Rhys Ifans gives the ‘interview from hell’, tells interviewer to ‘f–k off’

Rhys Ifans is back in the news, and it’s really bad news. Rhys Ifans sat down for an interview with Janice Turner of The Times UK, and it’s being called “the interview from hell” and “the worst celebrity interview ever” and “a journalistic farce”. Maybe people don’t care about Rhys all that much these days – he has a long history of douchey behavior and his career isn’t all that great these days – but I didn’t really think it would get THIS bad. The reaction in the UK press has been a lot of hand-wringing and inside-the-media circle-jerks – go here and here to read two prominent reactions to the piece. So what exactly happened during “the interview from hell”? Unfortunately, you have to be a paid subscriber to The Times to read the whole thing, so here are some highlights:

*Before the interview even took place, Turner was instructed not to ask Rhys about A) Sienna Miller, B) slapping a guest at a BAFTA party in 2008, C) his girlfriend Anna Friel and her plans to freeze her eggs until he’s ready for fatherhood (which Friel had said herself). Turner meets Ifans at a London hotel.

*Janice Turner asks Rhys about his Welshness and Rhys turned surly and condescending. Turner writes that he’s “one of those actors who believes that he’s an ‘artist'”. Turner also writes that he has a “low opinion of journalists… He wants to make it absolutely clear to me that I am his intellectual inferior. When I try to clarify, he just talks over me until I am silent.”

*When asked if Rhys thought about press regulations, he consulted with his publicist about whether or not he should say anything, and then “he mumbled something about the press requiring ‘liberty’ but contended ‘they should also be curtailed when they f–king lie.’” By then, Turner writes, he was glaring at her and she knew the conversation had gone sour.

*When asked about his relationship with Anna Friel, he says “What do you want to know? Do I worm the cat?” I worm the cat and I f–king wash up and I mow the lawn… No, I worm the lawn and I mow the cat.”

*When asked about his career success, Ifans replied: “I don’t give a s–t.”

*”Every topic seems to irritate him more”, she wrote. So she tried her “emergency question, the one guaranteed to flatter and distract conceited or angry interviewees.” What book is he reading? “After saying he was reading about Rasputin, he descended rapidly into a expletive-laden response that, wrote Turner, ‘spirals downhill’.”

*She asked a question about the government which was the straw that broke the camel’s back, apparently. At first he just says, “I dunno, there’s two, isn’t there?” Then he ended the interview with “F—k off. I wanna end this interview now. I’m bored with you. Bored. Bored.”

*Post-interview, Rhys’s publicist sends frantic emails “explaining” Rhys’ behavior, claiming that he was on antibiotics and he was “coming to terms with bad news he’d received a few weeks ago in Wales.” The publicist claimed that one of Turner’s questions had set him off but Rhys had “really enjoyed” meeting her. Then Rhys (or “Rhys”) sent flowers.

[Via The Guardian & The Standard]

A lot of the hand-wringing about this piece is about how ALL celebrity profiles are stupid and they need to end because it’s just an exercise in futility. But I disagree. I think a lot of the junket press stuff could end, because those are just gauntlets in boredom for the actors, with every outlet asking the same questions over and over. But there’s a grand tradition to the magazine or newspaper profile, and some actors are able to handle themselves well. It’s a skill like any other, something to be developed through practice and trial and error. Channing Tatum is great interview in print. As is Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Evans, Liam Neeson, and yes, Gwyneth Paltrow. It’s not that you have to like the celebrity to enjoy a good celebrity profile or interview, it’s that the celebrity has to be quotable, interesting, and willing to play along with being questioned. Honesty helps, but it isn’t the most important thing.

Rhys Ifans made several rookie mistakes, which surprises me. First, assume that you’re always on the record. You can’t just tell the interviewer to “f—k off” and not expect that to make it into the profile. Two, stop whining. Don’t bitch and moan and be sour and nasty. Three, just be game for whatever.

