Two-time Oscar nominee James Woods has some advice for up-and-coming thespians on how best to deal with the increasingly celeb-conscious media: "Pretend you're in a deposition, and know that they'll [most likely] ask you questions and not care about the answer," he seethes. "They just wait until you're tired, set you up and destroy your reputation. The press is unequivocally the enemy."
Ouch! Ironically, the 54-year-old actor made those comments while talking up his latest film, Riding in Cars with Boys, with that very same adversary. Still, he admits that the process of giving interviews is one that he would "not ever do again in my life not for one second ever if I didn't feel an ethical obligation to the film."
Woods has kinder words for another staple of celebrity life: the fans. "I'm famous for being nicer to my fans than anybody on the face of the Earth," he notes. "I've never had a problem with a fan in my life, knock on wood."
Of course, Woods admits he doesn't tend to draw the same frenzied autograph hounds Freddie Prinze Jr. does. "I'm more material-driven than I am success- or money-driven, so I'm involved in projects that... have some meaning to people about certain things politically or emotionally or morally," points out the star of such TV miniseries as My Name Is Bill W. (1989) and Promise (1986) both of which netted him Emmys. "So, I get kind of a little more serious following."
Realizing that such encounters can nonetheless be awkward for everyone involved, Woods admits that he has developed a special strategy for diffusing the tension. "I go out of my way to talk to them about them," he explains, noting that it's rather "inhumane to look at one person as being more special than another person just because they make movies but I understand it, because the media has made some kind of silly element out of us being celebrities."So, that's our fault too!