WOODY HARRELSON Are you gonna smoke that?
Sometimes you do interviews with celebrities just because you can. And Woody Harrelson was in town to promote his new documentary Go Further, about a road trip he and some friends took in a hemp oil-fueled bus, spreading the good cheer of sustainability. The film's big on good nature and low on information, amounting to a high-quality home video of health conscious folks. The entourage includes a lawyer, a chef, and a production assistant who is a junk food addict and smoker. His struggles with, and eventual acceptance of the bus' bike riding, raw food consuming, cigarette-free quest give a little comedic relief, particularly his horrified preoccupation with something Woody told him: that milk is full of blood and pus!! It all seems like a well-meaning stab at using celebrity for a good cause, although the film is too mellow and uneventful to be very striking. Save for a few fume huffing teens in rural Oregon (represent!), their message meets little opposition.

Woody's also showing up this week in After the Sunset, a substandard heist film starring Salma Hayek and Pierce Brosnan--this time, Woody is typecast back into the likeable dumb guy he was first introduced as on Cheers, but now he's a bungling FBI agent. After a humiliating defeat by Pierce (his jewel thief nemesis), Woody's character follows him to an island paradise, where Pierce and fiancé Salma plan on retiring. Cat and mouse games and opaquely obvious cliches abound, insulting all but the most idiotic of viewers. The suspense-less film--teeming with homophobic humor and cleavage shots--is clearly something Go Further's star does just to keep himself in raw food. There is no plausible way that anyone could, with a straight face, inquire as to the deeper meaning, motive, or moral to such a piece of shit. Remarkable only in its stark contrast to Go Further--a portrait of the "real" Woody Harrelson--it stands as sad evidence of how Woody must debase himself in order to fund his goodwill pilgrimages to the pesticide munching corners of the world. But debased or not, he was awesome in Natural Born Killers, so I'm psyched to do a Woody Harrelson interview.

I show up at the PSU park blocks, where the bus from Go Further sits parked. Festooned with paintings of natural wildlife and new age wing nut faerie scenes, it's crawling with crunchy college types. Woody is shorter than expected, dressed like an outdoorsman in a beanie and purple pants that I suspect are hemp. We sit cross-legged on the floor amongst throw pillows as Michael Jackson blasts from the bus's speakers.

Mellow and almost ceremoniously kind, but with sharp, penetrating eyes, Woody begins by sighing and says, "This is the part of the job I loathe the most."

"What, doing interviews?"

"They're so impersonal and contrived. It's like they suck my soul right out!"

I ask a few questions about the documentary, hoping to loosen us both up so I can find out if Ted Danson wore a wig on Cheers, but we are repeatedly interrupted by students boarding the bus to meet Woody. ("Great film man." "Keep up the good work.") At one point a crowd of bare and dirty footed hippie chicks in skirts and dashikis board and begin dancing all over the bus.

At this point in the interview, what with the dancing hippies, and the Michael Jackson, my tape recorder is unable to pick up anything Woody is saying, which he later describes as "a bunch of shit" anyway. So I throw my hands up and go straight for the joints stashed in my bag--and the real purpose of my visit.

"This might be kind of sketch... And I know you said in the documentary that you don't smoke pot anymore... "

Woody squints, puzzled. "What? Did I say that?"

"Look, we had this joint rolling contest at work, and we'd like you to be the judge. You get to smoke the winner."

Woody carefully inspects each entry like a knowing connoisseur, finally selecting Office Manager Brad Buckner's entry. (Congratulations, Brad!) Hopping off the bus, I figure, "So what if Woody can't pick a good movie? At least he knows a good joint when he sees one."