Celebrity interviews don’t always go as planned. Occasionally, even the most famous journalists ask terrible questions, placing the interviewee in an awkward position. Some celebrities attempt to provide an answer and move along, while others simply express bewilderment, become extremely angry, and even walk out entirely.
Here are some of the ways celebrities, from Robert Downey Jr. to Samuel L. Jackson, have reacted to the worst interview questions of all time. You won’t believe who shut down Matt Lauer prior to his termination from NBC (page 9).
1. Reporter thinks Samuel L. Jackson is Lawrence Fishburne
In a quite infamous interview, KTLA reporters interview Samuel L. Jackson, and one asks about a Super Bowl commercial Jackson recently appeared in. The only problem? Jackson wasn’t in a Super Bowl commercial — it was Lawrence Fishburne.
Jackson immediately asks, “What Super Bowl commercial?” Some awkward silence follows as someone informs the reporter that Jackson is not Fishburne. As soon as Jackson realizes what happened, he goes off on the anchor for about four straight minutes, telling him, “We don’t all look alike!”
Since then, Jackson has been known to sport an “I’m not Lawrence Fishburne” shirt.
Next: This Seinfeld comedian mortified a legendary TV host.
2. Larry King asks Jerry Seinfeld whether Seinfeld was canceled
Larry King should have done more research before his 2007 interview with Jerry Seinfeld. During their conversation, King asked whether Seinfeld was canceled. Spoiler alert: It was not. “You gave it up, right?” King asked. “They didn’t cancel you, you canceled them?”
Seinfeld looked befuddled and, after a few seconds of silence, shot back, “You’re not aware of this? You think I got canceled? Are you under the impression I got canceled? I thought that was pretty well documented. Is this still CNN?” The comedian pointed outSeinfeld was the most popular show on television, joking, “Do you know who I am?”
As King attempted to toss to commercial, Seinfeld continued to hammer him, asking for a resume for King to review.
Next: Megyn Kelly upsets this celebrity with an intrusive question.
3. Megyn Kelly asks Jane Fonda about plastic surgery
While speaking to Jane Fonda about a new Netflix film, Megyn Kelly brings up Fonda’s plastic surgery, which shocks the actress. After an awkward pause, Fonda asks Kelly, “We really want to talk about that?”
Fonda immediately transitions back to the film she was promoting, saying, “Let me tell you why I love this movie that we did, Our Souls at Night, rather than plastic surgery.” Luckily, Kelly drops the topic, and the subject of plastic surgery never comes back up.
Next: This Iron Man actor immediately left his interview.
4. Reporter asks Robert Downey Jr. about his dark past
When Krishnan Guru-Murthy spoke with Robert Downey Jr. to promote Avengers: Age of Ultron, the 2015 interview took a dark turn. About four minutes into the discussion, Guru-Murthy observes that Tony Stark is becoming a better man, much like Downey is himself. Downey clearly is not comfortable with where this is going, just saying, “Sure.”
Guru-Murthy then stumbles through a question about Downey’s past, to which Downey responds, “Are we promoting a movie?” When Guru-Murthy brings up Downey’s relationship with his father and asks whether he’s free of his past, this is the last straw.
Downey walks right out of the interview, saying it’s getting “a little Diane Sawyery” and calling the reporter a “schmuck.”
Next: The reporter should’ve dropped this touchy subject the first time around.
5. Reporter asks Christina Hendricks about being a ‘full-figured woman’
In this 2012 interview, a reporter tells Christina Hendricks she’s an inspiration because she’s a “full-figured woman.” She also asks Hendricks for a story about her inspiring someone due to her size.
At first, Hendricks laughs and says, “I don’t know.” She’s clearly offended by the term “full-figured” and doesn’t know what to say. According to BuzzFeed, off-camera, Hendricks said she thought the reporter calling her full-figured was “just rude.”
The interview resumes, with Hendricks hoping the reporter moves on. But she asks the question a second time and uses the phrase “full-figured” again. Hendricks laughs in disbelief as her publicist can be heard off camera telling the journalist to ask something else, which she finally does.
Next: This actor receives an unwanted question about his sexuality.
6. Reporter asks Tom Hardy about his sexuality
The last thing Tom Hardy expected to discuss while promoting Legend was his sexuality. Yet, during a press conference, a reporter asks Hardy about his “ambiguous” sexual preference, saying, “Do you find it hard for celebrities to talk to media about their sexuality?”
After a pause, Hardy responds, “What on Earth are you on about?” He goes on to say that no, he doesn’t find it difficult for celebrities to talk about their sexuality. He then poses a question to the reporter: “Are you asking about my sexuality?” The reporter meekly says “sure,” to which Hardy shoots back, “Why?”
Before the reporter can say anything, Hardy simply offers a “thank you” and moves on.
Next: Journalist Krishnan Guru-Murthy angers another celebrity.
7. Reporter asks Quentin Tarantino about movie violence
Journalist Guru-Murthy has riled up more than one celebrity during an interview. A few years earlier, he interviewed director Quentin Tarantino about Django Unchained and wanted to discuss how movie violence might inspire people to commit real-life violence. Tarantino has answered this question nearly every time he’s released a movie for the past 20 years.
So Tarantino erupts fairly quickly, telling the reporter, “Don’t ask me a question like that. I’m not biting. I refuse your question.” Guru-Murthy could have dropped the subject, but he kept pushing instead, resulting in one heck of an awkward exchange.
Next: This sitcom star is interviewed by a reporter who did not do his homework.
8. Reporter doesn’t realize Mayim Bialik is a neuroscientist
In this interview at the SAG awards, a reporter asks Mayim Bialik whether people ever mistakenly believe she can “solve calculus at the drop of a hat” because she’s on The Big Bang Theory. But that’s a pretty bad question considering Bialik can do just that, which the reporter would have known if he read even the first line of her Wikipedia page.
