The young actor Corey Hawkins may best be known today for a couple of tough parts that betray his early days in gospel music and theater—Dr. Dre in Straight Outta Compton, and Eric Carter in 24: Legacy, whose premiere earlier this year was watched by nearly 18 million people, the franchise’s most viewed episode. Compton was technically not his debut—he had named an unnamed part in Iron Man 3—but it might as well have been, as it announced the arrival of a major talent, his performance drawing praise for channeling one of music’s most well-known figures. Earlier this year, Hawkins, 28, had two big, fat successes—one was his supporting but pivotal role in the summer blockbuster Kong: Skull Island, directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts, and the other was his return to his first love, Broadway. In John Guare’s Six Degrees of Separation, his classic drama about class and race in Manhattan society, Hawkins was Paul, a part played by Will Smith in the movie adaptation, and he must be seductive and repellent, worldly and naive, and, at one point, he must deliver a remarkable, showstopping speech about Catcher in the Rye that is any young actor’s dream monologue. That he pulled it off against stage veterans like Allison Janney and John Benjamin Hickey would have been reward enough, but Hawkins ended up nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play. Here, for our Royals portfolio, he recalls his hesitation about playing Dr. Dre, his acting idols, and why he’s always crushed on Halle Berry.
Did you always wanna be an actor? When I was growing up, I started singing first in the church with my grandmother, and I would sit on the front pew while all the other kids were playing outside, but I had to be her tape recorder. And the songs would get stuck in my head, and there was something about the theatricality of a preacher and an audience that was magical. That’s always stuck with me, so singing sort of led acting.
So you’ve always been singing? What’s your karaoke song? My karaoke song is “Proud Mary” but I always sing the Ike Turner part, and, and my friend, Joaquina Kalukango, who’s also an actress—she went to Juilliard with me—we would always do it in school, in college, and so she would be Tina, and I would be Ike, and we would just [hums], so that was that.
And what did you audition with to get into the Juilliard School? I can remember it now. I remember when I auditioned I completely blanked on the monologue. I auditioned with James Baldwin’s “The Amen Corner,” a monologue for David, and I worked on that monologue forever. Like, I knew it. It was my go to, and then I flew up to San Francisco and I got in front of the head of voice and speech and the head of acting at Juilliard and completely blanked. I was like, ‘This is it. I’m gonna kill it,’ and, I forgot it. They started laughing. I was laughing at myself because I’m a little goofy, so we were all kind of in the room laughing at the fact that I forgot this monologue, and I was just like, ‘Sorry,’ and they asked me if I knew something else. I did this monologue from YouTube that I saw.
That you had memorized? I memorized it because it was Shakespeare and I had watched him do it, and I loved it. I didn’t know what it was about. I didn’t know what he was saying, but it just stuck with me, and at that moment, I pulled that out and I, and I did that monologue, and they thanked me. Then I walked around San Francisco and came back, and I was one of three names on the list. to come back in and audition again.
Royals 2017: Why Pharrell Williams, Winona Ryder, Tracee Ellis Ross and More Are the Role Models of Today
Winona Ryder wears Fendi dress; Angela Friedman bra; M&S Schmalberg brooch; Fogal tights; Gucci shoes. Beauty: Chantecaille.
Tilda Swinton wears Loewe jacket, shirt, and pants. Beauty: Chanel.
Hailee Steinfeld wears Valentino dress. Beauty: Maybelline.
Tracee Ellis Ross wears Vetements dress. Beauty: Lâncome.
Saoirse Ronan wears Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello shirt and pants. Beauty: Nars.
Chris Hemsworth wears Boss shirt and pants; his own belt and necklace. Grooming: Hugo Boss.
Pharrell Williams wears Sacai shirt; Bulgari necklace (top); his own necklace. Grooming: Giorgio Armani.
Robert Pattinson wears Dior Homme turtleneck; Haider Ackermann pants. Grooming: Dior Homme.
James Corden wears Ann Demeulemeester shirt and hat. Grooming: Neutrogena.
Jared Leto wears Gucci jacket, shirt, and pants; M&S Schmalberg brooch; Artemas Quibble belt. Grooming: Gucci.
