The final installment of W Magazine’s 2023 Best Performances Portfolio, celebrating the stars at the forefront of cinema, features profiles of Seth Rogen (The Fabelmans), Janelle Monáe (Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery), Sadie Sink (The Whale), Mia Goth (Pearl) and Caleb Landry Jones (Nitram). Curated by W’s editor-at-large, Lynn Hirschberg, photographed by Jamie Hawkesworth and styled by W Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, Sara Moonves, the portfolio also includes Aubrey Plaza, Claire Foy, Danielle Deadwyler, Diego Calva, Jeremy Pope, Jeremy Strong, Judd Hirsch, Kate Hudson, Ke Huy Quan, Keke Palmer, Paul Mescal, Rachel Sennott and Stephanie Hsu.
On his long history with director, Steven Spielberg: “My first job was on the show Freaks and Geeks, produced by Steven. So, I’ve met him over the years. During the height of the pandemic, I got a call that he wanted to talk to me, but I never thought he would be asking me to act in a film. He said, “Will you read the script?” And I said, “I don’t need to read the script—I will do it.”
How his parents supported him early in his career: “… I was 13 when I started doing stand-up in Vancouver, and my mother drove me to every stand-up show. She watched hundreds of sets. I would tell filthy jokes in front of my mother.”
Her celebrity crush growing up: “I was obsessed with Nia Long. She was just so attractive. She got me hot and bothered. And I was always attracted to David Bowie. But I didn’t know if I wanted to be Bowie or be with Bowie. It was one of those things. And I loved Tupac! I swore he was going to be my boyfriend.”
Her go-to Karaoke song: “I don’t love karaoke, because I feel like I’m working. But the last time I did karaoke, I sang “Let’s Go Crazy,” by Prince. I get to have fun, roll around on the ground, and also honor somebody who I love dearly.”
On her first big job: “…I was on Broadway. I played Annie in Annie. I can’t listen to any of the songs from that show anymore—they trigger something. I was 10 when I was cast in Annie, and I was in the show for 18 months. You do get too old—there’s a specific height requirement for each orphan. When it was time to get measured, everyone was saying, “Oh god, I hope I don’t grow an inch.”
Her first kiss: “On set for Stranger Things. It was with Caleb McLaughlin, who plays Lucas. We were filming. You can see it on Netflix! We were both awkward, but it was also funny, because all our friends were there and all these extras and lights and music. It was nerve-racking at the time, but I look back now and can laugh about it.”
Her cinematic crush: “My mum would always have the latest magazines, and I remember Ben Affleck being on a cover. I was 7 or 8, and I couldn’t take my eyes off it. I was looking and dreaming.”
On her best birthday: “I was filming High Life with Claire Denis, and it was my last day of shooting, which happened to be my birthday. It was also the day where my character broke into the spaceship, became spaghetti-ized, then exploded and became a part of the universe. That was a pretty cool day.”
CALEB LANDRY JONES
His first audition: “For No Country for Old Men. I was Kid on Bike 1, or maybe I was Kid on Bike 2. I got the part. I still remember my line: “You got a bone sticking out of your arm.”
On winning Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival for his role in Nitram: “Pretty surreal. I thought the film might win, but I didn’t think I was going to receive an award. I actually don’t know where that award is—it’s somewhere in my house.”
[Photo Credit: Jamie Hawkesworth/W Magazine]
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