For every issue of New York’s internal company newsletter “The New York Note,” we interview a different New York Media employee. This month, we spoke with Vulture staff writer Hunter Harris about watching Erin Brockovich every day of her adolescence, why her dates keep asking her to read their scripts, and more.
You’re a staff writer for Vulture! What subjects do you cover, and what does your day-to-day look like?
I mostly write about movies and sometimes music and TV. I like that my job is pretty flexible: I can interview actors and writers and musicians and also write about Emma Thompson being hot, or how I would lay down my life for Annette Bening, or why Vampire Weekend is my summer soundtrack. Day-to-day, I watch a lot of movies and spend a lot of time on the internet looking for stuff that makes me laugh.
Because you write about movies, what are your three favorite movies of all time?
My favorite movies change all the time. Postcards From the Edge, All About Eve, and After Hours are always in my top ten, though. And I know every line of dialogue in Erin Brockovich because I watched it every single day when I was like 14.
If you could remake any movie from the last 100 years, which one would it be?
I’m not sure if this counts, but I would still love to see the Tom Cruise-Beyoncé Star Is Born. It would absolutely put an end to my life, and YET …
What attracted you to the media industry and pop culture specifically? Did you always know you wanted to work in this industry?
I always knew that I liked to write and wanted to be a writer, and I’ve always been obsessive about movies. I tried writing about politics in college because I wanted to be serious, but it was just so dull. My mom was an anchor-reporter for local news, so interviewing people and coming up with story ideas seemed very reasonable to me.
What is the hardest part of your job?
I can wake up at 8 a.m. to be online by 8:30, but nothing really gets done before 9:30. Sometimes on dates guys will ask me to watch their shorts or read their scripts or something and, honey — absolutely not in a million years. I have mostly given up on trying to use fewer em-dashes. Also: explaining to publicists that there is no “nymag.com/entertainment.”
You write about everything from Hollywood’s #MeToo reckoning to celebrities and Vampire Weekends you have crushes on. How do you come up with story ideas?
My best ideas come in the shower or on the walk to the office from the Canal stop. I’m always jotting down notes in my notebook or on my phone, and during movies — sometimes they’re just half-ideas like “Brad Pitt mac and cheese??? Yes, chef!!” And before every pitch meeting I’ll scroll through my tweets because I always forget what I was thinking about Saturday night at 11 p.m. — there’s usually a story idea somewhere in there.
Pretty recently you have amassed a huge Twitter following and your own real-life fan club! Sources say you were hounded by fans after your Q&A with Lana Condor at Vulture Festival L.A. How has that been for you, and how do you handle being swarmed by fans IRL? Does that happen a lot?
I absolutely will not comment on this, but this summer I did get a discount at the Sephora in Williamsburg because an employee recognized me from Twitter. Until I am swarmed by Dev Patel or Stephan James, the returns are pretty minimal.
You obviously have perfect skin! Have you always been into skin care? What are some of your favorite products?
I had persistent breakouts on my fivehead in high school, and started taking Accutane — that’s really where my interest in skin care started, because I needed a good moisturizer. I read about skin care a lot (Ashley Weatherford, Rio Viera-Newton’s product reviews for Strat, every Derm Store review). I love almost every Dr. Dennis Gross product — I say that he is my white boy of the month every month. Right now, I’m loving the Supergoop Unseen — not wearing sunscreen every day is literally demonic — and my miracle pill for hormonal acne in women, spironolactone.
When A Star Is Born is inevitably remade in 30 or so years, what would you like to see done differently?
I don’t think I have an opinion about this. I’m not sure how interested I’d be in the remake. The context of this specific A Star Is Born is just so hilarious and fascinating to me. I cannot explain to you how Barbra Streisand being shady about Gaga and A Star Is Born all awards season just sets my brain on fire. I love this specific brand of chaos!
In the movie of your life, who would you want playing Hunter Harris? Name your top choice, as well as a couple of backups.
I have already resigned myself to the fact that I will ask for Zoë Kravitz because I would like the record to show that I was very cool and hip, but the studio will not meet her terms and instead choose Amandla Stenberg or Alexandra Shipp. A truly devastating own.
F*ck / Marry / Kill: Jackson Maine, Sir Shaw, the score from the movie Jackie.
I would marry Sirsh, and we would throw the most fabulous dinner parties. (Also: Neither of us like dessert — a blissful union!) I would kill Jackson, I guess?? Bradley Cooper does that for me daily, when he insists on not wearing the Jackson Maine bronzer or speaking in the Jackson Maine deep voice. I just can’t bring myself to take another thing from Jackie, the movie Natalie Portman should’ve won her Oscar for … so I guess we’re f*cking.
Ever since a mysterious fake Alex Jung account (which you should all follow because it’s amazing) surfaced on Instagram, rumors have abounded that … you’re the one who is running it. Is there anything you’d like to say to those who suspect you’re behind the account?
I absolutely have no idea what you’re talking about, but I will say that whoever runs that account is very clever and probably very beautiful too.