New Royalty: Movie Star
My first kiss was on set. It was my very first film as well. My character really liked this boy, and she didn’t know if he noticed her. In the end she got to kiss him. At that time, I was only 11 years old, and not ready to kiss a boy. I asked the director, “How long do you want me to kiss him? How many seconds?” And the director said, “Three seconds.” So while kissing, I counted in my head. Every single take I was like, One, two, three. And then: “Okay, kill, cut!” I definitely suffered for art.
Ronan wears a Louis Vuitton top, cape, and shoes; Falke tights.
Classic Royalty: Movie Star
Is there anything that scares you? I’m not easily scared, and I’m wary of being bored. I think risk-taking is a subjective thing. One person’s risk is another one’s comfort zone. And, to be honest, I’m too lazy to get easily scared. Maybe I’ve got a bit of my brain missing, but I love not knowing what I’m doing next. What about when it comes to clothes? Did you always have a fashion-forward outlook? Again, what somebody might think of as unusual is, to me, supercomfortable, inspiring, and interesting. I’ve never truly been that aware of fashion; I’m interested in style.
Swinton wears a Haider Ackermann shirt; Alexander Calder necklace from Stephen Russell, New York.
New Royalty: Renaissance Person
Where do you get your ideas? The shower is a frequent place. Actually, near any running water—whether it’s the faucet or the shower. And sometimes I get ideas on a plane because of the sound deprivation.
Do you record your ideas on your phone? I just hold on to them. The best way to remember something is if you home in on the excitement. That you don’t forget.
Is there a song that makes you cry? It’s been maybe 10 years since I heard something that made me cry. There is an old Donny Hathaway song called “Take a Love Song,” and it would make me emotional. But I think I was eating a lot of weed candy at the time, so that may have pushed me over the edge.
Whom do you consider Royal? Wes Anderson. I love what he does. Bill Murray running from a playground in Rushmore made me very happy. Anderson’s composition is amazing: his color, the music that he uses. I’m not an actor, but, in a heartbeat, I would just walk by or whatever he asked me to do in one of his films.
Williams wears a Chanel jacket and necklace; G-Star pants; Adidas Originals = Pharrell Williams shoes; his own shirt, belt, bracelets, ring, watch, and socks.
Classic Royalty: Renaissance Person
When did you start dancing? When I was 3. I loved it. I did recitals and I loved being onstage. I particularly loved the collective mind of the audience. Applause was nice, but I liked the silence of the audience better. The silence means, Oh, my! You have their rapt attention.
MacLaine wears an Akris turtleneck.
Classic Royalty: Activist
I came to New York in the ’70s to become president of Planned Parenthood. It was a time of great difficulty for the city—and for the country—but also one when women made tremendous progress toward being in control of their lives and their bodies. My position allowed me to be a spokesperson for women in the midst of the great changes that were taking place and the turmoil that occurred as a result of them. Today, 40 years later, the continuing opposition to Planned Parenthood comes from people who want to roll back the clock.
Wattleton wears a Row coat; Vhernier earrings; Verdura necklace.
New Royalty: Activist
When I was 11, my parents gave me an iPhone. I think it shaped who I am as a person because I had access to everything very, very early on. But now I’m 18 and I have gotten rid of it. I was worried about the mental-health effects it was having on me. The phone was taking over my life. I felt like I was floating away, and part of that had to do with being in a virtual world without any tangible substance. I felt like I was always refreshing Instagram instead of refreshing my life.
Stenberg wears a Prada top; Buccellati earrings.
New Royalty: Renaissance Person
To me, Paula Abdul is royalty. I just saw her live, and the whole time I was watching her, I was hitting the person next to me and saying, “Oh. My. God. Yes!” I’m late to the game, but Paula Abdul is completely amazing.
Steinfeld wears an Yves Salomon coat; Nili Lotan dress; Mahnaz Collection ring; Lynn Ban earring.
New Royalty: Renaissance Person
There were eight boys in The History Boys, and we were all at a similar point in our careers. The other seven would get incredible scripts for Spielberg movies or big HBO shows, and I would get a one-page script for the guy who drops off a TV for Hugh Grant. I remember thinking, These decisions are being made based on the way I look. I realized then and there that I needed to try and start creating stuff on my own. And I did.
Corden wears a Berluti jacket; Burberry shirt; Balenciaga scarf.
New Royalty: Society
The notion of being born into the right stratosphere no longer exists. More and more, young people want to dedicate their lives to doing something meaningful that has a positive effect on the world. That’s what is valued now—not your name or your lineage.
