John Malkovich channels iconic photos

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John Malkovich (left) impersonates the late Alfred Hitchcock in the 1973 photo holding a goose.

Now we know what John Malkovich and photographer Sandro Miller were up to while in Chicago this past spring. As I noted in my column April 7, the two men — who have collaborated on various photographic projects for nearly two decades — were working on what Miller’s team then called “a historic project that will appear in galleries across the world in 2014.”

In this new “Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich” series, Miller has shot the actor as he recreates some of the most iconic photographs we know. There’s Malkovich as a naked John Lennon cuddling up to Yoko Ono in a new take on Annie Leibovitz’s famous shot. Malkovich channels Marilyn Monroe with two oversized pink roses covering his chest in a redo of Bert Stein’s famous “The Last Session” shoot in 1962, shortly before the actress’ death. Malkovich does his take on Alfred Hitchcock holding a goose, originally captured by Albert Watson in 1973.

Entertainment Weekly reports Miller said Malkovich was very hands-on in transforming himself for the entire series — whether it was Salvador Dali or Pablo Picasso. According to Miller, the actor would work extremely close with the makeup and wardrobe aspects of the shoots, and even bring his own wax to mold the prosthetic noses he needed to become different characters.

“This whole body of work is just to me, and I hope for others, is to really see how deep this man is and just how brilliant and how much of a genius he is when it comes to performance, to performance art,” said Miller. “I don’t think John is just an actor for the big silver screen. I think John is a perfect example of a pop culture icon ready to take on anything.”

An exhibition of the Sandro Miller photos of “Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich: Homage to Photographic Masters,” will open at the Catherine Edelman Gallery, 300 W. Superior Street, on Nov. 7 and run through Jan. 31.

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