October 2017

I was interviewed by the Radio Times for an article about Louis Theroux’s very distinctive and very successful interview style. I commented that “The really interesting thing about Louis is that his face doesn’t move that much. Even when he’s talking, there’s very little emotion on display.”

The piece continues:
“And it’s not just that it’s rare to spot Theroux smiling or blushing. It’s that he doesn’t emit, what Beattie calls, ‘non-verbal leakage’. “This refers to micro-expressions: flickers of emotion that last a fraction of a second that may contradict what a person is saying – touching your mouth after you’ve said something you don’t like, for instance. They’re generally released unconsciously and processed unconsciously by the other person.

“The problem with other interviewers is that their face will change and influence what their subject is saying when they’re talking about something revealing. But it doesn’t happen with Theroux – there’s very little leakage and he’s mostly blank. He’s not giving away any look of disapproval, even if he doesn’t agree with what’s being said. He’s very controlled and lets his subjects talk without judgement. It’s amazing.”

However, you might have noticed one area that Louis does move while talking: the eyebrows. They’re almost constantly raised or raising. Try spotting it for yourself: count how many times his brows are riding high in the clip below of his interview with Lauren Drain, one of the former members of The Westboro Baptist Church. Or, if you prefer, let us count for you: out of the 15 occasions the camera turns to Louis’s face, his eyebrows are raised 10 times – that’s a massive 67% of the time.

The link to the full article is below: