The annual Hollywood edition of Vanity Fair is upon us, cued to the Academy Awards, and the magazine has made a welcome departure from the cheesy sex of last year. The theme for 2007 is decidedly retro in dress and attitude, and expectations are being subverted right from the cover.
|Annie Liebovitz exclusively for Vanity Fair.|
It shows four of the least-likely guys to be found wearing a tuxedo – Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Chris Rock and Jack Black – doing exactly that in identical penguin suits. They look like they’re preparing for a remake of The Great Gatsby, or maybe Happy Feet 2.
Inside, there’s a 33-page tribute to film noir titled “Killers Kill, Dead Men Die,” shot in its entirety by Annie Liebovitz, and it shows classy movie stars doing things that people whisper about in smoky bars, gambling dens and rooms that rent by the hour.
Helen Mirren and Dame Judi Dench look like gun molls together, not Best Actress nominees.
Penélope Cruz wears a blonde wig and vamps like a reborn Marilyn Monroe, while Pedro Almodóvar attends to her like a dutiful svengali – or maybe a pimp.
Abigail Breslin, dressed all in black, stands and mourns at the grave of an unlucky sadsack, with nary a ray of sunshine to be found.
And is that Jack Nicholson lying lifeless on the ground, filled with lead pumped by a jilted skirt? He can’t say we didn’t warn him.
The Hollywood edition doesn’t go on sale until Wednesday in New York and L.A., Feb. 13 everywhere else, but there’s a clever sneak online in the form of slide show made to look and sound like a classic film noir.
Narrated by Ben Shenkman in era-appropriate voice of doom, and set to the jazzy tones of “Blue Dahlia” composed by John “Scrapper” Sneider and performed by the Film Noir Project, it’s a beat from the dark heart of the City of Angels.
The “cast” members are Amy Adams, Ben Affleck, Jessica Alba, Pedro Almodóvar, Alec Baldwin, Adam Beach, Jessica Biel, Abigail Breslin, Jennifer Connelly, Penélope Cruz, Judi Dench, Robert De Niro, Robert Downey Jr., Kirsten Dunst, Aaron Eckhart, James Franco, Djimon Hounsou, Jennifer Hudson, Anjelica Huston, Rinko Kikuchi, Diane Lane, Derek Luke, Tobey Maguire, James McAvoy, Helen Mirren, Julianne Moore, Jack Nicholson, Bill Nighy, Ed Norton, Peter O'Toole, Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone, Kerry Washington, Naomi Watts, Forest Whitaker, Bruce Willis, Patrick Wilson, Kate Winslet, Evan Rachel Wood.
Many of them are Oscar nominees, good calls by the Vanity Fair staff, who begin shooting their Hollywood edition in the fall, weeks before the Academy announces its nominees.
Note the presence of Adam Beach, whom many thought might get a Best Supporting Actor nod for Flags of Our Fathers – until the movie slipped to half-mast shortly after release. Missing from the mob scene is Beach’s fellow Canuck Ryan Gosling, who is in the Best Actor running for his junkie teacher turn in Half Nelson.
Did VF make a bad call by not including him, or is Gosling showing solidarity with girlfriend Rachel McAdams, who stormed off the set of last year’s Hollywood cover shoot when guest editor Tom Ford told her she’d have to appear nude?
That’s the kind of nosy question that could get you shot in the naked city…