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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81 Responses to “Rhys Ifans gives the ‘interview from hell’, tells interviewer to ‘f–k off’”

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  1. T.fanty says:

    He seems like a self-important, pompous douche. I also doubt, at his level of fame, that he has been through enough press junkets to be truly tired of the format. He should be thankful that The Times is giving him publicity.

    • Liv says:

      I just pity the journalist and especially the publicist. No fun to work with actors/celebrity’s and depend on them when all you want to do is scream at them to sit the fuck down and behave like normal people do.

      • V4Real says:

        I agree with Kaiser on the list of names that she gave about which celebs give great interviews except Goop. I just have to add that my hubby RDJ gives the best interviews of all, in print or live.

        Rhys is just an ass. He should be greatful that anybody that has something to do with media wants to sit down with him. It’s not like people are beating down his door; ain’t nobody checking for him.

    • Faye says:

      He’s quite well-known in England, so he probably has been through a press junket or two in his day. But yeah, agree with him being a douche.

  2. brin says:

    Twat, why did he even bother to show up.

    • Denise says:

      Apparently because he likes to torture ‘inferior’ journalists! And what if he didn’t meet someone that day that he could tell to F off? What a crap day that would be! Anna Friel could do better, I think?

  3. allons-y alonso says:

    Wow! Sounds like he woke up on the wrong side of the cage that morning…and every other morning too, it seems

  4. Badirene says:

    He has always come across as a prized prat. His career is hardly red hot now or ever, he should try being pleasant and treating interviews, however tedious, as part of his job or get other employment.

  5. David99 says:

    What a dick!

  6. Mia 4S says:

    You are all just jealous of this artist’s stunning, layered portrayal of the Lizard in Spider-Man!! 😉

    • FLORC says:

      And the soccer (football) player in the replacements!

    • Lulu says:

      I did love him in Notting Hill.

      • Apples says:

        I ADORED him in Nottinghill. I laughed SO hard, recently rewatched it and he was still funny. Too bad he’s a d!ck but, I guess he can at least act like a lovable person.

  7. Lucy2 says:

    Why even do interviews then? Make it part of your contract that you don’t have to promote. Because to agree to it and then behave this way just makes him an ass.

    And yeah, I’m sure “antibiotics” were the problem, lol.

    • Mia 4S says:

      Does he have the “power” to refuse to do publicity? I know guys like DiCaprio or Bale are able to limit it (but still do some).

      Celebrity profiles are pretty useless but that’s the business. But Kaiser your list of actors you’ve liked in print…really? With Goop all I can do is play count the lies and with Chris Evans I just wanted to get the guy some therapy. 🙂

      • Anna says:

        Refuse publicity? He isn’t Angelina, there are no hundreds of outlets outside his door clamoring for his attention. It’s such a small part of his job – which he can quit any time he wants to (even an ‘artist’ can go work in an office) – and he can’t perform it on the most basic levels.

        By the way I HATE HATE HATE all the celeb whinging about ‘I am an Artist, I am above this whole bullsh*t of selling myself or my projects.’

        Practically all great artists, starting with the Renaissance establishment and Impressionist revolutionaries had to sell themselves. They sold themselves to patrons (be it church or rich individuals), created a lot of pieces ‘to order’ so that they had the means to work on their passion projects, and promoted themselves like crazy on the salon circuits. That’s straight up the media junket of the 18th-19th centuries!

    • TG says:

      Yes I was going to say that too. Since regency do antibiotics cause someone to be rude and obnoxious? He is ugly as sin too so he should be thankful anyone wants to listen to him let alone look at him. Also if celebs act like brats why do magazines, newspapers and TV put up with it? Only interview the respectful ones and the others will be so jealous for attention they will learn to behave.

    • FLORC says:

      He isn’t the 1st celeb to play the “antibiotics made me do it” card. It’s weird they think that’s an excuse. A lot say when they drink on Antibiotics it changes their personality and they all become surly. I think it’s just the alcohol though. Antibiotics can make you photosensitive which can make you cranky in bright lights I guess…, but that’s a stretch.

      and can someone explain “Worm the Cat” to me? Sounds like junkie talk to me.

