W Magazine’s first issue of 2023, Volume 1, - AmNews Curtain Raiser


Monday, January 9, 2023

W Magazine’s first issue of 2023, Volume 1,

W Magazine’s first issue of 2023, Volume 1, Best Performances hits stands February 7, 2023. The highly-anticipated Best Performances portfolio is an annual feature curated by W’s editor-at-large Lynn Hirschberg and highlights stars at the forefront of cinema, from industry legends and icons to those whose phenomenal talent is ushering in a new wave of stardom.

Row 1: Michelle YeohCate BlanchettZoë KravitzMichelle Williams 

Row 2: Brendan FraserTaylor RussellDaniel CraigJennifer LawrenceBrad Pitt

Row 3: Eddie RedmayneAna de ArmasJonathan MajorsMargot Robbie, Austin Butler 

**Covers photographed by Jamie Hawkesworth and styled by Sara Moonves


Paying tribute to the actors who left us in awe over the past year, this year’s Best Performance issue features Cate Blanchett, Michelle Yeoh, Zoë Kravitz, Michelle Williams, Brendan Fraser, Taylor Russell, Daniel Craig, Jennifer Lawrence, Brad Pitt, Eddie Redmayne, Ana de Armas, Jonathan Majors, Margot Robbie, and Austin Butler across fourteen unique covers photographed by Jamie Hawkesworth and styled by W Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, Sara Moonves.


In total, the issue salutes 32 actors who offer thrilling emotion and depth from the most explosive, glory-filled, and introspective films of the year. The pandemic is, we hope, increasingly behind us, but these performances are a reminder that art can emerge out of darkness and we are beyond excited to share these gorgeous covers with you.


Check out W Magazine’s Instagram and YouTube throughout the day for their beloved Screen Tests Series with the stars. 

You can check out the full interviews at www.WMagazine.com and keep your eye out for more to come this week!


Cate Blanchett Quotes

On Todd Field writing Tár specifically for her: “Todd sent me this script, and I inhaled it. He wrote it at the beginning of the pandemic. Todd was a musician first, so there was a musical quality to the script, and not just because it’s set in the classical music world. It could just as easily have been about an architect or a painter or a writer—anyone in a position of top institutional power, and the way that being in that position gets in the way of their sense of self and ability to relate to people.”


Her thoughts on Greatness in the arts: “We respect and understand it in sports people. But if you talk about it in more ephemeral art forms, everyone's got a different version of what's good or excellent. In a creative job, you have to be quite brutal with yourself and disciplined. And when, like a conductor, your instrument is a human instrument, how do you maintain that sense of rigor and brutality? It’s a complicated thing, balancing being a musician, an artist, and also being a human. I'm trying to learn how to be a human. [Laughs]”


Michelle Yeoh Quotes: 

What it's like to date when you’re known as an action star: “Sometimes I meet people who don’t really know what I do, which is kind of refreshing. And then those who know, they’re like, “Oh my God, this is great—you can be my bodyguard.” And I’m like, “No, dude, you can be mine.”


How Everything Everywhere All at Once came into her life: “The journey started with the Daniels, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert It took two geniuses to write one great script, and that’s what they did. They poured their heart and soul, everything they didn’t get a chance to make, into this one script. When I was given the opportunity, the one request I made with the Daniels was they had to change the name. Initially, she was called Michelle Wang.”


Zoë Kravitz Quotes: 

Discussing dancing to prepare for her role as Selina Kyle for Matt Reeves’s 2022 film The Batman: “I’m actually a really bad dancer. I’m not being cute: I’m truly an awkward dancer. I did watch a lot of videos of large cats and thought it was really interesting that they move their hips but not their face or their eyes. They're very hard to read because of that.


Her first kiss: “My first kiss was in my father’s house in Miami. My dad had a very psychedelic house—it looked like Austin Powers’s house. There was this cubby-sized room that was furry. And this kid, I don’t remember his name, but we kissed. And I remember, whenever I would go back in that little cubby room, I would replay [the kiss] in my head over and over again.”


Michelle Williams Quotes:

On meeting Crystal, the pet monkey, in Steven Spielberg's The Fabelmans“Crystal! What a scene partner! The room was sort of hushed and I was led in to meet Crystal. I asked her trainer, ‘Is there anything she can’t do?’ And he said, ‘There’s nothing this monkey can’t do.’ She picks stuff out of your ears and hair, which is a little embarrassing. And she taught my baby how to give a high five! She also recognized that Steven was in charge. She knows who’s the boss.”


Brendan Fraser Quotes:

On preparing for his role in Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale“I met with people who live with eating disorders. They were open-hearted in telling me how they came to the point in their lives where they were so heavy they were bedridden. The common denominator was that someone spoke cruelly to them when they were very young. Years ago, I was in Bangkok visiting a temple, and there was a small sign that said, “Painful Indeed Is Vindictive Speech.” I thought of that often. Because there are serious ramifications when our confidence gets challenged by others who speak in a recriminating way. It can reinforce habits that could lead to real consequences. But it gave me a sense of purpose to be the voice for those we so often disregard in our society.”


His go to karaoke song: “The Clash—“Should I Stay or Should I Go.”


Taylor Russell Quotes: 

On being starstruck by Zadie Smith: “I saw her at a fashion show years ago. I had just read White Teeth and some of her other books. I saw her and I was like, “I wanna say hi, but also, how am I breathing the same air as you?” We talked very briefly. She’s a great person.”


Her secret skills: “I'm a great driver. I like speeding, [which is] not good, but I like it. I can parallel park so well. I wish people would ask me to just do it. Hire me on the side. On the weekends, I’ll parallel park your car all over L.A.”


