March 31, 2008

Playboy Editor Robert DeSalvo On Hef and Horror

Robert DeSalvo is an old friend of mine, and one of the very first people I interviewed for AMC's Who Loves Horror? series. Working at Playboy has to have its own built-in horrors, but he makes it sound enviable and glamorous all the same. Here's the rest of what he had to say back in January:

TB: What question do people usually ask you about your job?

RD: There are a few questions that always come up. "Have you been to the Mansion?" "Is Hef really involved with the magazine?" "Can you get me into a Mansion party?" The answers are: "Yes," "absolutely" and "no."

TB: What're some things you have to (or get to) do at Playboy that you wouldn't if you worked at a different magazine?

RD: I work at Playboy Studio West in Santa Monica, California where we shoot a lot of the centerfolds, so instead of a traditional office environment I work in a studio where there's constant activity from constructing and disassembling sets. We have models walking around in robes and hanging out in our lounge in between shoots. I interview most of the Playmates, so I suspect this setting is a change of pace from the usual tête–à–tête at a coffee shop. Also, since Holly Madison works at the studio as a photo assistant, the E! crew is often there filming her for The Girls Next Door. You never know when you might walk down the hall to grab some water and end up as an extra on a reality TV show. The energy is infectious, though. I feel fortunate to not work someplace with beige walls filled with people wearing ties hunched over desks in cubicles.

TB: Can you tell me why you like horror movies or why they're important?

RD: We live in dark times filled with terrorism, injustices and uncertainty that are far scarier than anything captured on celluloid. With horror films you get to see a filmmaker's interpretation of society's woes and how that manifests itself on-screen, which is fascinating from a psychological standpoint. I've always been into folklore, superstition and myths, and the horror genre is just a modern way of telling those old campfire stories. I think horror films are therapeutic in a way, too. You go into a dark theater for a thrill ride, face your fears, and walk away unscathed and maybe a little bit stronger. If only real life worked out that neatly.

TB: Any movie this year you're particularly looking forward to?

RD: I want to see Hellboy II even more since I saw Guillermo Del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth. If he puts a fraction of the creativity into the Hellboy sequel that he did into Pan's Labyrinth, it'll be worth the ride. I'm also curious if Indiana Jones IV will have the same feel as the other ones did after so much time has passed, but I have faith. And I'll be first in line for The X-Files 2 this summer because it was my favorite TV show in the '90s and I miss Scully and Mulder big time. The truth is still out there.

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