      • Karen says:

        I think he means he deworms the cat, you know, because cats sometimes get worms. Ask a cat owner.

        But seriously, I think this is a career killing move. If he were a bigger star, he could probably lay low for a while or something and bounce back. But since he’s not a big star…well…you don’t want to piss off the people who write about you.

      • LAK says:

        ‘worm the cat’ = giving the cat medicine for worms.

      • Gisby says:

        Cats get intestinal worms if you let them roam. You have to give them ‘de-worming’ pills. This is called worming the cat. I don’t know if it’s still as common as it was.

      • FLORC says:


        I’ve had 3 family cats in my lifetime. None got worms because I think we always guarded against it, but I do know what it is. I’ve just ever thought it would be so common that it would be in the same sentence as mowing the lawn or to just be relatively frequent in nature.

        Fully agree with you. He’s not a huge star that can bounce back because he was a loveable character once. If anything this can only be repaired because we’ve all forgotten who he is imo.

      • steph says:

        Lol! I just assumed that worm the cat was a euphemism for sex. The “worm” being the male appendage and the pussy “cat” being the………well you get the picture. And in keeping with the theme, I figured that “mow the lawn” was referrencing shaving.

        In my defence, that rant was triggered by the journalist asking about his girlfriend. It was a logical leap, no?

      • FLORC says:

        At first glance I absolutely thought the same! I thought about searching for it, but not being on my home computer I couldn’t risk the search engine logging my history and getting a call from IT asking why I needed to know how to worm and mow a cat. You’re not alone!

    • jaye says:

      I’m gonna go to work and tell my boss and some of my co-workers to f-k off and when I’m called down to HR I’ll tell them that I was on antibiotics. I wonder how that’d go over?

  8. Jaded says:

    Apparently he has a severe drinking problem – he was probably either hideously hung over or had too many pre-interview pops to fuel his angst. Either way he’s a has-been waste of space who could have had a wonderful comedic career but decided to be a professional lout instead.

    • littlestar says:

      I agree. I even remember when Notting Hill came out and my dad took my mom to see it, and they came home and said, “Whoever the man is who plays Spike, he’s going to make it big, he’s such a great comedian”. They went on for days about how good an actor he was. So sad that he didn’t let that happen :(. What is it today with celebrities throwing away opportunities they receive?

  9. Pip says:

    Just as background for people who don’t know her, Janice Turner is a fabulous journalist.

    She’s very bright, feisty, intelligent, feminist, thoughtful, switched on – very impressive & one of my absolute favourite journalists.

    I sound like a real fangirl …. so what: I am. Janice Turner & Caitlin Moran are both invitees to my fantasy dinner party.

    • LAK says:

      me too.

    • JenD says:

      I’ve never heard of her, but I love the fact that she didn’t try to just put a positive spin on the article. She wrote how he really was (an a$$hat).

    • DreamyK says:

      I picked up Caitlan Moran’s book “How to be a Woman” this past week and am really looking forward to reading it.

      Rhys is a steamy pile. Being a raving alcoholic isn’t an excuse, either. To treat the interviewer,Janice, a respected journalist and interviewer with a degree from Univ of Sussex, like he’s intellectually superior to her?

      Bitch, please.

      • Pip says:

        DreamyK I LOVED that book – read it twice back to back & it made me literally laugh out loud many, many times. Lucky you.

        I hope Caitlin Moran’s not starting to become over-exposed here in the UK (I’m assuming you’re in the States?) – she’s been everywhere for the past year or so & even has a sit-com starting in the next few weeks ….

  10. mkyarwood says:

    I don’t think he was just on antibiotics. It sounds like he wasn’t really present.. wonder what the bad news was.

  11. Cel says:

    If that’s his attitude, why bother doing the interview in the first place? It doesn’t sound as if he was there publicising anything, but if he was he is entitled to request no questions about his personal life without being so rude – after all he could always say “no comment”.

