It was, in part, born of necessity. Esquire assigned the article and slated it for the cover; Talese grudgingly took it on, thinking there was anything new to say about a man who’d been famous for 30 years. “Why would you do another piece on Angelina Jolie? Can you imagine doing another piece on Angelina Jolie? Or Brad Pitt? Or George Clooney?” Talese asks now.
An interview with Sinatra was scheduled, but he didn’t want to be interviewed. And what Sinatra did or didn’t want to do was the law in his universe.
So Talese hung around and watched Sinatra when he was supposed to be talking to him, waiting for an opportunity and observing. He interviewed everyone he could, friends and managers, bodyguards, a wigmaker. He is meticulous in his research and execution.
“The creativity in journalism is in what you do with what you have,” Talese says.