Tag Archives: Vanity Fair

Emma Watson Covers Vanity Fair

Excerpts from the article:
Emma Watson, Vanity Fair
Emma Watson…is scattering hardcover copies of Maya Angelou’s book Mom & Me & Mom throughout the station — tucking them between pipes, placing them on benches, atop the emergency call box — in hopes that New York commuters will pick them up and put down their smartphones. This display of civil disobedience was conceived by Books on the Underground, a London-based organization that plants books on public transportation for travelers to discover. “We’re being ninjas,” she says with a conspiratorial grin as she digs in a big black rucksack of books. “If there were anyone to be a ninja for, it’d be Maya Angelou.”

…Today she’s makeup-free, her hair shoved into a bun, and she’s wearing a nondescript dark wool coat over a baggy black sweater, completely blending in with New York’s distracted mass-transit masses.

“It’s good that we’re spreading a little bit of love,” she says. As she removes the last book, a train pulls into the station. She hops in, places it on a seat, hops out, and watches from the platform as the doors close and a young man inquisitively picks it up.

Aboveground, over coffee at a nearby café, Watson explains why she thinks reading is “sacred.” There’s the obvious, professional reason: Harry Potter was a literary sensation before becoming the blockbuster franchise that made her famous and a millionaire many times over. But books are also rooted in her deepest personal experiences. “Books gave me a way to connect with my father,” she says. “Some of my most precious and treasured moments . . .” She trails off and, unexpectedly for someone who is known for her composure, tears up. Her parents divorced when she was young. “I just remember him reading to me before bed and how he used to do all the different voices. I grew up on film sets, and books were my connection to the outside world. They were my connection to my friends back at school because if I was reading what they were reading we’d have something in common. Later in life, they became an escape, a means of empowerment, a friend I could rely on.”

Emma Watson, Vanity Fair
…“She’s way more like a real person than a movie star,” according to Gloria Steinem, who became a friend when Watson reached out to discuss the changing face of feminist activism. …Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, who met Watson backstage at a performance of the musical, sums it up: “She played this very smart, conscious, noble wizard — and then somehow we had the good fortune that she became a smart, conscious, noble woman.” (They did a video together — Miranda freestyling, Watson beatboxing — to raise awareness for International Women’s Day. It got more than six million views.)
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Jennifer Lawrence Covers Vanity Fair

Jennifer Lawrence, Vanity FairIn a mere six years, Jennifer Lawrence has blazed past every marker of Hollywood stardom, with no sign of slowing down: next month’s science-fiction romance Passengers will be followed by movies with Steven Spielberg, Adam McKay, and Darren Aronofsky. In unreal circumstances, Lawrence is learning to assert herself as a real person, whether that means equal pay, privacy, or never being a bridesmaid again.

The bar of the Plaza Athénée, an elegant Upper East Side hotel, is empty save for an elderly French couple sipping Bordeaux at two P.M. when in bursts a tall blonde crackling with energy. It is Jennifer Lawrence, wearing a black cashmere sweater, jeans ripped at the knee, and black boots, her platinum hair chopped into a chic bob. Delicate gold jewelry circles her wrists, neck, and fingers, and her most pronounced accessory, a security team, looms nearby.

She orders tea and explains, “I am playing a ballerina in my next movie, so my first step is not drinking alcohol for every meal of the day. Obviously I’m still drinking every day,” she adds, in the same engaging, infectious manner America has come to love.

While most millennials are navigating student debt and entry-level employment, Lawrence, who turned 26 in August, hasn’t so much achieved the Hollywood dream as crushed and re-invented it by blazing an unprecedented career trajectory. In the past five years, she has won an Oscar (in 2013, for Silver Linings Playbook), earned three additional nominations (for Winter’s Bone, American Hustle, and Joy), collected three Golden Globes, gone full superhero in the $4-billion-grossing X-Men series, and fronted the nearly $3-billion-grossing Hunger Games franchise. With her next film, Passengers, Sony’s science-fiction romance, opening December 21, Lawrence has joined Julia Roberts in an elite league of actresses who have commanded $20 million for a movie. (Lawrence will also reportedly receive 30 percent of the film’s profits after it breaks even.) While Roberts reached this paycheck peak when she was 32 (for Erin Brockovich), Lawrence has already done so, a mere six years after skyrocketing out of obscurity. (For additional perspective, Passengers marks Lawrence’s 20th film, while Meryl Streep did not appear on-screen in a feature film until she was 28.) Continue reading

Chris Pratt Covers Vanity Fair

The complete article:
Chris Pratt, Vanity Fair
Chris Pratt’s rise to fame is so improbable he sees it as divinely ordained: the friend who sent him a ticket to Hawaii, the stranger who led him to a church, the actress he waited on at Bubba Gump Shrimp. Recalling the leaps of faith that turned him from a door-to-door salesman into a box-office king, Pratt considers what he has to prove now.

Chris Pratt wanted to cook me lunch — you can tell a lot about a person by the way they cook. And not just any lunch — a lunch made from an animal that Pratt himself had killed, in Texas, where the mesquite blooms and the buzzards turn and the wild boar does not care nor even know that the handsome man sighting the scope of a .25-caliber Winchester is one of the biggest movie stars in the world, best of this new batch — it’s never who you expect — with hits behind (Guardians of the Galaxy, Jurassic World) and hits ahead (Passengers, Guardians Vol. 2). And Pratt did kill that animal. And dressed it and shipped it back to this beautiful house in the Hollywood Hills, where he lives with his wife, actress Anna Faris, and their four-year-old son, Jack. But something went punk at the butcher, and the meat was going to take a lot longer to prepare than Pratt had expected — “Most of it’s being turned into jerky anyway” — so the steak Pratt was basting on the counter in his modern kitchen had in fact been purchased at Whole Foods. “I could tell you this is the boar I shot, and who would know, but, dude, I’m not gonna lie. This is not that boar, but this boar stands for that boar.”

Do you consider yourself a good cook?, I asked.

Pratt laughed. He was wearing a flannel shirt and jeans and had let his beard grow to stubble. No shoes, just socks. He’s a big guy, six feet three in boots, 220 pounds, in shape, and has the knock-around ease of a regular guy drinking campfire tequila on the set of a John Ford movie.

“I can make three things,” he told me. “Meat. Omelets. Fajitas. This here I’m making is a wild-boar taco. I got the recipe from my brother-in-law, because that guy knows everything.”

It was a Sunday. Pratt seemed relaxed, probably because he’d decided to take a hiatus. For a decade, he’s done nothing but work, stumbling from film to film after making his name on television. He played Andy Dwyer, the friendly chubby boyfriend on Parks and Recreation, before executing a miraculous switch to action hero, in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy. It’d be like George Costanza turning into Harrison Ford. And Pratt is compared to Harrison Ford. Though Pratt is funnier. Looking for the proper mix, I’d say Bruce Willis with a dash of Seth Rogen. He can play deadpan wiseass better than just about anyone. He followed Guardians, which grossed nearly $775 million worldwide, with Jurassic World, which grossed $1.67 billion worldwide. He’s on the short list of actors who can do pretty much whatever they want.

Pratt’s decision to take a break results partly from some advice given to him by a childhood hero, Jim Carrey. “There’s very few people in the world who I can expect to understand exactly what I’m going through,” Pratt said. “Jim Carrey is one of them.” Pratt took Carrey aside at a party last year and basically asked, What do I do now? Carrey said, “There’s going to be a point in life where you’re going to have to prove that your family is more important to you than show business.” It’s put the actor in a mood to ruminate, recollect, make connections. At 37 years old, Chris Pratt can finally see his life as a story.


I asked Pratt about his father. In articles, he comes across as a kind of Paul Bunyan character.

“Was he really a goldminer?”

Pratt was chopping parsley. I suddenly understood why he’d chosen to cook during our interview. It gave him something to do with his hands while his mind wandered.

“He was a taconite miner in Minnesota,” Pratt told me. “He worked in iron ore; that’s a big industry. We moved to Alaska so he could work in gold mines. That’s how we operated as a family — we’d just make a decision, pick up, and move.”

After a few peripatetic years, when Pratt was six or seven, the family settled in Lake Stevens, Washington, the Seattle exurb that became Pratt’s beloved hometown. It was nuts for wrestling. Like football in Texas, every kid sized up from eight or nine by the high-school coach. Pratt would captain his high-school team. At one point, he was a top wrestler in the state. When I asked if he’d ever had his ass kicked — because having your ass kicked is character-building — he nodded sadly. “I’d be devastated,” he said. “Because I put everything into it, and if a kid beat me . . . but it’s good. It’s a great sport because you have to stand there and shake a guy’s hand. You look him in the eye, then his arm gets raised. No excuses. You get beat and think, Fuck!!! Then come back and wrestle him again. I wrestled the same kids for 10 years.”

I asked Pratt if he played high-school football. He has the aura of big-time, small-town. He told me that his father had been a star player in his own day. “He was bigger than me, much bigger, and he’d light up the stadium when he carried the ball. He wore number 76, and for years I thought the gas station was named for him. So of course I played.

“I was a great football player,” he said, then stopped and looked at my recorder. “Don’t say I said that. But, dude, I was a great football player. I was a fullback and an inside linebacker. I never had the speed to play college. But I loved it. I don’t think anything will ever take its place. The competition, the team. You get a little bit of that in acting. You get it with action films. You have to train, be in shape. I think I learned more about how to handle myself as an actor playing sports than I ever did in theater.”
Chris Pratt, Vanity Fair
“I made a genre jump,” Pratt says of 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, “a category jump, some kind of jump.”

Theater? How did that start?

