we all just got punk'd?
Image via Getty.