9 TV Interviews Even More Awkward Than Dakota Johnson’s ‘Ellen’ Chat (VIDEO)
“Actually, no, that’s not the truth, Ellen,” the Peanut Butter Falcon actress responded, with a producer on set chiming in that DeGeneres was out of town.
“Oh yeah, I had that thing,” DeGeneres quipped, apparently realizing her error. “[The party] was probably in Malibu. That’s too far for me to go to.” (She was also, as Twitter quickly pointed out, watching a football game with George W. Bush the day after Johnson’s party.)
Cringeworthy? Yes. The most awkward celebrity interview ever to hit the airwaves? Hardly.
Here are eight more that are harder to watch.
Samuel L. Jackson
KTLA entertainment reporter Sam Rubin made the mistake of asking Jackson about his recent Super Bowl commercial in 2014w, referring to a spot starring Laurence Fishburne. “We don’t all look alike. We may be all black and famous but we don’t all look alike,” Jackson told him. The actor further excoriated Rubin after bringing up RoboCop costars Michael Keaton and Gary Oldman. “Do some work. Do some research. Make sure you don’t confuse them with those other white actors,” he said.
Robert Downey Jr.
Downey walked out of a 2015 interview with Krishnan Guru-Murthy after the Channel 4 journalist brought up the actor’s “dark periods” of “taking drugs and drinking and all of that.” The Avengers star called Guru-Murthy “kind of a schmuck” on his way out of the room, and he later deemed him a “bottom-feeding muckraker” and a “syphilitic parasite.”
Speaking of walkouts, Rivers bailed on a 2014 interview with CNN’s Fredrick Whitfield after the anchor asked about her “mean” fashion critiques and her “shock value.” Before she left, the late comedian told Whitfeld, “All you’ve done is negative. I’ve made people laugh for 50 years. I am put on Earth to make people laugh. … You are not the one to interview a person who does humor! Sorry!”
Billy Bob Thornton
In an interview on CBC Radio’s Q, Thornton took issue with (since-fired) host Jian Ghomeshi introducing him as an actor, and he seemed intentionally obtuse for the rest of the 13-minute chat. At a concert the following day, Thornton tried justifying his behavior: “I sat down and talked with this guy. He and his producers say, ‘We promise you we won’t say that.’ The very first thing they said was that. … If you look someone in the eyes and promise them something, and you don’t do it, you don’t get the interview. That’s the way it goes.”
In 2013, Univision blogger Romina Puga seemed to get on Eisenberg’s bad side during a press junket for Now You See Me. He quibbled with her referring to Morgan Freeman by his last name “like you’re on a little league softball team,” called her the “Carrot Top of interviewers,” and told her to hold her tears until after the interview “because otherwise, I’ll look like I’m responsible for it.” In a follow-up blog post about the encounter, Puga said the actor made her feel “humiliated” and “butchered.”
Good Day Sacramento host Marianne McClary introduced Delevingne as “Carla” in 2015, and the interview only went downhill from there. The anchors perceived her dry wit as irritability and even called her out on her fatigue during the Paper Towns press junket. “We’ll let you go take a little nap, maybe get a Red Bull,” McClary told the actress, ending the conversation.
In 2010, while promoting his film Edge of Darkness, Gibson objected to WGN News’ Dean Richards wondering if the public would perceive him differently after his anti-Semitic rant. “That’s almost four years ago, dude,” Gibson replied. “I’ve moved on. I guess you haven’t.” He bid his farewell by calling Richards an a-hole.
Lochte seemed flummoxed by softball questions in a 2013 Good Day Philly interview—even going silent for a full five seconds at one point—and the anchors couldn’t contain their laughter after the interview. “How are they going to get enough material?” anchor Mike Jerrick said, referring to the swimmer’s E! reality show at the time. ”How are they going to put together 13 weeks of programming?”
In the granddaddy of awkward celebrity interviews, Cruise argued with “glib” (and now-disgraced) TODAY anchor Matt Lauer in 2005 over the actor’s devotion to Scientology, his engagement to Katie Holmes, and his response to Brooke Shields’ views on psychiatric drugs. “The thing that I’m saying about Brooke is that there’s misinformation, OK?” a testy Cruise said at one point. “And she doesn’t understand the history of psychiatry. She doesn’t understand in the same way that you don’t understand it, Matt.”