Press junkets are ‘torture’ says Lupita Nyong’o

Estimated read time 3 min read

The press junket is one of the film industry’s necessary evils; a way of shoehorning the maximum amount of media attention into the minimum possible time. But the famous faces who are a press junket’s most powerful attractions don’t always enjoy the experience of dealing with the conveyor belt of interviews and public appearances.

The latest to suggest the press junket is a less than ideal experience is Lupita Nyong’o, star of Us, Black Panther and 12 Years a Slave, who called them a “torture technique”. In an interview with Glamour magazine to promote her latest film A Quiet Place: Day One, Nyong’o said she finds press junkets “irritating” and that the process of doing one interview after another where “different people are being ferried in” to be a “torture technique”. She added: “You have to give each one of them attention, focus, and an articulate answer that you just gave to the person before. That’s irritating.”

Nyong’o is by no means the first to resent the press junket, which has been a staple of industry marketing practice for decades. While promoting Christopher Nolan’s A-bomb movie Oppenheimer, for which he won a best actor Oscar, Cillian Murphy called the intense cycle of interviews and red carpet appearances “a broken model” and suggested that the success of Barbie and Oppenheimer – released during the Sag-Aftra actors’ strike which curtailed much promotional activity – showed that junket activity was unnecessary.

Others have suggested junkets have a negative impact on actors’ mental health. In 2022, Jonah Hill issued a statement saying he was withdrawing from press tours to “protect” himself. Before debuting his therapy documentary Stutz, Hill said: “I have spent nearly 20 years experiencing anxiety attacks, which are exacerbated by media appearances and public facing events … However, you won’t see me out there promoting this film, or any of my upcoming films, while I take this important step to protect myself. If I made myself sicker by going out there and promoting it, I wouldn’t be acting true to myself or to the film.”

Even the most media friendly names are on record as despising the format – in 2017 Tom Hanks described junkets as “opprobrious” and “merciless”, adding: “It is a level of corporate branding strategy to the degree of hackery and they honestly think you have the stamina of an ox to drag this piece of shit movie across international datelines.”


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