One Direction have kicked off their UK publicity-fest for their forthcoming documentary, 'This Is Us', with a press conference in London, where they showed a cunning knack of deflecting any controversial questions - with charm and a lot of teamwork.
They entered the room to fanfare generated by Harry Styles, high-clapping with gusto. "I'm glad to be back at work," he said.
The five of them are seasoned veterans now, it seems, at deflecting the most awkward of questions with banter shared between them and back-up when required.
When one brave journalist asked why there wasn't any footage of the fabled 'sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll' normally associated with pop stars on tour, Harry, the most celebrated Lothario and party lover of the group, crossed himself and told everyone "this is a family press conference," while Louis jumped in with, "We like to think we're rock and roll, but we're not really."
Following the controversy over last weeks' Channel 4 documentary detailing the disruptive behaviour of the band's most obsession fans, Liam emphasised the gratitude the boys feel towards their global fanbase.
"It was important to have fan footage in the film," he said, while Zayn added, "We're lucky that our fans are universal in their craziness."
Another reporter asked about a scene in the film, where Liam talks about the very earliest days in the band, when there was a question over whether Zayn Malik would continue with them, after he failed to show up at rehearsal.
He just grinned as he was reminded of this, and answered, ""The first week we got together it was all a bit strange trying to get people together for rehearsals. Still to this day it's a struggle to get Zayn out of bed."
The band managed to say very little while talking a lot, and along the way they answered questions on some scenes captured in the film - Liam and Harry fishing in Norwegian fjords - "very good" according to Harry - future acting plans... "none"... and partying... "it's important to let your hair down," Harry told us.
The film shows a clip of Zayn talking to his mother on the phone after she had received the keys to a house he'd just bought her. "It was quite strange filming because it was the first time I'd actually spoken to my mum about it and she'd gone round the house. It was quite strange but it was good and it's amazing thing to do," he said at the conference.
"I can look back on that in a few years time and I've got amazing footage of my mum seeing the house for the first time."
Never mind all that, boys can enjoy the film too apparently, with Niall Horan reminding potential viewers that "there's football in it, and we drink beer".
Morgan Spurlock, the film's director was also on stage with the band and emphasised that the film was more intimate than those made by Justin Bieber and Katy Perry in the last couple of years. "They're (One Direction) so normal and grounded, which is why they're so popular," he said. "Plus there's five of them, so it's five times as good."
And with that they were gone, with the powers that be reminding a roomful of journalists not to grab them as they went.
Number of hairstyles swept forward: 4 (all except Liam)
Numher of pairs of black jeans: 5
Number of earrings: 1 (Zayne)
Number of stubble: 3 (Harry and Niall cheanshaven)
Number of visible tattoos: Harry won easily
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