Cut Copy’s Dan Whitford Shares His Visual Art

If Roland Emmerich’s 2012 and Christopher Nolan’s Inception had a baby—and supposing that baby was born as an album cover—it would be the artwork for pop four-piece Cut Copy’s Zonoscope. Created by the late Japanese artist Tsunehisa Kimura, the surreal photo-montage depicts a New York skyline ravaged by a menacing, Brobdingnagian, end-of-days-y waterfall. “The image relates back to this world we’ve been playing with on Zonoscope, which is a dreamlike combination of something familiar—New York City—and something faraway and imagined,” says Cut Copy’s lead singer Dan Whitford, who spent considerable time and energy securing the rights to the piece for their third album.

Whitford, who, along with the band’s other members—guitarist Tim Hoey, drummer Mitchell Scott, and bassist Ben Browning, Cut Copy’s newest addition—hails from Melbourne, Australia, studied graphic design in college, and went on to co-found Alter, a design studio based in his hometown. The shaggy-haired entrepreneur also launched Cutters Records in 2006, for which he creates party and show invites, as well as album covers. Understandably, with all of the attention Cut Copy’s soaring, euphoric sound has been getting, design has become “increasingly difficult to focus on,” so Whitford gets his fix by overseeing the artwork that accompanies his band’s releases.

For Zonoscope, the group has re-imagined the Cut Copy soundscape, emphasizing percussion and repetition to hypnotic effect. “There are so many terms used to define our sound, but when we’re asked to describe our own music, it’s just art,” says Scott. “People call it ’80s pop or synth-pop, but it doesn’t have to be as specific as five terms strung together to form a genre.” Whitford adds, “Whether it’s called electro-pop, electro-pop-rock, or any of those other weird, made-up genres, we’ve always considered our music to be pop.”

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Pictured top: Whitford (second from left) with the Alter design team.

Johan Lindeberg’s BLK DNM Caters to Online Shoppers & Apple Acolytes

Designer Johan Lindeberg didn’t have to travel far to find the inspiration for his latest collection. The jet-setting founder of J. Lindeberg, the acclaimed urban lifestyle line where he served as creative director until 2007, and a onetime higher-up at Diesel and William Rast, Lindeberg discovered the future of fashion in, of all places, the pixels of his computer screen.

It was iTunes that convinced him to create BLK DNM, an edgy and tailored line that is already changing the future of retail. “I looked at the online evolution of the music industry and saw that its effect on fashion would be inevitable,” says the 54-year-old Swedish firebrand. “I wanted BLK DNM to be available for download.” The idea of giving customers instant access to music inspired him to launch BLK DNM last month as the world’s first e-commerce–only fashion line, eschewing traditional distribution methods in order to connect directly with customers. In fact, there’s nothing conventional about his business model: no traditional advertising, no seasons, no dillusion lines. Following the recent launch of BLKDNM.com, Lindeberg will open a New York showroom with a 21st-century twist. Known as a “Galleri,” it will give customers a chance to examine and try on the clothes, and to witness the creative process of the on-site designers. “The stores are like educational centers for consumers,” he says. A string of boutiques will follow in LA and London, but Lindeberg insists that he’s not interested in having customers walk out with shopping bags full of clothes. All purchases will instead be made at iPad stations, naturally.

Ellie Goulding Picks Her Top 5 Style Luminaries

Even though she’s just 24, British singer-songwriter Ellie Goulding has been making music for a decade. Two years after releasing her debut EP, 2009’s An Introduction to Ellie Goulding, for which she was awarded the critics’ choice trophy at the 2010 BRIT Awards, Goulding has completed her first studio album, the folksy-pop offering Lights, scheduled for release this month. Lights was nominated for two Brit Awards this year—for breakthrough act and best female solo artist—garnering effusive praise from The New Yorker along the way, who touted Goulding as “the future of music.”

But before looking ahead, we asked Goulding to tip her hat to the style stars who’ve inspired her look: “Keith Richards is the original eccentric rock star. He looks fabulously unkempt in every single photo, and that man really owns his look. Björk is an icon to me. She seems completely fearless. I am fascinated by her voice, her poetry, and her imagination. I love Chloë Sevigny’s effortlessly cool style—she never gets it wrong in my opinion. She always looks super-sexy and feminine with a boyish charm. Kanye West makes an effort. He is always successfully trying out new looks. There are so many men who try too hard, and Kanye clearly doesn’t have to. I know it’s a cliché, but I am so into the way Lady Gaga pushes boundaries. It’s not a look that works for me, but she rocks it.”