Pratt’s brother. And he’s important. He’s got a sister who still lives in Lake Stevens, but Pratt’s brother, three years ahead in school, is the key figure in his life. If you were to look at a picture of the Pratts in the early years, you’d see Dan junior, known as Cully, doing something heroic — he’s now a cop — with Chris in the distance, wide-eyed. “He was hands down the best big brother anyone could ask for, super-supportive and always helped me, and loved me, and took care of me,” said Pratt. “We spent our entire childhood, eight hours a day, wrestling. One Christmas, he was in a play, a musical, and sang, and it knocked everyone’s socks off. My mom was crying. And I was like, ‘That’s what I want to do.’ ”

By senior year, Pratt was wrestling, playing football, starring in plays, and writing and acting in every kind of assembly. “We did Grease and we did Michael Jackson’s Thriller and ripped off S.N.L. sketches,” he told me. In other words, Pratt was that rarest of figures. The high-school Renaissance man. Friend of the outcast, confidant of the powerful. Neither bullied nor bullying. An exchange between Pratt and his wrestling coach has been repeated until it’s become legend. According to Entertainment Weekly, the coach asked Pratt what he planned to do with his life: “I was like, ‘I don’t know, but I know I’ll be famous and I know I’ll make a shit ton of money.’ ”

When I tried to drill down on this — I wanted Pratt to lay out his plans in detail; I suppose I was behaving like the coach — he talked more about his father. He’d been a high-school star and lived off that for the rest of his life. “I guess that’s what I planned to do,” said Pratt.

During Pratt’s senior year, his father was diagnosed with M.S., which runs in the family. “He was beyond wanting to accept help,” said Pratt. “If left untreated, it can be devastating, and he left it untreated. For a couple of years he had symptoms, I think, but didn’t say anything. Every once in a while he’d wear an eye patch and say he got something in his eye at work, but it was because he had double vision,” a symptom of M.S.

Dan Pratt Sr. died in 2014. When I asked Pratt if his father got to enjoy his son’s success, he said, “Some of it. He watched a lot of TV in his final years. That’s pretty much all he did, just sat in front of a TV. So, yeah, I think it made him proud, and it was cool that I got to find some way to connect with him, because he was a hard man to connect with.”
Chris Pratt, Vanity Fair
Pratt’s mother worked in the Safeway — there was not a lot of money. The Pratts lost their house while Chris was in high school. They rented a place until he graduated, then moved into a trailer. They offered Chris a sleeping loft in a shed out back, but he became roommates with a friend instead. He was thinking of joining the military, but, again, his brother: “He ended up going into the army and told me not to. I think he saw something in me. I was a peculiar kid. I was very much an individual and happy to be an individual. I dressed funny and was comfortable in my own skin. I don’t know. I never did ask him why.”

Pratt waited tables and took classes at a local community college, including a theater course. “I did a scene — something I wrote — and the teacher took me aside and said, ‘You should think about doing this professionally.’ He saw something.”

Pratt didn’t finish a full year of C.C. “It felt exactly like high school except I had to pay for it,” he explained, “and, for a kid living hand to mouth, that didn’t make sense. So I got a job as a salesman going door-to-door.”

Wait. What?

“Yeah, I saw an ad in the newspaper.”

The ad went something like: Do you dig rock ‘n’ roll and making money?

Of course, the answer to both questions was yes.


Pratt was arranging wild boar on a tray and sliding it into the oven as he talked. “Hey, dude, does 300 degrees sound right to you?”

I told him it sounded low. Everything in my house goes in at least 350. He called his brother-in-law, the one who knows everything, to check. “You know what would make a great end to this story?” said Pratt, laughing. “If we ended up in the hospital with food poisoning.”
Chris Pratt, Vanity Fair
I asked about that sales job.

“I was selling coupons for things like oil changes or trips to a spa,” said Pratt, who told me it didn’t really matter what he was selling because a salesman only has one product: himself. “I was great at that,” he said. He got absorbed in this new gig, walking through town, making the same pitch again and again. It turned out to be perfect training for a future life of audition and rejection. “That’s why I believe in God and the divine,” he told me. “I feel like it was perfectly planned. People talk about rejection in Hollywood. I’m like, ‘You’re outta your fuckin’ mind. Did you ever have someone sic their dog on you at an audition?” ’

If you sold enough coupons, you got to run an office somewhere in the country — you’d become a manager, in other words, moving pieces around the board. That was the carrot Pratt was chasing. It took 15 months, but he finally got it. Given charge of an office outside Denver, he left Lake Stevens in the way of a kid leaving home to meet his destiny. What a strange interlude for a leading man: this drab complex outside this strange city, salesmen fighting over the Glengarry leads. “We rented an apartment,” Pratt told me. “I slept on the balcony. And partied. I wasn’t even 21.” The novelty wore off as the truth became plain. He’d been caught in someone else’s moneymaking scheme. As the old wisdom advises, when you sit at the poker table, look for the sucker. If you can’t identify him, leave — it’s you. Pratt called his boss one morning. “ ‘This is too much for me,’ “ he said. “ ‘I’m more in debt every month. I’m so depressed. I can’t do it.’ And she said, ‘I just want you to know, Chris, that there is nothing else out there.’ “
Chris Pratt, Vanity Fair
Pratt’s mother sent him a ticket. Two years had gone by, and he was back in Lake Stevens, exactly where he’d started. Left on his own, he might have followed the classic trajectory — hero at 18, relic by 45.

