Emilia Jones, Jamie Dornan, Zazie Beetz, Jodie Comer & More Featured in W Magazine’s 2022 Best Performances Portfolio

Posted on January 14, 2022

The final installment of W Magazine’s 2022 Best Performances Portfolio, honoring the stars at the forefront of cinema, features profiles of Emilia Jones, Jonah Hill, Jamie Dornan, Zazie Beetz, Jodie Comer, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Jude Hill, and Lauren Ridloff. Curated by W’s editor-at-large, Lynn Hirschberg, photographed by Tim Walker and styled by W Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, Sara Moonves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emilia Jones

On her audition process for CODA:.”…I loved the story, and it’s not every day that you get to learn four or five skills for a movie. So I put myself on tape, doing some scenes and singing ‘Landslide,’ by Fleetwood Mac, which was meant to be the song at the end of the movie. They sent me a link to a person doing sign language, and asked me to copy it as best I could. I made a cup of tea, and by then, the link had expired. So, I thought, I’m 17. I’m British. I don’t know sign language. And now I don’t have a link to watch. But, happy ending: They still gave me the role two weeks later!”

On the film that inspired her to become an actor: “Seeing Charlize Theron in Monster! That’s when I thought, Okay, I want to do this.”

Her childhood celebrity crush: “He’s still my crush now: I watched The Notebook and fell in love with Ryan Gosling. I guess everyone did, right?”

 

 

 

 

Jonah Hill

How he got involved in Don’t Look Up: “…I’ve always been a fan of the director, Adam McKay. He made Step Brothers, which is a modern masterpiece and should be in the Smithsonian. He wanted me to play this part where Meryl Streep is my mom! We’d all been stuck in our houses because of Covid, and I was lonely and bored, and I felt like, Wow, what a depressing time. Covid was horrific, but it did make me reprioritize the value of being irreverent and funny. I thought, We should all just laugh! While in lockdown, during the making of the movie, Leonardo DiCaprio and I decided to live together in Boston. We couldn’t go to restaurants, so we lived in a house together and watched tons of films.”

On the decision for his character, the son of the president, to carry a Birkin: “He’s in a suit because he works in the White House, but I gave him a Birkin because he’s kind of emulating his mother. A lot of these people worship their dads, and I thought it was cool that he worships his mom. He always calls his mom a “total rock star.” Isn’t that awesome?

Recalling the first time he saw his name on a billboard: “…I lived in an apartment near Canter’s Deli, in Los Angeles, and there was a Superbad billboard above my little-ass apartment. Every day, I would walk to Canter’s to get sandwiches, and no one knew who I was, but there was a billboard with me on it right there! It was nuts. I kind of got this vibe like, whoa—shit’s about to be really…different.”

 

 

 

 

Jamie Dornan

His initial reaction to the script for Belfast: In Belfast, I play a dad, and there was a moment when I read the script where I thought, I’m a young guy—I’m not ready to play a father! Mind you, in real life I do have a wife and three daughters, but my kids in Belfast are a bit older than my actual children. Then I realized that I was playing a version of [writer-director] Sir Kenneth Branagh’s dad, and I felt better. I also grew up in Belfast, and I wanted to make the city proud.”

The movie that makes him cry: Philadelphia gets me every time. I had some friends around to watch it, and I gave out tissues at the start of the film. I was weeping, and my friends just stared at me; their eyes were dry, while I was sobbing.”

On growing up in the industry with Eddie Redmayne and Andrew Garfield: “We never felt like it was a competition. We’d audition for the same roles sometimes, and we’d even help one another prepare. Somehow we all found our way and managed to stay friends.”

His dream superpower:  “Flying. I have a recurring dream that I’m flying over Belfast. I fly over the city and wind up home.”

 

 

 

 

Zazie Beetz

 

How being named after a character in a film inspired her acting career: “…My name comes from a book and a film called Zazie dans le Métro. I grew up with the movie. My father saw it and suggested the name to my mom. Because of my name, I lived in Paris for a year and studied French. But theater was always a through line for me. I thought, I can’t not give this a try.”

On the impact her hair has had on her career and her identity: “My mom never let me straighten my hair, even though I always wanted to. I think that allowed me to do this work with my natural hair. Initially, I was told to hide it, to make it smaller, to make it “CBS,” so I could show up on a procedural TV show. And I did that for a while. Then I just stopped. Now people ask for my hair to be big, which is a great transition. But lately, I’m actually like, ‘Let’s do something else. I’m bored with the shape and want to play.’”

 

 

 

 

 

Jodie Comer

Why she thinks she was really asked to wear a corset for The Last Duel“…I don’t know if that was just a bit of cheating, to help a girl out, if you know what I mean. Ridley Scott, the director, really liked these wooden clogs that were two sizes too big, because of the way they sounded on the cobblestones. So I was shuffling around, trying to keep my shoes on.”

On the unique costumes she wears as Villanelle, the assassin in Killing Eve“When I first read that she was a Russian assassin living in France, I thought, Oh no, they are going to have her scaling walls in seven-inch heels. They were like, ‘No, because that doesn’t make any sense.’ Instead, I wear really tight, age 12 boys’ pajamas.”

The film that makes her cry: Billy Elliot definitely makes me cry. Recently, I watched CODA, which really moved me. And, of course, I’m an ugly crier. I only want to hang out with the ugly criers. I don’t want to know you if you’re a pretty crier.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kodi Smit-McPhee

On his astrological sign: “I’m a Gemini: There’s two of me. I don’t know too much about Geminis, but I know I can be very indecisive. If you give me options, I’ll be there all day. I need to be told which way to go. Otherwise, I get stuck.”

Why he loved acting at such a young age: “…I was 8 years old when I started acting, and I was 10 when I was in The Road, with Viggo Mortensen. If I may be honest, part of the reason I loved acting then was because I’d get out of school.”

The last time he was starstruck: “It’s a rare occasion, but I recently ran into Tyler, the Creator, and he’s someone whom I really admire. When I first came to L.A. and I was skateboarding in Fairfax, he was my hero. He’s amazing in so many ways.”

His feelings on TikTok: “…I have non-TikTok blood in me. That blood is going to be monetized in the future. It’s going to be the new cryptocurrency.”

 

 

 

 

 

Jude Hill

His reaction to playing the young Sir Kenneth Branagh in Belfast“I was a big fan! I had to pinch myself every day, just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.”

On his passion for acting: “I remember when I was 5 or 6, watching Marvel films, and I just had a passion for acting the entire time. I love Harry Potter as much as Marvel, and as soon as I saw Kenneth Branagh’s face, I was like, He’s in Harry Potter!”

His favorite thing about visiting Los Angeles for the first time: “The Jurassic World ride at Universal Studios! We got wet, but it was really, really fun.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lauren Ridloff

How she got her start as an actor: “Once upon a time, in another lifetime, I was a teacher. I taught hearing kids born to deaf parents, some deaf kids, and some kids whose parents wanted them to learn sign language. Acting was not part of my plan. Then I met a man in a coffee shop. He had ordered orange juice, and I taught him how to sign the words “orange juice.” That man is Kenny Leon, and he’s a Broadway director. We became friends, and eventually he cast me as the lead in Children of a Lesser God on Broadway, which is about a deaf woman. I saw acting as an opportunity to become a teacher again. Only now, my classroom is a lot larger.”

On playing Makkari, the first deaf superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: “…Since high school, I’ve been a runner, but when it came to running while being in a tight harness on wires, oh my god.”

 

Reflecting on using her hands to communicate: “…When I was born, I was this little thing. And my parents said, ‘Oh my god, look at her hands. They’re so big.’ They never dreamed that that little baby would end up using her hands to communicate.”

 

 

 

 

 

[Photo Credit: Tim Walker/W Magazine]

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