  12. Mary says:

    Chuck should have stayed with Lupin is all I have to say about this.

    • LucyS says:

      That was one of those celebrity break ups that made me sad. Ifans is a MAJOR downgrade from Lupin.

      • Lucija says:

        I liked Ifans ever sine he played Spike in Notting Hill. Sad to hear he’s a douche.

        But Lupin wins. Lupin always wins.

    • sputnik says:

      yes! i didn’t even know this had happened. what a trade down.

      • Mary says:

        I didn’t know they had broken up either! I loved Ifans in Notting Hill, but honestly, Lupin >>>> Spike.

    • Luciana says:

      I could not agree more! What the eff does she see in this douche? And why the hell would she want to bring it’s spawn into the world??

  13. Keats says:

    Aw damn. I don’t like finding out that the actors I like are asshats. I guess I should start doing research instead of going in blind.

  14. amanda says:

    I’ve never met an intellectually superior individual who felt the need to proclaim it. Must be rough. Guy sounds like a twat and I totally thought I was opening a story about johnathon rhys meyer. This guys name recognition doesn’t explain away the diva attitdue.

  15. The Wizz says:

    I find it interesting/amusing that.the question designed to flatter and distract the interviewee is about what book they’re reading. What if they don’t read books? I don’t!

  16. Lucretia says:

    Wow, too bad. I like him as an actor (thought he was great in Anonymous, though the film didn’t do well) but he seems to have a self-destructive streak.

    • Tig says:

      You are the only other person I have heard of that saw “Anonymous”! Can’t say I liked him in that role. However, re- watched “Vanity Fair” the other day, and thought he was great in that.

  17. Sookie says:

    I don’t get what’s so great about this guy. Why is he even on the radar!???

  18. MyLittlePony says:

    I used to have a kind of crush on him about ten years ago, but definitely not anymore. He sounds like a person with a serious drinking problem. OMG! Is Thewlis yet single? 😀

  19. H. Scott says:

    As if an actor who dated Sienna Miller could EVER be anyone’s intellectual superior.

  20. The Original Mia says:

    Haven’t been a fan in a long while. Not after hearing how much of a wanker he was at Comic Con. I loved his character in the Replacements, but real life Rhys Ifans is a twat. No thanks.

  21. AustinMJ says:

    Shocking. He seems like a fairly good natured guy. Instead he is a self absorbed a-hole. Notting Hill will never be the same for me. Thanks Rys.

  22. Guesto says:

    To think Anna Friel left the divine and infinitely more talented David Thewlis (now there’s an actor worth interviewing) for this self-reverential, petulant mess.

    • sputnik says:

      thewlis aside, she’s had pretty horrendous taste in men. robbie williams, darren day, now rhys ifans.

      • don't kill me i'm french says:

        you forgot christian Bale and Joaquim Phoenix at the end of 90’s: according to Bale’s ex-assistant/publicist,they even had an argument about her

  23. HappyMom says:

    Mentally ill? Drug and alcohol problems? This is just so over the top I can’t believe it’s just somebody being a dick.

  24. Greenie says:

    I don’t even know who this man is or what he is from and I hope it stays that way.

  25. Green Is Good says:

    Rhys should be grateful anybody is still interested in interviewing him.

    Good actor, @ssh*le of a human being. When did he decide it’s OK to be extremely rude and treat other people like crap?

  26. GiGi says:

    I always thought those junkets are so awful – truly brutal – for everyone involved (side-eye that “say my name” interview lady). They’re all glad handy and gooey but not journalistic in any way. Every reporter asks the same (approved) questions and every actor gives every outlet the same response.

    I wish there were someone who had a schtick for those things that wasn’t terrible (another side-eye to “say my name” interview lady). Something entertaining for the talent AND the people watching. If I could come up with that, I’d have myself a job, lol!

  27. Jess says:

    He’s a dick, but frankly, given his level of fame this has to be the best case scenario for The Times (bar a tell-all about his relationship with Sienna). If he was perfectly lovely and boring it would have gotten zero attention, now The Times is getting mentioned all across the media. I’m sure they’d be happy to have more ‘interview’s from hell’.

