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Modern Love in the Age of Tinder; Ridley Scott on Recasting Kevin Spacey. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired February 16, 2018 - 17:00   ET


[17:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight, love in the digital age. It was Valentine's this week, so we asked what defines romance these

days. My conversation with the editor of "The New York Times" "Modern Love" column Daniel Jones; and the host of "Note to Self", the tech show

about being human, Manoush Zomorodi.

Plus, the man behind "Alien", "Gladiator", "Blade Runner" and so many other blockbusters, Ridley Scott, on how #MeToo made him how to reshoot parts of

his latest film and still release it on time.

Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London. Swiping left swiping right, Pew Research has found

that 59 percent of adults in America think that online dating is a good way to meet people.

But how is love in the digital age changing the way we experience romance and desire? This Valentine's week, I decided to ask the editor of "The New

York Times" Modern Love column Daniel Jones and Manoush Zomorodi, the host of the tech podcast, "Note to Self", because, after all, it is about what

makes us all tick.

Daniel Jones and Manoush Zomorodi, welcome to you both from New York.



AMANPOUR: So, we are talking about love at the end of this Valentine's Day week. You both met your spouses in the old-fashioned way. Do you wish

that you had had or had taken the online app route?

ZOMORODI: I'll take that one first, Daniel, if you don't mind. I would say no based on everything that I have heard from my tens of thousands of

listeners about their experiences online.

Some of the things they talk about is that finding love these days feels like a second job. It requires being on all these different apps, swiping,

reaching out, texting, using certain conventions, wanting to seem keen, but not too keen and then, finally, meeting in person, which, again, takes a

ton of time and there's a sense of exhaustion. So, I'm going to vote no. Curious to hear what Daniel thinks.


JONES: I actually, being a very shy person, especially when I was younger, I wish I had dating apps. I wish I had texting. I wish I had all of these

ways that when you're sort of meek and scared of approaching someone and you don't feel vulnerable that you can take advantage of all of them.

That being said, I think, for that exact reason, dating apps can serve as a crutch for people who don't want to put anything on the line and it sort of

enables our worst characteristics to fall in love. And to get to know someone, you have to lay yourself out there. You have to take risks.

And sending a text that says I want to hang or what's up is just such a minimal risk that you sort of get what you pay for.

AMANPOUR: Manoush, you sort of were implying that it's kind of killing romance. Is that what you mean?

ZOMORODI: Well, I think if we define romance as something of mystery, that when you meet someone and you don't know exactly how tall they are or where

they went to school, you just meet someone sort of IRL, in real life, there is a sense of, you really can lean into the chemistry, right? That there's

a reason why you just suddenly want to look at each other. That's what romance seems to be about.

Whereas, now, when you have ticked of all the boxes or swipe, swipe, swipe and you've been matched, there's a very much a transactional quality from

how you got put together in the first place.

But I've also heard that it seeps over into the real life when they find - when people finally meet in real life too that that transactional quality

sort of tends to seep over.

There was one woman, Chrissy (ph), who told me that, especially for women I find this, is that they sit down and the man looks them over and is she as

thin as she said she was, is she as old - is she older than she said she was. There's very much a am-I-getting-what-I-ordered. And I think that's

kind of the opposite of romance.

AMANPOUR: Yowzah! It really is the opposite. It sounds awfully commercial, like going to a supermarket.

And yet, Michael Rosenfeld, who I'm sure you've read, an associate professor of sociology at Stanford, points out, "Once you're in a

relationship with somebody, it doesn't really matter how you met that person. There are online sites the cater to hookups. Sure. But there are

also online sites that cater to people looking for long-term relationships. What's more? Many people who meet in the online sites that cater to

hookups end up in long-term relationships."

[17:05:12] He's got a point, right?

ZOMORODI: I mean, absolutely, he has a point. But I would just say that that's the conundrum with technology, right? And so, this spectrum of

technology can be wonderful, but it can also lean into somebody's weaknesses.

I was talking to one woman who - I was with her. I was like show me how it works. And she matched with someone. And I said, look, you matched. Ask

him out for coffee. And she said to me, no, no, no, that's not what you do. There has to be a back and forth texting that happens. You can't act

like you're really into it. That's not the convention of the app.

