First of all, this ^^ photo is crazy, right? It’s like ELLE gave Justin Theroux emoji eyes. He looks like he’s had some “work” done, although I think it’s just Photoshop. Congrats, Justin. You are the opposite of cool now. Anyway, ELLE sat down with Justin for a surprisingly lengthy interview about life, art, street cred and The Leftovers. You can read the full piece here (the article appears in the August issue with Kristen Wiig on the cover). Some highlights:
Why he wears all-black: “Whenever I put on a colored thing I feel like I’m in a costume. Like when I put on a gray shirt.”
Amy Sedaris on Justin: “Justin’s got this dark side—he’ll go there, but more than anyone I’ve ever met, he just really does blossom with sunshine. Justin is like a girlfriend. He’ll do girly things with you: He’ll tan, he’ll put your makeup on for you, he gives great advice.”
Was he good at school? “I wasn’t particularly good at anything academic. Math is still a magic trick to me. Acting was the thing I gravitated to, because I enjoyed it.”
Acting: “Acting is a job of permission. Someone has to give you permission to do it. But I have started to be like, ‘I only want to do things that I want to do,’ and writing has afforded me the luxury. Being handed a well-thought-out, beautifully written piece of material that I don’t have to affect at all, except for performing it.… It’s a joy to read something I have no desire whatsoever to change. Writing is hard.”
The paparazzi: “My life changed a lot. More people are like, ‘Hey, man!’ And I don’t think that’s from my role in John Adams. But it only changed as much as I engaged with it, and I learned very quickly: Don’t ever engage with it. Just JKL. It was a learning curve, but it wasn’t as traumatic as you might expect. It’s just annoying. Occasionally you’ll get a stewardess congratulating you, on, I don’t know, whatever, some three-headed baby we just had.”
The tabloids’ storytelling: “I can’t get over how terrible the narrative is, just how poorly written it is. It’s worse than a telenovela. It’s so dramatic. Like, ‘They’re broken up, they’re together, they’re storming out, storming in, rushing out, rushing in.’ They make every celebrity look like a schizophrenic.”
Obviously, he talks about The Leftovers too but there’s nothing new in those quotes so I skipped them. But! There’s a lengthy discussion about how Justin wrote Tropic Thunder (he’s one of several credited screenwriters on that project) and how people picketed the film because of the “full ret–d” jokes. He stresses that the joke was never on the mentally challenged but on Hollywood and actors who take those roles. He blasts hyper-political correctness, saying: “There’s such a sensitivity now. Political correctness has become really insidious.” I don’t know… I think PC culture is a good thing. And it’s always a bad idea for a privileged white dude to complain about how he’s not “allowed” to tell the jokes he wants to tell.
Photos courtesy of Doug Inglish for ELLE and WENN.