FROM THE MAGAZINE

Meet the Contributors Behind the 2021 Directors Issue

The creative teams who made the covers happen share some of their favorite film moments and visual references.

by W Staff

Regina King and Andre D. Wagner. Photographed by Kevin Faulkner.
Regina King and Andre D. Wagner. Photographed by Kevin Faulkner.

Regina King

Director, “Black Americana

Who do you think is an underrated Hollywood legend, and why?

Marla Gibbs. She was one of the first actresses starring in and producing her own show. She started her television career in what some would say was late in life, and she is still working at.

Whom do you consider the most original filmmaker in history, and why?

In my opinion, there is no such thing. The art form of storytelling is too vast to quantify its originality through one voice.

Did you ever stage photo shoots or shoot home movies as a kid?

As kids, we didn’t own a video camera. We used to put on live performances in front of the fireplace—everything from a book of plays for kids that our mom gave us to poems from Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends.

What was the first image you remember cutting out of a magazine when you were younger?

I didn’t really cut things out of magazines. Do coupons count?

Is there a film that has made you cry?

Of course. I’ve cried watching a commercial.

Andre D. Wagner

Photographer, “Black Americana

Who do you think is an underrated Hollywood legend, and why?

John Singleton, an absolute trailblazer and ahead of his time. I can only imagine the struggles he had to break into the industry, but what a gift. Boyz N the Hood was huge for my friends and me.

Whom do you consider the most original filmmaker in history, and why?

Spike Lee. Doesn’t get much more original than Do the Right Thing.

Did you ever stage photo shoots or shoot home movies as a kid?

No, but my younger sister wanted to be a news journalist and always had a fake microphone. In my head, I was a star athlete, and I would let her interview me.

Aside from this collaboration, if you could work with anyone else alive or dead, who would it be?

Halle Berry.

What was the first image, film, or artwork you remember seeing that served as a source of inspiration for you?

Robert Frank’s photograph “Trolley—New Orleans,” from 1955.

What was the first image you remember cutting out of a magazine when you were younger?

Halle Berry.

Is there a film that has made you cry?

The Pursuit of Happyness.

Is there a film that has given you nightmares?

When I was younger, Candyman, with Tony Todd.

Ruth E. Carter: Jaxon Photo Group.

Ruth E. Carter

Stylist, “Black Americana

Who do you think is an underrated Hollywood legend, and why?

If they are a Hollywood legend, it’s hard to say that someone might be underrated. I can say that perhaps too often the Black woman as a lead gets overlooked, taking away from an opportunity to become a legend.

Whom do you consider the most original filmmaker in history, and why?

Spike Lee. Who else would have a dolly-rolling shot in every movie they have ever made that has someone looking like they are floating along on a magic carpet? Only Spike would eternalize his characters that way. It’s original. Everyone remembers it. It’s one of the ways you know it’s a Spike Lee Joint.

Aside from this collaboration, if you could work with anyone else alive or dead, who would it be?

Josephine Baker. What a great performer! It looks like it would be a lot of fun to work with her. And Prince. It would be incredible to come up with something new for Prince or to remake Purple Rain.

What was the first image, film, or artwork you remember seeing that served as a source of inspiration for you?

The artworks of Romare Bearden and Jacob Lawrence, and the images on Marvin Gaye’s album covers. Those works are soaked into the fabric of my soul.

What was the first image you remember cutting out of a magazine when you were younger?

Diana Ross as Sparkle: “You put the sparkle back in my smile… You made me want to walk a thousand miles… You let me know that it’s so… And everything must live...”

Is there a film that has given you nightmares?

Child’s Play and the whole Chucky family.

Sofia Coppola. Photographed by Roman Coppola.

Sofia Coppola

Director, “All Dressed Up With Nowhere to Go

Did you ever stage photo shoots or shoot home movies as a kid?

Yes, I did a lot of fashion shoots as a kid, and we made a lot of movies—our favorite genre being horror. I found some Polaroids from when I was 10 and modeling with my friend, in blazers, French braids, and holding cognac glasses next to a large globe in a library. I was into sophistication! My dad also gave me a costume dress-up box for my birthday in 1982, when he was making One From the Heart. The costume designer put it together with lots of sequins, leotards, feather boas, fishnets—and so we did these showgirl photo shoots, too.

Aside from this collaboration, if you could work with anyone alive or dead, who would it be?

Marella Agnelli.

What was the first image, film, or artwork you remember seeing that served as a source of inspiration for you?

The Face magazine. I waited for each issue!

Is there a film that has made you cry?

Pather Panchali and Terms of Endearment!

Zoë Ghertner: courtesy of Zoë Ghertner.

Zoë Ghertner

Photographer, “All Dressed Up With Nowhere to Go

Did you ever stage photo shoots or shoot home movies as a kid?

No, I just played a lot of dress-up.

Aside from this collaboration, if you could work with anyone else alive or dead, who would it be?

Pina Bausch.

What was the first image, film, or artwork you remember seeing that served as a source of inspiration for you?

Not to sound cool, but my mother was in grad school for film when I was in high school, and I remember her bringing home Maya Deren movies. At the same time, The Virgin Suicides came to the video rental store in my tiny town, and I watched that over and over again (and I’m not just saying that because of this collaboration).

What was the first image you remember cutting out of a magazine when you were younger?

Leonardo DiCaprio.

Is there a film that has given you nightmares?

The Witches, with Anjelica Huston.