Sheila Nevins

This issue features a "micro-interview" with Sheila Nevins, HBO’s “de Medici” of television.

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PART I

THE BELIEVER: You’re very good at saying no to people. Is this a skill you had to hone, or were you born with it?

SHEILA NEVINS: I’m scared of a lot of things, so no is a protection. It’s easier than going out. I don’t like to go out; I don’t like to make talk, to be judged. No is easier. No means you can get home and read, or watch TV, do work—and if you say no, people don’t expect yes. For instance, they had a party for Larry Kramer, at the wrap-up for our Larry Kramer bio, and I love Larry. I probably visited him fifty times since we made this film. But the idea of this dear man—this dear, impossible man—going to a party at Cowgirl—or whatever it is, on West Tenth Street—with the crew was like… I would pay not to go to that party. So I didn’t go. Nobody expected me to go. As a matter of fact, the woman who invited me said, “I’m sorry, I know you don’t go to parties,” and I said, “No, I don’t”—but it was fine because nobody got insulted, because even Larry, who went, said, “Oh, yeah, Sheila doesn’t like parties.” I don’t like to talk to people. I want to go home.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

To read the full piece, please purchase a copy of the magazine from The McSweeney’s Store.

Kathleen Hale is the author of two novels, including the critically acclaimed No One Else Can Have You. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Simon Rich.

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