Tom Cruise is probably the undisputed king of the bizarre, awkward interview, but he’s not alone when it comes to cringe-worthy celebrity
Q&As. Whether an interviewer intentionally asks provocative questions, or the star maybe just isn’t feeling it after a long press junket, it’s satisfying when the cameras record these tense interactions.
Here are the stars whose press agents probably should have been a little quicker to throw in the towel.
Samuel L. Jackson
When KTLA reporter Sam Rubin asked Samuel L. Jackson about a Super Bowl commercial he was in, mistaking him for actor Laurence Fishburne,
the interview was effectively over. “Did you get a lot of reaction to that SuperBowl commercial?” “What SuperBowl commercial?” Although he attempted to track back to the intended Robocop promo, Rubin was well aware of what he’d done, saying after the interview, “That is a tape that I believe now is going to have a life all of its own.” “I think you’re right.” But in a separate interview of his own, Fishburne told Strombo he actually gets mistaken for Jackson all the time.
“A woman from Texas came up and interrupted the interview, ‘I don’t mean to bother you, can I have your autograph Mister Jackson?'” Fishburne did what any self-respecting star would do, saying, “I wrote, y’know, blah blah blah Sam Jackson.” Fortunately, Fishburne is a good sport about
the whole thing.
“People used to confuse Al Pacino and Dustin Hoffman. It’s not a bad problem to have.” Robert Downey Jr. UK reporter Krishnan Guru-Murthy — who’s made a name for himself as a button-pusher — got on Robert Downey Jr.’s bad side in 2015, by digging up Downey’s widely-known rocky past. “I don’t know how comfortable you are talking about yourself, at the moment.” “You have as much time as anyone else will.” After a series of awkwardly personal questions about Downey’s so-called “dark times,” Downey had had enough. “I really — I’m sorry, what are we doing?” The normally congenial star abruptly ended the interview, calling Guru-Murthy a “schmuck” on his way out the door. “It’s just getting a little Diane Sawyer-y and you’re kind of a shmuck.”
During a later Howard Stern appearance, the actor was less diplomatic when reliving the uncomfortable moment, saying of Guru-Murthy, “You know what. You’re weirding me out. You are a bottom feeding muck-raker.” He then added: “That is more than likely a syphilitic parasite
and I need to distance myself from this clown.” To add insult to injury, the tense interview with Guru-Murthy occurred during a press event for Avengers: Age of Ultron during which news outlets were reportedly allotted 5 to 10 minute slots with the stars for the expressed purpose of promoting the film. We’re pretty sure Marvel would rather have the tent-pole star of its cinematic universe talking about how cool it is to be Iron Man, instead of, say, that time he got arrested for possession.
Quentin Tarantino Krishnan Guru-Murthy got himself pummeled
with return fire from director Quentin Tarantino after attempting to draw a corollary between violent films — like Tarantino’s — and mass shootings. “But why it’s OK to go into a movie and enjoy the violence.” “Yeah, well it’s a movie. It’s a fantasy. It’s a fantasy it’s not real life.” The interview took place during promotion for the director’s Django Unchained – which has no shortage of violence. When Guru-Murthy repeatedly attempted to discuss a potential correlation, “But why are you so sure there’s no link between enjoying movie violence, and enjoying real violence.” Tarantino replied, “Don’t ask me a question like that. I’m not biting. I refuse your question.”
For his part, Tarantino made it abundantly clear that he’d already spoken on the subject at length since the start of his career, and that his only intention for Guru-Murthy’s interview was to sell his movie. His final response on the matter? “I’m shutting your butt down.”
While promoting Now You See Me, Jesse Eisenberg sat down with Romina Puga for a segment of her show, Say My Name. He must have somehow thought he was back on the set of The Social Network because he was in full Zuckerberg mode, rapid-firing insults, even encouraging Puga to cry by saying, “You are like the Carrot Top of interviewers.” “I’m gonna go cry now.
No don’t cry now, cry after the interview’s over cuz otherwise I’ll look like I’m responsible for it.” At first, their banter seemed playful, and maybe even an attempt at wry humor, but in just under three minutes, Eisenberg ended up looking like a bully. “I said your name into the camera what else
do you want from me.” Puga even edited the segment to end with her
final thoughts: “You’re such a jerk.” Even then, fans wondered it was a failed gag or an actual train wreck of an interview. Puga answered that question with a Tumblr post that confirmed Eisenberg was, indeed, “not very nice.” She wrote, “When the five minute ‘interview’ (more like
self-esteem butchering) [was] finally over I went behind a curtain to wait for the memory cards from the interview. I peaked around the curtain to ask Jesse about his neighborhood in New York […] and he immediately says, ‘You’re still here?'”
There were several factors at play that turned actress Cara Delevingne’s Good Day Sacramento appearance into the perfect storm of interview
awkwardness. First, there was her introduction as “Carla”: “Carla Delevigne is in the movie. She joins us live from New York City to talk about Paper Towns. Cara good morning!” Then, along with a satellite delay that blew
any attempts at jokes, the Good Day hosts asked vaguely insulting questions, like this one: “Did you get a chance to read it or do you
even have time to read, these days you’re so busy.” “Uh, no, I never read the book or the script actually, I kinda winged it.” By just under the three-minute mark, it was the interviewers, sensing what they thought was attitude coming from Delevingne, who decided to throw in the towel.
“We’ll let you go then, how ’bout that? Take a little nap, maybe get a Red Bull. How about that?” The satellite feed was cut, and the hosts
decided “Carla’s” bad mood was the problem. “She was in a mood!” Delevingne took to Twitter in her own defense, writing, “Some people just don’t understand sarcasm or the British sense of humour.”
Wondering about the creepiest possible way a male celebrity can have a conversation with a female interviewer? Vin Diesel’s got your answer. “My God I love her. Look how beautiful she is.” “Thank you!” “God. Wow. Man.” Diesel actually professed his inappropriate love several times while speaking with YouTube personality Carol Moreira to promote xXx : Return
of Xander Cage.
“God, you’re so beautiful. My God she’s so beautiful. Am I right or wrong? Look at her.” “Thank you!” “How am I supposed to do this interview?” Moreira, later told E! News, “I did not like it. At the time I did not know how to react, but you will see that I was uncomfortable, it was not nice that he interrupted my work.” Diesel’s best attempt at an apology was to
post the “uncut” version of the interview on Facebook writing, “As you all know, I try to keep my interviews playful and fun, especially when I am in the Xander Zone. But if I offended anyone, then let me apologize,
because that is never my intention.” Need an added layer of gross to the story? Diesel did all of this in spite of having a long-time girlfriend, Paloma Jiménez, with whom he shares two daughters.
Unfortunately for UK radio personality Jamie Edwards, his morning show enthusiasm was no match for Bruce Willis’ well-known pretension
when it came to an uncomfortable promotional interview for Red 2. Alongside Mary-Louise Parker, Willis approached each of Edwards’ questions with an increasing level of boredom and disgust.
“I can imagine you doing the whole Route 66 thing one day.” “I’m thinking about driving right now. I can hardly keep my mind on this interview.” Afterward, Edwards explained to HLN that he was simply trying to get a soundbite to use for promotional purposes for his radio station. He got it when Willis, out of the blue, made a joke about ending his own life.
“So how would you sell me the film then. What would you say the— “I wouldn’t.” “I would slash my hooves.” But hey. No interview is a bad interview, when it comes to going viral. “This one seems to have absolutely taken the world by storm”
You’re probably familiar with the classic 2010 Kanye West Today show interview in which the rapper and fashion designer scolded the
production staff for running video of the subject being discussed. “Please don’t let that happen again.
Like, that’s ridiculous.” Fast-forward six years to when the rapper
appeared on Ellen. Everything started out fine until Ellen joked about Kanye’s tweet asking Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for money. “You tweeted out that you wanted Mark Zuckerberg to give you 53 million dollars. In hindsight, should that have gone on Facebook?” “Yes!” But what followed was a six-minute rant about how West feels that if he had just a few more millions, he and his multi-dimensional artist peers — whom he likens to Picasso, Steve Jobs, and Walt Disney — could change the
world. “Ye is in the building! Throw your motherf—ing hands in the air! Put your hands in the air, put your hands in the air!” It was a tour-de-force of Kanye being…Kanye…but on daytime TV. “I’m sorry, daytime television. I’m sorry for the realness.”
Comedian and talk show host Chelsea Handler isn’t one to hold back, and she certainly pulled no punches during a 2014 interview with Piers Morgan, when she literally told the British host, “You’re a terrible interviewer.” And the awkwardness only grew from there during the curiously amicable interview.
Handler repeatedly slagged Morgan over everything from his short attention span, to his un-funny Twitter… “You’re so funny sometimes I forget to laugh” …To his decision to end the whole thing by showing her footage of George Zimmerman signing autographs at a gun show. “Thanks for ending on such a high note.” “Try to end on a smile, something nice.” “You’re so handsome. That’ll do.” But the whole interview was overshadowed by the announcement, one month prior, that Morgan’s show was being cancelled just three years after taking over for his longtime CNN predecessor, Larry King. And in case you’re wondering, Handler brought that up, too. When Morgan protested that he only stops paying attention to his guests when they’re uninteresting, Handler said, “Well, maybe that’s why your job is coming to an end.”
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