On The Graham Norton Show, airing Tuesday 18 December on BBC Brit (DStv Channel 120) at 9pm, Graham welcomes Oscar-winning Hollywood star Matthew McConaughey, professional wrestler turned actor John Cena, Oscar-nominated actress and singer Hailee Steinfeld, superstar chef Jamie Oliver and music guests Mark Ronson and Miley Cyrus.
Matthew, talking about his tough new film White Boy Rick, and asked about the character he plays being furthest away from his own, he says, “This role is my sad country song. The character has bad luck on top of bad luck.”
Revealing that his mother visited him on set, as she has with his other movies, he says, “She says it’s because she wants to see me, but I always say, ‘If I was an accountant in Chicago would you want to see me as often!’ She just wants to get into the movies and she is persistent. She is 86 and her pitch is always to re-make The Graduate, with her as the Anne Bancroft character and me as Dustin Hoffman’s character. She thinks it would work and is no big deal. There’s Freudian stuff in there!”
Asked if it is true that he was offered the part of Jack Dawson in Titanic before Leonardo DiCaprio was cast in the role, he says, “I don’t know the real truth. I heard that James Cameron told people I had the part but that I turned it down. I did read with Kate (Winslet) but I was never offered the part. If I was, I’d like to talk to my agent about it!”
John, talking about his early days as a wrestler, he says, “I had a half man, half machine persona. It was a gimmick to get noticed. It was trial and a lot of error – and it was 100% rubbish and didn’t work. A lot of people think ‘John Cena’ is a gimmick name but why would anyone chose that!”
Demonstrating his strength, John very easily dead lifts a surprised Graham, before gently returning him to terra firma.
Hailee, talking about the 80s time-period of Bumblebee, her new movie, in which she stars with John, and some of the props she had to get to grips with, the 21-year-old says, “I had to be shown how to use a Walkman!”
Asked about singing one of the songs on the soundtrack, she says, “It’s on my bucket list to sing a song of my own in a film of my own. It was great to dive into that era of music.”
Jamie, talking about his book Jamie Cooks Italy, he says, “I wanted to talk to the last generation of Italian nonnas (grandmothers) who grew up without gas and electricity – real cooks – before they pass on. It sounds romantic but technically, production was very slow – it took hours. We went a year and half over budget and over time.” Adding, “It felt like Luke Skywalker meeting Yoda – I went to see about 50 Yodas and they were teaching me to use the force and ‘uncook’. It is all about simplicity and restraint. It’s about being confident and working with what you’ve got.”
Mark and Miley join Graham for a chat.
Asked how their collaboration came about, Mark says jokingly, “I saw her singing 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover on TV and was transfixed then basically stalked her for four years!”
Miley adds, “I believe in trusting the universe and that everything works out when it should. Any time before this would not have been right. Now is the perfect timing, it’s just such a timely song, both for me in my personal life and for what’s going on in the world. So, I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Talking about the song’s extraordinary video, Miley says, “Mark was very trusting about my ideas. It’s all about what is heartbreaking to us in society every single day – waking up to the news of violence, judgement and hypocrisy. It’s about a deeper heartbreak than losing love in a romance or relationship.”
Joking about the high budget of the video, Mark says, “I’m definitely not going to make any money from music for like five years!”
Asked what he contributed to the video, he says, Not much. Miley is such a visionary. Which guitars to use was my domain. But I did ask that if I was only in it for four seconds could I leap from a car. It was a joke! And, I did get to choose my shirt but there’s a stuntman somewhere that still has it!”
Miley, interjects, “I have a confession. I have your shirt. I stole it and it’s hanging in my closet!”
Mark and Miley perform Nothing Breaks Like a Heart, for the first time together live in the studio.
And finally, Graham pulls the lever on more foolhardy audience members brave enough to sit in the Big Red Chair.
The Graham Norton Show, BBC BRIT, Tuesday 18 December 9pm.