The hacker’s eyes widened as the image filled his screen. There, without her makeup, stood Scarlett Johansson, her famous face unmistakable in the foreground, her naked backside reflected in the bathroom mirror behind her, a cell phone poised in her hand snapping the shot. Holy shit, he thought. This was a find—even for him. For years, he had stealthily broken into the e-mail accounts of the biggest players in Hollywood. He had daily access to hundreds of messages between his victims and their managers, lawyers, friends, doctors, family, agents, nutritionists, publicists, etc. By now he knew more dirt than almost anyone in L.A.—the secret romances, the hidden identities, films in all stages of development. Still, this photo, a private self-portrait of one of our biggest stars, was something new, something larger than life, especially his. “You feel like you’ve seen something that the rest of the world wanted to see,” he says. “But you’re the only one that’s seen it.”
We’ve adored Mila plenty this year and for good reason. She attempted no-strings-attached relations with one of our Showmen of the Year in this summer’s big sex comedy Friends With Benefits. She speaks fluent Russian. She holds her own among seasoned comedians. And clearly she takes a good picture.
But you may not know Mila Kunis has a cure for the common cold. Our very sick writer Michael Idov goes to interview her and ends up getting nursed back to health. With Cabernet. Click here to read the full piece.
Twelve hours before I’m scheduled to meet Mila Kunis, I lose my voice. I don’t mean I can’t nail the free in “The Star-Spangled Banner.” I mean the only sound my throat is capable of delivering is a deeply creepy rasp best suited to the phrase get in my van.
It’s a predicament straight out of a mediocre sitcom, which is appropriate. Like everyone else, I first laid eyes on Kunis in the weirdly resilient That ’70s Show. But it wasn’t until this year’s anti-rom-com Friends with Benefits (written for Kunis and Justin Timberlake) that we were introduced to fully formed Star Mila: sardonic, brassy, effortlessly real, the girl we couldn’t get out of our heads since Forgetting Sarah Marshall. The girl I am now about to present with my impression of a Tuvan throat singer.
Dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt, Kunis meets me in the lobby of her apartment building in suburban Detroit, where she is shooting Oz: The Great and Powerful, Sam Raimi’s massive prequel to The Wizard of Oz. (She’s a witch.) It takes one screeched “Hi!” for the interview agenda to go out the window. “Oh, I feel so bad! You’re so siiick!” she coos. “Let’s get you better.” She takes me to a nearby Japanese restaurant for miso soup; it’s closed, but they open for Kunis, a weekly customer. “Cough away,” she instructs me over crab hand rolls. “Don’t hold it in! You’ve got to let it out! Don’t worry about me. I’ll just take some vitamins later.” I have unwittingly stumbled upon the one side of Kunis that hasn’t shown up in movies yet: the Jewish mother.
Our four picks, plus our Knockout of the Year. Presenting Jay-Z, Jimmy Fallon, Justin Timberlake, Michael Fassbender and lovely lovely Mila. We’ll be rolling out our profiles of each cover subject this week, and today’s offering is the King of the Year, Jay-Z, who was profiled by GQ’s Alex Pappademas. Click here to read the full piece. Our favorite bit, in which Jay, the father-to-be, talks about his own father, is below.
So now Jay’s going to be a father, and he’s thinking about his own father. He’s thinking about his roots in a nonmythological way, what he’s carried with him from Marcy to here, what he’s escaped. What’s relevant about Adnis Reeves, Jay’s dad, is not so much that he left when Jay was 11 but that he was present up until that time, long enough that when he left, it was worse than not having a father at all.
“If your dad died before you were born, yeah, it hurts—but it’s not like you had a connection with something that was real,” Jay says. “Not to say it’s any better—but to have that connection and then have it ripped away was, like, the worst. My dad was such a good dad that when he left, he left a huge scar. He was my superhero.”
Reeves loved all the things Jay-Z loves today—sports, food, and especially music. He had the best record collection in the neighborhood; the classic-soul-derived beats on Jay’s 2001 album The Blueprint are in part a tribute to the music that filled their house when Jay was young. But when his brother was murdered, Reeves imploded. Slipped into alcoholism and other forms of substance abuse. “He was gone,” Jay says. “He was not himself.” Jay’s mother, Gloria Carter, tried to push him to see his son; there were meetings scheduled that Reeves didn’t show up for. They didn’t see each other again until 2003.
“[I talked about] what it did to me, what it meant, asked him why. There was no real answer. There was nothing he could say, because there’s no excuse for that. There really isn’t. So there was nothing he could say to satisfy me, except to hear me out. And it was up to me to forgive and let it go.”
By then the doctors had told Reeves to quit drinking, and Reeves had kept on drinking, and a month after he and Jay had that conversation—which Jay wrote about on The Black Album’s “Moment of Clarity”—he died.
[Photograph of Jay-Z by Nathaniel Goldberg; Fallon / Timberlake by Peggy Sirota; Fassbender by Goldberg; Mila Kunis by Terry Richardson]
…for one very lucky fan. See our previous Tumblr post for how this came to be, but also, here’s the explanation below from admiralboom:
Hi! I don’t mean to be annoying, but my friend was recently in LA and had dinner with Mila Kunis and she went through the August 2011 issue of GQ and made notes (calling Jason Segel a pussy, and writing herself into the six degrees of comedian seperation double truck) and then wrote me a note and autographed the cover! It’s now my most prized possession. I’d sooner give up my car.
Anyway I thought you’d like to know! There are photos of all the notes she made on my Tumblr, but by the time you see this it might be a few pages back.
I’m so happy right now.
GQ: When did you get into Star Trek?
Mila Kunis: I got into it in my late teens—18, 19, 20. Something like that. I got into it later than most people. But let’s not talk about it in the past tense. I’m still a Star Trek fan. You never stop being one. Let me give you my rundown of the series in order of most favorite to least favorite.
GQ: I definitely have my answer to this. Let’s hear it.
Mila Kunis: Okay. You should know this list is an ongoing argument between Seth MacFarlane and myself. But I have it: The Next Generation; the original series; then Voyager—
GQ: Okay, you’re already wrong.
Mila Kunis: Fuck. You and I are in trouble already. This always happens with Star Trek fans. After Voyager, then I have Deep Space Nine. Then last is Enterprise.
He also asks her out on a date. It doesn’t go so well.