March Music Reviews: Bright Eyes, Toro Y Moi, PJ Harvey

Katie Costello, Lamplight (Tiny Tiny) Ignore the sudden sensation of being thrown into an iPod commercial, because the feel-good, piano-heavy melodies on Katie Costello’s sophomore album are instantly offset by quirky lyrics and rich, reverberating vocals. Costello’s first record, Kaleidoscope Machine, which she released independently at the age of 17, was a collection of sing-along anthems tailor-made for histrionic teen dramas like One Tree Hill and 90210. With all that CW-approved angst now out of her system, Costello has crafted a more mature, evolved sound, drawing likenesses to Regina Spektor and Fiona Apple. But with her fresh point of view, Costello has carved out a space all her own. —Nadeska Alexis

Acrylics, Lives and Treasure (Hot Sand/Friendly Fire Recordings) On their full-length debut, Acrylics’ Molly Shea and Jason Klauber retread the same sonic terrain—’70s soft rock and ’80s new wave—they first explored to dreamy effect on their 2008 EP, All of the Fire, which was produced by Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor. Slow, oozing harmonies and sinewy synthesizer beats form a backdrop for tales of sticky August nights spent with a lover. The album’s most successful moments find the Brooklyn-based duo sharing vocal duties on tracks like “Counting Sheep,” where Shea, a smooth and hypnotic presence, makes room for Klauber’s folk-tinged voice, creating an unpredictable amalgam of oddball sounds. —NA

The Go! Team, Rolling Blackouts (Memphis Industries) The Brighton collective’s third album—their breakthrough, Thunder, Lightning, Strike, was released in 2004—is a field study in genre. Hopscotching between styles and eras, often on the same track, Rolling Blackouts is a jubilant journey through the land of Nostalgia. From the girl-group sheen of “Ready to Go Steady,” to the boogie-down, brassy rap (courtesy of in-house emcee Ninja) on album opener and lead single “T.O.R.N.A.D.O.,” the Go! Team remains committed to a retro aesthetic that sounds new. The album’s strongest track, “Buy Nothing Day,” features vocals from Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino, and recalls the best summer you’ve ever had. —Ben Barna

PJ Harvey, Let England Shake (Vagrant) PJ Harvey has left Brooklyn rooftops behind and returned her focus to Britain. The UK looms large in Let England Shake, a haunting collection of 12 songs that trade introspection for an outward-looking take on the fog, graveyards, and ghosts of her homeland. The seminal indie songstress has produced an album—which she recorded in a 19th-century church in Dorset—that defies comparison, both with other artists and her own earlier work. On “The Glorious Land,” the sharp strains of a bugle give way to lyrics praising fields of wheat, while “England” strikes a more personal note, with Harvey singing of “withered vines reaching from the country that I love,” a possible allusion to her prolific two-decade career. Harvey is at her best with “Written on the Forehead,” a ska-influenced track that evokes a hopeful counterpoint to northern austerity. Inscrutable, engaging, and endlessly satisfying, this is pure Polly Jean, through and through. —Victor Ozols

Bright Eyes, The People’s Key (Saddle Creek) After settling on a roster of permanent musicians in the once-revolving cast of Bright Eyes players, Conor Oberst insists that his seventh studio album will be the band’s last. It’s appropriate, then, that The People’s Key is all about time—time travel, specifically. Instead of building on the Gram Parsons influences heard on Cassadaga, Bright Eyes’ last offering, The People’s Key embraces the opulence of Bowie glam and psychedelic rock. Carla Azar from Autolux and the Faint’s Clark Baechle are among the many guests who join in on an album that Oberst says was heavily influenced by dystopic literary icons, from Kurt Vonnegut to Margaret Atwood. —CG

Toro Y Moi, Underneath The Pine (Carpark) We’ll never understand why recording artist Chazwick Bundick felt he couldn’t use his real name to release his sneakily addictive music, but Toro y Moi, the moniker under which he prefers to put out his lo-fi tunes, will do just fine. Underneath the Pine, the South Carolina native’s second effort with Carpark records, finds 24-year-old Bundick returning to chill-wave, a controversial mini-genre that seems to undersell the record’s smart layering and instrumentation. Siphoning from a depthless reservoir of disco nostalgia on tracks like “New Beat,” and fellow halcyon rockers like Neon Indian and Animal Collective on others, Toro y Moi’s songs mix and master everything from European house to Ennio Morricone. —Megan Conway