“I actually was trained in calculus for several years,” she points out. “Yeah, I’m a neuroscientist. So, you may not have known that.”
Next: Anne Hathaway makes it crystal clear she won’t talk about this shallow topic.
9. Matt Lauer asks Anne Hathaway about a wardrobe malfunction
Back in 2012, Matt Lauer interviewed Anne Hathaway about her role in Les Miserables. The Oscar winner’s powerful performance provides more than enough fodder for an interview. But Lauer decided to open by asking about a “wardrobe malfunction” paparazzi recently captured.
Lauer first creepily tells Hathaway, “We’ve seen a lot of you lately.” He then asks, “You had a little wardrobe malfunction the other night. What’s the lesson learned from something like that?”
The question surprises Hathaway at first, but she comes back with a masterful response. “I’m sorry that we live in a culture that commodifies sexuality of unwilling participants, which brings it back to Les Miserables because that’s what my character is.”
Years later, this interview took on a new light when NBC fired Lauer after he was accused of sexual misconduct.
Next: These actors receive a bizarre question about a mass shooting.
10. Reporter asks Olivia Munn and Ken Jeong about paying their bill during a shooting
While interviewing Olivia Munn and Ken Jeong in 2016, a Clevver News reporter’s questions were out of the ordinary, to say the least. In reference to a scene in their movie where there’s a shooting in a nightclub, the reporter asks, “I’ve always wondered, and I think you guys would be able to advise me on this: What happens if there’s a shooting at the club you’re at but you haven’t paid your bottle service bill yet? Like, do you ask for the check or just run?”
Munn and Jeong seem as taken aback by this as anyone would. After a pause, Munn points out if there’s a shooting, you should run or try to save people. Jeong agrees, but it only gets worse from there. Later in the interview, the reporter asks Jeong, a former doctor, to look at her tonsils. She’s clearly joking, but Munn and Jeong aren’t into it, resulting in a cringe-worthy four minutes.
Next: This actor is abruptly asked why his high-profile marriage ended.
11. Reporter asks Michael C. Hall why his relationship with Jennifer Carpenter ended
In 2013, Michael C. Hall endured an incredibly uncomfortable interview in Bangladesh. After a series of basic questions a simple Google search would answer, the reporter abruptly asks Hall about his marriage failed. Not only was it a personal question, but the journalist brings it up in the least delicate way possible.
The reporter asks, “So, Debra. Jennifer Carpenter. So, how did that end?” Hall is confused at first. But when he realizes what she meant, he gives a surprisingly eloquent response, saying, “Oh, well, you know, some relationships have a beginning, middle, and end. Though we are still, truly, friends.”
The painful exchange didn’t end there, however, with the reporter then asking Hall yes or no questions about his current relationship status.
Next: This celebrity is asked a harsh question that prompts her to walk out of the interview.
12. Reporter asks Paris Hilton whether her moment has passed
This ABC News interview with Paris Hilton is surprisingly harsh, with the journalist, Dan Harris, asking Hilton, “Do you ever worry about your moment having passed?”
This came after Harris already asked if Hilton has been overshadowed by Kim Kardashian and whether she’s upset by her show’s low ratings. When Harris finally gets to the question about her moment passing, Hilton doesn’t even respond; she just looks off camera and then walks off.
After talking with her publicist, Hilton reluctantly resumes the interview, answering the question by saying she continues to try to reinvent herself.
Next: After this actor lost weight, an interviewer wonders whether he’s still considered fat.
13. Reporter asks Jonah Hill about being ‘the fat guy’
While promoting his animated series Allen Gregory in 2011, reporters asked Jonah Hill some terrible questions. The worst comes from a journalist who asks the actor, who had lost a tremendous amount of weight, “Are you still considered the fat guy when you go to a party?”
Hill is not amused, wincing and saying, “Do you have any other questions that are smart?” But the bad questions don’t stop coming. Other reporters ask Hill why he decided to lose weight (because he wanted to get healthy, obviously) and whether he’s happy his movie was successful (he was, obviously).
Next: These morning talk-show hosts grill a celebrity about why she doesn’t have enough energy.
14. Reporter asks Cara Delevingne if she’s tired
Cara Delevingne’s 2015 interview with Good Day Sacramento didn’t get off to a great start, with an anchor calling her “Carla.” Then, the hosts ask a series of boring questions, such as whether she read the book Paper Towns before starring in the movie. Delevingne, apparently sick of interviewers asking the same things, provides sarcastic answers.
The interview was already awkward. But then one of the hosts makes it worse by asking Delevingne why she doesn’t seem excited and wondering whether she’s tired. Delevingne actually recoils because of how aggressive the question is, letting out an uncomfortable laugh as she says no.
The hosts won’t let it go, though, with another anchor chiming in to say she seems irritated. They finally end the interview early and tell Delevingne to go take a nap, proceeding to make fun of her as soon as she’s gone. Needless to say, Delevingne has not returned to Good Day Sacramento.
Next: A reporter tells this director that his movie is horrible.
15. Reporter asks Duncan Jones why his movie is so bad
Rarely do you see an interview where the reporter criticizes a celebrity’s movie. But that’s exactly what happened in this conversation with director Duncan Jones to promote Warcraft. When Jones says he hoped the movie would establish the world and characters, the reporter lets Jones know he did a terrible job.
The reporter then actually asks Jones, “Were you the right man to write the script, but the wrong man to make the film?” Jones says he doesn’t think this is the case. Later, the reporter elaborates on issues he has with one of the movie’s characters and pitches his own, “more coherent” version of the film.
Jones handles himself surprisingly well under the circumstances. But needless to say, the interview ends in an awkward fashion.