The Strangest Interview Errol Morris Ever Gave?




While researching the fascinating 2011 Tabloid documentary (after finally watching it on Netflix), I came across this peculiar interview it seems by the late Roger Ebert. Ebert, while shakily filming, seems to be wheezing and coughing uncontrollably, with his video slipping into occasional crotch shots. With the camera turned on him, a quizzical Errol Morris, Tabloid's director, in between pearls of wisdom "often times the last sentences of articles are the most interesting" keeps asking him if he is OK.

Ebert, with his thumbs ups, helped launch Morris, who could have remained obscure if not for big Hollywood backers, and Morris remains very friendly, even as the camera and interview work make him look somewhat eerie.



The interview is a bit of a giveaway to Tabloid which has an unexpected and delightful twist, crossing the generational gap, and truly elevating the film. Tabloid about a nymphomaniac romantic has-been beauty queen embroiled in a transatlantic religious sex scandal turned pit-bull loving agarophobic is on a topic much less serious than Morris's recent work, but encompasses all his artistry, mysterious and chilly music, and use of random vintage video to illustrate long, drawn-out, fascinating interviews.

I always wonder if Morris whose behind the scenes semi-incredulous voice often interrupts and asks his filmed subjects to reiterate, emphasize or repeat the most surprising things they say, does not slip a special kind of drug in their coffee to make them so verbose and expressive.



Tabloid had its own subsequent story with a lawsuit. Was the film's (anti)-heroine tricked into thinking the filming was for anti-paparazzi work rather than a dissection of her own crazed "we're (finally) pregnant!" life?

Whatever, the work of art is there, and as always with Morris, it's brilliant.

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