So what happened?

I was rescued, he told me.

As he said this, he stuck a fork in the oven and came at me with a piece of meat.

“Try this and tell me the truth. We can always drive down to Soho House and eat there.”

I chewed slowly.

He said it again. “Tell me the truth.”

I did not want to tell him the truth — because I liked him and did not want to go to Soho House. If I did tell the truth, I’d have said, “It tastes like burning.” Instead I said, “Good!”

He closed the oven, went on. “One of my best friends heard I’d been floundering. I had everyone convinced I’d been off doing this great sales job and making money, and I wasn’t. I had no prospects, no job, was still sort of riding the glory of high school. He saw that and bought me a ticket to Hawaii, where he’d been living.”

Pratt remembers what it was like when he first got to the island, the green hills and blue sea, how all that beauty contrasted with his mood. “My friends picked me up in a van. They had a cooler of beer. But I was not in a great place.”

Pratt got a job at Bubba Gump Shrimp, a chain of restaurants that grew out of Forrest Gump. For Pratt, it was like door-to-door, a kind of acting; he threw himself into entertaining tables of kids and conventioneers.

Were you good at that job?

“I was Gumper of the year,” he told me. “They gave me the award. I got my name on a plaque. It was the kind of place that . . . Did you ever see the movie Waiting . . . ? Anna’s in that movie, and she’s great. Or Office Space? Did you ever see that? You know how [Jennifer Aniston] can’t handle the fuckin’ flair? Well, I was a monster with the flair.”

Pratt was living on the beach. There was a van with a couch, a tent with a blanket. On its face, it was an idyll, five or six friends, none older than 20, never out of earshot of the breakers, yet Pratt was lost, the perfection of the locale making his estrangement only more keen. Like neon in the daytime, or a blue note on a bright day.

“I was sitting outside a grocery store — we’d convinced someone to go in and buy us beer. This is Maui. And a guy named Henry came up and recognized something in me that needed to be saved. He asked what I was doing that night, and I was honest. I said, ‘My friend’s inside buying me alcohol.’ ‘You going to go party?’ he asked. ‘Yeah.’ ‘Drink and do drugs? Meet girls, fornication?’ I was like, ‘I hope so.’ I was charmed by this guy, don’t know why. He was an Asian dude, maybe Hawaiian, in his 40s. It should’ve made me nervous but didn’t. I said, ‘Why are you asking?’ He said, ‘Jesus told me to talk to you . . .’ At that moment I was like, I think I have to go with this guy. He took me to church. Over the next few days I surprised my friends by declaring that I was going to change my life.”

O.K. Let’s stop for a moment. Because this is strange and so distant from what we expect of a movie star, especially of the clever, slapdash, wise-guy variety. But everyone needs a story to make sense of their life. Even the most successful. The extreme demands explanation. For Pratt, success, so extreme it scared him, is explained by metaphysical intervention. Which caused him to take control. In that moment, he yielded. His path has been clear ever since.
Chris Pratt, Vanity Fair

One day, and this was the key development, Rae Dawn Chong, an actress and the daughter of the great stoner Tommy Chong — she’d reached a professional peak in 1985 when she starred opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in Commando — walked into Bubba Gump Shrimp. “She was with her producing partner,” said Pratt. “I think they were on vacation in Kihei. I wasn’t even supposed to take a shift that day. I was always giving away my shifts because I didn’t have much overhead. I lived in a van. But it was like I had a premonition. I always wanted to go to Hollywood. I just didn’t know I was going to get there.”

Pratt approached Chong with full, flare-filled, Gumper-of-the-year charm.

He says, “I’m your server.”

She says, “I’m Rae Dawn Chong.”

He says, “You’re a movie star.”

She says, “You’re cute. Do you act?”

He says, “Fuck, yeah, I act. Put me in a movie.”

She asks for his phone number. He does not have a phone — he lives in a van — so gives her the number of his friend Michael Jackson (not that Michael Jackson). She leaves a message the next day, but Michael Jackson forgets about it. Then Michael Jackson remembers. He tells Pratt, “Dawn or some Chinese chick or something . . . you got a message.”

Pratt picked up the script from Chong. It was a comedy called Cursed Part 3. There were no Parts 1 and 2. It was a film about a film crew being haunted while making a film about a haunting.

