Detective Comics Inc. (aka DC) made its way from comic books to the big screen with the 1966 movie, Batman, featuring Adam West as the title character. Since then, the world has seen DC characters spawn some of the greatest and worst superhero movies of all time. These projects have also fueled some epic interviews that range from completely charming to absolutely mortifying.
Press tours can be demanding, and even the most seasoned actors don’t always shine, particularly if they don’t jive with their interviewer, are suffering from total exhaustion, or just possess oddball tendencies that don’t play well to the traditional Q&A format. Regardless of the circumstances, the following exchanges have created some amazing bonus entertainment that never reached movie theaters. From a young actress and model’s shocking secret power to an industry vet’s unparalleled shade-throwing, these are some of the most uncomfortable interviews with DC actors.
Henry Cavill is in it for the money
During an interview with Man of the World to promote Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2016, British stud Henry Cavill was perhaps a little too honest about his reasons for becoming an actor. « I’m slightly wary of saying this, because it can be frowned upon, certainly by members of my community and people outside my community … but I’m not just doing this for the art, » he said (via Entertainment Tonight). « The money’s fantastic and that’s something which I deem — and again, it is frowned upon — very important. »
As if that’s not insulting enough to die-hard comic book fans who may have been hoping to find a nerdy ally in the actor, Cavill also proceeded to explain how awful it is to fly economy class. These are not the most likable answers, but perhaps they make sense considering this man starred in three of the highest-grossing DC movies with Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Justice League.
Alas, this wasn’t the Metropolis Marvel’s only misstep in that aforementioned interview. When Cavill was asked about the #OscarsSoWhite debate, he reportedly acknowledged a lack of diversity within nominees in major categories but raised eyebrows when questioning the usefulness of diversifying the Academy’s voting body. « But does that mean we are saying that to have more black Academy members would result in more black nominations? Is that not racist itself? » he said (via Salon).
Ben Affleck may never live down Sad Affleck
Ben Affleck had a big suit to fill when he was cast as Batman after Christian Bale’s famous three-movie run. It was no surprise that Affleck was contending with a mixed reception before Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was even released in 2016, but unfortunately, the hits kept coming after the film debuted. When Yahoo! asked Affleck and co-star Henry Cavill about the project’s poor reviews from critics, Cavill appeared nonplussed, explaining in his lovely British accent that the reception from fans is what matters the most and « the audience’s voice is loudest. » But Affleck?
Let’s just say he had trouble masking his feelings, and just like that, a meme was born. The viral YouTube hit known as « Sad Affleck » features the aforementioned interview layered with Simon & Garfunkel’s « The Sound of Silence » as the camera slowly zooms in on Affleck’s downtrodden face. The spoof garnered so much attention that nearly a year later, Ben Affleck weighed in on Sad Affleck. BBC Radio 1 asked him what he learned from the film, to which the actor deadpanned, « It taught me not to do interviews with Henry Cavill where I don’t say anything… » So, um, clearly, the vision that was planted in his brain still remains. (Sorry, we couldn’t resist.)
Cara Delevingne shows off an awkward talent
Model, singer, and actress Cara Delevingne is no stranger to uncomfortable interviews, and she certainly keeps us on our toes when it comes time to promote her work. For her role as supervillain Enchantress in 2016’s Suicide Squad, Delevingne joined co-stars Karen Fukuhara and Margot Robbie for an interview with Belgian publication Het Laatste Nieuws. It didn’t take long for the encounter to turn into a laugh-fest as Delevingne revealed her real-life superpower. What’s that?
« I have, like, a nipple detector, » she says, declaring that she can find anyone’s « right away. » She then proceeds to demonstrate her titillating talent on Robbie, who confirms that Delevingne missed by just « millimeters. » Next up is Fukuhara, who yelps when Delevingne’s pinch hits the bullseye. Not stopping there, Delevingne moves on to the interviewer, and with a little help from Robbie, she zeros in and squeezes her target. While Delevingne was clearly not lying about her abilities, this is arguably the kind of skill one should probably not try at home — or anywhere — without prior consent.
Sean Connery rips through reporters
Academy Award-winner Sean Connery — the Scottish actor best known for originating the role of James Bond on the big screen — really needs no introduction. His illustrious career defines him as one of the all-time greats, but he decided to retire from acting after 2003’s comic adaptation The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, partly because he felt frustrated by that role and by all roles for men of his age. Connery made his disdain for the whole cinema scene loud and clear during an incredibly awkward interview at the movie’s premiere.
One by one, the knighted superstar systematically insulted red carpet reporters (and the movie’s director), while also somehow remaining charming and hilarious. He asks one journalist if he’s « wearing a jockstrap. » He declares that he’ll never do another movie with Director Stephen Norrington, with whom he butted heads throughout filming. When another reporter asks Connery why he’s been away from the Hollywood scene for so long, Connery asks the interviewer where he was 12 years ago. The reporter says he was still in school, to which Sir Sean replies: « I’ve been all over the world working my a** off, and you’ve done nothing. I’m underwriting you, do you know that? » Connery concludes by saying that his evening was « wonderful, until I started to talk to you. » How chivalrous, right?
Aquaman’s Oscar moment got real awkward, real fast
As Jason Momoa walked the red carpet at the 2019 Academy Awards Ceremony — but before his Fendi suit and scrunchie went viral – the Aquaman star and his actress wife, Lisa Bonet, were approached by model-turned-correspondent Ashley Graham, who decided to skip all movie-related questions and ask Momoa to perform a haka move instead. To be fair, Momoa did perform the ceremonial Hawaiian dance at an Aquaman premier, but this particular request at this particular time felt really awkward. Not to mention, that pink suit looked way too tight to cut a rug.
Bonet gives Graham some not-so-subtle « wrong time; wrong place » vibes as Momoa politely declines her persistent pestering. Graham even sticks out her tongue and growls in what appears to be her best haka impersonation. At that point, Momoa kindly imitates her with an odd, half-hearted holler as Bonet just shakes her head.
Much like the interview, Aquaman has endured an awkward relationship with critics. Some called the flick a knockoff version of Thor, but audiences clearly connected with the movie because it became the highest-grossing DC Film ever. So maybe, just maybe, Graham will get to see Momoa’s dance moves in future DC fare.
Jared Leto is terrible at giving gifts
Academy-Award winner and musician Jared Leto may have tried a little two hard to fill The Joker’s big (clown) shows, judging by the awkward revelations from his co-stars during interviews for 2016’s Suicide Squad. Keep in mind, the villainous role has spawned quintessential performances from the likes of Heath Ledger and Jack Nicholson, so we can’t blame Leto for wanting to make his mark, but his method acting proved a little much for his colleagues.
In a red carpet interview with E! News, the correspondent rattles off some of the « gifts » Leto gave his co-stars during filming. « Rats, bullets, a hog… » Leto chimes in: « Don’t forget the anal beads, the used condoms. » But why? « I did a lot of things to create a dynamic, » Leto says. « …the Joker is somebody who doesn’t really respect things like personal space or boundaries. »
The interviewer then finds some of Leto’s poor co-stars. According to Will Smith, who plays Deadshot in the film, « Jared has gone full Joker, and the rule, generally, is never go full Joker. » Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (aka Killer Croc) says the stuff Leto sent « just wasn’t right, » though he does admit that the tasteless stunts unified the cast against The Joker. Even so, we suspect those thank you notes probably got lost in the mail.
Ben Affleck makes an awkward joke and … crickets
Academy-Award winner Ben Affleck should have been comfortable doing press tours by his third outing as Batman in the DC Extended Universe, and yet he found a way to make a Justice League interview with his co-stars super awkward in 2017.
Everything seemed to be going great when Ezra Miller (The Flash), Ray Fisher (Cyborg), Henry Cavill (Superman), Jason Momoa (Aquaman), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), and Affleck all got together to answer questions for MTV. When the stars were asked which character they’d most like to see on the team in a subsequent film, Affleck suggests Black Canary because « we could use more women. » When the interviewer asks how adding a female character like Supergirl would change the team, Fisher starts talking about a « different dynamic. » Then Affleck cuts in to ask the interviewer: « You following the news at all? » He begins to chuckle, but everyone else in the room falls silent.
Affleck took a lot of heat for that moment, which many perceived as some sort of joke about the #MeToo movement. Considering Affleck has worked extensively with disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and been accused of behaving poorly in the past, that ill-timed quip was not well received. To his credit, Affleck has since vowed to donate residuals from his Weinstein films to anti-sexual violence charity RAINN and to the Film Independent organization.
Gal Gadot makes Jimmy Kimmel blush
Actress Gal Gadot — former Miss Israel and a combat trainer in the national IDF military — is now best known as Wonder Woman, taking up the title in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and staring in 2017’s Wonder Woman. Taking over such an iconic character naturally involves a helping of critical analysis from comic book fans, and Gadot apparently became a pro at dealing with negativity during press tours. From having to clap back at body shamers to teaching everyone to pronounce her last name with a hard ‘T,’ Gadot’s press circuits have been rife with awkward exchanges, but putting late night host Jimmy Kimmel in the hot seat may take the cake.
During her 2016 appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, the host attempts to segue into a discussion about her critics by admitting, « I know how seriously comic book nerds take this kind of stuff because I am one of them. » To which Gadot replies, « Really? What do you think about my breasts? » An extremely flustered and red-faced Kimmel wipes sweat from his brow and blurts out: « They look great. Both of them. » Gadot then explains that « a lot of comic fans had a lot to say about my breasts, » and a loaded conversation about her costume ensues.
