The 27th annual Hollywood issue of Vanity Fair was released on Tuesday morning and it offered a wide array of talent.
Veteran siren Charlize Theron was seen as well as new heartthrob Michael B Jordan of Creed and Black Panther fame as well as Zendaya of Euphoria and Awkwafina from Ocean’s Eight for one of their most diverse covers ever.
Artists Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari directed 10 photo shoots across four continents. They used ‘modern techniques’ that allowed VF to minimize on-set personnel and maximize COVID-19 protocol.
A new look for 2021: The 27th annual Hollywood issue of Vanity Fair was released on Tuesday morning and it offered a wide array of talent
In the past, the VF Hollywood issue tended to feature white stars such as Nicole Kidman, Harrison Ford, Tom Hanks, Reese Witherspoon and Sandra Bullock with little diversity.
But this year is very different.
Also included on the cover are Sacha Baron Cohen (The Trial of the Chicago 7, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm), Maya Rudolph (Saturday Night Live, Big Mouth), Michaela Coel, (I May Destroy You), Spike Lee (Da 5 Bloods, David Byrne’s American Utopia), LaKeith Stanfield (Judas and the Black Messiah) and Dan Levy (Schitt’s Creek).
Theron talked about releasing The Old Guard straight to Netflix.
‘Somehow it was meant to come out in ,’ Theron says of The Old Guard, which hit Netflix last summer.
‘And it was meant to just be on people’s TVs. In the end, that’s why I think it was so successful. It thematically speaks to things that people were going through. And so part of me is like, “So what if it wasn’t on a big screen?” I’m not mad at the fact that probably more people saw The Old Guard than any other movie that I’ve ever made, outside of Fast & Furious, in a theater.’
Some of the biggest names: The first panel had Michael B Jordan, Charlize Theron, Zendaya and Sacha Baron Cohen
Jordan talked streaming services: ‘Great material can live anywhere,’ Jordan said. ‘It’s really about the audience and how they want to consume it. And that’s not really for me to decide.’
And he also touched on the late Chadwick Boseman who he worked with on Black Panther.
‘Our relationship was a very personal one and had a lot of great moments—some that I couldn’t fully appreciate and fully understand until now. I wish I had more time to have our relationship evolve, and grow, and become closer and stronger.
‘We got a concentrated dose of Chadwick. He did more in his 43 years of life than most people have done in a lifetime.
Number two: The second panel had Spike Lee, Maya Rudolph and LaKeith Stanfield
‘And he was here for the time he was supposed to be here, and he had his impact, and his legacy. That was clear with the abundance of love that he has gotten from people all over the world.’
Michael then added: ‘There are generations of kids coming up that look to him. It’s incredible. And losing him was…Yeah, man, it hurt. It hurt a lot. That’s probably what made me cry the most this year.’
Cohen said people should take his work with a grain of salt: ‘I am a comedian. I am an actor. I am not a political theorist, I am not a politician, I am not an academic. I would take whatever I say with a pinch of salt.’
And he touched on the Borat sequel coming out in October, before the presidential election
The third one: And on the last panel was Michaela Coel, Awkwafina and Dan Levy
Maya Rudolph discussed her return to Saturday Night Live.
‘I’m now an elder,’ says Maya; she plays Vice President Kamala Harris. ‘I’m now one of the elder women in the tribe, imparting wisdom.’
She also talked Trump before he became president. ‘I remember when Trump hosted for the first time for The Apprentice, and we, as a cast, were like, ‘F**k. This sucks. I don’t want to be here for this.’
The old way: In the past, the VF Hollywood issue tended to feature white stars with little diversity. On the left is the 2012 cover with Jennifer Lawrence, Rooney Mara, Mia Wasikowska and Jessica Chastain; on the right is the 2010 cover with Abbie Cornish, Kristen Stewart and Carey Mulligan
Spike Lee said: ‘It was a f**ked-up year, 2020. Just a f**ked-up year in bold letters with exclamation points: F*CKED UP!!!’
Filming Da 5 Bloods in Thailand was not easy: ‘The heat. The jungle. And also it was at that time of the year the Thai farmers burn their land, so we had the worst air pollution in the world while we were shooting.
‘That sh*t was hard as a motherf**ker. Hard A.F. A.F., that’s for as f**k. Nah, this was a challenging movie, but we knew that going in. We were going to a jungle… I mean, here’s my mentality: We’re making a war movie. We’re going to war. Nothing easy about a war.’
Her new normal: Theron talked about releasing The Old Guard straight to Netflix ‘Somehow it was meant to come out in ,’ Theron says of The Old Guard, which hit Netflix last summer. Seen in 2019
Awkwafina touched on forging a new path for Asian American performers.
‘You don’t want to represent swaths of people,’ she says. ‘But if there are not that many of us, then some people are going to think that what they see onscreen is what we are. That’s why the solution isn’t more of me—it’s more people who are different.’
Dan Levy shared: ‘I think everything that we have gone through has only, from a creative standpoint, made the work that much more substantial,’ says Levy. ‘ ‘Even if you’re going to tell a light little comedy, it feels like it should be about something.’
Zendaya was also included in the issue; seen in early 2021
His show Schitt’s Creek showed a gay couple in a new light: ‘Personally, up until that point, I hadn’t seen a lot of gay characters and gay relationships portrayed with that kind of ease. As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, we’re so accustomed to seeing the members of that community put in danger.’ While the show wasn’t overtly political, this was an ‘ever after’ that resonated.
LaKeith Stanfield said, ‘It’s an opportunity for people, when you start to critically analyze those things,’ says Stanfeld. ‘Like, what kind of world do we want to live in? We can start re-creating it now. Sometimes the hard battles are the things that are worth it.’
Vanity Fair’s issue is ‘celebrating the actors, producers, and directors who pushed storytelling forward with hope and humanity during a surreal year,’ the press release noted.
The portfolio focuses on how ‘interpreting this year’s events has become central to their work,’ and how the transformation the entertainment industry has undergone ‘could present an opportunity for more lasting, positive change.’
‘We could not have asked for a more talented, transcendent cast of characters than our cover stars this year,’ editor in chief Radhika Jones wrote in an editor’s letter for the issue.
Jordan’s time: Jordan talked streaming services: ‘Great material can live anywhere,’ Jordan says. ‘It’s really about the audience and how they want to consume it. And that’s not really for me to decide.’ And he also touched on the late Chadwick Boseman. ‘Our relationship was a very personal one and had a lot of great moments; seen with the Black Panther cast in 2019
‘Their work has earned them new audiences on new platforms, rose to new creative heights, delved into new emotional depths, and brought catharsis, humor, and gratification.
‘They have helped push the boundaries of what entertainment can be, and the stories it can convey, whether in a theater or on your television or someplace in between. This issue exists to celebrate Hollywood and take measure of its evolution, and on both fronts, we found plenty to talk about.’
There are also extended Q&A’s with portfolio stars Spike, Charlize, Michael and Sacha. And there is a story of Zack Snyder’s return to Justice League. Amanda Seyfriend is also featured in the issue.
See the full feature in the Hollywood Issue of Vanity Fair available via digital download and on newsstands Friday 26th February.
He works hard for the money: Spike Lee said: ‘It was a f**ked-up year, 2020. Just a f**ked-up year in bold letters with exclamation points: F*CKED UP!!!’ Filming Da 5 Bloods in Thailand was not easy: ‘The heat. The jungle. And also it was at that time of the year the Thai farmers burn their land, so we had the worst air pollution in the world while we were shooting’; seen in 2019 at the Oscars