Daniel Craig Quotes

Being a fan of movie mysteries: “I always loved Mickey Spillane and Agatha Christie. As a kid I loved Peter Ustinov as Hercule Poirot and Albert Finney also. I loved the event factor of those movies and that the stars were suspects. Everyone seemed equally guilty and innocent.”


On his character’s Benoit Blanc’s style and daring ensembles: “I wanted him to be a combination of Cary Grant in To Catch a Thief and Jacques Tati in Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday with a dash of my superbly dressed agent, Bryan Lourd. Most important, no matter how outlandish the outfit, I wanted to make the clothes feel organic. I recall that for Goldfinger, the director, Guy Hamilton, told Sean Connery that he should go home and sleep in the gray suit that he wears in the film. He wanted Connery, as James Bond, to have the kind of natural elegance that comes from living in the clothes.”


Jennifer Lawrence Quotes

The film that makes her cry: “Father of the Bride always makes me cry. Not when they get married, but when he sees her as a little girl and she’s like, “Mommy, Daddy, I met a man in Rome and we’re getting married.” But I’m so sensitive now that I can barely watch anything with children or animals.”


On being starstruck: “To me, the biggest celebrities in the world are, like, Pete Davidson. Or when Ariana Grande was in my last film, Don’t Look Up, I was photographed with her and I fully look like a radio contest winner. I would be starstruck if I saw Jessica Simpson. That would knock me over.”


Brad Pitt Quotes: 

First love scene: “It would have been in the show Dallas. I had to roll around in the hay in a barn. I don’t think I had a line. I was just rolling and frolicking.”


On crashing a wedding: “It was on the set of Mr. & Mrs. [Smith]. We were filming down in this Deco building downtown, and up in the penthouse above, we kept seeing people going up and down. It was a wedding party, so I crashed it. And they were okay with it. [Laughs]”


Eddie Redmayne Quotes:

Going to nursing school to prepare for his role as Charles Cullen in Netflix’s The Good Nurse: “Jessica and I went to nursing school for two weeks, which I found hilarious. The older you get the more you romanticize education. You go, ‘Well, maybe I want to go back to university. Maybe that would be a wonderful thing to do.’ And then you do go back, as we did, and quite promptly, you turn into the 15-year-old version of yourself. I was leaning back in the classroom. I couldn't really concentrate. It was all science, and none of that made any sense to me. When I was practicing with needles, I succeeded in injecting my finger. It was a disaster.”


His first love scene: “It was in a film called Savage Grace. It was based on a true story. The character I played was gay, and his mum, played by Julianne Moore, tried to sleep with him. There ended up being a ménage à trois with another man, played by Hugh Dancy. It was definitely one of the more surreal experiences of my life. And it turns from incest to violence. My early work! [Laughs] Before I found tweeds and period dramas.”


Ana de Armas Quotes: 

The first thing she auditioned for and booked: “My first film was Una Rosa de Francia. I was still in school, and my school was very upset about that—because if you’re working, obviously, you’re not going to school. But I got away with it. And it was an incredible experience. I was very sad when filming was over, because you think you’re going to see these people forever, and then all of a sudden, the Spanish crew flew back to Spain, and the Cuban ones I never saw again. So I was devastated—I learned very quickly that that’s just the way it is in cinema.”


On her first kiss: “I won’t say what age, but it was in Cuba. I had a lot of freedom—we were able to play on the streets and go to the beach and not come back home until dinnertime. And then we’d go out again until we had to go to bed. On one of those days, I was playing in the park, and we went behind some trees and we kissed.”


Jonathan Majors Quotes:

What he learned from flight instructors while preparing for his role in Devotion“It’s important not to panic in the air. Be calm, be focused, call your mom, and please sleep. Sleep hygiene. Everything is better when you sleep. And oh god, I love to sleep. When you train hard, you have to sleep hard. You call it the growth chamber.”


His experience in taking up boxing for Creed III: “I’ve always loved boxing. Now I have a different appreciation for it. The conditioning is different, the mentality is different. My coach, Rob Sally, said to me, “People fight the way they live.” And that makes watching boxing that much more interesting. It’s very much like acting. You can learn a lot about the fighter outside the ring in watching a fight in detail. Same way everyone learns a lot about actors, or believes they know a lot about actors, from watching their work.”


Margot Robbie Quotes: 

Discussing the kissing scenes in Babylon“...Nellie kisses a lot of people. I actually improvised a kiss that wasn’t in the script. We were doing a party scene, and Nellie goes up to Brad Pitt’s character and Katherine Waterston’s character, and I was like, “Fuck it. I’m just gonna kiss them and see what happens.” They were a little bit shocked. I don’t know if it made it into the movie.”


On crashing parties: “Oh, I’ve crashed heaps of parties. I crashed a wedding once, just to see how that would be. I had a great time.”


Austin Butler Quotes

On how he auditioned for the role of Elvis: “…I had learned something about Elvis, which is that his mother passed away when he was 23. That’s how old I was when my mom passed away. I ended up having this nightmare that my mother was alive, but then she passed away again. I woke up with all this emotion and I thought, Elvis would put this in a song. I sat down at the piano and imagined singing to my mom. I was still in my bathrobe and set up the camera and started playing. That’s the tape I sent. Six months later, Baz called me—he woke me up, actually—and said, ‘Hey, Austin. Are you ready to fly, Mr. Presley?’”


On which wardrobe items he kept from the set: “I kept one of the leather jumpsuits. He had times when he’d bust the seat of the pants. And that did happen to me a couple of times. But when you wear that jumpsuit, and you get the fabric right, you feel like a superhero.”


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