Needless to say, Gadot got the last laugh on her haters because Wonder Woman received amazing reviews and prompted a 2020 sequel titled Wonder Woman 1984.
Anne Hathaway awkwardly coaches her interviewer
Oscar-winner Anne Hathaway has experienced extremely inappropriate interviews in the past, yet she always seems to counter with exceptional class, proving that this really nice actress does not deserve all that « Hathahate. » Case in point: In 2012’s Dark Knight Rises, Hathaway was cast to take over the role of Catwoman — a part previously played by Lee Meriwether, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Halle Berry. To promote the film, she sat down with Jerry Penacoli for an interview with Extra, but the meeting got weird when the focus shifted to Hathaway’s figure.
As the actress describes the « operatic » themes of the film, Penacoli follows with: « You are in phenomenal shape. » Though Hathaway is clearly surprised by the change of subject, he goes on and on about her getting into « perfect shape. » She tries to deflect: « It wasn’t about being in perfect shape. It was about being able to do the stunts and the fighting perfectly. » When he focuses on her skintight costume, she counters that Batman had it worse in terms of comfort. Finally, after more grilling about her diet, workout, and « feline fitness regime [sic], » Hathaway finally flexes her claws a bit: « Are you trying to lose weight? » she asks her interviewer. « …Are you trying to fit into a catsuit? » The dig is delivered purrfectly, and Penacoli finally seems to get the hint.
Stephen Colbert puts Ben Affleck in the hot seat
Ben Affleck was confronted with a hard line of questioning when he dropped by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert while making the promotional rounds for Justice League. The late-night host started the interview on a light note by chatting about Good Will Hunting, the movie for which Affleck and co-star Matt Damon won the Academy Award for best original screenplay. He uses that film to transition to a line of questions about Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced movie mogul who essentially launched Affleck’s career by supporting that movie. In response to Colbert’s questions, Affleck quips: « This is a comedy show, correct? »
Affleck talks about the difficulties of his relationship with past Weinstein movies and the « awful » feelings of learning about the experiences of others. Colbert then asks about allegations of sexual impropriety against Affleck, and the actor proceeds to address claims that he groped actress Hilarie Burton on MTV’s Total Request Live. « I don’t remember it, but I absolutely apologize for it. I certainly don’t think she’s lying, » he says. Affleck goes on to acknowledge the privileges he’s had as a man and to declare that he wants to be « part of the solution. » The interview concludes cordially with both men agreeing that change starts with all men examining their pasts and making changes for the future. Kudos to both Affleck and Colbert for delving into what can be an awkward but very necessary conversation.
The Watchmen cast is officially over it
As one of the top novels of all time, the graphic novel Watchmen continues to inspire and influence the comics scene. In 2009, the movie adaptation generated a lot of hype, so the film’s stars, naturally, had to make the rounds with the press. Toward the end of the publicity tour, three of the project’s stars – Billy Crudup, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Patrick Wilson — stopped by the Rachel Ray show to discuss the film.
During the segment, the celebrity chef asks the actors what their hypothetical superhero names would be. Morgan replies, « Vacation Boy, » griping that he’s been talking about the movie for three weeks and really wants a break. Wilson chooses « Vacation Man, » and Crudup picks « Vacation Guy, » thus rounding out the laziest bunch of imaginary superheroes ever. It appears that the three men have totally checked out of the interview when the whole thing takes an even more awkward turn. Here comes Tommy Crudup, a Rachel Ray staffer and Billy’s brother, who appears on set wearing a pitiful blue Mr. Manhattan costume. Everyone breaks out laughing, thus concluding the delightfully awkward encounter.
Was Joaquin Phoenix joking or not?
Is Joaquin Phoenix the reigning king of awkward interviews? Surely, his famous 2009 appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman at least puts him in contention. So, many people expected fireworks when it came time to promote his film Joker — partly because Phoenix went through a serious transformation to better play the deranged fictional villain. Phoenix made headlines on Jimmy Kimmel Live! when the host showed behind-the-scenes footage of the actor getting irritated with a production member. After the clip, Phoenix couldn’t find many words and stumbled through an apology. Soon after the clip went viral, news surfaced that publicists staged everything and the scene « was just a painfully awkward publicity stunt, » according to Vice. In another case, the method actor abruptly left an interview with Robbie Collin, The Telegraph‘s movie critic.
Despite these public bouts, critics praised Phoenix’s haunting turn as the Joker, which earned him the award for best performance by an actor in a motion picture at the 2020 Golden Globes. But did you think he would stop there? Immediately after his victory, Phoenix claimed his PR team « tricked » him to take questions from the press (per Variety). When asked about his preparation for the role, Phoenix shot the reporter an inquisitive look — not unlike the Joker — and said, « Isn’t this old news? I felt like I’ve talked about this for six months. » And then, « You want to hear a different version of it? »