Bush Lauren wears a Ralph Lauren shirt; Zimmerli of Switzerland tank; Hermès scarves; Vicki Turbeville earrings; vintage bracelet from Stazia Loren, New York.
Classic Royalty: Society
You got involved with God’s Love We Deliver during the ’80s AIDS epidemic. It was a terrible time. We delivered meals to people who were sick. A lot of my friends thought I had lost my mind. There was so much fear.
How did you meet Robert Trump? At a fundraiser. We were married in 1984. But years later things changed, and, in 2007, we divorced.
Did you go to your former brother-in-law’s presidential inauguration? Yes. It was kind of an out-of-body experience. [Laughs] It’s like, Am I really here? I went to all the balls, and there was a wonderful small lunch, and Donald and Melania were there. She looked beautiful.
Is it strange to see your last name everywhere? Yes—very, very strange. I mean, forget paying with a credit card. It’s always, “Are you related?” It never ends.
Trump wears a Chloé dress; David Webb earrings.
New Royalty: Model
I always go into a zone when I’m posing for a photographer. I like to try and get into whatever character is wanted for the photos. For this shoot, I tried to be kind of vulnerable and soft because I can be quite hard with my resting bitch face. I wanted to look innocent, but mysterious. And royal. Very royal.
Aboah wears a Calvin Klein 205W39NYC dress; Stephen Russell earrings; Vhernier bracelets; her own rings.
Classic Royalty: Model
What is your secret skill? Fucking.
Fucking? Mm-hmmm. It’s an awfully good thing to be good at, no? And it goes on forever, guys and girls. You should remember that.
Hutton wears a Row coat.
Classic Royalty: Superhero
My first audition was for some random sort of commercial. I remember walking in and having to tell them about myself, and none of it was very interesting because I never got those jobs. My first regular acting gig was on a soap opera called Home and Away. I did that for three and a half years, and I went through every melodramatic tragedy that one can go through: plane crashes, fires, robberies, landslides. I had three different kids with three different women. And my character was 19 for three years. I never had a birthday. Never aged.
Hemsworth wears a Boss jacket, shirt, and pants; Western Spirit bolo tie; stylist’s own belt.
New Royalty: Superhero
I don’t fuck with karaoke. I tried it once, and it was the biggest disaster. The song I bombed on was “Eye of the Tiger.” It was at a wedding, in front of hundreds of people. The only line of the song that I knew was “eye of the tiger,” so I just mumbled, and it was awful. Deep shame. Now I stick to singing my own songs onstage with my band, Thirty Seconds to Mars. There are some things you just know you’re not good at.
Leto wears an Ann Demeulemeester shirt; Gucci pants; Mikimoto pearls; his own ring and necklace.
New Royalty: Television
As a boy, I was very, very sensitive. Ever the emotional young thing. In eighth grade, a drama teacher put me in a play, and I got really involved with theater. Within a year, all the kids who were making fun of me were my allies. I remember thinking, Instead of being a weird guy in the corner of the classroom, now I’m the weird guy that everyone has to pay attention to! And, like, Wow—maybe someone will kiss me!
Middleditch wears a Prada shirt; Coach 1941 pants; Artemas Quibble belt; Calvin Klein 205W39NYC boots.
Classic Royalty: Television
Since signing on to Stranger Things, I’ve become a binge-watcher of TV. My favorite show is The Americans. It’s brilliant, and Keri Russell is just mind-blowing. I watched the entire last season all at once, and I was crushed when it ended. I met Keri, and I was like, “What’s going to happen?!” I had turned into a fan-geek. But she wouldn’t tell me. Everyone in TV has to keep things a big secret—which I’m learning.
Ryder wears a Dior dress and hat.
New Royalty: Movie Star
I didn’t think I could play Dr. Dre in Straight Outta Compton. I was asked to audition, and I remember saying no because I didn’t want to be the one to mess it up. I was nervous because it was Dr. Dre. And now, after the film, I walk down the street and people ask, “Is that Dr. Dre?” Nobody did that before Compton. Now everybody does it.
Hawkins wears a Giorgio Armani jacket, shirt, and pants; Tom Ford shoes.
Classic Royalty: Movie Star
What was your first acting job? When I was 15 or 16, I was cast as Reese Witherspoon’s son in the film Vanity Fair. I went to the screening, and no one had informed me that I had been cut from the film. But the casting director felt so guilty that she gave me a first run at the part of Cedric in Harry Potter, which I booked. So, in the end, I was quite glad to have been cut from Vanity Fair.
