Photo by Steve Eichner
Any journalist who’s worked a red carpet or a press junket knows that there is such a thing as a stupid question — but sometimes it’s your job to ask.
Just ask Jessica Chastain, who agreed to interview no less a formidable wit than Karl Lagerfeld in front of an auditorium full of people Wednesday night at Lincoln Center. “It’s hard. I have newfound respect,” she said. “He’s so quick and you have to really be on your toes. He talks very fast, so you’re there listening, and you’re like, ‘Oh wait, I have to have another question.’”
Chastain did her homework — she came armed with a stack of note cards on which her questions were clearly typed out — but Lagerfeld threw her a curveball 30 minutes before the interview. “He saw I had questions, and he said, ‘No no no, I want to improvise.’”
Intimidating? Yes, even for a two-time Oscar nominee who studied at Juilliard and has extensive theater experience. But Chastain held her own, starting off with a Psych 101 softball — “I want to know, what was baby Karl like?” — and going on to cover subjects ranging from Lagerfeld’s mother to his love of drawing and silent film to his famous cat Choupette to whether he owns sweatpants (“No”) and what his pajamas look like. For More