Who needs professional journalists?
Will Ferrell and Joaquin Phoenix did a Q&A cover story by themselves for Interview, and the results are unsurprisingly amazing. Phoenix, a mercurial type who doesn’t often grant one-on-ones, came across as pretty normal. And Ferrell called him a “little bitch,” which was great.
The biggest non-surprise? When two interesting, talented people feel (somewhat) comfortable chatting, you’ll learn a thing or two! So, below, 10 great life lessons from the epic Phoenix-Ferrell chat (note to Hollywood: these two would make a great movie pairing, and no, not for Daddy’s Home 3).
1. “It’s okay as an adult to say, ‘No, I’m not going. I just don’t want to go.’”
Ferrell invites Phoenix over for a Super Bowl viewing party next year. The Gladiator star thanks him and says, “I’m not interested” and that he won’t be doing that. Guess what? As a grown man, you can also do this!
2. Group dates are usually terrible.
Ferrell announces he’s going to a group Valentine’s Day dinner. “That sounds awful,” replies Phoenix. Refer to no. 1 if you need advice on what to do in this situation.
3. Stop acting like the person you think people want you to be.
“One person is always mad at me for being too serious, and the next person is mad at me for not answering the question with a real answer,” Phoenix laments. It should be noted that despite this, he tends to act however he damn well pleases, no matter the company.
4. Realizing the harm you're potentially creating is the first step to making things better.
Phoenix, on horseback riding: “I didn’t like riding horses. I actually regretted having to ride. I’m a little clueless, because I don’t think that I really thought about it that much until I was there and realized, ‘Oh, it’s a Western and we’re on horses a lot.’ I hadn’t really considered that. I felt bad about riding them. I had the feeling that they were like, ‘I don’t really want you on my back.’” Look, we have no idea if horses “enjoy” doing work for humans, but we all should certainly think about it before jumping on, right?
5. Don't give someone bad advice.
Phoenix's advice for aspring actors? “I got nothing.” Hooray honesty!
6. “Go pee first.”
On the other hand, Phoenix shares some live advice John C. Reilly once gave him, and it’s perfect.
7. Try new things — but also don't be afraid to abandon them.
“I usually have a very strong desire to participate in an experience, and then shortly thereafter, I have an overwhelming desire to move as far away from it as possible. And then I try to get out of doing it.” This is me, and probably you, and apparently Joaquin, every day of our collective lives.
8. No, you don't need social media.
“Because I'm 42”: Why Joaquin, and indirectly, the older Will, are not on social media.
9. Before you decide to have kids, learn to live with bananas.
Phoenix: “Having bananas around the house is like having kids ... I grew up in a big family with a lot of kids, and I have to say that the smell of rotting bananas seemed to permeate the household throughout my entire childhood ... If you wanted to know what it’s like to have kids, you could get a banana and throw it on your bed for a few weeks, then you’d kind of know what you’re going to be dealing with.”
“We have kids, and we have a lot of bananas — even though I’m not sure if our kids even like bananas,” adds Ferrell.
10. “I think we should’ve ended it in the beginning.”
Not true of this interview, but a great life lesson 99% of the time.
Will Ferrell photo by Eva Rinaldi/Flickr Creative Commons