How did you prepare for your role as a bank robber on the run in Good Time? I stayed in character for several days and got a job at a car wash. I wanted to change myself so that people would not be able to recognize me for the whole shoot. And it worked. We were filming in a packed subway at rush hour; I was directed by text message, and no one could tell we were making a movie. Not one person took a cell-phone picture, which would have ruined the whole thing. It was great to not be recognized.
Pattinson wears a Berluti jacket; Charvet scarf.
Classic Royalty: Television
After Everybody Loves Raymond ended, it wasn’t hard to say no to other sitcom offers. This sounds awful, but I had all the money I needed, my wife had all the money she needed, and creatively I wanted to do other things. I thought, Suddenly I have time, I have money, I have a bit of fame, and this is going to be fun. After three months, it wasn’t fun anymore. I had a kind of emotional breakdown until I started creating the next show. People ask me sometimes, “How do you keep going?” And I like to say, “I have to keep moving, or I catch up with myself.”
Romano wears a Balenciaga shirt.
New Royalty: Television
Your mom is Diana Ross. Did you ever borrow her clothes? I’m not going to lie: It was more like stealing. One time, she left the house and I saw her car go down the driveway. I marched myself into her bathroom and started taking clothes. I liked to put them in my closet and live with them as if they were mine. Just as I was loading up, my mom walked into the bathroom. She said, “What are you doing?!” I was like, “I’m organizing your closet for you!” To this day, I visit her closet and call it shopping.
Ross wears an Alexander McQueen dress; Gianvito Rossi shoes.
Oh my God. And did you remember this time, or you did something different? Well, when I when I went back in they asked me if I remembered the monologue. I said, ‘Yes, yes, I know it.’ I did it. Then they asked me if I could sing, and I sang “His Eye’s on the Sparrow” and that was it. They fly 40 people back, 40 children, kids back from all over the world to take classes, and I did that, and then they cut that down to 18, and I got in.
You seem very lighthearted about it. Was it nerve-racking at the time? [Laughs] Yes, i’s that moment where—and I have this sometimes on stage, on Broadway. You’re standing in front of an audience of and everything just goes and you’re sitting there like, ‘Well,’ and you look to your other—I remember we were doing Six Degrees of Separation and I’m in the middle of this huge Catcher in the Rye speech, and usually, when I look over to Allison Janney and something goes wrong, she’s always there to catch me or John Benjamin Hickey’s always there to catch me. But I remember looking over in the middle of this monologue, and I blanked on it in front of all these people, and she was just like [laughs], ‘Sorry, can’t help you. You’re on your own, buddy.’ But it was cool. You just move on, but your life flashes before your eyes. Everything goes still. It’s like that moment just gets stretched out forever, and you’re just sitting there like, ‘Wow.’
So at Juilliard, they don’t encourage you to go out for movies. Did you move to L.A. after school, or did Straight Outta Compton happen while you were still in New York? Straight Outta Compton happened when everybody was like, ‘Go to L.A., go to L.A.,” and I didn’t. I’m a city guy. I grew up on the East Coast. So I didn’t wanna go to Los Angeles and they asked me if I could audition for it, and I remember telling no because I didn’t want to be the one to mess it up. [Laughs] I didn’t think I could play Dr. Dre and the reason I didn’t think I could do it was because Dre doesn’t rap too much in the movie, he mostly produces, and I had to learn how to DJ and do all that stuff. But the hard thing was getting him and figuring that out. I was nervous because it’s Dr. Dre. If I walk down the street, you’re not gonna go, ‘Is that Dr. Dre?’ Like, nobody did that before Compton. Now, everybody does it. [Laughs]
And he was there, because he was one of the producers, right? Yeah, Dre was there every single day. His family was there every single day. Ice Cube was there every single day, and that’s the quality control. They were invested in us doing this right. So every day before we would go on set, we would sit there with F. Gary Gray, me, Jason Mitchell, Neil Brown Jr. and go through the script and go through it with Dre and Cube and talk about how to make it better. And they and he, F. Gary Gray, taught us how to be leading men.
