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Feature
The Best Barry Norman Anecdotes From His Empire Podcast Interview
From nearly punching Robert De Niro to the real story about ‘And why not?’

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Though it’s been 16 years since he last hosted the BBC’s Film programme, Barry Norman has enjoyed a lasting influence on cinema criticism, his career casting a long shadow on both his presenting successors and movie lovers everywhere. Popping into the Empire Podcast recording booth recently for a lengthy special in honour of his latest book, See You In The Morning, he had so much to say on all manner of topics that we’ve broken out some particularly enjoyable anecdotes for you to read at your leisure. And why not?

WORDS BARRY NORMAN
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HE’S STILL NOT FOND OF BRUCE WILLIS

Barry Norman, Bruce Willis

Barry Norman“Oh God. Well, when he made Armageddon – you remember Armageddon, where a comet is about to destroy earth and Bruce gallantly flies up to the comet and blows himself and it up, saving the world – well, they had a preview of it at Cannes, just for film journalists, and this trailer was about fifty minutes long. It got to the point where Bruce is about to blow up the comet and himself and they’ve arranged some kind of telephone link-up, goodness knows how they did it, between the comet and earth, so he could talk to Liv Tyler, his daughter, for the last time, and this was obviously supposed to be the big, emotional moment in the movie… and the whole audience fell about. We were rolling about on the floor and Willis and the director and the producer came out and Willis was in a furious mood: ‘I didn’t know we’d made a comedy.’

“The next day he was up at the Hôtel du Cap, which is where all the bigwigs stayed – it’s a hotel so grand it doesn’t even take credit cards – and he was up there and he was supposed to be doing interviews with loads of people, and he was cutting interviews down to about two or three minutes, which is just about long enough to say, ‘Hello Bruce, how are you?’ and ‘Goodbye’ and then some he just didn’t do at all. He was supposed to have an hour off for lunch but he was away for about an hour and a half, and I had a date with him in the afternoon. He didn’t cut my time down but he was truculent and sulky. I said, ‘What did you feel about that reaction?’

“‘Oh gee, God – who reads critics?’ And I thought, ‘Well, you probably don’t as I’m not sure you can read.’ Then he said, ‘Nobody cares about critics’ and went on moaning. But if he’d simply said, ‘Look, I was a bit taken aback that everybody laughed, but if you see it in context in the film, you won’t laugh, you’ll be moved.’ If he’d done that, everybody would have been on his side but he didn’t, he just sulks, and, you know… offended a lot of people. They do get delusions of adequacy, these people, don’t they?”
 

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Your Comments

1 Barry 'The Voice' Norman
Loved the interview, miss him loads, miss that voice, putting his book on the list of must reads. As below...a Legend indeed. More

Posted by FOB on Thursday May 1, 2014, 19:12

2 RE: The Best Barry Norman Anecdotes From His Empire Podcast Interview
"...and which....IN A SENSE...Is what he's here for..." More

Posted by glaive on Saturday April 26, 2014, 09:29

3 Legend!!
Man the guy is a ledge!! Infinitely better than fucking Claudia Winkleman and Danny Leigh; although I have taken a shit whilst watching a film before and I thought my post pinch grunt was more insightful than what they've got to say about anything on screen!! More

Posted by waltham1979 on Friday April 25, 2014, 10:04

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