Darwin Deez, Darwin Deez (Lucky Number) They say the devil is in the details, which is perhaps why Darwin Deez’s self-titled debut sounds so heavenly—it eschews minutiae. Quick-clipped melodies and a drum machine are all Deez needs to ignite his pared-down sound, bubbling with chipper lyrics that are neither affected nor adolescent. Deez, a native New Yorker, is a nerdier Devendra Banhart, his cheerful façade lessening the blow of “The Bomb Song” when he sings, “I heard about 6,900 people have died.” Along with critical acclaim, the ringletted singer-songwriter’s straightforward manner and scratchy guitars have earned him comparisons to the Strokes’ Albert Hammond, Jr. and Adam Green. They should all jam together and bring a whole new meaning to the term “hair band.” —Cayte Grieve

Track List: Lykke Li’s Favorite Guilty Pleasures

I’ve been on such a crazy journey,” says Lykke Li, the 24-year-old Swedish pop maestro whose 2008 debut, Youth Novels, was a lyrical odyssey for the indie set. Since then, she’s collaborated with Kanye West and Kings of Leon, and has even written a song for The Twilight Saga: New Moon’s soundtrack. “I’m always desperate to do something new, to continue the journey,” she says. Li’s most recent detour has her promoting Wounded Rhymes, her second full-length offering, which was born from a personal crisis. “Something,” she says cryptically, “was on the verge of breaking.” But if the album’s first single, the self-assured and sexually voracious “Get Some,” is any indication, everything appears to be operating just fine.

Over coffee at Manhattan’s Cafe Mogador, Li pulls a scrap of paper from her bag on which she’s scribbled nine guilty-pleasure tracks (eleven if you count Busta Rhymes’ “Touch It,” which she wrote down, crossed out, wrote down again, and then crossed out again). But before handing it over, she says, rather defiantly, “I don’t think any song is a guilty pleasure, because if it’s good then there’s no shame in listening to it. These aren’t the most intellectual songs ever—but if a song is good, it’s good.” If anyone would know, it’s Li.

Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy.” This has been my anthem since I was a child. I remember going out with my friends when we were 15 or 16, and when this would come on, we would go wild.

Phil Phillips’ “Sea of Love.” It’s on those cheesy love compilations from, like, 1992, but it’s way older than that. It’s short enough that I can put it on repeat when I’m jumping out of the shower and have to get ready, or do shit that I don’t feel like doing, like brushing my hair.

Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.” I’m Swedish, so I don’t really know what actual country music sounds like. It hasn’t been a part of my life at all, but if Dolly Parton is country, then I love it. This doesn’t go so well with my gothic, emo image, but it’s a great song. I think the songs I’m choosing have something in common. They’re all very melancholic, about a love that goes sour.

TLC’s “Creep.” This is another ’90s anthem, and it can’t help but put me in a good mood. Back when I was a teenager, I used to go to discos. They would have dance battles, and I would always join in and win. This was the song I danced to. It had a revival this summer when I played it 10 times in a row.

Tommy James and the Shondells’ “Crimson and Clover.” As soon as the guitar starts, you know what song this is, and I think that’s a good sign. I heard somewhere that “crimson and clover” means something about losing your virginity, which I can relate to. Can’t we all?

The Shirelles’ “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.” I really connected to this song in the spring, when I was feeling down. I used to think it was such a happy song—I was always dancing to it—until I started to listen to the lyrics and realized it’s the most tragic song ever written. I really understand that situation, when you know you’re in it for the long run, but maybe the other person is only in it for the night.

Brenda Lee’s “I’m Sorry.” She’s so intense. She’s this white girl—a young housewife, really—from the ’50s and ’60s, but she’s got the craziest voice.

Salt-N-Pepa’s “Shoop.” When I was on vacation from school, when I was like 15, I would try to rap this song with my Swedish pals. I don’t even know how I heard it because it wasn’t on the radio in Sweden, but I think we must have had a good DJ at our house parties.

Roy Orbison’s “Crying.” Orbison’s poetry and the soundscape of this song were groundbreaking for their time. It’s an inspiration to me, that monotone darkness. I’m obsessed with Mulholland Drive, and in it Rebekah Del Rio sings a Spanish version of “Crying,” and it’s like… wow. at’s one of the reasons I decided to be in Los Angeles. I needed some mystery in my life. I needed to drive around listening to Roy Orbison and smelling the jasmine.

