It’s just before eight in the morning and it’s raining in Los Angeles. The city is still asleep. Its cars are waiting anxiously in their driveways to fill the empty streets. As our crew drives out of Hollywood and to our location the GPS is blaring “your destination is on the right in 1.3 miles.” In just a few moments WEBN reporter Hallie Anoff, technology manager Jonathan Satriale and I will be in Henry Winkler’s living room for a WEBN exclusive interview.
This is where everything I have learned at Emerson College about ethics had to kick in. Yes, Andy you watched almost every “Happy Days” episode on “Nick at Nite” with your family when you were little, and yes, you used to imitate poorly “the Fonz” in middle school, but you have to remain neutral, keep a journalist’s perspective, or at least a cameraman’s standpoint. With my head on tight, I carried a clunky light set, tripod and camcorder to the double doorway and knocked.
Opening his door, Henry Winkler greeted us with a Hollywood smile. He quickly ran off to his kitchen and got us some waters and bundt cake, bundt cake!
Next we moved the living room furniture and huge coffee table books to one side of the elegantly furnished room while Winkler gave a radio interview via telephone in the den. One interview after another, but this was a rare opportunity that gave us extra time to set audio levels and prep the lights.
He sat down with Anoff and the interview was on.. “Oh, I hope my light levels are ok!”
When the interview started Anoff quickly realized that Winkler was not just a voting member of the Academy, which he had been since the 70s, but within the year had actually become a governor.
“I am thrilled, now I am a governor. I have a badge … and I get to make policy,” Winkler told us.
Being a governor, Winkler has the ability to make and alter policy within the Academy, which meets several times a year in preparation for voting and planning events like the Oscars.
When asked about which “best actor” nominee Winkler voted for he said, “I could never say that I voted for anybody.” However, later he said “Daniel Day Lewis – best actor on the planet,” seemingly contradicting himself Winkler said with a grin, “I was merely stating fact.”
When Anoff pressed him on whether or not the Golden Globe awards influence decision making for the Oscars, Winkler said “no … you’re encouraged to vote for your taste and your heart.”
The interview progressed and we found out that he supports movies like “Juno” and “Superbad” because they are films that are “real,” that the viewer can “believe.” He is a strong believer in focusing on movies with solid and convincing story lines, stating “kids want to have an emotional experience. It’s not just the pyrotechnics.”
After the interview we wrapped things up quickly, chatted with his publicist and shot back to the car. It was still raining, it was still gray, but the whole crew was wearing one big smile.
Written by Andy Laub, reported by Hallie Anoff