Desperately Seeking Paul McCartney is a curious little mockimentary by film maker and reality TV maven Marc Cushman. Ruth back in 1967 was a teenage reporter for NBC and one of her earliest interviews was with the then very young Paul McCartney. During the interview Paul playfully asks Ruth to marry him. This movie fast forwards to the present day and chronicles Ruth’s attempts to re-connect with Paul McCartney to achieve some kind of closure to the event.
I have to admit that the movie had me confused. Done it the style of a reality TV program one watches as the ever devious film maker manipulates Ruth Anson into an increasingly unlikely set of circumstances. The big question in my mind is whether Ruth Anson was genuinely fooled, or was she a willing participant?
By a stroke of pure luck Ruth Anson contacted me about my review, and anyone that knows me , knows that I can never turn down the opportunity for an interview.
Hi Ruth, thanks so much for agreeing to an interview. Maybe we can start with a little biographical information. How did you get involved with ABC back in the 60′s?
Well it was with a local ABC station, they were looking for two teenage reporters, and out of 3000 applicants I became one of them. I was enrolled at UCLA at the time, so I had to juggle my schedule around, but it all worked out well.
Back then there were fewer reporters than there are today, this meant that whoever was closest to a story got to cover it. You never knew what was going to happen next. This was not two teenagers covering kiddie stories This was two young people covering hard news. I am not sure that having us on staff increased the number of younger viewers, kids don’t tend to get excited about the news, but it certainly was a huge break for me.
In 1966 I covered the Watts Riots, actually in retrospect that was a pretty funny story within a story. I was paired with another reporter, who incidentally was Clark Gables brother in law, and all of his shirts had Clark Gables monogram on them! Anyway, we headed out to report on the riots and I discovered that my co-reporter had a gun with him. Worse than that, he kept waving it around! It was more scary being in the car than what was happening outside!
What made you leave broadcasting? I would have thought that being a TV reporter would have been every young girls dream job?
Oh, I loved it, and I would have loved to have stayed in the field. The problem was that the station management wanted to promote me to anchor. I just wasn’t well suited to that. The teleprompter always seemed daunting. I would read it as fast as I could, this would make the teleprompter operator speed up,Â so I would read even faster. Needless to say, this did not work well on live TV.
The burning question in my mind is, is Desperately Seeking Paul McCartney documentary or mockumentary. It does seem that you were led like a sheep to the slaughterhouse, yet I do not sense any bad feeling between you and Marc Cushman. Whats the story?
In my mind it is completely documentary. Yes, I may come across as a little strange. But I didn’t mind, I have a background in writing and directing, and I have great respect for directors, and Marc Cushman is one of the best. I may have sacrificed my reputation, but I knew that Marc was getting great footage. In your review you mentioned that I should have been more proactive, and yes, maybe I should have been.
The end result though, is a film that shows true emotion. If I appear happy, it is because I am happy, if I am crying, they are real tears.
I trust Marc, and left the project in his hands.
Did you know Marc before this project?
Well, yes and no. I knew Marc from his work leading a writing group. He was always very supportive of new writers. The movie is accurate, I did attend a public ‘pitch session’ and the panel, Marc was on it,Â thought my idea had some potential. Apart from me meeting Marc in the writing circle I really did not know much about Marc at all.
Marc gets through more PA’s than hot dinners, I counted three in the movie.
Oh Marc has his style, that’s for sure. He works hard, and is very good at what he does. But Marc is a taskmaster, he wants things done, and he wants them right now. He can be a hard guy to work for.
I understand that you teach at a local college. What has been your students reaction to the movie?
Yes, I teach at the Glendale Community College, and yes my students have seen the movie. One of the units I cover is reality TV, so this film fits right in. As to student reaction, it is usually something along the lines of, â€œThats too much information about my Profâ€.
Ruth, I want to thank you so much for taking time to talk with us, and Blogger News wishes you and your movie every success. For those of you not familiar with this release, you can pick up your copy from MVD. You will not be disappointed, you may not agree with Marc Cushman’s approach, but you certainly have to appreciate his viewpoint.
Entertainment is about conflict â€“ Marc Cushman