Chong stopped Pratt halfway through his audition.

She said, “We’re going to use you.”

“Did you get a big part?,” I asked.

“Yeah,” he said, “I was the lead.”
Chris Pratt, Vanity Fair
When Pratt learned the movie would be shot in L.A., he told Chong he’d have to bow out. He couldn’t afford a plane ticket. “I had 60 bucks,” he told me. “And she was like, ‘Sweetie, we’ll fly you there.’ ”

The movie took 10 days to shoot and was never released. When I asked Pratt to describe it, he hemmed and hawed, searching for the words, washing his hands in the sink as he did so, then, in the way of a person who’s decided, Fuck it, I’ll just tell the truth, said, “It was the worst movie I’d ever seen.”

So what was its historical function?

It got Pratt a screen credit and a manager and a reel. It got him into the game. “The whole reason that movie came along was just so I could be brought to Hollywood.”

What did you look like back then?

Because Pratt became known as a lovable chub in the office down the hall, I was curious about how he was first presented. “I looked exactly like Heath Ledger,” he said. “I had long blond hair, still bleached out, Hawaiian . . . That’s what people were always saying: Man, you look just like Heath Ledger. Then I saw Heath Ledger on the cover of Vanity Fair, and I thought, Hey, I do look just like that guy.”

I asked Pratt what life was like in Los Angeles in those first years. He talked about living cheaply, waiting tables, taking small roles in big movies and big roles in small movies. (He met his wife while playing her love interest in Take Me Home Tonight, circa 2007.) “I was an outsider, no connections, no nepotism, nothing, a complete foreigner to Hollywood.”

The breakthrough came with Everwood, in 2002, which Pratt describes as “a single-camera, dramatic show for the WB. It went four seasons and was absolutely life-changing. That’s when I became an actor, and that was the first time I’d ever got into money, real money.”

Most people probably got to know Pratt as Andy Dwyer on Parks and Recreation, which ran from 2009 to 2015. It was supposed to be a one-episode deal, a guest spot, but the character took off. Pratt gained weight while shooting the first season — partly because he thought it worked for the character, partly because he’d just been married and people tend to fatten up in those first, blissful years. It’s a Darwinian thing: the hunt is over; it’s time to laze in the sun. He did not consider the downside — other than lethargy and trouble breathing — until he auditioned to play Oakland A’s first-baseman and catcher Scott Hatteberg in 2011’s Moneyball. “That was the first time I heard someone say, ‘We’re not gonna cast you — you’re too fat.’ So I decided to drop the weight, like in wrestling. I couldn’t afford a trainer, so it was all running and crash-dieting and cutting alcohol.”

Pratt had always wanted to play an action hero but did not think he could pull it off.

What changed your mind?

Zero Dark Thirty,” he said. “That’s the first time I bulked up, got into great shape because I was playing a navy SEAL.”

Nervous when he sat down to watch the film, he came away with a new view of himself. “I was like, My God, I buy that guy,” he said. “I’m SEAL Team Six in that movie, and I felt like it was real. I can do this. I can play those roles.

Guardians had come around, and I passed,” Pratt said. “James Gunn [the director] passed on me, too. When they announced it, I looked it up and saw a list of the top 20 dudes in Hollywood who might play Peter Quill. I was not on that list. I did not want to go in and embarrass myself. My agent said, ‘Guardians is everything you’ve been saying you want to do.’ I said, ‘Fuck, you’re right.’ But I’m going to go in there and do exactly what I mean by action comedy. My brand of stuff. Brash. Honest. I played the room. Jim Gunn, the way he tells it is like this: ‘Who do we have next? Chris Pratt? What the fuck? I said we weren’t going to audition the chubby guy from Parks and Rec.’ ‘Well, he’s already here.’ They’d tested probably 10 people, spent a lot of money, and James wasn’t convinced on anyone yet. When I finished [my scene], he said, ‘Do you have any questions?’ I was like, ‘Are you fuckin’ crazy? Tell me everything.’ I gave him my Peter Quill version of an answer. Once you get smart about auditioning, you learn to audition before they say ‘Action.’ You walk into the room as the character. You let them think the person you are is close to the character they want. You make them think you already are that guy. Gunn was like, ‘Damn, this is it.’ ”

Pratt was alone when he saw the movie the first time, in a theater rented for that purpose. “When it started, I was like, This is fuckin’ awesome! Then I saw the first scene of myself dancing and kicking rats, and I was like, Oh, my God, disaster. This movie is gonna suck. I was just so hypercritical of myself. Then the next scene comes on and you see Rocket and Groot, and I was like, Wait a minute — this movie might be really fuckin’ good.”

That movie, which opened in the summer of 2014, changed everything for Pratt. In a moment, he went from that to this. “I made a genre jump,” he said, “a category jump, some kind of jump.”