  28. la chica says:

    Rhys gets a pass just for being the best thing in Nottinghill. Love those ass cheeks!

  29. ViktoryGin says:

    Gives one new apprecistion for the quasi-sycophancy of Hiddleston. Kaiser, you’re absolutely right in that learning how to effectively interview is a SKILL. I think that ultimately this process is easier for extraverted types who like people and small talk, but if one has an onery turn of mind it csn be potentially disastrous. Sometimes, I still don’t know how Daniel Craig makes it. It’s the same asinine questions that little to no substance often exacerbated by these over-compensating interviwers (not legit journalists, necessarily) trying to set themselves apart. It’s pretty much why I only bother if James Lipton or Charlie Rose are handling the interview. Artists and entertainers seems to respect them and the questions are actually about their craft rather than who they f*cked last night so the celebrities seem to trust them, which makes for a much better interview. It’s not excuse for a celebrity to virtually abuse their interviewer (see Jesse Eisenberg), but I understand disaffection.

    contain nexr to little substance

  30. ViktoryGin says:

    It’s so disappointing because I think that Ifans is a fantastic actor. I thought he did an amazing job playing an erotomaniac in Endless Love. Hare to learn that he’s an ass. This is why I steer clear of celebrity interviews a lot. I would just rather preserve the delusion that the person actually approaches decency and has something that resembles good ethics.

  31. JC says:

    So, besides being a bit of a scene stealer in a Julia Roberts RomCom that came out over 10 years ago, what exactly is he good for?

  32. Aud says:

    I think that when a person stipulates that they do not wish to answer questions about their private lives [spouses, etc], then that is a reasonable request and that journalist overriding these requests are overstepping the line and deserve to be told off.
    Of course it’s not the journalists fault always as there is an editor above them being a demanding douche, willing to subject the journo to all sorts of hellish torments in order to get a story.

    In any case, Rhys Ifans should be so lucky to receive any attention.
    I live in Australia. The last time he has been or is probably remembered to have been in anything of note, was when he was Enduring Love.
    Apart from that, he has practically disappeared from the sociological imagination of Australians and I imagine that he is barely a blip on the radar of Americans, and rightly so.
    When you’re more known for your relationship with Sienna Miller, then it’s time to pick yourself up by the boot straps and get to work.

    • Bridget says:

      If you read the quotes, he’s not getting mad because she asked personal questions, he’s just being a jerk.

      • Aud says:

        I read the quotes. At the end of the day she still asked him questions that weren’t supposed to be asked and her other questions weren’t anything exciting either, they were quite lame and largely irrelevant, like ‘what are you reading.’ What type of a question is that? It’s the question you’d ask your fifty year old neighbour during book club meetings…

        Not all celebrities are accommodating, nor do they have to be – if they’re successful and working, but my point is that he shouldn’t be so arrogant.
        In our culture today, most filmgoers appear to choose their films according to the popularity of actors.

      • Esme says:

        She didn’t ask anything objectionable–he’s just a gigantic, self-important and obviously self-deluded ass.

  33. Faye says:

    Antibiotics are an excuse for acting like an a**hole? Good to know! I’m on some now for ear and sinus infections; off to stick it to everyone who’s been pissing me off the past few years. They’ll understand, right? 🙂

  34. Bridget says:

    It speaks volumes about Anna Friel that she is with this guy. He is AWFUL. Remember when he got kicked out of ComicCon last summer for punching someone (or did he start a fight?)?

  35. Nikki says:

    Reminds me of the old interviews that Jonny Rotten used to give to MTV. Total prick.

  36. lady_luck says:

    All I can say is: “Run Anna Friel, run!!!!!”

  37. rob loader says:

    Never made a good film.

  38. Esme says:

    You’d think someone this hideous would try to be as pleasant as possible. I didn’t even realize he was still around; thought he was a one-hit wonder. What a douche.