And I sort of thought, so get off of it. But she said to me, you can't get off the apps because that's where everyone is.

AMANPOUR: I'm really interested - maybe, Daniel, you can take this - in how you think not just the romance apps, but just app world, app life in

general is changing the brain connections, changing the idea of human connection, intimacy, that kind of closeness that you get and you can't get

through the lens of a smartphone?

JONES: I think the key with any of these tools is to use them to meet someone and then, as quickly as possible, get together in person to meet

the real person.

There was a great story that we ran in the Modern Love column about a college student who met another college student, who live a nine-hour drive

away. And they fell into this deep online relationship. They were Skyping every night for hours. They'd fall asleep with their laptops open.

She felt like this was the love of her life. And then when they met - she decided I had to go meet him. She rented a car, drove and met him. And,

of course, it all fell apart.

But the interesting way that it fell apart is that he especially was used to getting his emotional fix through the device. So, when they were

together, they didn't really have anything to talk about and he kept opening his laptop and taking out his phone.

And that was the place where he was used to feeling good. That was the place that made him feel loved. And he couldn't get away from that just by

snapping his fingers even though the person, who he supposedly loved through that device, was sitting right next to him.

AMANPOUR: Honesty, it's an extraordinary story that. And the Modern Love columns talk about a whole array of different connections and love and this

and that, but they are mostly about people who actually have that person- to-person connection. The Modern Love columns are generally not about the world of technology and app dating.

JONES: Yes. I think because the more complicated story is the in-person story. We've definitely run stories like the one that I described about

how technology is sort of invading lives and changing the nature of love in those ways.

But the real complicated stories and the real strong bonds are in person. And it's just hard to get away from that. Those are the sort of

complications and pains and disappointments that makes a good storytelling and compelling reading.

AMANPOUR: Manoush, I think it was you who wrote about how perhaps you might not have actually found your husband if you had been looking online.

The algorithms didn't put you guys together in the swipe world.

ZOMORODI: Oh, yes. I am married to an American Jew. I am half Iranian and half Swiss-German. Politically, religiously, there is no way that an

algorithm would have brought the two of us together.

It was actually work that brought us together and we ended up going to a press conference together. And here we are, 16 years later, with two

gorgeous children.

But it makes me think about how we use technology to keep the fires going. We text each other a lot. A little too much for my liking. But I have

noticed, it's actually been really good for us because we remind each other of the best parts of each - ourselves.

My husband is really wicked funny on texts and he just makes me laugh all day long. Now, do we have enough time together in real life? No, because

we're super busy. We have kids and all those things. And that's harder to make time for.

And it's also harder work because being married for a long time, it gets messy. It's not all about the romance. It's about who's going to pick up

the kids and all these very mundane things. But I actually think that, at the risk of sounding like a romantic, Christiane, that texting is very

helpful to us.

AMANPOUR: It's good. Be romantic. Hey, everybody is looking for romance, aren't they?

And, actually, that leads me right to the next stat that I'm going to spit out at you. I mean, it is absolutely incredible to think that more

Americans are single now than ever before and that Pew Survey in 2014 said, by the time, today's young adults are 50 years old, about one in four of

them will never have been married. What does that say to you, Daniel? What does that say to you about the situation?

[17:10:06] JONES: It wasn't all that long ago that people didn't - the majority of people didn't really marry for love. They married for

financial security, for religious reasons and for political reasons.

So, now, the weight is all on love to marry, which is a pretty high bar to feel like love is the reason for giving up the independence of being on

your own, which can be pretty comforting.

And so, I think there is - a lot of people don't clear that bar. It's a big burden on love to say, OK, well, if you're going to spend the next 50,

60 years with one person, you'd really better love them a lot. And a lot of people aren't finding that.

AMANPOUR: I do think that that is the next sort of spanner in the works, the fact that we're all predicted to be living in the not-too-distant

future to 104 or whatever. I mean, that's like an 80-year marriage, it could be, and people are not ready for that kind of long kind of monogamy


Tinder has apparently over 50 million users. And OkCupid founder says that, based on his data, photos drive 90 percent of the action on online

dating. That sounds obvious. But what are people looking for in partners today, Manoush?

