We continue to celebrate W Magazine’s 2023 Best Performances Portfolio, celebrating 32 incredible actors at the forefront of cinema. Curated by W’s editor-at-large, Lynn Hirschberg, the Best Performances Portfolio features profiles with Aubrey Plaza (Emily the Criminal), Jeremy Strong (Armageddon Time), Stephanie Hsu (Everything Everywhere All at Once), Jeremy Pope (The Inspection) and Ke Huy Quan (Everything Everywhere All at Once) among others, photographed by Jamie Hawkesworth and styled by W Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, Sara Moonves. The portfolio also includes with Paul Mescal, Danielle Deadwyler, Kate Hudson, and Diego Calva.
On learning how to commit credit card fraud for her role in Emily the Criminal: “…There are YouTube tutorials that show you how to make fake credit cards, fake IDs, all kinds of fake things. The machines are easy to get—you can buy them on eBay!”
Whether she’d be a good criminal: “…I have a lot of that in my blood. I’m not going to go into any more detail, but I’m very street-smart. And savvy. I’d watch out for me.”
His secret skill: “I don’t know if it’s a skill or secret, but fashion is a passion. I pick out all the wardrobe for Kendall Roy, my character in Succession, and I live in those clothes when we’re shooting the show. Aesthetics are so personal. I’m very drawn to and always looking for precision and soul in acting and in everything else. Interestingly, I’ve learned that my astrological animal is the salmon. That is, essentially, an animal that swims in one direction for its whole life and gets shredded by the river and the rocks, and when it reached its destination, it dies.”
On being theatrical: “I was a big ham. I’ve always been a bit of an introvert, but walking onstage was a great leavener. When I was 7 or 8, I played Winthrop in The Music Man, and the character has a speech impediment. I think I played the hell out of a lisp. I’m not sure it was ever articulated to my family, but all I ever wanted to do was act.”
Her favorite costume in the film Everything Everywhere All at Once: “The Elvis costume was pretty iconic. I’m the villain, and I wanted to make her both frightening and as dumb as humanly possible, because she’s so powerful that she doesn’t ever need to look or feel cool. Typically, villains have their cigarette hanging from the side of the mouth, but I wanted her to be smoking a cigarette in the center of her mouth. Last Halloween, a lot of people dressed up as characters from Everything Everywhere, which was insane. What’s been so amazing is so many people dressed up as the Elvis character. And they put the cigarette right in the center of their mouth! I felt really affirmed by my dumb choice.”
How her mom’s reaction when she told her she would be playing Michelle Yeoh’s daughter: “When I told my mom, “I booked my first movie,” she said, “That’s nice.” But when I said, “Michelle Yeoh is playing my mom,” she exclaimed, “Oh my god!” My mother then called the entire family and told them, “Stephanie is going to be Michelle Yeoh’s daughter!” That was the vibe in my household. My family were not cinephiles; they didn’t really go to the movies, but they knew and loved Michelle Yeoh.”
On training for The Inspection: “I wanted to act my way through boot camp, but you can’t act your way through push-ups; you have to do them. Doing Broadway theater is like the boot camp of acting because you’re doing eight shows a week. But for The Inspection, I had to do the formations and work with a gun—just all the things I don’t do in my normal life.’”
His favorite birthday: “I love smaller birthdays, where it’s just food. Don’t let my body fool you—I eat pound cake, sweet potato pie, fried chicken, catfish, mac and cheese, sweet potato soup. I feel like I’m rapping now. That’s my ideal birthday: just eating.”
KE HUY QUAN
His cinematic crush: “In the ’80s, I think everybody had a crush on Princess Leia. Come on, you can’t beat Star Wars.”
On reuniting with his Indiana Jones costar, Harrison Ford: “I was scheduled to attend a Disney event, and I was told he was going to be there. I didn’t know if I would get a chance to say hi to him. I hadn’t seen the man in 38 years. When I walked out of the greenroom, Harrison was 10 feet away. My heart was pounding; I was so nervous. The entire time I’m thinking, Is he going to recognize me? The last time he saw me, I was a little kid. When I approached him, he turned to me and he had that famous grumpy Harrison Ford look on his face. He lifted up his finger and pointed at me, and I thought, Oh, no, he’s thinking I’m a fan and he’s going to tell me to stay away. But instead he said, “Are you Short Round?” I was immediately transported back to 1984. I said, “Yes, Indy.” And he said, “Come here.” He pulled me close to him and gave me the biggest hug.”
[Photo Credit: Jamie Hawkesworth/W Magazine]
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