W magazine unveils its Best Performances portfolio, as part of the magazine’s Volume 1, 2019, with 7 covers featuring: Nicole Kidman, Amy Adams & Mahershala Ali, Michael B. Jordan & Margot Robbie, Rami Malek & Eddie Redmayne, KiKi Layne & Jonah Hill, Saoirse Ronan, and Claire Foy & Emily Blunt.
Inside, additional subjects include Timothee Chalamet, Regina King, Ethan Hawke, Carey Mulligan, Lakeith Stanfield, Noah Centineo, Troye Sivan, Kathryn Hahn, Willem Dafoe, Elsie Fisher, Elizabeth Debicki, Steven Yeun, Joanna Kulig, Yalitza Aparicio & Marina de Tavira, and more.
The portfolio, cast and written by Lynn Hirschberg, and featuring 10 Golden Globe nominees, portrays the leading Hollywood stars of 2018 in an eccentric universe created by photographer Tim Walker.
Nicole Kidman in Destroyer
Did the wardrobe contribute to the character?
We took so long to find the leather jacket that I wear in pretty much every frame of the film. I became so obsessed with that jacket, I would wear it at home. I put it on first thing in the morning. My kids visited the set and were shocked at the way I looked. You know, I’ve been working as an actor since I was 14 years old. It’s a choice, but it’s also a calling. Sometimes, I kind of try to move away, but it always pulls me back.
Mahershala Ali in Green Book & Amy Adams in Vice
Did you already know how to play the piano?
No. I worked for three months so that I’d look comfortable playing. Once I put on the ascot and sat at the piano, it helped the character pop into alignment.
Did her conservative politics affect your performance?
I really just absorbed her point of view. Whether I agree with it or not doesn’t really matter. To get into character, I would have long debates about policy and politics as Lynne Cheney with our director, Adam McKay. I called him many names. I teased him about wearing shorts on set and how that was disrespectful. But I didn’t swear, because Lynne wouldn’t swear.
Michael B. Jordan in Black Panther & Margot Robbie in Mary Queen of Scots
Michael B. Jordan
Do you have a favorite movie villain?
For me, it’s a tie between Heath Ledger as the Joker and Michael Fassbender as Magneto. Villains, like Erik Killmonger in Black Panther, are the most interesting characters. They are the ones you can empathize with—they want you to not like them, but you can still understand their motivation.Even though you’re the villain in Black Panther, do people on the street still say “Wakanda forever” to you? They don’t immediately realize that my character is not exactly pro-Wakanda. Midway through saying something, it registers: Oh, he wasn’t really with Wakanda. But by then they’ve already committed.
What was your first red-carpet outfit?
I was 18. The Australian equivalent of the Emmys is called the Logies, and I was nominated. It was my big moment, the biggest thing that had happened to me. So I went all out on the dress: It was very short at the front, long at the back, lots of layers, bright colors, and shiny fabric. It was, like, orange, black, orange, black—with a big bow at the back. I had stipple-looking hair, and I was very tan. It was…a look. I don’t regret it, because I was 18 and having fun. I can dress boring for the rest of my life.
Rami Malek in Bohemian Rhapsody & Eddie Redmayne in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
Besides in the film, have you ever sung any Queen songs in public?
In Japan, with our version of the band, we dressed up in animal onesies and did “Bohemian Rhapsody,” like the original video. It was filmed, and I’m sure someone will get drunk and throw it out there into the ether.
Do you have a secret skill?
Yes. I’m incredibly good at being early. I’m always the person who gets to the airport four hours early. I drive everyone crazy.
KiKi Layne in If Beale Street Could Talk & Jonah Hill in Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot
How did you find out you had the part in Beale Street?
It was nine in the morning and Barry Jenkins, the director, called and woke me up. He just got to talking and didn’t introduce himself. Finally, he said, “Girl, do you even know who you’re talking to?” He went on to tell me that they were giving me the role! I was trying to rush him off the phone so I could really go crazy and cry and call my mama.
In the film, your character, Donny, has a fantastic fashion sense.
One of the things that inspired me was a photograph of Yves Saint Laurent in Morocco in the ’70s. I looked at it and was like, Oh, level-10 Marrakech! So Donny wears a lot of caftans and Moroccan stuff in the movie—kind of our Tom Petty and Yves Saint Laurent level-10 Marrakech.
Saoirse Ronan in Mary Queen of Scots
Did you learn any royal skills?
Yes, I learned to ride. My horse in the film was also Wonder Woman’s horse—his name is Prince, and he is the biggest diva I’ve ever met. Prince doesn’t do anything for anyone, especially me, and had a nervous cough that you’d hear right before we’d do a take. Everything I did was for that horse, just to get his approval.
Claire Foy in First Man & Emily Blunt in Mary Poppins Returns
Do you get nervous before filming?
Oh, yes, I get nervous. It’s a gradual process of trying to work yourself up to being brave enough to be on set. You always worry that everyone’s going to say, “Ooh, we’ve made a terrible, terrible mistake.”
What was your first red-carpet outfit?
It was for My Summer of Love, and I was far too tanned. I was wearing a very bright yellow dress. I always laugh at how sweaty I looked. Horrible.
[Photo Credit: Tim Walker/W Magazine]