ZOMORODI: Are they hot? That's what they're looking for, straight up.

Another woman told me that she got more responses to her profile when she had nothing written. She just posted really good-looking photos.

I think, personally, that's part of the problem, particularly for women. If you are a woman on these apps or platforms, very often, you have to run

the gauntlet of lewd, sexist, obscene interactions that are really quite soul-destroying.

Of course, not everyone is like that, but the Internet does seem to bring out some of humanity's worst qualities and dating apps are absolutely no

exception to the rule.

AMANPOUR: Given the modern world that we live in and given all the different permutations of being together, whether you're married, whether

you live together, whether you're gay, transsexual, transgender, whatever it might be, all the different permutations, I have just finished, and I'm

about to add six part series on love, intimacy and sexual fulfillment all over the world, and the one thing that I found, in every city, was that

women, particularly, and men, marriage is the holy grail. They want to get married. Does that surprise you?

JONES: It's still out there as the fantasy of stability, of raising children, of being able to support each other through sort of more or less

equal learning, earning power. It's a dream that dies hard for a lot of people and it still seems like that's the goal and the fantasy.

ZOMORODI: Yes. I wondered if the rates of marriage had gone down because there were more people in various countries where they don't feel the deal,

so to speak. They don't make it legal anymore.

I know that a lot of my relatives in Scandinavia and in Germany, they just don't even bother to get married. So, I wonder if those people still want

to be paired and coupled because that's what humans do, but that we don't feel the need to make it an institutional seal of approval on it.

And I also wonder how the #MeToo movement is going to play into that going forward, whether women are going to take a stand against getting married in

some way and having to have legal sort of ramifications for partnering up. So, I think it will be interesting to watch.

AMANPOUR: Yes. We are on the cusp as ever in these amazing and profound human relations. Thank you for giving us a taste of the state of our

relations right now. Manoush Zomorodi and Daniel Jones, thank you so much indeed.

JONES: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: And as the #MeToo movement continues, the actor Kevin Spacey has literally been erased from the narrative. He was the star of legendary

director Ridley Scott's new film, "All the Money in the World", which tells the story - true story - of the kidnapping of an heir to the oil

billionaire John Paul Getty.

Spacey played the grumpy old miserly grandfather Getty and the shoot was a rap and the trailer went out.


AMANPOUR: Only Spacey didn't make the final cut because he became the target of multiple sexual harassment allegations, many of which he denies.

But what followed was an unprecedented sprint to recast Spacey's role with the veteran actor Christopher Plummer and to reshoot 22 scenes in record

time in order to make the release date on time.

[17:15:10] Ridley Scott, who has directed films from "Alien" to "Blackhawk Down", "Blade Runner" to "Thelma & Louise", joined me here in the studio to

explain just how he did it.

Sir Ridley Scott, welcome to the program.

RIDLEY SCOTT, DIRECTOR: Thank you for having me.

AMANPOUR: And you are about to enter Oscar season and the awards season. You're about to get a lifetime achievement award in recognition here at the

British awards, BAFTA, this coming weekend.


AMANPOUR: But of all the things you've done, the most extraordinary sort of Houdini act was reshooting parts of "All the Money in the World".

SCOTT: Yes. We finished the film about ten weeks ago. And I had a given date that I was going to - maybe just a bit longer (INAUDIBLE).

And this upheaval, this little earthquake that happened, and I realized that if I didn't do something about it, it would just get buried.

AMANPOUR: So, let's talk about the little earthquake. It's this massive tsunami called #MeToo. And the star of your film playing John Paul Getty

I, the richest man in the world, was Kevin Spacey.

SCOTT: Correct.

AMANPOUR: And that's when allegations started to come out against his sexual misconduct. When you first heard that, what did you think?

SCOTT: Blank. I went blank. I wanted to say what I really said. Then I got my partner, who was a great guy, who's the financial man as well, and

said, listen, I can fix this, but because we haven't had a call from anybody, nobody informed this was going on and the least he could have

done, said, listen, dude, I'm sorry. Right?

