The most uncomfortable interviews with Marvel actors

Bookended by Iron Man in 2008 and Spider-Man: Far From Home in 2019, the MCU has launched 23 films, as of this writing. Each of them have a part to play in the overarching storylines on the screen and each contribute to the overwhelming success of the MCU off of it. But with such success comes intense popularity and a demanding schedule for the actors involved.

After every film was completed, the actors would take part in a grueling promotional tour that included live interviews, TV appearances, press junkets, and conferences. For the most part, these talks can get pretty boring. The actors get slammed with same predictable questions and return the same prepared answers. Every once in a while, however, someone goes off script.

Sometimes, this can lead to a pretty interesting exchange. Over the years, Marvel actors have heard some pretty weird questions and been put in some incredibly awkward situations. They're not all innocent either. On several occasions, the actor has been the cause of discomfort.  

Here are the most uncomfortable interviews with Marvel actors.

Scarlett underwear

Actors and actresses always seem to get a different line of questioning from the media. Add some awe-inspiring beauty into the mix and you have Scarlet Johansson's interviews. Though she tends to handle some of stranger moments with patience and grace, she appeared to have enough of one particular question during a press junket for The Avengers. When speaking with Extra, Johansson was asked, "Were you able to wear undergarments?"

Blown away, Johansson said that the interviewer was the fifth person to ask her that. "What is going on?" she asked. "Since when did people start asking each other in interviews about their underwear?" Then, to illuminate how strange the question is to ask, Johansson told the interviewer to "ask Joss [Whedon, the film's director]."

When he responded that he did, meaning he actually asked Whedon if Johansson was wearing underwear in her scenes, the sharp-witted actress responded, "You asked Joss what kind of underwear he wears?" In a later interview with Cosmo UK, Johansson seemingly referenced the infamous undies query, jokingly prodding her co-star Mark Ruffalo about his skivvies. Then, the outlet decided to have some fun with this trend of weird gender-specific questions, flipping the script and asking Ruffalo some of the questions that women tend to get asked. He was a good sport about it.

Marvelously awkward

When Samuel L. Jackson and Brie Larson attended The Jonathan Ross Show to promote Captain Marvel, they probably didn't expect to have to witness a long and drawn-out public explanation and apology from comedian Seann Walsh about his cheating scandal on Strictly Come Dancing.

According to The Sun, the Marvel actors were none too pleased about having to sit through the painfully awkward and very personal moment, likely about a scenario they knew nothing about. In a sequence the tab sad was "unlikely to make the show's edit," Jackson asked, "What the f**k is going on?" to which Larson added, "It is painful, yeah. This is not my thing."

Throughout the segment, the American actors sat quietly with blank expressions on their faces. There was no room for jokes or input from anyone else. When Ross explained to his guests that he needed to deal with the situation, Jackson reportedly stated, "You had to deal with it. We didn't." Even Walsh wasn't thrilled with the scenario, quipping, "I must say it is very weird talking about this whilst you are sat next to some judges off The Voice (Jennifer Hudson and Will.i.am were also present) and the bloke who got eaten by the shark in Deep Blue Sea."

Terrence Howard won't conform

While visiting Sway in the Morning, Terrence Howard was asked to explain what really went down behind the scenes in between Iron Man and Iron Man 2. After playing the role of James Rhodes in Iron Man, Howard was removed from the franchise and replaced by Don Cheadle for the second film.

According to the Howard, the studio approached him after the first film and said, "We think the [second] movie will be successful with or without you, so, instead of the $8 million we said we were going to pay you, we're going to let you come back for a million dollars." While this story is crazy, things take a weirder turn when Howard says that he "went back to school and got his doctorate in chemical engineering." Though impressive, some reports suggest this might not be the full truth. According to c&en, Howard only received an honorary degree.

Howard did study chemical engineering at the undergraduate level. In a very awkward Rolling Stone interview, he explained that he left that program because of a disagreement with a professor. He was convinced that one times one wasn't one but two. "I mean, you can't conform when you know innately that something is wrong," he said.

The Ruffalo Spoiler

By now, nearly every Marvel fan has heard of the Mark Ruffalo Avengers: Infinity War spoiler on Good Morning America. The actor rocked the MCU and its fans with a nugget of information that gave away one of the biggest twists in the series of films. Perhaps the best thing about this spoiler was that fans didn't really understand the magnitude of it until after Infinity War came out.

In the interview, Ruffalo looks to Don Cheadle for advice on how much he can say. Cheadle wisely advises against spoiling the end of Thor: Ragnarok when asked about it. "Can I just give him a little taste?" Ruffalo then asks. To this, Cheadle says, "I wouldn't say too much," adding, "Hey, it's your career."

Though Ruffalo escapes the Thor question unscathed, he then drops a hint about upcoming Avengers film. "Wait till you see this next one," he says of Infinity War. "Ha-everybody dies." Knowing how that one works out, we see that Ruffalo was about two letters away from giving away the entire ending. He, rightly, gets scolded for the spoiler. When Ruffalo starts questioning how much trouble he's going to get in for his blunder, Cheadle tells him to "just move on," adding, "I wouldn't focus too much on it."

The next Tom Cruise

During the press circuit for Avengers: Endgame, there appeared to be a little competitive energy lingering between Chris Hemsworth and Brie Larson. During an interview with Entertainment Tonight, things got a bit bristly between the two, and fans have taken to dissecting the interview ever since.

Now, much of this could easily be explained away as two actors having fun with each other by embodying their characters. After all, they even referenced competition between superheroes in the interview, with Larson joking, "There's no competition for me because I'm the strongest."

But not everyone was convinced the interview was all fun and games. A self-proclaimed body language expert, Mandy O'Brien, posted an analysis of the interview, and suggested that Larson was "really trying to dominate [Hemsworth and Cheadle]." In a series of since-deleted tweets (via TooFab), Cheadle seemingly referenced O'Brien's analysis and the subsequent viral stir it caused when he defended Larson by joking, "You should see my 'body language' right now" and "this is some of the funniest stuff I've ever heard."

The one moment that stood out in the interview above all others, came after Hemsworth joked that Larson did her own stunts like Tom Cruise. At this suggestion, she retorted, somewhat angrily, "I'll be the first me, not the next Tom Cruise, thank you very much." Joke or not, Hemsworth did seem taken aback.

Convention Q&A gone wrong

Comic conventions bring out all kinds of people and that can lead to some uncomfortable exchanges. The passion of fans can sometimes get out of control and that same passion can be misunderstood by celebrities. That seems to be what went down during a Marvel panel at ACE Comic Con in 2018.

With Tom Holland, Sebastian Stan, and Anthony Mackie on stage being interviewed by Kevin Smith, things were thrown to the crowd for a Q&A. For the last question, two fans came up, essentially to gush at Tom Holland and his dog, Tessa. They may have had a different plan and got overwhelmed at the situation, but it was generally a waste of a final question for the rest of the fans in attendance.

When Stan asked who Tessa was, the fan snapped, "His dog — Oh my gosh, educate yourself!" Holland tried to smooth things over by telling the fans they were making him look bad, but it was too late. Stan made a quip about the girls spending too much time on the internet, and Mackie chimed in with a comment about their friends. This is when the other girl shot back, "Sorry, 'friends' may be a term you don't know." She then said that she "didn't care about Mackie." It was awkward for everyone.

What did you just call Natasha?

Not every joke lands and, sometimes, the jokester lands in hot water when a joke is made in poor taste. Celebrities have to be extra cautious about this, particularly during interviews. Marvel's Jeremy Renner and Chris Evans found this out the hard way during a Digital Spy interview when they were asked what they thought of Natasha Romanoff's love life in the MCU films.

The interviewer reminds the actors that Johansson's character appeared to be interested in either or both of their characters but eventually went with Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo). Stone-faced and dryly, Renner said, "She's a sl*t." Evans loved the joke, saying, "I was going to say something along that line." He then added, "She's a complete wh*re."

Well, fans didn't love that kind of language or the idea that Johansson's character was being reduced in such a way, and they let the world know about it. Renner and Evans responded with a public apology. Evans said the joke was "very juvenile and offensive," and Renner, perhaps less sincerely, said he was "sorry that this tasteless joke about a fictional character offended anyone."

Iron Man's political views

In 2015, while promoting Avengers: Age of Ultron, Robert Downey Jr. sat down with Channel 4 News' Krishnan Guru-Murthy. After talking about the nature of his titular Iron Man role, the discussion veered into the topic of parallels between the character of Iron Man and Downey Jr. in real life Guru Murthy made a comment about Tony Stark becoming a "better man," adding, "in the way that you are as well."

When Downey Jr. neglected to bite, only laughing off the comparison with a "sure," the interviewer reframed the question. He set up a quote that Downey Jr. once gave to the New York Times. At this mention, the smile fades from Downey's face and the wheels begin to turn in his head. He looks off camera toward his team.

Guru-Murthy then delved into the actor's political views, asking if he was a liberal or not. Confused, Downey Jr. asked if they were "promoting a movie" and tried to get the talk back on topic. Unwilling to pivot, the interviewer then tried to get in questions about "the dark periods" Downey Jr. went through, asking if he felt he was "free of all of that." It's right around that time that the actor got the word that they were done, so he jumped up, smiled, and waved bye, leaving the uncomfortable interview unfinished.

Using celebrity as a platform

Everyone has a different idea of what celebrity means and what one should do with it. Brie Larson often uses her voice and her audience to speak about the issues that concern her, such as fair and balanced representation in the entertainment industry. While this is honorable, it's not the same for everyone, which is what led to a bit of an uncomfortable moment in an NDTV interview with Larson and Jeremy Renner.

When asked if their position comes with responsibility, Larson said, "I am committed to self-improvement, and I work at being the best person that I can be and using this platform for as much good as I can." Her answer was well thought out and respectable. When it came to Renner's turn, however, he interpreted the question a little differently. "I'm pretty accountable and responsible in my own life," he said. "Celebrity is not something I use as any sort of platform to be more responsible or accountable." 

While it seems rather unlikely that Renner intended to minimize or contradict Larson's response, the conservative blog The Daily Wirereported that the incident had "set [the] internet ablaze." In reality, a few other conservative outlets had "[characterized Renner's remarks] as a 'subtle rebuke' of the freshman Avenger's propensity for using her Marvel role for activism," which sparked some online debate. 

Regardless of Renner's intentions, it certainly made for an awkward soundbite as a follow-up answer.

I swear, it's the chair

Paul Rudd has a knack for seizing an opportunity for laughs when he spots one. So, when his chair made a suspicious noise during an interview with Fandom Entertainment, he made sure to squeeze every piece of comedy out of it.

"It's the chair. It's leather," he said as the chair made a few awkward fart noises. The interviewer then asked what Rudd does in his suit that people don't know about. "I just do the same stuff everybody else does," he said with a smirk, extracting a few more noises from the chair.

After a few more fart jokes had the interviewer and crew dying from laughter, Rudd asks, "Should we see if we can do this whole interview with you even getting out one question?" Well, that's basically how it went. Whenever he was asked a question, Rudd would answer through the rhythm of chair farts, even adding in some facial expressions to really sell the performance.

Costume odors

Scarlett Johansson may a lot of weird questions, but she doesn't get them all. Perhaps in an effort to catch the actors off-guard, some interviewers ask about things no one really needs (or wants) to know about. In competition for the strangest question of all, interviewer Kjersti Flaa decided to ask Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, and Winston Duke, "What did your costume smell like the last day of the shoot?"

With a look of pure puzzlement on his face, Stan asked in return, "Why ask that question?" Duke, laughing, said "Hard line. He drew a hard line on that question." Mackie then added, "The question is, what's your next question?"

The three actors never really got back on track, joking with each other about their costumes and the size of their thighs. By the end of the talk, the interviewer resigned herself to complimenting Duke's thighs, despite Mackie suggesting they "look like hot dog weenies."

Tom Holland pranked

When promoting a movie, actors are contractually obligated to participate in interviews, even if they are as excruciating as some of the ones on this list. Knowing this, internet personalities Josh Pieters, Conor Maynard, and Caspar Lee decided to have some prank fun with Tom Holland while he was on a press run for The Avengers: Infinity War.

Pieters begins the interview by questioning Holland's choice of outfit. He then asks, "Why are you pretending to be British for the interview?" He clarifies, "I watched the preview of the movie and you were American."

Trying to keep a straight face, Holland explains. "I am British," adding, "I just do an American accent when I play Spider-Man," by switching into his Spider-Man voice. From there, the interviewer challenges Holland's acting skills, confuses him with Tobey Maguire, and asks if he can lick his shoes. Remarkably, Holland keeps his composure throughout the awkward interview until the curtain is pulled back to reveal the prank. "That was an odd experience, but fun — Thanks for livening up my afternoon," Holland said, effectively putting the "friendly" in your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.