For the Best Performances 2020 issue, the stars of the biggest films of the past year posed for photographer Juergen Teller in the most quintessential of Los Angeles locales: strip malls, parking lots and hotel rooms. This time around, the annual portfolio features nine different covers, with Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood and Ad Astra), Joaquin Phoenix (Joker), Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers), Eddie Murphy (Dolemite Is My Name), Chris Evans (Knives Out and Avengers: Endgame), Laura Dern (Marriage Story and Little Women), Adam Driver (Marriage StoryThe Report, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker), Adam Sandler (Uncut Gems) and Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story and Jojo Rabbit). For the portfolio inside the issue, the actors sat down with W‘s Editor at Large Lynn Hirschberg to discuss their lives and work.


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I love musicals. The other day I was watching part of Bye Bye Birdie and feeling so happy. There’s a lot of Frank-N-Furter from The Rocky Horror Picture Show in the Joker. I saw that movie when I was 14 or 15, and I’ve always been jealous of that performance.
Do you have dance training?

Yes. And I worked with a choreographer for Joker. Normally, I don’t like talking about character with anyone other than the director, but the choreographer gave me a vocabulary that informed the role. I wanted to go from joy and euphoria to something painful. Dance gave me that language. And hunger.

Did you have trouble shaking off the character at the end of the day?

Well, I was living like a hermit because I was on an extreme diet. You can’t really socialize when you’re not eating or drinking.

Were your dreams different?

Yes. I was always dreaming about food. I’d dream that I ate a huge meal. And I’d wake up feeling so guilty.

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