AMANPOUR: You're talking about Spacey?


AMANPOUR: You heard nothing?

SCOTT: I hadn't heard anything. So, I was offended. And I said, let's go for it, I can fix this and do it within nine days.

AMANPOUR: I mean, it does sound unbelievable given how much money is involved in making blockbuster films, how many days and months of shooting,

getting all the stars together, the big names and the locations.

Was it daunting? Did you have any doubt that you could reshoot it?


AMANPOUR: You say it supremely confidently.

SCOTT: It's really when - you know this as much as I do. Experience really does count sometimes. And so, I just thought about it very coolly

for about an hour. And I said, find me the location availability, find the actor's availability, put it together, give me the answer. Nine days -

we're shooting in nine days in Rome.

AMANPOUR: You just knew. You had storyboarded it. You knew that that's all you need it.

SCOTT: I had to get his replacements.

AMANPOUR: And so, how did that come about?

SCOTT: Well, I flew to New York on that night, met Christopher -

AMANPOUR: Christopher Plummer?

SCOTT: Chris Plummer who I've admired forever. So, he said, why haven't you employed me before? So, I said, OK, I'm sorry (INAUDIBLE).

And brought him in. He had to learn 22 scenes. He had the hardest thing to do. A lot of data on 22 scenes. When he arrived in nine days' time in

our location, we just launched into it.

AMANPOUR: And let's not forget, that this is not a spring chicken. Christopher Plummer is now 88. He was 87 when that was happening.

And, actually, you had thought of him. He was your first choice. Why did not cast him in the beginning?

SCOTT: There is something to do with - the fact he's got lot to say and lot to do, the fact he's 87. And you think, well, OK, I've got Kevin as

well, but he'll need a lot of makeup.

But I'm going to go for the younger man. That simple.

AMANPOUR: So, let's just recount. It's his grandson, John Paul Getty III, who is kidnapped in Rome. And the kidnappers ask for $70 million. And now

we're going to play a clip where John Paul Getty is talking to his factotum, if you like, played by Mark Wahlberg who's trying to convince him

that he needs to actually give out a bit. Let's play.


MARK WAHLBERG, ACTOR: They will do things to Paul that cannot be undone for any amount of money. We have to pay.

CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER, ACTOR: That simply is impossible. My financial position has changed.

WAHLBERG: Really? I mean, 30 seconds ago, you said it was a good day. I mean, I'm not all that bright, but I could multiply as well as you. With

oil up as much as it was this morning, you have amassed another fortune.

PLUMMER: What if the embargo is lifted and oil were to crash, I'd be exposed. I have never been more vulnerable financially than I am right


WAHLBERG: Mr. Getty, with all due respect, nobody has ever been richer than you are at this moment.

PLUMMER: I have no money to spare.

WAHLBERG: What would it take? I mean, what would it take for you to feel secure?



AMANPOUR: This was such a cold act - the kidnap, but then the grandfather who held the fate of his grandson in his hand. The grandson had his ear

sliced off. And only then did Christopher Plummer, John Paul Getty, actually cough up the much-reduced ransom.

[17:20:03] His mother Abigail Getty, Gail Getty, played by Michelle Williams, was a formidable character.


AMANPOUR: I mean, really, she battled the empire, as she said, to get the money from John Paul Getty. She almost negotiated with the kidnappers.

And it was really an incredible thing. How important was it for you to really represent that strong woman in that way?

SCOTT: I would never normally do it unless I kind of really get my handle on to what actually happened. Storytelling is essential. Otherwise, I

wouldn't do it.

And so, from that, we connected with Gail Getty, who was now a formidable 82, 83. And at the end of it, I showed her the film. And I think comment

was, she said, it's a little bit - took me aback, but thank God it's a good film.

AMANPOUR: Can I ask you about the pay dispute? That has become incredibly public that all your big stars agreed to act for scale during the reshoot

except for Mark Wahlberg who was holding out for $1.5 million while Michelle was getting $1,000. And then, it turns out that actually she

anyway got much less than him.

