Hollywood makes all possible accommodations to be certain that actors are usually shown in their best light. Red carpets, late-night and daytime talk shows, press junkets, promotional tours… The opportunities are endless for actors to promote their projects and themselves.
It takes a lot of physical and mental endurance to withstand a movie’s promotional tour. Blockbusters usually have worldwide premieres in different parts of the planet (which means lots of traveling), journalists are trying to make an impression with actors they don’t often see through a language barrier (which makes for strange interactions), and it is admittedly very hard to look excited while trying to find new ways to answer the same questions.
So it is not surprising that, even when everything seems right and the posed questions are not even that difficult to answer, some actors star to stray off of their charming personas, making for very uncomfortable moments that are sometimes hilarious but always awkward. The hours are long, the questions are repetitive, and the jetlag is real – actors are bound to “lose it” every now and then.
Get ready to blush. These are 16 Awkward Actor Interviews That Are Too Cringeworthy To Watch.
16 TOM CRUISE VS. MATT LAUER
A lot was going on with Tom Cruise in June of 2005. To hash it all out, the actor went to NBC’s Today Show to have a sit-down interview with Matt Lauer and talk about his marriage to Katie Holmes, his involvement with Scientology, and his new movie War of the Worlds, directed by Steven Spielberg.
Because Matt Lauer is a journalist, after giving ample space for War of the Worlds to be promoted, he decided to poke Tom Cruise with delicate questions about the actor’s views on mental health. The conversation quickly spun out of control and became extremely awkward as Cruise began to lecture Lauer in regards to his views on chemical imbalances and the use of drugs as supplements to treating those issues.
Twelve years later, Matt Lauer stated during an interview with Watch What Happens Live’s Andy Cohen that he likes Tom Cruise and that the two of them have a good relationship.
15 CARA DELEVIGNE FOR PAPER TOWNS
Cara – not Carla – was clearly not as excited as the Good Day Sacramento hosts to have a spirited chat about her work in Paper Towns at 8:48 in the morning. The actress was also clearly thrown off by the first question posed to her, in which she was asked if she had even read the John Green novel that inspired the film. Conversely, it seems like Cara’s low daytime energy and sarcastic humor were irritating the hosts.
After a series of silly questions and sarcastic answers, the hosts called out Cara Delevigne for not being excited, which prompted the actress to jokingly defend herself, only to be called out again. It all went downhill there as the hosts suggested that she should drink a Red Bull and implied that she was best known for a cameo in a Taylor Swift music video. Cara’s team decided to just cut off the transmission.
14 THE FANTASTIC FOUR CAST
2015’s Fantastic Four was surrounded by production drama before and after its release, so it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that the film’s promotional tour was also filled with awkward interviews and problematic moments.
The worst one of all happened in August of 2015, as Atlanta, GA radio personality Southside Steve interviewed Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, and Jamie Bell, and started out by questioning how it was possible for Michael – an African-American actor – and Kate – a Caucasian actress – to be portraying the Fantastic Four siblings Johnny and Sue Storm.
This matter had already been explained exhaustively by the production team behind 2015’s Fantastic Four: in this film the characters were adopted siblings. The question felt out of place not only because of the interviewer’s tone of voice, but also because it had been answered time and time again before.
13 SAD AFFLECK
Arguably the most well-known interview in the entire promotional campaign for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the “Sad Affleck” moment came from an otherwise harmless question posed by Yahoo Movies reporter Tom Butler.
Actors Ben Affleck (who played Batman) and Henry Cavill (who played Superman) sat down with Yahoo for one more interview about DCEU’s Batman v Superman and had probably been asked a million times that day about the mixed reviews the film was getting.
But while Cavill kept his cool and answered the question one more time, Affleck chose to just look down and remain quiet, creating one of the biggest memes of the summer of 2016 and yielding a series of videos zooming into the actor’s face while playing tragic songs in the background.
12 BAD AFFLECK
As Affleck sat down with Canadian TV host Anne-Marie Losique to promote his new movie, the reporter ended up on his lap for the entire duration – all five minutes – while the actor smelled her neck, hugged her waist, mimicked her accent, and complimented her physique.
Whether she was indeed interested or just nervous enough to not screw up an interview with an A-list actor, Anne-Marie Losique is seen seemingly reciprocating Ben Affleck’s advancements, which turned this interview into just five minutes of us watching them flirt with one another. Jersey Girl went on to make $36 million against a $35 million budget.
11 JESSE EISENBERG IS NOT AMUSED
Either Jesse Eisenberg enjoys flirting in an aggressively sarcastic way, or he was just flat-out fed up with interviewer Romina Puga, host of a show called Say My Name. One way or another, this Now You See Me interview is unbearably awkward.
It all starts as Romina Puga calls Morgan Freeman by just his last name, to which Jesse Eisenberg sarcastically replies: “Freeman? Are you on a baseball team with him?” The actor later comes back to it, saying, “don’t call Morgan Freeman ‘Freeman’ like you’re in a little league softball team with him.” He also says that Romina is “the Carrot Top of interviewers” meaning that she is “horrible.”
The interviewer later asks for Eisenberg to do a magic trick, and while he complies, he doesn’t seem very interested in entertaining her or even getting the trick right. What a mess of an interview!
10 MILA KUNIS IN RUSSIAN
Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis – who, by the way, is Ukrainian – went to Moscow, Russia on behalf of Sony Pictures to conduct a press conference for their latest film at the time, 2011’s Friends With Benefits. And it was all perfectly normal until a Russian reporter decided to ask Timberlake, who is better known as a musician, why he is now in a movie.
“Well, what would you rather have him do?” replies Mila Kunis, in fluent Russian, not even giving Justin Timberlake a chance to catch up to the interaction through the translation going on inside his ear piece. The actress later adds, “What kind of question is that? Why are YOU here?” and the room erupts with laughter and applause.
The cringe-worthy and hilarious moment ends with Timberlake pointing to Kunis and naming the actress his bodyguard.
9 SAMUEL L. JACKSON IS NOT LAURENCE FISHBURNE
Not all actors are willing to stay quiet or graciously let interviewers off the hook for making a mistake.
During a 2014 interview with Samuel L. Jackson, KTLA reporter Sam Rubin started out by asking the actor about his Super Bowl commercial, which at the time made it obvious that he had just confused Jackson with actor Laurence Fishburne, who had done a The Matrix-inspired advertisement for a car manufacturer.
Samuel L. Jackson was not pleased, and while he did talk Robocop – the film he was there to promote – he did not let Sam Rubin off the hook, repeating several times that he was not Laurence Fishburne and that it was absurd for a Hollywood reporter to make such a problematic mistake.
The interaction became one of the most awkward interviews in the history of entertainment media.
8 ROBERT PATTINSON HAS NO TIME
It is very widely reported that, by the second movie, Robert Pattinson was just about done with the Twilight franchise, and kept doing it solely for the money and exposure.
In an interview to promote The Twilight Saga: New Moon – the second film in the franchise – with Ryan Seacrest, Robert Pattinson went in with a publicist who seemed impatient from the very moment they walked in, mouthing that the actor only had time for two questions.
As Ryan Seacrest decided to ask a third question (and to make it worse, it was about Pattinson’s co-star Kristen Stewart), the actor’s publicist just flat-out shut down the interview and created an extremely awkward situation for everyone involved. Robert Pattinson walked out as gracefully as he could, but Seacrest made his feelings loud and clear.
7 ROBERT DOWNEY JR. WALKS OUT
Channel 4 reporter Krishnan Guru-Murthy has a history of pissing off A-list Hollywood talent with existential and sociological questions during interviews that are simply meant to promote a film.
One of those cases happened with actor Robert Downey Jr. in 2015 during a press tour for Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Age of Ultron, in which the actor reprised his role as Iron Man. Guru-Murthy was trying to compare the character of Tony Stark to RDJ himself, drawing a parallel by saying that both of them had become more likable personalities with time.
This conversation eventually brought up RDJ’s issues of the past (drug abuse, incarceration, and all), which made the actor extremely uneasy since the purpose of the interview was to simply promote the new Avengers film.
To be fair, a clearly uncomfortable Robert Downey Jr. sat there and deflected the reporter’s questions for about four minutes, but the actor eventually decided that he had heard enough and awkwardly walked out of the interview before its 7-minute mark.
6 VIN DIESEL HITS ON REPORTER
It is anyone’s guess whether Vin Diesel was 100% sober in this xXx: Return of Xander Cage interview in Brazil with YouTuber Carol Moreira, but the fact of the matter is that the actor seemed to be clearly infatuated with the interviewer – to the point that he couldn’t focus on simply answering the questions in a professional manner.
