Normally, it is political interviews on Newsnight that turn into toe-curling exchanges leaving the audience wondering when it will all be over. But it was an interview with Spike Jonze – on BBC2's flagship news programme to plug his new Oscar-nominated film – that involved the presenter Emily Maitlis in an excruciating tussle with the Hollywood director and started a Twitter storm.
After the director of Her, which is about a man who falls in love with his virtual personal assistant, repeatedly asked if the film, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson, had "moved" her, Maitlis reluctantly admitted it had.
But later, the presenter told her nearly 30,000 Twitter followers that she thought the film was a "sad, male fetish fantasy of disembodied female who does his bidding".
When Ms Maitlis had finally conceded that she had been "moved", Jonze had pressed on: "Tell me, what moved you, Emily?" The journalist replied: "Our audience want to hear from you, not me." Later, Ms Maitlis tweeted that Her was "like Lost in Translation for mood but nowhere near as good" – referring to the Oscar-winning film by Jonze's ex-wife, Sofia Coppola.
Maitlis also retweeted some unfavourable comments about Jonze, including @jamesthornton who described the director as an "over-precious arse. happy to get PR, then surprised focus on obvious conceit of the film". He went on to tweet that interviewing Jonze must have been like "being stuck in a Hoxton bar with some git with a cupcake. Interviewing the interviewer is dull & v v old hat".
Jonze's reaction is not known: he has not tweeted since 2009.
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