Thomas Haden Church: “Super Blond, Super Tan”

Academy Award nominee Thomas Haden Church is co-starring in Sandra Bullock’s not-a-romantic-comedy All About Steve as Hartman Hughes, a self-absorbed field reporter who salivates for an anchor desk job on his 24-hour news network, who has a bitter rivalry with the obnoxious correspondent Vasquez (Jason Jones), and who also relishes messing with his cameraman Steve (Bradley Cooper) by encouraging the weirdo who seems to be stalking him (Bullock) to keep up the weird work. When asked if he did anything special to research the role, Church joked “I learned Spanish. When I was supposed to be learning my dialog, I chose Spanish instead. It had very little to do with the movie. It was just one of those things. I just always wanted to be able to speak Spanish. It helped with the Vasquez line. There’s an authenticity there.”

When pressed a bit for a serious answer, Church confessed “I honestly really did not. In my early conversation when we got into rehearsal, we just started talking about how the guy was going to look. Everybody said “he’s just got to be like super blond and super tan.” And that’s all I did. ‘Super blond, super tan, super blond, super tan!’ That’s all. Nothing else had to matter. That’s all I had in my notes, and I think we succeeded. I think we completed that mission.”

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There was, however, a little more to the role than that – mainly the ability to satirize the kind of person he’s portraying. “The story kind of exposes the manufacturing of drama in the media,” Church says. “Bradley made a comment about how now it’s overtaking primetime television in terms of this entertainment fascination factor, which is so true. The movie now is coming out with all of the hype surrounding the national health plan and the Cash for Clunkers. Every single news item becomes a shark frenzy, and then whenever the next one comes up, it’s over. It’s completely over.”

Once he got on a roll, Church kept going. “You see sensational things – Rick Sanchez is talking about one thing and tweeting his ass off to people in Colombia or whatever, and the whole time they’re running all these other things like Walter Cronkite died, but it’s just down in the chyron just zipping by. I guess I’m a little furious about some of this.”

Of course, the fury didn’t last long. When his character was compared to Geraldo Rivera, Church was quick with a joke. “You saw Hartman Hughes as a Puerto Rican Jew? Wow. I didn’t even get that deep!”

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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