Bright, Shining Stars
We think this talented crew should all get awards.
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Photographers, designers and especially filmmakers are seeking out Mulligan more than ever after her captivating portrayal of a precocious ’60s English schoolgirl whose entrée into a glamorous adult world threatens her academic ambitions. “I related to her feelings towards education, but in most other ways we are completely different,” she says. “I focused on her being an only child, being born in the postwar years and the fantasy French mystery she so wants to be.”
Now having her own moment in Glamourland, she remains poised. The attention, she says, is “very unexpected and occasionally overwhelming, but overall it’s positive. I’ve always found LA to be a far kinder place than it’s depicted.” And even the most surreal moments offer a bit of mad magic—most memorably, “sharing a red carpet with Perez Hilton.”
Jeremy Renner certainly started his journey playing the adrenaline-addicted, bomb-disposing soldier in The Hurt Locker with explosive intensity. “From the moment I got the script,” he says, “I knew it was a role any actor would slaughter a small village to do.”
His authentic, conflicted Academy Award-nominated performance puts the tense existence of US soldiers in Iraq into sharp, often painful relief. Renner found himself more than a little conflicted himself, suffering through filming in Jordan’s 125-degree summer in a 100-pound bomb suit—but having the time of his life.
“I’ll always look back on this film as a really harrowing and an almost terrible shooting experience, but also tremendous at the same time. It was life-changing,” says Renner. The role, he says, “felt as real as you wanted it to feel without actually being a soldier. It certainly tested the limits—physically, mentally and spiritually. I had a nervous breakdown or two, that’s for sure.”
Despite the conditions, he says, “going to work was a treat. I was skipping to work because I loved the character so much.” Understandably after that filming experience, Renner looked forward to donning a tuxedo to make the awards-gala rounds. “I’ve always been a big fan of getting dressed up,” he says. “It’s a much lighter suit than a bomb suit.”
Actors are supposed to know they’re gonna nail that big audition, right? Not first-time film star and Oscar nominee Gabourey Sidibe, who on a whim skipped class to try out for the lead in Precious.
“I thought it was a waste of time,” says Sidibe. “I thought I was making a huge mistake, that I should’ve gone to class instead. I’m glad I didn’t listen to myself.” Agreed. Sidibe’s performance as an abused, illiterate, pregnant Harlem teen trying to better her life against long odds is as powerhouse as they come from a neophyte actress.
“As I became this girl, it certainly wasn’t for a selfish reason. It didn’t matter to me—it mattered to those who were like Precious who have been ignored for so long,” she says. “It was kind of like living outside my body.” Now she’s reveling in the role of newly discovered talent, but Precious still walks with her. “At this point it’s more about being myself, but in some ways I am still doing it for that person.”
PHOTOGRAPH BY WILLIAMS AND HIRAKAWA/ICON INTERNATIONAL; SIMON PERRY (FORD); GILES KEYTE (MIRREN); JOE SCHMELZER (STUHLBARG); STYLING BY VANESSA GELDBACH FOR EXCLUSIVE ARTISTS; GROOMING BY SONIA LEE FOR EXCLUSIVE ARTISTS; STUHLBARG SHOT ON LOCATION AT THE NEWLY RENOVATED FOUR SEASONS HOTEL LOS ANGELES AT BEVERLY HILLS; RANKIN/TRUNK ARCHIVE (MULLIGAN); JEFF VESPA (RENNER); PALEN (SIDIBE); ERIC WILLIAMS/DR PHOTO MANAGEMENT (MCKAY); STYLING BY JUSTIN DUCOTY FOR EXCLUSIVE ARTISTS; GROOMING BY RANDI PETERSON FOR ARTISTS BY TIMOTHY PRIANO