The interview becomes incredibly awkward when one comes to the realization that Carol is just being nice to an extremely famous actor, trying very hard to get back on topic and at the same time not further Vin Diesel’s advances. This interaction made huge headlines in Brazil, both among people defending Carol and people criticizing her for taking Diesel’s flirtation too seriously.
An older interview of Carol Moreira with actor Jason Momoa – DCEU’s Aquaman – resurfaced after this Vin Diesel controversy. In it, the interviewer humorously sits on Momoa’s lap as a Game of Thrones joke in regards to “sitting on the Iron Throne.”
5 QUENTIN TARANTINO GETS REALLY UPSET
Once again, Guru-Murthy was not satisfied with simply talking about Tarantino’s career and Django Unchained by itself, and started to press the director to talk about his views in regards to world violence (as a general concept) and the responsibility cinema has to it.
Much like Robert Downey Jr., Tarantino felt like his points of view about the subject at hand had already been explored time and time again. He got very angry as Krishnan Guru-Murthy kept pushing him to talk about things he was trying to move on from.
“I’m shutting your butt down!” an angry Quentin Tarantino said to Krishnan Guru-Murthy. It’s so awkward!
4 WHAT IS WRONG WITH JOAQUIN PHOENIX?
Joaquin Phoenix went to David Letterman – who was still host of CBS’ Late Show – in 2009 to promote his most work, the film Two Lovers. All perfectly normal - except that when the actor walked out, he sported a huge beard and sunglasses, and acted as if he had completely lost his mind or was under the influence.
After nearly nine minutes of Phoenix saying the strangest things – such as claiming he was quitting acting to focus on hip hop – and awkwardly reacting to the room’s laughter and applause, Letterman decided to let the actor off the hook and graciously ended the interview.
It was later discovered that Joaquin Phoenix had not gone crazy, but was simply method acting for his role in Casey Affleck’s 2010 mockumentary I’m Still Here, in which Phoenix played an alternative version of himself.
3 CHARLIE SHEEN IS BI-WINNING
Charlie Sheen’s infamous 2011 Good Morning America interview – in which he was theoretically trying to prove that his exit from Two and a Half Men had nothing to do with his drug problems and outlandish behavior – will probably not be forgotten anytime soon.
This interview famously introduced to popular culture the terms “bi-winning” and “tiger blood,” and was just the first of a series of bizarrely awkward moments from Charlie Sheen in 2011. The interview later aired with another segment in which the actor introduced two women he was in a relationship with, whom he called his “goddesses”.
Sadly, these awkward and funny interviews resulted in a career landslide for Charlie Sheen. Things got even more personal in 2015, as the actor went to the Today Show to reveal that he had contracted HIV.
2 MORGAN FREEMAN TAKES NAPS
The Now You See Me press tour was undoubtedly full of memorably awkward moments.
In an interview with Q13 Fox, actors Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman were supposed to promote their new movie, Now You See Me… but it turns out that only Michael Caine spoke. Why? Well, it seems like Morgan Freeman was very sleepy – it was early in the morning, after all! – and decided to take power naps between questions.
Morgan Freeman was clearly not just resting his sight. At times, his head even fell to his chest, which is a pretty affirmative sign that one is falling asleep. Thankfully, Now You See Me did just fine without Freeman’s endorsement, and it even spun a sequel three years later (with Morgan Freeman in the cast!).
1 TOM HARDY’S SEXUALITY IS NOT UP FOR QUESTIONING
In a press junket for the 2015 film Legend, a reporter from an LGBTQ publication decided to ask Tom Hardy if he thought that it was hard for celebrities to talk about their sexualities, mentioning an interview from Attitude Magazine with actor that prompted this reporter to think that Hardy’s sexuality was “ambiguous.”
Tom Hardy did not waste any time shutting down this line of questioning. The interaction becomes so awkward that the reporter just says “thank you” and stops talking altogether. To be fair, the actor has never seemed too fond of doing interviews, so it’s not surprising that he didn’t waste much time shutting down a problematic question as it was posed to him.
After the interaction was done, the press junket moved on by completely dismissing the awkward question that Tom Hardy had just brushed off.
Could you make it through any of these interviews without cringing? Let us know in the comments!