September 1, 2016

Nora Ephron: “There are a lot of mugs in the airport in [Seattle] that wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for me.”


I think that I wanted very early to be a journalist, and fell in love with the romance. It isn’t such a romantic profession anymore — journalism is in trouble. When I was growing up, if the hero of a movie — like It Happened One Night, Clark Gable is a newspaper reporter, and it’s sort of the existential hero that movie-makers loved to write about. Because journalists were pure, journalists were kind of classless. It didn’t matter whether you were rich or poor, you were just a reporter at a newspaper. You couldn’t really make any money. You believed in the truth, all these things. Now people don’t really like journalists as much as they did, and it’s changed. But I grew up on that fabulous idea of the crusader for truth.

That is the much-beloved filmmaker, novelist, journalist, and Last Interview series participant Nora Ephron, speaking near the end of her life with Enrique Cerna of KCTS, Seattle’s public television station. Their half-hour conversation covers a number of interesting topics, including Ephron’s anxiety-tinged admiration for her powerful mother (playwright Phoebe Ephron), the process of aging (“Do I like it? Of course not!”), the scandalous possibility of women writing for Newsweek (“They were not going to make that mistake again!”), and her disastrous first screenplay (“I would have to say it was one of the worst things I’ve ever seen, in fact.”). Ephron is hilarious and fascinating throughout, and the video is heartily recommended: