As award season 2013 comes to a close, let's take a look at some of the most compelling performers of the year. W Magazine listed 33 of Hollywood's finest—from big winner Daniel Day-Lewis to newcomer Quevenzhane Wallis—and commissioned fashion photographer Juergen Teller to document them "up close and unscripted."
One of our favourite portraitists, German fashion photographer Juergen Teller, recently published an interesting portfolio of celebrity captures for W Magazine, comprising 2013’s Hollywood headliners. Lynn Hirschberg interviewed “33 actors and actresses who complicate even the most pristine canvases” and here, alongside their intimate images, they talk a bit about their complex roles and realized careers in cinema.
“Everyone asks about the nude scenes in On the Road, but I also had to dance, and dancing is harder than being naked. My character, Marylou, is so exuberant, and I had five minutes to do something that showed she was sort of like the craziest motherfucker around."
“The first movie I remember seeing is All That Jazz. My mother, who is an actress, took me. All That Jazz is pretty strong for a 5-, 6-year-old kid, but I loved it. There were naked women, which was nice. In Spain, we understand sex better than violence.”
“It’s easier to do an action scene than a love scene. I love fighting. When the camera’s not rolling, I’ll usually punch some of the actors, just for fun.”
“I had been a child actor in a PBS series, and that launched me into trying to be an actor in the real world. Matt [Damon] and I auditioned for The Mickey Mouse Club. We auditioned for the part of Robin in the first Batman. We went up to New York and auditioned in situations that were a little sketchy and shady. A guy would say, ‘We’re not sure what we’re calling the movie yet. Why don’t you lie down?’ We were naive and young and left saying, ‘He seemed like a nice guy. I wonder if we’ll get it. I think my hand job was pretty good.’ ”
“I love Ryan Gosling! I met him at the Governors Ball after the Oscars two years ago, and I freaked out. He stares into your soul. He’s really tall, and the boys in my grade are all shorter than I am. He was looking down at me, which was a first, in a weird way. He shook my hand and said, ‘It’s so nice to meet you.’ I didn’t kiss him goodbye. I didn’t have the confidence.”
“In Hud, Paul Newman is a real bastard, but how can you not like this despicable guy? I love seeing someone in a movie who can walk that line: no wrong, no right, no regret, no guilt. I know some people like that, and although I don’t trust them, I respect them. They have the courage and the personal politics to walk through life and say, ‘I am an island. Deal with that.’ There’s a clarity that is attractive.”
“I grew up in Australia with two sisters, Liberty and Anarchy, and a brother named Riot. All of my family thinks they are funnier than I am. I say to them, ‘When have you done professional comedy? What movies have you been in?’ Um, never and none. In Australia, I’ve been in 13 TV shows, and I also did stand-up. I would tell family secrets onstage. And sometimes I would lie: I said that my father was in prison. That didn’t go down too well with my actual father.”
“For American Gigolo, I got the part after John Travolta decided he didn’t want to do the movie. They had already made the suits for him. I remember reading the script and saying, ‘I like this character, but there’s a lot of stuff I’ve got to learn.’ I didn’t even know how to tie a tie at that point, and I had no idea how to wear those suits. I thought, So, okay, it’s a gigolo. It’s sexy stuff. And there were many sex scenes. But what I’ve realized over the years is it doesn’t particularly matter if I like the actress. The filmmaking can lead you along in the beautiful way that films can do, like a dream, and if there’s something engaging between those two characters, the sex scenes are going to work. But there has to be something going on with me and the person, even if that something is not love.”
“Maybe a great love scene needs to be fraught—in Anna Karenina, we had a choreographer direct the love scenes. They were like dances, which somehow made it easier for me to concentrate on Anna’s emotions. With Vronksy, her lover, she’s like an addict—she probably never had an orgasm before she was with him, and she equates that with love. We all want to be the hero of our own story, of our own great passion, but Anna thought love would allow her to break all the rules.”
“The first movie I ever saw was King Kong. I dug him climbing up the side of the building. I thought he was cool. I’m not a real movie buff—I don’t watch a lot of movies. You don’t have to watch other people cut hair to be good at cutting hair.”
“My first official performance was at summer camp, and I played the Wizard in The Wizard of Oz. That sounds like a great part because the play is called The Wizard of Oz, but let’s face it: He doesn’t have a lot of stage time. He’s mostly hiding behind a big wizard facade. But it was the beginning, and I got the fever. When I was 12 or 13, I landed a commercial for a video game called Pitfall! I walked around school the cock of the walk, just feeling like the coolest thing ever. That lasted for a couple of days, and then it wore off and people didn’t think I was a rock star anymore. I started pushing my parents: ‘C’mon, drive me to some auditions! I want to be on TV again.’ ”
“I play a porn actress, but personally porn isn’t my thing. It freaks me out a bit. I feel like I shouldn’t be watching. So to play a porn actress, I thought about the cool girls in my high school growing up in California. I was an awkward kid, and these girls were outgoing and clever. They built their world. I didn’t focus on porn; I focused on what it would take to be successful.”
View Best Performances 2013 in full and see more Juergen Teller photography in Wmagazine.com. Catch the “Juergen Teller: Woo!” exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London from January 23 to March 17, 2013.
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