March Movie Reviews: ‘Super,’ ‘Take Me Home Tonight,’ ‘Potiche’

SUPER The title of director James Gunn’s sadistic tale of metamorphosis—in Super, Joe the Plumber (Rainn Wilson) becomes Joe the Wrench-Wielding, Tights-Wearing, Retribution-Seeking Maniac—is a delightful misnomer. As Frank, a hapless schmuck who loses the love of his life to her slimy drug dealer (Kevin Bacon), Wilson plays a saccharine, nondescript everyman with a broken heart and a backbone made of Twizzlers.

All of this changes, however, when he conceives of Crimson Bolt, his heroic alter ego, who, along with sidekick Boltie (a hopped-up and hilarious Ellen Page), sets out to rid the world of pedophiles, gang members, and queue-cutters. Justice against petty criminals, however, is all foreplay leading up to the showdown between Frank and the man who’s now bolting his wife. To say Super ends in tears—bloody, bloody tears—would be an understatement, but the crescendo of violence building up to its tragic climax is giddily thrilling. —Nick Haramis

HAPPYTHANKYOUMOREPLEASE Happythankyoumoreplease, winner of the Audience Award at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, oozes just the right mix of charm and quirk to make Josh Radnor’s directorial debut the next Garden State. The sitcom star (CBS’s How I Met Your Mother) also acts in this crosscutting narrative that follows six New Yorkers, all of them deep in the throes of a quarter-life crisis. Radnor plays Sam, a struggling writer who decides—on a whim—to take in Rasheen (Michael Algieri), an orphaned boy he meets while riding the subway. Predictably, Rasheen touches the lives of Sam and his friends, among them Annie (Malin Akerman), a chronically single gal with alopecia; Mary Catherine (Zoe Kazan), a young woman struggling with her boyfriend’s planned move to LA; and Mississippi (Kate Mara), a cabaret singer and Sam’s budding love interest. It’s all very Three Men and a Baby for urban misfits, and although the sugary coming-of-age plotting and hackneyed New York undertones grow tiring early in the film, charming performances by Radnor and Akerman reinvigorate a genre left dormant after Zach Braff, well, grew up. —Cayte Grieve

CEDAR RAPIDS Mild spoiler alert: At the end of Cedar Rapids, Ed Helms’ character tells a flight attendant, “I got beat up, completely blottoed, and befriended a prostitute.” If this debauched hat trick sounds familiar, it’s because you saw The Hangover, in which Ed Helms’ character gets beat up, completely blottoed, and befriends a prostitute. Clearly, the makers of Rapids saw something in Helms—namely his ability to tap into his inner frat boy—when they cast him as an emotionally neutered, small-town insurance agent who finds his inner Hendrix via drugs and booze during an insurance-firm convention in Iowa. Cedar Rapids has many charms—a vampy Anne Heche among them—but it’s John C. Reilly who steals the show as an abrasive agent who’d rather get shit-faced than sell insurance. We, however, are sold. —Ben Barna

TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT One night. One party. One girl. The formula is as predictable as a pimple on prom night, but Take Me Home Tonight nails it. That ’70s Show’s Topher Grace, suddenly leading man material, plays Matt Franklin, a rudderless MIT grad whose career ambitions extend no further than Suncoast Video, where he reunites with Tori Frederking, his high school crush, played by a golden-haired, golden-lamé-d Teresa Palmer. White lies involving Goldman Sachs ensue, and by sundown, the two star-crossed lovers—along with Anna Faris in the role of the nerd-chic sister, and Dan Fogler as the chubby, coke-snorting sidekick—are at the party of a lifetime. Whether Grace gets the girl hardly matters. With grand theft auto, sappy speeches about the Future, and something called “riding the ball,” Take Me Home Tonight is as fun a post-collegiate romp as you’re likely to see all year. —Megan Conway

POTICHE Set in provincial France in 1977, François Ozon’s kitschy comedy stars Catherine Deneuve as Suzanne Pujol, a neglected potiche—French slang for “trophy wife”—whose husband, Robert (Fabrice Luchini), runs her family’s umbrella factory with the same cruelty as he does his household. He cheats on and patronizes his wife, all the while alienating his children. Suzanne endures the tyranny with tight-lipped complacency until an incident with Robert’s workers, who are on strike, leaves Suzanne in charge of the company. The plot picks up pace when Suzanne seeks help from an old friend and former lover, the communist mayor Maurice Babin, played by an endearingly doughy Gérard Depardieu, and sets out to prove herself a capable and assertive leader. Deneuve’s portrayal of a reawakened matriarch injects sparkle into the film, opening fire on a campy and comical war between the sexes. —CG