He cemented this image in 2015’s Jurassic World, in which he not only played the Harrison Ford-type role but played it in a Steven Spielberg property. From here, expect his roles to be of the major-star action-adventure or Oscar-bait variety. Passengers, in which Pratt stars opposite Jennifer Lawrence as a traveler who, put into hypersleep for an interstellar voyage, wakes 90 years too early, is in theaters now. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will be released in May. When I asked Pratt why he did Passengers, he said, “It’s the best script I’ve ever read.”

“Oh, really?,” I said. “I read a quote in which you said Cursed Part 3 was the best script you’d ever read.”

“At that point it was,” he said, laughing. “It was also the only script I’d ever read.”
Chris Pratt, Vanity Fair

Pratt set the table as he talked. Tacos, rice, peppers. He called his son and the nanny in to eat — Faris was out of town — then grabbed a remote control, turned on the TV, and began flipping. Donald Trump came on. We talked about Trump’s gross Access Hollywood video, the one that collateral-damaged the career of egg-’em-on Billy Bush. “ ‘When you’re a star, you could do anything’ — the offensive thing to me about that was Trump calling himself a star,” said Pratt. “It’s like ‘Come on, dude.’ It’s not because I consider myself a star, but if I ever heard someone say that, one of my peers, I’d instantly lose respect for them.”

Pratt turned the TV to the World Series — he did this for me. I live and die with the Chicago Cubs. Just before we sat to eat, he got on his knees and had the rest of us get on our knees, and we held hands, and he thanked God for the food and the life, and he even put in a word for the Cubs. At the end of the meal, he poured shots of tequila. Casa Dragones. He’d been given a case after Jurassic World. I noticed a guitar on the wall. When I asked about it, Pratt said, “Let me show you the good guitars.” He went upstairs and came back with two acoustics — a Taylor and a beautiful Gibson, which he’d played while guest-hosting Saturday Night Live, in 2014. He picked it up and began to sing “Lady,” a Kenny Rogers hit just as cheesy as AM radio. Then we played together — “Up On Cripple Creek” and the Hank Williams Jr. tune “A Country Boy Can Survive.” He strummed a few chords, then talked about a guest appearance he’d recently made on his wife’s CBS sitcom, Mom. He’d learned the Kenny Rogers tune so he could sing it on that show. “I played it, then we kissed,” he told me. “Normally, when you do a kissing scene, it’s awkward, and when it’s done you say, ‘Are you O.K.?’ But this was different. After they yelled ‘Cut,’ we laughed and just kept on kissing.”

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Sam Heughan Talks to Vanity Fair About Outlander Season 3

Caitriona Balfe, Claire Fraser, Sam Heughan, Jamie Fraser, OutlanderIt’s been just under four months since Outlander fans had to say good-bye to Claire and Jamie Fraser during the emotional Season 2 finale. But it’s also a long wait until the time-traveling, star-crossed couple returns to Starz for Season 3 next April. Thankfully, in the meantime, there’s a new Blu-ray edition of Season 2 out on Tuesday, November 1. And, for the true devotees to both the show and the Diana Gabaldon novels, there’s also a special Collector’s Edition that features an exclusive excerpt from the upcoming Outlander novel Go Tell The Bees That I Am Gone. Outlander star Sam Heughan took a break from his grueling 11-month shooting schedule to reflect back on Season 2 and give a preview of why Season 3 feels like “a different show.” (Hint: It has to do with him missing co-star Caitriona Balfe.)

Vanity Fair: After the overwhelmingly warm reception for Season 1, was there a particular fan reaction to Season 2 that you did not see coming?

Sam Heughan: I think the first half of the season set in France was quite complicated, and it certainly wasn’t going back over the old ground of Season 1. I think we were very aware that the first season was this young relationship and about new love. We wanted to show something a bit more complicated [in Season 2]. I think fans were surprised. People tune in expecting the same show or the same sort of scenes and, yeah, I think we surprised fans with that.

VF: I know you hear from fans who are put out or surprised by changes from the books. Was there any particular book aspect left out of Season 2 that you felt like fans were most hoping to see and didn’t?

SH: Diana is all over this. I mean, I have constant e-mail updates, several times a day, about things she’s watched or things she’s read. We confer a lot, probably more than the producers want us to. There’s always going to be little details that will be missed because the show is only an hour-long episode each week. I know myself and Caitriona, we read the books and if we can sneak in a small detail that may not be in the script or even just that we know ourselves, that going from one scene to another, that something’s happened in between that maybe we haven’t been able to show, but at least we know it and, hopefully, in some way it manifests itself. Hopefully it’s all in Diana’s world. I know that she said herself that Season 2, especially at the start, was kind of complex and difficult to make into episodic TV.

VF: There’s a behind-the-scenes feature on the Blu-ray of you, Caitriona, and Graham McTavish prepping for your big Season 2 fight scene. Can you tease anything about what fans might not know about how you prepare for combat?