So you’re in the Royals issue because I consider you a royal. Who to you, in theater or in movies, would you call a Royal? I just have so many idols in this industry, from, from people like Ruby Dee and Ozzie Davis all the way to Viola [Davisand] Denzel[Washingtonand] the young generation of filmmakers likeJordan Vogt-Roberts. I will say Mark Rylance. He’s one of my favorite actors. I’ve seen him do small sort of Chekhovian adaptation by my friend, Christian Camargo, a small film called Days and Nights. I’ve seen him work with some of the biggest directors, but throughout it all there’s an integrity in his work, and there’s an honesty and a duty that he brings to it, and that to me is royal. And then when I say Ruby Dee and Ozzie Davis, it’s not just their work, but it’s what they were up against while they were working.
Growing up or now or whenever, do you have a cinematic crush? My cinematic crush was always Halle Berry. I know everybody says it, but it was and it is. My favorite performance of hers was when she was Dorothy Dandridge. I mean, I just remember the pool scene. She’s beautiful inside and out, you know? And she also has fought through a lot to get to where she is, and she still maintains that grace and that regality and I love that about her.
We shot her last year for Royals in and her cinematic crush was… Corey Hawkins? Her cinematic crush was me?
[Laughs] She hadn’t met you yet. The movie hadn’t come out, but there you were. There I was, at the top of her mind
An Exploration of Halle Berry’s Ever-Changing Hairstyles and Age-Defying Beauty
Arriving at the Eighth Annual Soap Opera Digest Awards in 1992, Halle Berry wore her signature pixie cut with satin red lip.
Attending the Sunset Blvd preview performance in 1993, Berry wore a smokey eye with a mauve lip.
Wearing her shoulder length locks flipped out with tousled bangs, Berry attended the 16th Annual National CableACE Awards in 1995.
21st Annual People’s Choice Awards, Berry opts for a embellished hair clip with luminous skin and a mauve lip.
Attending the Eighth Annual Fire & Ice Ball in 1997, Berry wore her tight curls with a lavender smokey eye.
At the Fourth Annual Blockbuster Entertainment Awards in 1998, Berry opted for a playful, twisted up do with full lashes.
Wearing her blonde pixie in sleek S-waves with a nude, glossy lip, the actress attended the Introducing Dorothy Dandridge New York premiere in 1998.
At The 6th Annual Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards in 2000, Berry wore her blonde highlighted pixie in tousled pieces.
Berry celebrates her Academy Award win for Monster’s Ball in 2002, pairing her Elie Saab dress with her signature pixie, which is still one of the most iconic moments on the Oscars red carpet of all time.
Wearing her long brunette locks in tight curls with a glossy, nude lip, Berry looked effortlessly glamorous at the Catwoman Los Angeles premiere in 2004.
At the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, Berry wore her natural curls in a low, middle-parted pony with a soft brown smokey eye.
At the 17th Carousel of Hope Ball, Halle Berry wore her long brown hair in a sleek straight style.
Opting for side-swept curls and a pale pink, glossy lip, Berry was glamorous at Elle Magazine’s 15th Annual Women in Hollywood Tribute in 2008.
Wearing her tousled pixie with a hint of blush on the cheeks, Berry attended the 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards in 2010.
Stunning at the Los Angeles premiere of Cloud Atlas in 2012, Berry wore a soft grey smokey eye with a hint of coral blush.
Wearing her tousled pixie with highlighted locks and a golden taupe smokey eye, Berry arrives at the 2013 Oscars.
Growing out her bangs at the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards 2014, Berry wears her signature smokey eye with a nude lip.
Halle Berry wore her highlighted, beachy waves with full bangs at the 2015 ESPYS Awards
At the 2014 God’s Love We Deliver Golden Heart Awards, Berry wore her hair in a dark brunette bob with a golden smokey eye.
The Revlon ambassador styled her hair in a chic top knot with full bangs at the Revlon’s Annual Philanthropic Luncheon in 2016.
At the 89th Annual Academy Awards in 2017, Berry looked stunning with her highlighted locks in voluminous, wild curls with a mauve lip. It was one of the best looks of the night.
Channeling a Grecian goddess at the 2017 Costume Institute Gala, Berry wore her hair in a tousled up do embellished with a golden headband and an exaggerated taupe smokey eye.
Watch: Halle Berry’s Crushes Range from Michael B. Jordan to Jodie Foster
Halle Berry’s Crushes Range from Michael B. Jordan to Jodie Foster