March’s Key Events: The Strokes, Lady Gaga, Mel’s ‘Beaver’

March 1: On his 17th birthday, Justin Bieber drinks coke and blows candles. To celebrate her 24th, Ke$ha drinks candles and blows coke. March 4: Matt Damon and Emily Blunt star in the sci-fi thriller The Adjustment Bureau, a project that was long delayed due to slight changes. March 8: Despite a four-year hiatus, Avril Lavigne proves her knack for rhyming is still intact, when her fourth album, Goodbye Lullaby, is released today.

March 11: My, what big eyes she has: Amanda Seyfried gets her lupine on in director Catherine Hardwicke’s Red Riding Hood. March 12: The Strokes give Las Vegas some much-needed credibility when they play The Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan hotel. March 15: …So long, cred! Titanic cheeseball Celine Dion returns to Caesars Palace for a three-year stint in Sin City. March 18: Get your dancing brood together to, you know, dance and brood, when Crystal Castles play Terminal 5 in New York. March 19: “Forgotten promises,” British art star Damien Hirst’s exhibition at the Gagosian in Hong Kong, ends its run today. Or at least it promised it would. March 20: Chloë Sevigny’s five-year swim down the mainstream ends—without her giving disappointed costar Bill Paxton “The Vincent Gallo Treatment”—when HBO’s Big Love airs its final episode. March 23: Jodie Foster unveils The Beaver today, and Mel Gibson puts his hand inside it. Yeah, we said it. March 25: Sucker Punch, Zack Snyder’s CGI-infested, videogame-inspired epic about lollipops and fruit drinks, opens today. March 27: Kate Winslet stars in the HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce, also known as How to Win an Emmy in Five Parts. March 28: Lady Gaga continues flogging her old album, less than two months before her new one is released, when The Monster Ball tour rolls into LA’s Staples Center—again.

Snoop Dogg on Pop Music, Katy Perry, & Lady Gaga

I’m probably the most popular rapper in the world, but I don’t make pop music. I make gangsta shit. I don’t cross over to pop—pop crosses over to me. “Gin and Juice” was some gangsta shit. I wrote that motherfucker off the motherfuckin’ gin and a bag of that indo, with a bunch of bitches around me. I wasn’t thinkin’ about no pop. I was makin’ shit for the ’hood, for motherfuckers to bounce to. And, yeah, it became popular.

I don’t ever aim for radio play. I make shit that feels good to me, and if top 40 radio catches wind, then great. If they don’t, I’m still gonna do what I gotta do. I recorded a song on my fi rst album [Doggystyle] called “Ain’t No Fun (If the Homies Can’t Have None),” where I talk about gettin’ pussy, fuckin’, and not givin’ a fuck about a bitch—and I hear that song on the radio every other day. Rappers don’t need pop artists on our shit to make us successful. But notice how many pop artists, when they want their records to sell, call on somebody from hip-hop to make their shit work. Katy Perry, for example: I worked with Katy because she’s a bad bitch, but she needed a gangster to complete the deal. She had a cake with no candles on it, then she put me on “California Gurls,” and it went to number one. It was actually the West Coast answer to Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind.” They had a song about New York, and we needed to make something about California. I didn’t prejudge her because she’s a pop singer. I don’t judge Lady Gaga, either. She makes good shit, not like a lot of other garbage being repeated. She’s weird as fuck. Who knows, she might have a snake or a knife in her pussy if you try to get some from her.

Snoop Dogg’s 11th studio album, Doggumentary, is out this month on Priority Records/EMI.

‘SNL”s Jason Sudeikis Makes a Play for Big-Screen Buffoonery in ‘Hall Pass’

It’s a Tuesday afternoon in the middle of January, only four days until Jason Sudeikis will channel Kenny Rogers next to Gwyneth Paltrow in front of a studio audience and millions of devoted fans. Although he’ll soon head over to 30 Rockefeller Center to begin preparing sketches for that episode of Saturday Night Live, at this moment, the affable, 35-year-old comedian can’t get his mind off swag—and not for nothing. After spending a week with the show’s cast and crew in preparation for her hosting gig in December 2009, Taylor Swift gifted everyone with signed, scented candles. For her part, Scarlett Johansson gave the group matching blankets. Natalie Portman showed her gratitude with pizza. What token, Sudeikis wonders, will Paltrow select? “Maybe she’ll get us all GOOP subscriptions.”