SH: Yeah, I mean, my God, the show is incredible. Not to give away much, but today, one minute I was on a horse riding across the Scottish countryside, and then I’m somewhere else in studio, and then I’m laying in a cot. But that particular Season 2 scene was very emotional. I absolutely loved doing a fight scene with Graham; I’ve always wanted to. He absolutely hated me fighting him. We actually shot several alternate endings to the fight because, obviously, in the book, Claire isn’t complicit. We thought, Jamie and Claire are a couple and they need to be both guilty of this deed. It’s not that Claire wants to kill anyone — she’s not a killer, she’s a hero — but she wants to aid Jamie and she basically ends up being complicit in the death of Dougal.

It was very funny because we were actually shooting a pick up on that and we didn’t have Caitriona there at the time; it was actually a double’s hands that are on the dagger. Graham was very wary of this double pushing too hard down on him that he might actually get stabbed. He was just this very hard man complaining that someone was pushing a fake dagger too hard on him.

VF: Of course, with any Blu-ray, there are deleted scenes included here. Which deleted Season 2 scene were you most devastated not to see included in the original episodes?

SH: There was one recently that was released on social media; it was the “Faith” scene. Certainly, from my perspective, you got to see a lot more of Jamie and his angst. I mean, he’s kind of not present for most of that episode. I think that’s important, that’s an important cut. We go on that journey with Claire and see her go through all the stages of grief and mourning and then some sort of brittle resolve. Almost, in a way, we didn’t want the camera to blink from her. I think that’s what was decided. Watching Jamie also go through it, well, absolutely, it’s another side. I certainly know that I really felt very strong in that scene. I felt that it was a very awkward place for Jamie to be that will have some sort of repercussion — even now in Season 3. I don’t think Jamie or Claire get over the loss of Faith. I think it’s wonderful that the fans actually get to see a glimpse into some of the other work that we do that’s not always on the screen.

VF: I’ve heard you say that, as opposed to Caitriona with her elaborate costumes, it only takes you five minutes to get into wardrobe when Jamie is wearing the kilt. But I was curious, since we’re going to jump forward several years in Season 3, if you have some extra time in makeup chair this year and if you can tell us anything about what older Jaime looks like?

SH: I mean, I’m probably not allowed to say much, but I think we all know that the books do span a great amount of time. Season 3, in particular, yeah, I mean, there was an aging process. There was definitely a different look to the characters, but you’ll have to tune in to find out, I guess. But even in Season 1, I had hours and hours of prosthetic makeup whenever the back scarring was on or Jamie got shot or injured. By no means does that stop in Season 3 so, yes, there’s been a lot of very long days where I’ve been in makeup.

VF: The end of Season 2 saw Claire back in her own timeline so I really don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that you filmed a good part of Season 3 without Caitriona. Since you two have been such close partners on this whole experience, what was it like to go on without her?

SH: Yeah. Honestly, it’s like having a death in the family. Well, I don’t know, I mean, it’s just like a different show. It’s hard to separate yourself from the character. Jamie’s present, living in his world, and Claire’s present and living in her world, and they both believe the other is dead. It’s always hard when we’re apart, actually, because she’s a great person, great to come to work with, and a very good actress. But I think it all adds to the reunion — if there’s a reunion, or when there’s a reunion — well you know there’s one in the books. It should be very special.

VF: Do you have a fondest memory from Season 2 that you’re excited for the fans to re-live via the Blu-ray?

SH: Wow. Whoa, that’s tough, I think — Paris was almost like another world and it was great fun — but for us getting back to Scotland, to Lallybroch, and then to having all the MacKenzies turn up, Graham McTavish as Dougal and Stephen Walters as Angus and all the others. It was so rewarding to be in Scotland with the wind and the rain and the cold and everyone was miserable but kind of happy because we were back and it felt like coming home. I think it’s a very sad ending because we all knew that people were going to die — that’s what history tells us — that’s what Jamie and Claire are fighting to stop is the end of these people. So it’s a bittersweet return home to Scotland. In the back of your mind, you’re aware that it’s sort of coming to a close.

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Benedict Cumberbatch Covers Vanity Fair

The complete article:
Benedict Cumberbatch, Vanity Fair
When Benedict Cumberbatch was 19 years old, he got good and lost in the Himalayas. No longer a schoolboy in tailcoat and boater, not yet the internationally known star of Sherlock and one of the world’s most unlikely sex symbols, he had taken a gap year before university to get a glimpse of life beyond A-level exams and Sunday chapel.

In a hillside town near Darjeeling, he taught English to Tibetan monks, giving himself a crash course in improvisation as he conjured up instructional games. On weekends off, he would seek adventure: white-water rafting down the Kali Gandaki River, traversing the desert province of Rajasthan. (It was monsoon season everywhere else.) But the mountains beckoned.

