Critic Confessions: Are Stars Fed Up with Press Junkets?


I’ll always remember my first press junket.

Not solely did I interrupt “Good Storm” star George Clooney as he ducked into his trailer (he couldn’t have been nicer about my impolite conduct), nevertheless it confirmed me a brand new aspect to Hollywood.

The mass movie star interview, given a uncommon closeup within the 2001 rom-com “America’s Sweethearts.”

Film junkets convey dozens, and dozens, of journalists collectively to allow them to bombard the celebrities with questions in a roundtable format. It’s a dizzying course of, one which makes you are feeling unhealthy for the celebrities in query.

Sure, they’re paid handsomely for his or her work, however this have to be grueling.

So when a star addressed the assembled reporters on the “Good Storm” junket with tell-tale exhaustion I wasn’t shocked. Minutes later, Mark Wahlberg joined the fray, and he introduced extra vitality than an infomercial pitchman.

Some actors, I realized, lean into the expertise.


My one-on-one chat with Dwayne Johnson throughout his “Strolling Tall” press push, for instance, discovered him chatting with a dozen reporters back-to-back-to-back. I used to be his final interview of the day and, like Wahlberg, he had Black Adam-level vitality.


These reminiscences flooded again given latest film star headlines. Earlier this summer time, Jonah Hill introduced he would not participate in press interviews to advertise his work. The method, he defined, did a quantity on his psychological well being.

“I normally cringe at letters or statements like this however I perceive that I’m of the privileged few who can afford to take break day. I received’t lose my job whereas engaged on my anxiousness. With this letter and with ‘Stutz,’ I’m hoping to make it extra regular for folks to speak and act on these items. To allow them to take steps in direction of feeling higher and in order that the folks of their lives may perceive their points extra clearly.”


I’m glad western tradition is talking extra overtly about psychological well being in recent times, and Hill could have an excellent cause for his prolonged absence. Nonetheless, the choice sounded … odd. Hill wouldn’t be going through any rigorous questions from the press, most certainly.

He’s not a GOP politician.

Most leisure journalists would deal with the affable Hill nicely. How is the press course of extra strenuous than different features of his A-list life?

Now, two key gamers behind “Don’t Fear Darling” are dismissing the press a part of their obligations.

Director Olivia Wilde’s movie, the topic of intense gossip for weeks, stars Florence Pugh, Harry Types and Chris Pine.

Rising star Pugh ducked the movie’s press junket, claiming earlier commitments (particularly, she’s taking pictures the “Dune” sequel). But she arrived in time for the much less strenuous red-carpet stroll, a glamorous affair providing loads of adulation.

Co-star Chris Pine did as instructed, showing dutifully to reply queries for promotional functions. The “Star Trek” veteran wasn’t precisely engaged in the course of the expertise, although. His reactions, dubbed by many as being “zoned out,” led to a crush of viral reactions.

Old skool stars know, or at the very least knew the routine. Motion pictures want each ounce of publicity they’ll muster. It’s why actors comply with the arduous interview routine. They placed on a sport face, reply questions each insightful and dumb, and transfer on to the following journalist.

Is that this a part of the performing agenda all of a sudden unsure? If that’s the case, the timing is unlucky for Hollywood.

Motion pictures roared again in a giant manner following the pandemic, notably attributable to unwoke smashes like “Spider-Man: No Approach Dwelling” and “Prime Gun: Maverick.” The business remains to be struggling. Take into account how these two movies topped the field workplace charts, once more, over the weekend over new fare.

The competitors for eyeballs has by no means been extra fierce. The streaming panorama teems with recent product, usually on par with the perfect of Hollywood filmmaking. Video video games and YouTube content material hold many teenagers at house or, as a minimum, away from their native theaters.

Publicity has by no means been extra important to a movie’s success or failure. Some stars aren’t performing that manner of late.

UPDATE: Pugh simply dodged a second press occasion in New York Metropolis.


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