For the past seven seasons, Sudeikis has introduced to the world, via NBC’s enduring, iconic sketch-comedy series, a sub-pantheon of boneheads, from his alpha A-hole opposite castmate Kristen Wiig, whose misadventures found the duo buying a Christmas tree from Jack Black and investigating a crime scene with Kevin Spacey), to his spot-on impersonations of Vice President Joe Biden, American Idol alumnus Taylor Hicks, and, yes, a certain leisure suit-wearing, “Islands in the Stream”-ing country legend.

Like so many of the inestimable talents who’ve roamed 30 Rock’s 17th-floor hallways before him, the time has come for Sudeikis to entertain the idea of a post-SNL career, which he will begin to do this month with Hall Pass, a movie about sanctioned cheating directed by the Farrelly brothers. But for every Tina Fey who goes on to conquer the silver screen, there’s a Cheri Oteri or a Chris Kattan, whose recent credits include supporting roles in the Jessica Simpson vehicle, Private Valentine: Blonde & Dangerous, and Hard Breakers, a sand-and-surf comedy co-starring Tia Carrere, respectively.

Sudeikis, dressed casually in a hoodie and jeans, isn’t sweating his odds. “I’m not overtly political, but it’s tough to think anything is at stake when I’m not, you know, fighting a war overseas,” he says from a two-top inside a Hungarian bakery in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, a few blocks from the studio where the accompanying photos were taken. “What’s really at stake here? Not much more than the opportunity to fly first class more often than coach.” He lets out a stentorian laugh, something the Kansas native does often, but it’s not totally clear if he’s joking. “Hall Pass is a great opportunity for me, and it’s funny to see myself on a giant poster with Owen Wilson, a hero of mine,” he says. “The only thing at stake here is the opportunity to do that again.”

Well, that’s not entirely true. Things have been spotty for Bobby and Peter Farrelly, who co-wrote and co-directed Hall Pass, since their one-two punch in the ’90s with Dumb and Dumber and There’s Something About Mary. They could use a hit, and Hall Pass has all the makings of an overnight classic in the vein of The Hangover. Rick (Wilson) and Fred (Sudeikis) are best friends. Their wives (played by Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate) are also best friends. When their marriages grow stale after a few years, the men are granted a “hall pass,” one week of temporary vow amnesia without rules, responsibilities, or wives—their wives at least. Predictably, the bro-dyssey unfolds more like an episode of The Simpsons than As You Like It, as Rick and Fred run into all manner of roadblocks, including young temptresses, a homicidal barista, and one very drunk woman with a spastic colon and an unrelenting, unfortunate sneezing fit. image

Despite its unabashed embrace of fart jokes and adolescent sexuality, the film also explores the sanctity of marriage in a post-Tiger Woods age. “I don’t think there are any hard and fast rules on love or marriage,” says the newly single Sudeikis, his tenor betraying a hint of wistfulness. “They are malleable, living, breathing ideas between two people or nine people—whatever floats your boat or your religion allows you to do,” he adds, admitting that he accepted the role, at least in part, because of the way it so earnestly marries heart and humor, a pairing characteristic of the Farrelly brothers’ canon. “I approached the story from a very personal place,” says Sudeikis, who ended his six-year marriage to 30 Rock writer and producer Kay Cannon last March during production on the film. “I believe in marriage, but I also realize that its sanctity is on trial these days, with the divorce rate being over 50%, with the glorification of cheating, and with the fight for gay marriage. When I was going through my divorce, I had been granted leniency, more or less, by a woman I wanted to date. I took her up on that—started dating other people simultaneously—and that did not go well. I wouldn’t do it again.”

