On Sunday, pretty much the whole of Hollywood will descend on London’s Royal Opera House for the 2014 EE British Academy Film Awards. Leonardo DiCaprio’s coming, so is current ‘it’ girl Lupita Nyong’o, Bradley Cooper is flying in and Amy Adams will also be there. And come rain come shine the lovely Dermot O’Leary will be there to interview them all, live from the red carpet for E! with his good friend Fearne Cotton. He tells Grazia about his best ever moments from the BAFTA red carpet, his man crush on George Clooney, wearing thermals and what kind of father Simon Cowell will be.
Grazia Daily: What’s the weirdest thing that’s happened to you on the BAFTAs red carpet?
Dermot O’Leary: You get these surreal moments, and this isn’t in a little boy lost way, but I still find it weird when, for example, Kenneth Branagh came up one year and said, ‘Oh hello Dermot’. Initially in my head I was thinking, ‘how in the name of Christ does Kenneth Branagh know who I am?’ Then you realise it’s because of X-factor or something but you still can’t quite get your head around it.
Grazia Daily: What is your favourite ever moment from the BAFTAs red carpet?
Dermot O’Leary: George Clooney is always a highlight. I say always, when actually, I’ve only met him once! But always when I’ve met him! He was just charming and he’s a hero of mine. It’s the way he lives his life and the way he works. I look up to him and every man should. He’s an actor and a director but he’s also an activist and he just seems to live his life the right way, although I’m not sure my wife (Dee Koppang O’Leary) would agree with that because he is 52 and a bachelor. He’s got a good moral compass around him as well and my interview with him was lovely. He gave me a lot more time than was necessary.
Grazia Daily: The weather is always a bit rainy and cold for the BAFTAs. How do you prepare for that?
Dermot O’Leary: It’s always difficult. One year it was raining, another it was slash sleeting and another time it was clear but absolutely freezing. Suddenly I’m not looking forward to it. Nothing prepares you. It’s easier being a guy, I don’t know how girls handle it. It’s 90 minutes of recording on the red carpet which is quite full on so you haven’t got time to go over to the side and grab a cup of tea or put a nice overcoat over you for five minutes. I wear thermals and those heated pads in my pocket although they never seem to work. Post show some rum based hip flask action is always good too!
Grazia Daily: Do you ever get star struck?
Dermot O’Leary: Everything happens so quickly that you don’t have a chance to. One minute you’ll be talking to George Clooney and then suddenly someone in your ear is telling you to talk to Ben Affleck. So you have to wrap on your interview with someone while they’re still talking to you. It’s quite a difficult thing to do without being rude. It’s like, ‘Thank you George Clooney, hello Ben Affleck.’ In your head therefore you don’t have time to go, ‘Oh my god I’m interviewing Ben Affleck, that’s quite exciting.’ It happens so quickly.
Grazia Daily: What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s happened to you on the red carpet?
Dermot O’Leary: It’s getting the names right. When The Artist was up for loads of awards a few years ago at the BAFTAs all the actors and directors who had worked on it had beautifully intricately pronounced French names so you don’t want to be like, ‘Alright blahblahbleuh’. I had to learn them in advance.
Grazia Daily: Who are you excited to interview at this year’s BAFTAs?
Dermot O’Leary: I loved Gravity and 12 Years A Slave. You can’t argue how good it was. Philomena was lovely and I thought All Is Lost was fantastic. I’m surprised Robert Redford didn’t get a nod for that. I will of course be excited to see George Clooney again and in my head we’ll rekindle the relationship that I believe we have.
Grazia Daily: Are you looking forward to working with Fearne Cotton?
Dermot O’Leary: I am. I love Fearne, she’s a dear friend and is brilliant. When you work with her you know she’s got your back.
Grazia Daily: What’s harder to present, the BAFTAs red carpet for E! or the X-Factor?
Dermot O’Leary: They both come with their own challenges and are quite unique shows in terms of what you’re up against. If Simon Cowell was on the BAFTAs red carpet that would send me over the edge. I can just about handle him from October to December, I don’t need him in February as well.
Grazia Daily: What kind of dad do you think Simon Cowell will be?
Dermot O’Leary: I’ve been to his house a number of times and it’s very clean lines and everything makes sense. It’s all quite pristine. As you know babies aren’t pristine. They’re all about colouring your walls in. He might have to make a multi-coloured wing just for the baby.
Live from the Red Carpet: The 2014 EE British Academy Film Awards, Sunday 16th February @ 5.15pm on E!