Flashback: That Time My Daughter Interviewed Jonathan Banks
This piece originally appeared on News Reviews & Interviews (R.I.P.) on October 5, 2011.
When I submitted my “Random Roles” interview with Jonathan Banks to the Onion AV Club, it was with an inclusion that didn’t end up making the final cut, but it’s too cool for me to let it fall by the wayside, especially since Mr. Banks himself said that it was cool with him if I offered up the audio of this particular bit.
The back story:
To set up the interview, Mr. Banks and I traded a few emails and attempted to work out a time to talk that was conducive to both our schedules. In the process of doing so, he learned that I had a 6-year-old daughter named Allyson, and when he called my house for the interview, he ended talking to her for a few minutes, closing the conversation by saying, “Allyson, here’s the deal: if you think of a question that you would like to ask me in the next few minutes, I will be glad to answer it, and you will have done your first interview.” A few minutes later, she tiptoed into my office with her question written on a piece of paper, and when I had the opening to ask it, I called her back in and let her be the one to do the asking.
I think you’ll get more out of it if you listen to the audio – it’s available right here for your listening enjoyment – but if you can’t be bothered to listen, then you can just go ahead and give the transcript a read:
Okay, go ahead!
Allyson Harris: What made you want to become an actor?
JB: Wow. Is your nickname Ally?
JB: What a beautiful nickname. I’ll tell you what, Ally, here it is. First, let me ask you this: did you ever think you might want to be an actress?
JB: [Laughs.] Not at all, huh? I’m going to answer your question, but…do you have any idea what you’d like to do?
AH: Um…I think I might like to be a teacher when I grow up.
JB: Wow. What a great thing that would be! Do you like to pretend?
JB: Okay, well, when I was little, I used to love to pretend. I just thought it was so wonderful, the flight of being anybody that you wanted to be. And you know what? That, quite honestly, is my first feeling about why I wanted to be an actor. And the second thing is…and your daddy will show you this guy someday…there was a guy named Jimmy Durante who was an old comedian and who had so much fun. And I just laughed, and I tried to do the same things he did. And then there was a guy named Jackie Gleason, who your daddy will also show you, who was a big guy who did a show called The Honeymooners, and he was always getting everything wrong, but he was really loveable. And, you know, as a little kid, you don’t always get everything right, and you feel like you’re getting a lot wrong…or, at least, I did sometimes! And so those two guys, Jimmy Durante and Jackie Gleason, I just thought they put the moon and stars in the sky. I thought they were wonderful. And they made me want to be an actor. And I love that question, by the way.
AH: Thank you!
JB: Thank you, Ally.
That was all hers.
JB: That was great. That’s probably as innocently as…I really did want to answer her question, because, you know, the innocence of a child wears off, and…it makes me innocently give a very truthful answer! [Laughs.]
This is Ally today, age 15. She’s come a long way. I haven’t. And that’s…okay.