It’s unclear whether Sudeikis is referring to Mad Men bombshell January Jones, whom he began dating publicly last summer until they broke it off earlier this year. (More recently, he was romantically linked to Scarlett Johansson, something both parties have denied.) Sudeikis inconsistently guards his privacy, not necessarily because he likes to kiss-and-tell, but because he can’t understand why anyone would care about, or take seriously, the details of his sex life. He took a crash course in diplomacy after appearing this past August on Lopez Tonight, where he gloated to the host that he had seen Jones naked. It was a goofy moment, endearing even, but Sudeikis’ recent reluctance to discuss personal matters, or even utter the words “January Jones,” is telling. (For her part, Jones responded in People, saying, “He’s never seen me naked, nor will he after those comments.”) The actor will concede that constant media attention—the speculation, the photographers—did make things “much more troubling for the woman I was dating,” but he’s just as quick to poke fun at the whole thing. “I took classes to learn how to improvise better,” he says, “but I didn’t take any to learn how to walk the streets without putting my finger near my nose. Besides, dudes don’t sell tabloids—well, maybe some of them do, but they look a lot better shirtless, and they’re signed on to play a vampire in the next 18 months.”

At some point in the next 18 months, Sudeikis will star, not as a vampire, but as a man who wants to kill his employer, in Horrible Bosses. In that film, he plays one of three cubicle-crazy friends (Charlie Day and Jason Bateman are the other two) plotting against their superiors: Colin Farrell, Kevin Spacey, and Jennifer Aniston. This is the second time Aniston and Sudeikis have worked together, following the release of last year’s The Bounty Hunter. Although he doesn’t say as much, it seems his experiences with the much-maligned tabloid target have helped prepare him for the glare of Hollywood’s spotlight. “It’s so shocking to me that anybody would ever say she’s sad,” Sudeikis says. “If anything, she’s a very joyful person. The thing about her story is that it strikes people on a mythological level. At the very least, Jen, Brad [Pitt], and Angelina [Jolie] have all become archetypes from a John Hughes movie: there’s the head cheerleader, the quarterback, and then the stunning girl who smoked and dated the college senior.” If we’re aiming for accuracy with the Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton allusion, didn’t she date the college senior’s dad? “Well, if precision is what we’re after, she dated his blood,” Sudeikis says, laughing. “But they’re all more complicated than that, aren’t they? Aren’t you? Aren’t I?” image

Sudeikis’ phone convulses on the table between us. As he looks down, his eyes widen and he whispers to himself, “Holy shitballs!” It’s a text from Will Ferrell. “This is just so crazy, because I look up to Ferrell so much. He wrote, ‘Hey, fuckface. Just a quick hello to say happy New Year. I hope the movie with Owen kicks butt.’” Although Sudeikis collaborates with A-listers each week on SNL (in one sketch, he even put Zac Efron’s foot in his mouth), he still can’t quite wrap his head around being considered a peer to the likes of Ferrell, Fey, or Wilson. With a self-effacing smile, he says, “Most people don’t even know my name, and the one in every 20 times someone recognizes me, I have to explain to them that I’m not Ed Helms or John Krasinski. We should all do a show together—no one would be able to make sense of who was who!”

Although Sudeikis claims he has never been motivated by fame (“Creative autonomy in a house with a pool and a pool table is the goal,” he says), back when he was an unknown actor working in Chicago at famed comedy club Second City, he kept a journal in which he once wrote down, “I want to feel noticed.” Not necessarily by fans, however, or by journalists. “I remember being very vocal about not wanting to work on SNL during my early days at Second City,” he says, “but it was probably because I thought I never could, like, Oh, she’s so ugly—I would never be with her. But then she asks about you, and all of a sudden you’re interested.” To hear Sudeikis speak—about his love for SNL, or the group of people at 30 Rock (he has guest-starred over the years on 12 episodes as Floyd, Liz Lemon’s boyfriend), or the cast and crew of Hall Pass—it becomes evident that what he’s always wanted was the affirmation and respect of fellow writers and comedians.

What began as a game of hard-to-get has grown into a full-blown love affair, with the rush of live performance and with his SNL family. Even after seven seasons on the show, Sudeikis is still one of the last people to leave its notoriously uproarious weekly wrap parties. And he’s never alone. “Jon Hamm goes the distance,” he says. “Jim Carrey came to the after-after party last week, and the Black Keys were certainly there. Betty White went home early when she hosted, but she’s a pussy.” The one celebration Sudeikis won’t soon forget followed his first episode on the show. “I remember going to the after-party, going to the after-after-party, and then going home, lying in bed, and watching that night’s episode on TiVo,” he says. “It was about 7 in the morning, and I was so emotional.” You were probably just drunk, I tell him. “You’re wrong, man! I was high!”

Photography by Billy Kidd. Styling by Christopher Campbell.