The Hollywood Issue cover is traditionally a big production, and this year, somewhat incredibly, was no different. From Costa Rica, the renowned conceptual artists Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari directed 10 photo shoots across four continents, using techniques that allowed us to minimize on-set personnel and maximize COVID-19 protocols. It was a feat born of necessity but suffused with artistic purpose—to demonstrate not just that the show must go on but that there’s joy in its continuance, even in the most surreal and challenging of times.
I attended one shoot, which is to say I opened my laptop and logged into two separate production sites: one with a view of the set where Sacha Baron Cohen arrived ready to don his cover-worthy tuxedo; one with a view of the virtual monitor where we captured him dancing with an umbrella (later re-created as a walking stick). It turns out it is possible to channel the buoyant serendipity of a magical photo shoot across seven time zones if you have the right participants in front of the camera and behind it. We could not have asked for a more talented, transcendent cast of characters than our cover stars this year, and we are so grateful to them for coming along on the journey—for shouldering imaginary boulders and fighting alongside imaginary bears and soaring into the atmosphere on gargoyles and chandeliers. And we raise a glass to Maurizio and Pierpaolo, whose wit and humor carried us forward, and who at every step and in every way answered our challenges with a resounding yes.
That’s what this year has been about for so many of us—pulling off what we would never have attempted and couldn’t have imagined. It has been that way for our cover stars too, as their work earned them new audiences on new platforms, rose to new creative heights, delved into new emotional depths, and brought catharsis, humor, and gratification. From Sacha to Zendaya to Charlize Theron to Michaela Coel, 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, from chief critic Richard Lawson’s cover essay about what Spike Lee calls this “fucked-up year” (fact check: true) to Joy Press’s rich dive into the trailblazing women filmmakers of the 1970s, whose legacies are more relevant than ever. Anthony Breznican talks to Zack Snyder about the untold story of his Justice League, and Alex French and Dan Adler unravel the scandals of Hillsong. A portfolio of rising directors showcases cinema’s new new wave. And Steve McQueen and Jenny Lumet each offer their vision of this creative moment.
Like the cover, this issue is a group endeavor, executed with a level of collaboration that takes on extra meaning and value in a time of isolation. Executive Hollywood editor Jeff Giles and senior Hollywood editor Hillary Busis lead our team’s movie and TV coverage—daily and monthly—and their work culminates in this annual issue. Senior West Coast editor Britt Hennemuth defied the space-time continuum to bring together the 10 game changers for our cover shoot and portfolio, while visuals director Tara Johnson led our most complex production to date, with major contributions from associate visuals producer Michael Kramer. Our fashion director Nicole Chapoteau and her team coordinated with special guest stylist Katie Grand to bring a touch of red-carpet fantasia to our pages.
It’s hard to know, still in the midst of it, how we’ll remember this long and devastating pandemic year. But it’s our bet that among the bright spots will be our memories of the people whose art, creativity, and innovation helped get us through it.
— Our 27th Annual Hollywood Issue: A Fantasia in 10 Acts— On With the Show! See Zendaya, Michael B. Jordan, Charlize Theron, and More in V.F.’s 2021 Hollywood Portfolio— Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins on The Silence of the Lambs’ Legacy— Amanda Seyfried’s Golden Age— Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Revealed: The Heartbreaking True Story of #TheSnyderCut— Did Warner Bros. Kill Moviegoing as We Know It?— For the latest awards-season news, sign up here or text (917) 809-7096 to receive text message updates from the Little Gold Men podcast hosts— From the Archive: Mia Farrow’s Story
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