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'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'
This year’s Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, Calif., was both the first time the cast had assembled publicly and the premiere of the Force Awakens trailer, which made for a chaotic environment — especially when a technical glitch happened during the presentation while photographer Eric Ray Davidson was still in the greenroom. “All the TVs went off,” Davidson remembers. “We could hear people in the audience losing their damn minds!"
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Ruven Afanador photographed Emma Roberts (and Jamie Lee Curtis) in New Orleans shortly before last fall’s Scream Queens premiere, and he says the energy in the room was palpable. “They were very excited that they were going to be on the EW cover and they wanted to help create the best possible photo, so that was exciting as well,” Afanador says.
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Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny have an easy rapport, and their camaraderie was enhanced by photographer Eric Ray Davidson’s energetic direction. “My strategy is overstimulation — not letting people sit in one place too long or get too comfortable,” says Davidson, a huge X-Files fan. “We shot that whole thing on the set of Mulder’s apartment and just moved all around because it’s a fully built-out apartment.”
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Lower Manhattan’s Dune Studios filled with laughter when Felicity stars Scott Foley, Keri Russell, and Scott Speedman got together for our Reunions issue. “It was like old friends meeting up,” says photographer Chris Craymer, who chose to shoot the trio on the studio’s roof to maintain the presence New York City had on the series. Craymer explains, “We wanted to replicate the feeling of the city without needing to get security!”
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Most subjects don’t meet their photographers until the day of a shoot, but Julia Louis-Dreyfus was a collaborator on the conception of her cover. “She was involved all along, and we went through a number of ideas,” says photographer Ruven Afanador. “She was a really great sport about the whole thing.”
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“Charlie Hunnam’s going to develop into a great actor because he has the hunger of doing it,” photographer Marc Hom observed after roaming King Arthur’s London set with the film’s leading man as he wrapped production. “He was very into the shoot,” Hom remembers. “It was just fun walking around with him.”
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“We had been shooting on Game of Thrones’ freezing stages,” photographer Marc Hom explains. “So it was nice to be outside to get this shot of Maisie.” Hom, who photographed Williams on GoT’s final day of filming in Belfast last December, wanted to give her a “tomboyish but sensual” look and chose black and white because of its intimacy. Says Hom, “It would have looked cold if it was in color.”
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Neil Patrick Harris
“It’s not easy trying to come up with something new to do with the Oscar statue every year,” Robert Trachtenberg says of photographing Harris for EW’s Oscar issue. “Luckily, Neil is constantly improvising. He’s like a throwback to those great MGM stars you hear about who could sing, dance, act — what they’d call a triple threat.”
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Dylan Coulter traveled to an abandoned warehouse in Atlanta to photograph some of The Walking Dead’s biggest stars, but he bonded in particular with Steven Yeun over their shared love of photography. Yeun liked Coulter’s final photos so much that he contacted him later with a special request: “We created an additional multiple exposure of him wielding an ax that he could give his mom, which is kind of funny,” Coulter says.
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Parks and Recreation
The shoot went just as quickly as Parks and Recreations’ final season. “We shot for maybe 20 minutes,” photographer Justin Stephens says. And during that short time in Leslie Knope’s office, Chris Pratt secured his title as cast clown. “He cracked me up the most, going to town with the plastic wrap,” Stephens recalls.
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When the casts of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder came together at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel, all 33 series regulars spent the day snapping selfies — until Shonda Rhimes entered. “It was beautiful to watch how much respect everybody paid her,” photographer Mark Peterson says. “Like when a politician walks in a room and everyone just stops and waits for direction.”