SCOTT: Yes. But I can sidestep that by saying that I don't actually deal with that as a creative director. I'm not the producer.

AMANPOUR: But what do you think about the ongoing dilemma of the inequality in Hollywood between the genders?

SCOTT: I'd like to relate to what we do like sport. Roger Federer - my game is tennis. Roger Federer, whoever he's with, can fill a stadium,

right, because of who he is. The Williams sisters can fill a stadium. Sharapova can fill a stadium. And some others can fill a stadium.

But those who can't, who are on the process of the earning curve that - you got the answer.

My earning curve to where I am today has come through success. Your earning curve, I don't care what your sex is, it's to do with the success.

AMANPOUR: OK. So, success and experience. Were you irritated when - for the reshoot, Wahlberg held out.

SCOTT: Little bit. Actually, I was really pissed off.

AMANPOUR: And pleased, I guess, afterwards, that he did donate it.

SCOTT: Yes. He's a good guy. I mean, he's fundamentally a good guy. I'd like to think it wasn't him. I'd like to think it was his representatives.

AMANPOUR: You are distinguished by the fact - certainly, you've made iconic films throughout your carrier. And you are prolific. I mean, you

keep making films. Something like two a year even now.

But I want to play "Alien", a little clip from "Alien" because you chose the 6-foot-something Sigourney Weaver, unknown at that time -

SCOTT: Sure. Theater.

AMANPOUR: Yes, she was known in theater, but unknown in film. Let's play. And then, I want to ask you about why you chose her.


AMANPOUR: Scary, dramatic. It cast you all the way back, right? And I know you've done a sequel to that.

But it's the first time, isn't it, that a woman was cast as a major action superhero?

SCOTT: Ripley - they said, oh, it's a woman. The only thing I said, great idea. Never thought about it. And then, once it was finished and done,

suddenly, press fixed on it, saying is this the first female action - either way, whatever it was, she was a great choice.

AMANPOUR: I wonder whether you've taken onboard, are you proud, do you like the fact that you're considered a bit of a feminist icon when in terms

of the films that you make. Do you like that?

SCOTT: I've done six female films. I love it. But each time, I didn't really think about it.

AMANPOUR: But most sort of standout one may have been Thelma & Louise. You have these two amazing - almost like a guy's roadie movie, but you cast

two girls - Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis as Thelma and Louise.

We're going to play a scene where they get quite radical when a guy in a truck tries to mess with their heads.

SCOTT: Right.


GEENA DAVIS, ACTRESS: Are you going to apologize or what?


DAVIS: I don't think he's going to apologize.

SUSAN SARANDON, ACTRESS: No, I don't think so.


AMANPOUR: So, I see you really laughing and enjoying that.

SCOTT: He was great. Well, they were all great.

AMANPOUR: He was great. The women were great.

[17:25:00] SCOTT: He said I'll never work again. He said I'll never get another job having done this part.

AMANPOUR: And did he?

SCOTT: I don't think so.

AMANPOUR: But 99 percent of the women loved it. It was like, yes, finally a director who gets it. But that's not what everybody thought.

I remember having discussions with many of my male friends and they were pretty, I think, intimidated frankly about it. They didn't really like the


SCOTT: I was going to be the producer. And so, I offered it to my brother, Tony Scott, who said no, don't really like what the girls said.


OK. So, that's the whole point, dude? And then, I went to two other directors who said, not really, I have a problem with the subtext. That's

the whole point of the movie.

I always saw it as a comedy. And when you read it on the paper, you can read the subtext, the text, as straight or comedic. And I always saw it as


AMANPOUR: Interesting.

SCOTT: And I said, if you don't make it funny, you're going to switch off 50 percent of the males in America. And this film, above all, should

actually be a kind of a learning curve.

AMANPOUR: Well, you've brought the world a lot of joy. Sir Ridley Scott, thank you so much indeed.

SCOTT: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: And this weekend, Ridley Scott receives a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to film history.

And that's it for our program tonight. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast, see us online at and follow me on Facebook and

Twitter. Thanks for watching. And goodbye from London.