So he and three friends caught a bus from Kathmandu. Sherpas were expensive, and they were students traveling on the cheap, so they decided, extremely unwisely, to wing it. Altitude sickness derailed them one by one: their group of four became a group of three, then a group of two. By the third night, Cumberbatch recalls, “I started to have really weird, fucked-up dreams, and felt things were happening in my sleep. I wasn’t sure if I was conscious or awake.”

He and his friend reached a spiritual fork in the road, which happened to be a literal fork in the road: up or down? They chose up. And that’s when they got utterly, hopelessly, bewilderingly lost. They ran out of biscuits. They drank rainwater squeezed out of moss, because they’d read it was safer than river water. As night fell, with their flashlights losing power, they pressed on through the thicket, until they spotted a corrugated-steel roof in the distance: salvation? Continue reading

Adele Covers Vanity Fair

Adele, Vanity FairThe black Porsche Cayenne S.U.V. pulls up to the driveway of my hotel. Adele is behind the wheel and alone in the car. When I get in, she tells me she loves to drive on her own — although there is a discreet security detail in the vehicle in front of us. We’re on our way to Staples Center for the second of eight sold-out L.A. concerts on her current, 43-city world tour. She’s wearing a flouncy white cotton top over black leggings and beige flats. A Van Cleef & Arpels bracelet with colored round jewels is on her right arm. Her hair is pulled up off her face in a loose bun, her huge green eyes are covered by sunglasses, and, makeup-free, she is naturally gorgeous. She is gregarious and totally at ease, and we immediately start to talk about L.A. She recently purchased a house in Beverly Hills, because she spends so much time recording here and got tired of renting houses that weren’t properly baby-proofed, or private enough, or the pool was broken, and it was a waste of money. At the previous night’s concert she gave a shout-out to her new favorite L.A. supermarket — Bristol Farms. She raves about their balsamic cheese (“I ate the whole thing”), and we somehow segue into grooming. She shows me her long fake nails, which she says are coming off straight after the tour. She says she waited weeks to get her eyebrows shaped because the only woman she’ll let touch them lives in L.A. And how, after a month, she shaved her legs because she thought people in the front row at her concerts might notice them when she runs up the stairs to the stage. I ask if Simon Konecki (her boyfriend of five years and the father of their four-year-old son, Angelo) minded her unshaven legs. “He has no choice,” she says. “I’ll have no man telling me to shave my fuckin’ legs. Shave yours.” Continue reading

Chris Hemsworth Covers Vanity Fair

Chris Hemsworth, Vanity FairChris Hemsworth covers the December 2015 issue of Vanity Fair, where he is promoting his new film, In the Heart of the Sea.

Here is the interview:

I feel like I’m in a movie. Not just any movie, a highly specific kind of movie, one of those trashy-but-sublime Hollywood jobs, a jet-set-y, South-of-France-y bit of chic piffle that’s about international spies or jewel thieves or cat burglars, only is really about glamorous, sexy stars doing glamorous, sexy things in glamorous, sexy locales. Daft yet delectable; not art yet artful — To Catch a Thief or Diamonds Are Forever maybe. And in this highly specific movie, I’m in a highly specific scene: I’m sitting in a restaurant, open-air and umbrella-dotted, all very relaxed and casual in a way that suggests great expense and exclusivity, the patrons suntanned and sunglassed, the backdrop el primo, knockout spectacular, featuring an ocean that sparkles and fizzes like a sapphire, the exact color, by happy coincidence, of my dining companion’s eyes. And a bit player — a waiter or, possibly, a fellow paying customer — leans into me and says, sotto voce, “Quite a view,” and I, keeping my gaze fixed on the sapphire-eyed person across the table from me, reply, “It certainly is,” my lips twitching in the faintest of ironic smiles.

O.K., well, the exchange with the waiter/paying customer never happened, but the rest of the account is cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die true. The restaurant: Geoffrey’s, pronounced the way the snooty English butler from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air pronounced it, not the way the flesh-eating serial killer from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, pronounced it, and perched on a bluff above the Malibu stretch of the Pacific, which, for my money, knocks the Côte d’Azur right on its derrière. The sapphire-eyed person: Chris Hemsworth.

In March, Hemsworth, 32, hosted Saturday Night Live. It was a strong show all around, but the best bit was a send-up of those American Express commercials that feature famous people presenting themselves in modest, no-frills, this-is-the-real-me ways that are actually self-congratulatory and carefully contrived and showbiz slick. Chris Hemsworth as “Chris Hemsworth” catalogues the various stumbling blocks he encountered on the Road to Success. In the signature faux-humble voice-over (the better to brag to you with, my dear), he says, “When I got to Hollywood, they said I’d never make it as an actor — they said I was too tall, too blond, my muscles were too big.” The line got a roar from the studio audience. And why not? It was funny — and smart. After all, his handsomeness is so extreme it can’t be denied or ignored, or even played down. It verges, in fact, on the parodic, so why not parody it? Continue reading