Carly Steel — Crush of the Day
It’s a fact: Carly Steel works a red carpet better than Lindsay Lohan.
As a host for the TV Guide Network and EPIX TV, Carly Steel is a frequent pit-stop for celebrities — and their arm candy — racing into the premieres of their latest projects. Involved in the entertainment business since she was 11, Steel is unflappable and composed while some of Hollywood’s biggest stars — and douche bags — sashay by hoping to drop pleasantries. While the stars keep it light, Steel gets all of her important questions answered with a smile on her face.
And, Steel goes both ways; she’s been in films such as ‘Unstoppable’ and ‘He’s Just Not That Into You,’ so she knows the business from the acting side as well.
This month, Steel will co-host the HollyShorts Film Festival in Los Angeles, where she is sure to shake down some gossip from the next great filmmakers. She talked to us about her zaniest interview, when she’ll get to curse on the red carpet and which house she’s been in recently that could be haunted.
You seem to be everywhere. How did you get into the entertainment field?
“I never really set out to be a TV host. My first job was at Vogue magazine in New York as an assistant. Then I started writing for the fashion featured section. I really enjoyed interviewing and developed a love for interviewing. Now when I was growing up in Scotland, I was very active in acting with plays and TV shows.
“When I moved to the States, I saw these entertainment news shows and thought how it was a cool combination of interviewing and acting. I do enjoy the research and journalistic side of interviews. So when I moved to L.A., I really focused on the hosting, and the acting came in correlation with reporter roles. I play a lot of reporter roles, which is essentially playing myself in different circumstances. Whether it is in a helicopter as a news reporter or outside of a murder scene in the Hills, and I really do enjoy playing the role of reporters as much as being a reporter, because the situation tends to be really dramatic. You actually get to rehearse lines and go over scenes, where as in hosting you do things in one shot and you are done.”
You will be co-hosting this year’s HollyShorts Film Festival with Ben Lyons. Tell us about this film festival.
“Well, the HollyShorts Film Festival is in the eighth year, and I think it is getting more prestigious each year. It started off really small, and now this year it will be at the Grauman’s Chinese Theater, where films will be premiered. It is the same venue that the AFI Film Festival that takes place in November, which is the biggest film festival L.A. hosts. It is really about celebrating emerging filmmakers. What I have noticed is that a lot of actors have become involved with these short films whether it is on the internet or a proper short. The quality has become really high. The standard has become really high.
“Zachary Quinto is the curator for the opening night with his production company. Penn Badgley is involved. He is in one of the shorts, so is Anna Paquin. It is becoming a more celebrated medium. In terms of the executives that are coming and the talent that is participating, it is becoming a real prominent, notable film festival in the circuit that is becoming a must-see.”
What has been the most memorable — or insane — event you hosted or been to?
“That is a very interesting question. You, as an interviewer, know that there are times where actors and directors have to sit in a room for 12 hours and talk with the media about their film. They are being asked the same questions over and over. For me, I was being interviewed for the film ‘Unstoppable.’ Even just having to go down the red carpet once — having to do interviews — I was getting fed up. I just wanted to get inside. It really made me think about how awful it is for actors to have to promote a film like that all the time. You have to go on an international press circuit that takes about two weeks in all these different countries. They have to do the junket, the written press, press conferences, individual interviews and then the premiere. To me, that is just crazy.
“So, I don’t want to say that this person was a nightmare, since I understand what an actor goes through. I can see why someone can be a nightmare and people do have off-days. The most eccentric one I had recently was with Robert Downey Jr. for ‘The Avengers.’ You just don’t know where the interview will go with him. That is why I love interviewing him. He is very funny and very spontaneous. He has this wry smile that says he is participating in the interview, but knows it can be a bit silly at the same time.
“My friend, who is good friends with him, told me that he likes the FRS Energy Chews. So, I thought that I could score brownie points and bring some to the interview. So, I went to GNC before the interview and went into the EPIX room for the interview. He comes in with Mark (Ruffalo) and I give him the energy chews. In a very Robert Downey Jr. sarcastic way, he says to me, with his chest all puffed up, ‘What is this? I don’t want any product placement in this interview.’ He then proceeds to throw the chews across the room.
Mark Ruffalo clearly feels bad for me and goes over to the chews and eats one. Mark says ‘Oh these are great.’ Mark was being so nice and didn’t know what to make of what was going on. Robert is in this fake huff and then they start playing with the Marvel action figures my producer just gave them. They are playing with the two action figures, Iron Man and The Hulk, in a type of love affair and acting it out. You know in an interview you want to control them, but sometimes you can’t control them. This is true for someone like Sasha Baron Cohen from ‘The Dictator.’”
You have written for Vogue and been in photo shoots. You see people trying to be sexy in films, print and TV. What do you think is the true definition of being sexy?
“I think you are asking the wrong girl. I am like a granny. I like my tea and cardigans. I am an old-fashioned girl. I am always looking for the definition of what is sexy. What I noticed is that, especially with the actresses that I worked with or interviewed, is that the ones who are comfortable with themselves have a sense of confidence, which is sexy. They are able to speak their minds and let their hair down. They can let a guy know that she is interested in him and not be afraid. To me, that is what I think is sexy for a woman. I bet everyone says that though.
“I know what guys think is sexy is totally different than what women think is sexy. Guys might go for the girls that are lively and other women might not think that girl is the most beautiful. I think Angelina Jolie is universally fine and that everyone agrees on. Most of the Victoria Secret girls are that way too. I think women tend to like the elegant and stylish women. Guys like the girl next door who is hot and is not afraid to get down with the guys.
You have a few films that are either in the post production like ‘Dumbbells’ and some other films. Can you tell me a bit about those films?
” ‘Dumbbells’ is hilarious. It is a comedy. It is not often I get comedic things sent my way. I was like: ‘Wow! You are taking a risk with that.’ (laughs) Yeah, ‘Dumbbells’ is really funny. I get to be a really sarcastic reporter who swears, and it is probably not a film that I will bring my mother to watch with me.
“There is another film that is called ‘Flamingo.’ It is the story of the murder of Virginia Hill, as retold through a modern haunting. We are actually filming it at Castillo del Lago, which is the house that Virginia Hill and Bugsy Siegel lived in, and she has been rumored to be killed in. It is also the house where Madonna had the stalker. It is quite a pretty interesting house. So, I am looking forward to that.”
What is the next thing you want to accomplish in your career?
“Oh, there are so many things. How much time do you have? I would love to really create a strong brand. I would love to have a production company that produces scripted and unscripted projects. I would love to develop a brand like books and products and things I can really get behind and be passionate about. I would love to have equal success in the scripted and unscripted realms of acting, hosting, and producing. That is something I would love to achieve.”