Here are the words of wisdom, humility, and/or hilarity imparted by some of our favorite cover interviews in 2013 (some of which were also featured in our Best WeekendReads of the year).
Where available, follow the link for the full story, or open up the corresponding issue in the app.
Matt Damon, in Esquire, August
Would you like a small beer?” a waitress asks.
“No,” Matt Damon says. “A big beer.“
Jenny Lyon, in Fast Company, May
In 2010, her lobbying paid off. J.Crew’s president, according to the official announcement, stepped down “to spend more time with her children,” and Drexler gave the title to Lyons. “It was literally a two-second conversation,” says Lyons. “He pulled me into a room and said, ‘So, just want to let you know you’re the president.’ I was like, uh, okay. Alrighty then. Then I put my head down on the table, took 10 deep breaths, sat back up and was like, ‘Okay, do I need to do anything different?’ And he was like, ‘No, just keep doing what you’re doing.’ I’m like, ‘Okay,’ and we walked out of the room. That was it.”
Beyoncé, in GQ, February
“I now know that, yes, I am powerful,” she says. “I’m more powerful than my mind can even digest and understand.“
George Clooney, in Esquire, December
“You know, I can play,” Clooney says in his living room. “I’m not great, by any means, but I played high school basketball, and I know I can play. I also know that you don’t talk shit unless you can play. And the thing about playing Leo is you have all these guys talking shit. We get there, and there’s this guy, Danny A I think his name is. Danny A is this club kid from New York. And he comes up to me and says, ‘We played once at Chelsea Piers. I kicked your ass.’ I said, ‘I’ve only played at Chelsea Piers once in my life and ran the table. So if we played, you didn’t kick anybody’s ass.’ And so then we’re watching them warm up, and they’re doing this weave around the court, and one of the guys I play with says, ‘You know we’re going to kill these guys, right?’ Because they can’t play at all. We’re all like fifty years old, and we beat them three straight: 11–0, 11–0, 11–0. And the discrepancy between their game and how they talked about their game made me think of how important it is to have someone in your life to tell you what’s what. I’m not sure if Leo has someone like that.”
Drake, in GQ, July
“The three biggest misconceptions about me are that I’m a cocky asshole because I’m a famous male rapper, that any part of me wants to be gangster or hood, and that I grew up rich.”
Scarlett Johansson, in Esquire, November
“I don’t really aspire to being rational. I’m more attracted to the irrational,” she says. “There’s no such thing as total rationality. That’s something I’ve realized lately.”
“You saying I shouldn’t play cards?”
“No,” she says. “Just that you’re never free of the irrational, so you might as well—” She pauses there. I think I must be looking at her too hard. “Oh, I don’t know,” she says, stopping before picking up again. “Like, it’s okay to be jealous, for example, which people think is irrational. To let yourself care that much that the emotion might hurt you a little.”
“So it’s okay, even if you have no reason to be jealous?” I ask.
“Look, I’m with a Frenchman. I think jealousy comes with the territory. But I’d rather be with someone who’s a little jealous than someone who’s never jealous. There’s something a little dead fish about them. A little bit depressing. It may not make sense, but you need to feel it a little. I know, irrational, right?”
Miley Cyrus, in Rolling Stone, October 10
“America is just so weird in what they think is right and wrong,” she continues. “Like, I was watching Breaking Bad the other day, and they were cooking meth. I could literally cook meth because of that show. It’s a how-to. And then they bleeped out the word ‘fuck.’ And I’m like, really? They killed a guy, and disintegrated his body in acid, but you’re not allowed to say ‘fuck’? It’s like when they bleeped ‘molly’ at the VMAs. Look what I’m doing up here right now, and you’re going to bleep out ‘molly’? Whatever.”
James Franco, in Details, March
Franco, who hates the workaholic-weirdo part of his image, is happy to have a recent answer to the question Can you remember a single two-hour period of doing nothing? “Christmas!” he says. “Opening presents back home in Palo Alto.“
Michael J. Fox, in Good Housekeeping, October
Here’s the thing with Tracy and me: We like focusing more on the comedy and less on the drama. The secret to a good marriage, as far as I am concerned, is a joke I make: Keep the fights clean and the sex dirty. Tracy and I are taken aback sometimes when people come up to us and give me this sad moon face and then they give Tracy a hug, and say, “You are so strong.” We roll our eyes at each other, because we are having a really good time.
Jay Z, in Vanity Fair, November
“That whole crack era, the Reagan years, it was everywhere,” he continued. “It just engulfed you. Music and drugs exploded in 1988. We were living in a tough situation, but my mother managed; she juggled. Sometimes we’d pay the light bill, sometimes we paid the phone, sometimes the gas went off. We weren’t starving—we were eating, we were O.K. But it was things like you didn’t want to be embarrassed when you went to school; you didn’t want to have dirty sneakers or wear the same clothes over again. And crack was everywhere—it was inescapable. There wasn’t any place you could go for isolation or a break. You go in the hallway; [there are] crackheads in the hallway. You look out in the puddles on the curbs—crack vials are littered in the side of the curbs. You could smell it in the hallways, that putrid smell; I can’t explain it, but it’s still in my mind when I think about it.”
Bryan Cranston, in GQ, August
“When you first start working on a character, it remains outside of you,” says Cranston, holding his hands far apart. “And then, the more you work on it, it’s like you start dating, getting to know each other, and then trusting each other, feeling confident in each other’s company, until, pretty soon…you kind of glide in.” His fingers, slowly moving toward one another, slide into an embrace. “The best condition is when the character seeps inside of you, where you almost ingest it.”
Does that mean you can sympathize with Walter White?
“What happened to Walt is something I related to, if I’m truly honest with myself. I’ve come to realize that I think everybody is capable of that. If you came into a condition where you were under tremendous stress. And if I knew what buttons to push that threatened you and yours… You could become an extremely dangerous person.”
Do you believe in evil?
“Yeah. I think it’s right next to good, inside every person.”
Jennifer Lawrence, in Vanity Fair, February
“My agent knows how obsessed I am with Bill Murray. Once I’m obsessed with somebody, I’m terrified of them instantly. I’m not scared of them—I’m scared of me and how I will react. Like, for instance, one time someone was introducing me to Bill Maher, and I saw Meryl Streep walk into the room, and I literally put my hand right in Bill Maher’s face and said, ‘Not now, Bill!,’ and I just stared at Meryl Streep.”
“Did you meet her?”
“Of course not. I just creepily stared at her.”
Bill Gates, in Wired, December
“We want to give our wealth back to society in a way that has the most impact, and so we look for opportunities to invest for the largest returns. That means tackling the world’s biggest problems and funding the most likely solutions. That’s an even greater challenge than it sounds. I don’t have a magic formula for prioritizing the world’s problems. You could make a good case for poverty, disease, hunger, war, poor education, bad governance, political instability, weak trade, or mistreatment of women. Melinda and I have focused on poverty and disease globally, and on education in the US. We picked those issues by starting with an idea we learned from our parents: Everyone’s life has equal value. If you begin with that premise, you quickly see where the world acts as though some lives aren’t worth as much as others. That’s where you can make the greatest difference, where every dollar you spend is liable to have the greatest impact.”
Jimmy Fallon, Wired, January
“The bottom line is, let’s stop fearing robots and start getting excited about them. When they’re finally running the world, everything will be better—including my ratings. Because Robot Me will be funnier than I am, he’ll look thinner in a suit, and he’ll be better at interviewing guests. I can’t wait to meet him.”
Kelly Osborne in Cosmopolitan, July
Do you want kids?
“I do want babies, but I don’t want a great big vagina.“
Kate Moss, in Allure, August