With a script in hand and a director’s eye guiding the scene, A-list celebrities are at the top of their game. But strip away those glamorous crutches and make them perform live, unscripted and with the world’s attention on their every move? Even Hollywood’s greatest editors couldn’t save them from the potential PR disaster that is their own personality.
Actors are contractually obligated to make appearances at red carpet premiers, on late-night talk shows and at press junkets in order to market their movies for the studio. Musicians are often in the same boat when it comes to marketing their albums for their record labels, and other celebrities rely on interviews with the media just to maintain some level of relevancy in pop culture.
However, whether it’s social awkwardness and stage fright, a propensity for throwing temper tantrums on camera or just an apparent inability to string together more than a few words in logical order, some of the most successful actors working today just weren't born with the gift of gab. Here we've selected the seven A-Listers who every interviewer dreads.
7 Kristen Stewart: Awkward.
Yep, we’re starting off with the obvious. If you’re a middle-school girl you loved her in Twilight. If you’re an 18-year old boy you loved her in Adventureland. If you’re anyone else – you can’t stand watching her awkwardly mouth-breathe and fidget every time she appears on your screen.
A self-proclaimed introvert, the “actress” affectionately known as K-Stew by her fan base, is undeniably terrible at interviews. When she’s not shaking her legs, adjusting her hair, biting her lip or otherwise demonstrating her discomfort with being in the limelight, she’s making sure the crowd knows she hates being famous by constantly talking about it. We hate to be the ones to break it to her – but if she hates being in front of crowds and cameras this much, she may be in the wrong line of work.
6 Lindsay Lohan: TMI
Li-Lo’s history with interviews and the media in general can be summed up nicely in two words: “Train wreck.”
Things tend to go smoothly for Lindsey on late-night talk shows and radio shows – until she’s asked anything remotely related to drugs or sex. In just the last year, she’s been caught in lies about rehab, revealed a tantalizing, tell-all celebrity sex list and generally struggled to appear coherent for full segments at a time. It seems like the harder she tries to clear her name the murkier her reputation gets.
Every now and then, as was the case with her recent sit-down with David Letterman, we get a glimpse of a brilliant Lindsay behind the tabloid-branded, “troubled starlet.” Here’s hoping Li-Lo gets her act together sooner rather than later and makes an awesome comeback, Robert Downey Jr. style.
5 Jesse Eisenberg: Insulting Interviewers
He makes a living off of playing smug, quick-witted characters on the silver screen. But when promoting those same features on press junkets with real, unscripted interviewers, his knack for quick quips and high-brow punches has gotten him into trouble.
Last year on a media tour for his box office disappointment, Now You See Me, Eisenberg got a bit of bad press for bullying a Univision journalist who apparently couldn't keep up with his fast-moving humor.
It’s debatable whether or not his behavior was rude or just insensitive to different forms of humor, but everyone can agree the exchange was cringeworthy. The journalist described her five-minute conversation with him less as an interview and more as “self-esteem butchering.”
4 Katherine Heigl: Dissing Coworkers
If you can't talk to someone for more than 5 minutes on camera without totally trashing your coworkers, you probably suck at Hollywood interviews.
From 2011 to today, Heigl’s earned a reputation for dissing fellow actors and even her bosses behind their backs – and in front of the cameras. She notoriously blamed Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes for not writing substantial material to earn her an Emmy Award, described the writing surrounding her break-out role in Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up as sexist, and spent the majority of her airtime on late-night and early morning talk shows complaining about the size of her paychecks.
Her publicist described her PR strategies as “diarrhea of the mouth” and subsequently dropped her from representation – which probably has something to do with the fact that she’s gone from Hollywood’s Rom-Com “it-girl” to doing commercials for NyQuil.
3 Chris Evans: Hates His Movies
Granted, Captain America is not particularly known for his intellectual conversation skills. And on media tours promoting the films, every interview seems to drag on and on, with Chris Evans appearing to be one of the most boring human beings on Earth. But in the past, he’s certainly shown us glimpses of an intelligent, charismatic man behind the costume. So why does he suck at giving interviews?
To put it simply – he hates giving interviews. Or, more specifically, he hates giving interviews promoting crappy movies.
Evans’ career hasn't exactly gone the way he'd hoped it would. After signing on with Marvel many years ago, he’s either been contractually obligated to participate in movies he hates or has felt enough pressure to choose roles he’d rather skip in favor of more dramatic projects that allow him to show off his acting chops.
In his own words, “I've made about 20 movies – and I'm probably proud of about 3.” So next time we see him struggling through a boring, cringe-worthy story on late-night, just imagine the Marvel overlords pulling his strings and have some pity on the guy.
2 Harrison Ford: Grumpy Grandpa
The man who brought some of the most iconic characters in Hollywood history to life on the big screen famously hates being famous – and he lets us know it every chance he gets.
Dragged into the spotlight after auditioning for the role of Han Solo as a full-time carpenter, Harrison Ford still treats his fame and job as an actor as an afterthought. What used to pass for cool and aloof for the aging actor now clearly comes off as a grumpiness and an intense desire to be anywhere in the world other than an interview couch.
When he’s not giving terrible, monosyllabic answers to interviewers’ questions, he’s dissing coworkers like Shia LaBeouf or just playing the role of the grouchy grandpa making interviewers feel they should never have bothered.
Recently, however, he appears to either finally be enjoying himself on camera or someone in his publicity department shared some words with him. In addition to playing along with a ridiculous Star Wars skit on Jimmy Kimmel, he recently opened up to Letterman with some choice dad jokes and even pierced Jimmy Fallon’s ear on live TV.
1 Will Smith: Huh?
While it’s true the Fresh Prince has lost some of his touch in front of the camera – he recently mentioned his desire to impregnate Jada and couldn’t stop swearing on the world premiere of the new Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon – the real magic happens when more than one member of the Smith family unites.
Most notably, Will and son Jaden (of the awesomely bad Twitter-feed fame) seem to feed off of each other’s eccentricity without noticing how out-of-touch they sound to the interviewer or to their viewers, often leading to bizarre, buzzworthy interview segments like the one below:
Jaden: I think that there is that special equation for everything, but I don’t think our mathematics have evolved enough for us to even—I think there’s, like, a whole new mathematics that we’d have to learn to get that equation.Will: I agree with that.Jaden: It’s beyond mathematical. It’s, like, multidimensional mathematical, if you can sort of understand what I’m saying.
If you didn’t follow all that, you’re not alone. But don’t worry, Will explains:
Will: You know, the forum of media that we're in can't really handle the complexity of things that we say all the time.
Whatever you say, Will. We still love you, but maybe just leave the family at home next time.