John Malkovich photos: How to look like a model, from Marilyn Monroe to Albert Einstein
Whether you found Spike Jonze’s 1999 mind-invading comedy Being John Malkovich a pretentious bore or the most innovative motion picture since Georges Méliès’ The Man with the India-Rubber Head, you’ll probably enjoy Sandro Miller’s series of John Malkovich photos, in which the two-time Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nominee becomes the real-life characters in some of the most celebrated – and mostly pop, U.S.-made – photographs ever taken.
Malkovich’s various guises will be featured in the exhibit “Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich: Homage to Photographic Masters,” which runs from Nov. 7–Jan. 31, at the Catherine Edelman Gallery in Chicago.
In Being John Malkovich, the likes of John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, and Catherine Keener discover an escape from their drab lives by getting into the mind of John Malkovich. (Don’t ask….) The film’s climax takes place when Malkovich himself goes on a trip inside his own mind, consequently seeing everyone around him in his own image. Sandro Miller’s photo series expands on that sort of, huh, “inner consciousness.”
Thus, we get to see John Malkovich as the following:
- Mick Jagger in David Bailey’s “Fur Hood” (1964).
- Marilyn Monroe in Andy Warhol’s “Green Marilyn” (1962) and Bert Stern’s “Marilyn in Pink Roses” (1962).
- Diane Arbus’ “Identical Twins” (with Malkovich looking like something out of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining).
- An American migrant woman during the Great Depression, by way of Dorothea Lange’s “Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California” (1936).
There are many more John Malkovich photos: some are quite funny; others are quite beautiful; and others yet are the stuff nightmares are made of.
John Malkovich is Bette Davis (a stunning recreation of Victor Skrebneski’s 1971 portrait), Alfred Hitchcock, Muhammad Ali, Salvador Dali, Che Guevara, Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote, Pablo Picasso, a nude John Lennon, a semi-nude beekeeper Ronald Fisher, a fully dressed Jean Paul Gaultier (gasp!), Jack Nicholson as The Joker in the 1989 Batman, and Andy Warhol in a selfie taken long before selfies were known as such (pre-history: 1986).
Strangest of all is perhaps the John Malkovich photo as Albert Einstein. I could barely tell the difference between the actor and the genius.
Who looks more believable, John Malkovich or …?
Now, the Big Question: who looks more believable, John Malkovich or …
- Michelle Williams (Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn).
- Robert Pattinson (Salvador Dali in Little Ashes).
- Anthony Hopkins (Alfred Hitchcock in Hitchcock).
- Either Omar Sharif or Benicio Del Toro (Che Guevara in, respectively, the 1969 Che! and the less exclamatory 2008 Che).
- Anthony Hopkins again (Pablo Picasso in Surviving Picasso).
- Albert Finney (Ernest Hemingway in Hemingway, the Hunter of Death).
- Jack Nicholson (or Heath Ledger or Cesar Romero, for that matter, as the The Joker).
- Philip Seymour Hoffman (Truman Capote in Capote).
- Will Smith (Muhammad Ali in Ali).
- Jane Darwell (as an American migrant woman in The Grapes of Wrath)?
Academy Award nominations
John Malkovich was not nominated for an Academy Award for playing (a movie version of) himself in Being John Malkovich, but he did get shortlisted in the Best Supporting Actor category for both Robert Benton’s Depression era Places in the Heart (1984), starring Sally Field, and Wolfgang Petersen’s thriller In the Line of Fire (1993), starring Clint Eastwood.
But heed our words: Malkovich would be a great Albert Einstein and, for lack of a better word, a memorable Marilyn Monroe.
Ah, in case you’re wondering, Georges Méliès’ pre-CGI visual-effects fest The Man with the India-Rubber Head came out in 1901.
Check out more John Malkovich photos in The Guardian.
John Malkovich photo as Marilyn Monroe in Bert Stern’s “Marilyn in Pink Roses” and as Pierre et Gilles’ Jean Pierre Gaultier: Courtesy of Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago.