Cillian Murphy was biting into an apple as I entered the interview suite; making me feel as if I were stepping into the Garden of Eden.
"Hi," he said, with a smile and a lovely Irish lilt.
"Hello," I squeaked, pulling out my notebook with trembling hands. I was afraid that I might start blushing, so I quickly got down to business.
"How have audiences responded to The Wind that Shakes the Barley?"
"The reaction that stayed with me most was the one in Cannes," responded Cillian, who plays Damien, the film's hero. "They had the big screening and afterwards everybody stood up for ten minutes at the end. It was pretty overwhelming."
Knowing exactly how he must have felt, I leaned in closer and nodded in empathy. Pushing back his chair a little, Cillian went on to say that in his native Ireland, the film has been the biggest ever grossing independent movie, yet in the UK, it has come under attack by the right-wing press for its harsh portrayal of the British army.
Back in June, abominable British tabloid rag the Sun ranted "Top Cannes film is most pro-IRA ever-and, yes, it did get a Lotto grant." Although funnily enough, in the Irish version of the same newspaper, the day's headlines ran "Cillian's IRA men give Brits a tanning in Cannes."
"A couple of the columnists hadn't even seen the movie when they wrote about it," confided Cillian.
So unjust, I thought. It only seemed appropriate to console him. "There, there, Mummy's here," I whispered, taking him in my arms and pressing his head to my bosom. Cillian called out something muffled to the publicists in the next room. A team of ladies in high heels ran in, and the actor gestured in the direction of the door with his thumb.
"But that was only my first question," I screamed, ripping at peroxide hair and silk blouses as they hauled me from the room.
"Time up," they hissed through scarlet painted lips.
"Which side of the family did you get the cheekbones from...your mother's or your father's?" I yelled out from across the suite.
The publicists tightened their grip, leaving me no choice but to sink my teeth into their fingers. I ran across the suite and climbed up onto the window ledge. "Damien, I'm doing this for you!" I yelled, perched as if to jump. The actor sat stock still in his chair, arms folded, his cold blues eyes expressionless.
In the end, I took the elevator down. It was all a little awkward. But the last laugh was mine as I patted my tweed skirt pocket. I had grabbed Cillian's apple core from the garbage can on my way out the door, and stuffed it deep into my garments. I took out the browning core, picked off the lint and licked it hungrily all over. Wistfully, I realised that this was as close as we would get-for now-to an actual kiss.