A recent Wall Street Journal report on the back-door dealings at the nation's top glossies--Harper's Bazaar, GQ, Good Housekeeping, Vanity Fair, In Style, included--reveals that big-name movie stars are increasingly proving themselves to be the 800-pound gorillas they are--approving writers, disapproving writers, even suggesting angles.
Case in point: Remember that Julia Roberts cover story in Harper's last June? The mag wanted Julia on the cover because she sells mags; Julia wanted to be on the cover because she had a movie to plug (My Best Friend's Wedding). So, how best to make everyone happy? Well, Roberts had an idea, according to the Journal: Why not let Billy Bob Thornton--you know, the SlingBlade guy--conduct a Q&A with the Pretty Woman? Fabulous idea, particularly if you want to read Roberts respond to such hard-hitting inquiries as, "Do you still feel like a southern gal?" (Which is exactly what you read, as things turned out.)
Another reported example of movie types flexing their editorial muscle: John Travolta nixing a cover story with GQ because he didn't like the assigned writer, the New York Times' Maureen Dowd. (Ironically, Travolta's camp wanted Tom Junod to do the article. Junod's the guy who "outed" Kevin Spacey in a controversial Esquire article last September.)
Esquire, which also recently felt Mira Sorvino's wrath for what she felt was an unflattering profile, may not be playing ball with the A-list, but plenty of its competitors are--and they do so proudly. "A searing investigative piece on an actor?" an incredulous Graydon Carter, editor-in-chief at Vanity Fair, asks the Journal. In short, movie stars aren't brain surgeons and should be covered accordingly.