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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

A moment with CNN's Richard Quest

Posted: 13 Mar 2014 03:50 AM PDT

On a quest for perfection: The CNN anchor has almost 30 years of broadcast experience and it shows.

IT TOOK only a matter of seconds after I sat down to begin my interview with Richard Quest that the CNN international business correspondent spotted an irregularity.

"You might want to remove whatever it is you have in your breast pocket because that can be seen on camera," the renowned broadcast journalist suggested politely, his eyes fixed on the top of my light blue dress shirt.

Star2 was conducting a video interview with the 51-year-old British journalist and true enough, as I peered over my front pocket, I found a tiny piece of paper.

To say Quest has an eye for detail is an understatement. With nearly 30 years of experience in the business, he has an acute awareness of his surroundings and an unparalleled knowledge and experience as a broadcast journalist, be it in front or behind the camera.

Quest is incredibly hands-on (moments before the interview, he asked if he could be excused to put on make-up, and mind you, on his own) and well-versed in the technical aspects of a broadcast interview (contributing ideas on shots and angles to enhance our video production).

And in fielding questions, Quest's responses were bold and to-the-point but unlike many newsmen, they were also rich in colour and personality. His gestures, too, were passionate and unbridled (at one point, even slamming his fist on the table).

What's even more impressive, he displayed an unequaled level of professionalism, being still bright-eyed and chirpy despite having travelled to some seven to eight countries in the span of just two weeks prior to our interview.

"I think you're born with it. I think it can't be artificial," he said when asked about his passion for journalism during an exclusive interview with Star2 at the Majestic Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.

Quest's foray into broadcast journalism began in 1985 as a news trainee in BBC. The Liverpool-native worked his way up and became the North America business correspondent for the British broadcaster, bringing reports on major stock market and financial crises during his stint there.

In 2001, Quest joined CNN and branched out into news reporting, covering major news events such as the death of Yasser Arafat, the presidential elections in the United States and the royal wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, just to name a few.

Interestingly, Quest's illustrious career in journalism got its start in law. "I had to have a career if it all went horribly wrong. My late father told me to get a decent job. He always said, 'if you're a journalist, you would have the best dinner party stories and the smallest car parked outside.' And he was right," said Quest who read law in the University of Leeds and was called to the Bar.

Today, he is one of CNN's most recognisable faces, for the most part, thanks to his unorthodoxed approach in delivering business news. The Quest Means Business presenter breaks down the day's business news into easy-to-understand, bite-sized portions plus injects a dash of wit and humour in the weekday programme.

But despite his wealth of experience, Quest admits he would rather sit on the sidelines when it comes to doing business on his own. "Let me make it quite clear, I could not sell water in the desert. I'm a hopeless businessman. I can tell you why this company is not doing well or why this economy is not performing well but I can't do it myself," he revealed candidly.

"I have huge respect for those men and women who every day put their money on the line and go into business, but I'm not one of those people."

Quest was in town to film an upcoming episode of Business Traveller, a monthly programme that sees him visiting a different city in each episode, dishing out handy tips for business travellers.

Over the years, the CNN anchor has interviewed some of the world's most prominent figures including the Dalai Lama, the late Margaret Thatcher and Playboy founder Hugh Hefner. Though grateful for the opportunity, Quest still harbours hope to speak to a few others before retiring.

"I've always wanted to interview Tom Cruise. He has a very varied, interesting life. There are questions I want to ask him. Secondly – John Travolta. He's a pilot, I have a love for aviation and would love to discuss those issues.

"And the final one is Her Majesty The Queen. That is an interview that I will never get. She has never done an interview in all the years she has been on the throne. I don't think she'll invite me over for a cup of tea anytime soon for a chat," he shared.

As CNN's international business correspondent and the host of Business Traveller, Quest has had the opportunity to travel to countless cities in the world. So where does this travel expert prefer to pitch his tent? And where does he head to for a private getaway?

He offered: "I'm most comfortable in my hometown of London and where I live now in New York. I also love being on the beach in Spain where my mum has a little place. I love being down in Sydney in the summer and being in this part of the world (Southeast Asia). Two weeks ago I was in Moscow. I was freezing my bits off but I was having fun, too.

"So where do I like to be best? Where I lay my head at night."

Watch the exclusive video interview on The Star's video channel, SwitchUp.TV.

Catch Richard Quest on Quest Means Business every Tuesday to Saturday at 11am, Business Traveller on the second Thursday of each month at 3.30pm and Best Of Quest on Saturdays at 7pm, all on CNN International (Astro Ch 511).

Michelle Monaghan holds her own in 'True Detective'

Posted: 12 Mar 2014 09:00 AM PDT

The actress talks about her emotional character in the much-loved TV show.

In one of the most poignant scenes in HBO's True Detective, Michelle Monaghan's Maggie Hart accuses her husband, Martin, played by Woody Harrelson, of being a promiscuous "sulky teenager."

"You put a ceiling on your life, on everything, because you won't change," she says, exasperated.

It's a pivotal scene that marks the first time viewers see just how disillusioned Maggie is with her marriage, and Monaghan shines in it, portraying strength, vulnerability, sadness and hope from one quotable line to the next.

"I was moved by that (scene)," Monaghan recalled during a recent phone interview from her Los Angeles home. "I think all of the people who saw it were too. ... It's confronting for a lot of people because it's really honest and very real. It's how people speak and that's powerful."

Unlike her fictional husband, Monaghan has never put a ceiling on her life. Growing up in Winthrop, Iowa – a town of 850 people, according to 2010 Census Bureau data – she said Hollywood seemed so separate from her life.

But merely 14 years after starting her acting career, Monaghan, 37, has not only shared the screen but held her own with stars such as Tom Cruise (Mission: Impossible III), Jake Gyllenhaal (Source Code), Robert Downey Jr (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) and her True Detective co-stars Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey, who plays Martin's partner, Rustin "Rust" Cohle.

True Detective, follows Louisiana homicide detectives Hart and Cohle and spans 17 years. In 1995, the pair investigate the disturbing murder of a young woman and the crime's possible occult connections. In 2012, the partners are questioned about their casework after a murder similar to the 1995 killing takes place and, in the most recent episode, they reunite to seemingly finish what they started.

The finale of the first season, a planned anthology series, will air this Sunday in Malaysia, hopefully putting to rest speculation as to who is "The Yellow King", the supposed cult leader and possible serial murderer. Whodunit theories surrounding the king's identity have set the Internet abuzz for weeks.

The procedural aspect of True Detective is interesting and complex, but the heart of this show, its sweet, sticky nougat centre, is the characters' rich relationships and their tangled emotional webs.

"What's really happening (in the show) is this incredible dissection of relationships and how they intersect and they converge and they change over time," Monaghan said. "I think that is what is really grabbing people emotionally and at times even making it uncomfortable."

Monaghan hasn't been a TV show regular since her powerful turn as naive, well-meaning teacher Kimberly Woods on Boston Public in 2002. Woods stirred up racial tension at Winslow High School after hosting a discussion about affirmative action and eventually had to transfer when a student became obsessed with her.

It was the quality of True Detective that lured Monaghan back to the small screen, she said.

"It wasn't necessarily about making a conscious decision to come back to TV," she said. "It was really the level of material and the calibre of people involved that decided it for me. Had it been a film, I would have made the same decision."

Monaghan's Maggie Hart is easily the show's most developed female character, and Monaghan plays her with finesse. She deftly balances Maggie's mama-bear fortitude with the tenderness and raw hurt of a wife trying to connect with a husband she fears she's lost. 

Episode Six exposed Maggie as the reason for the rift between Hart and Cohle, and her performance was impressive, revealing a woman at her wits' end, forced to take dramatic measures.

Maggie is one of Hart and Cohle's few "anchors to the world of civilised reality," said series creator Nic Pizzolatto.

"I think Maggie is the most emotionally intelligent person in the story, and I think she is the most honest person in the story," he said. "I feel like Michelle is able to bring this wealth of emotional gravitas that counterpoints the sort of savagery and dishonesty of the men around her."

Monaghan won't stay away from TV too long after True Detective ends as she's signed on to play one of the five leads in Ryan Murphy's new series Open, which was given a pilot order by HBO. Not much has been revealed about the show, which Deadline Hollywood described as a "provocative exploration of human sexuality."

"It's really about relationships and the state of relationships in a modern society, in the age of technology, in terms of monogamy and betrayal and commitment and what commitment means," Monaghan said.

For years, Monaghan has moved easily between studio pictures, indie movies and, now, TV. But there's still one credit she would like to add to her resume: Broadway.

"That's my ultimate dream and my ultimate goal as an actor," she said. "I don't know when or how that will take place, but it will happen." – Chicago Tribune/McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

The season finale of True Detective airs this Sunday at 9pm on HBO (Astro Ch 413).

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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