New Workshop! Lighting 3 | Advanced Off Camera Flash Preorder

News & Insight

Being Malkovich: Iconic Photographs Recreated With John Malkovich

By Justin Heyes on September 24th 2014

In the 1999 film Being John Malkovich, John Cusack’s character crawls inside John Malkovich’s mind and assumes the role of the A-List actor. Fast-forward 15 years, John is getting inside the minds of iconic figures in the series Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich: Homage to Photographic Masters by Chicago-based photographer Sandro Miller.

© Sandro Miller courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago 

Philippe Halsman / Salvador Dalí (1954)

© Sandro Miller courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago 

Irving Penn / Pablo Picasso, Cannes, France (1957)

[REWIND:Photographer Takes Rod Stewart To Court For Recreating Her Iconic Photo]

The seeds of the series were planted when two years ago when Miller realized that Malkovich looked a bit like Truman Capote. Miller wanted to pay tribute to his mentor Irving Penn, so the actor dawned the stylistic too-long overcoat and crouched  into a makeshift corner. The resulting images was met with overwhelming positive feedback. Six months after the successful shoot, Miller boarded a plane to Malkovich’s home in France with a much bigger proposal.

© Sandro Miller courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago 

Irving Penn / Truman Capote, New York (1948)

Miller wanted to pay homage to the master photographers that influenced his over 40 year career. Mulling over the 30 iconic images (and two bottles of wine), the pair decided to embark in the endeavor of painstakingly recreating each shot with Malkovich as the subject. “He’d come in and listen to my ideas about what I wanted to do with him, and he never said no,” Miller said. “John was always like this beautiful clean canvas that I was allowed to do whatever I wanted to do with it.

© Sandro Miller courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago

Arthur Sasse / Albert Einstein Sticking Out His Tongue (1951)

© Sandro Miller courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago

Albert Watson / Alfred Hitchcock with Goose (1973)

© Sandro Miller courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago

Diane Arbus / Identical Twins, Roselle, New Jersey (1967)

The images were recreated with remarkable detail. Miller spent months researching every little aspect of the shots. He hired stylist Leslie Pace, hair/makeup expert Randy Wilder, and set builder Angela Finney to help recreate each shot. Miller wanted the images to accurately pay homage to the original artist and not parody them. “It was their passion for perfection and their brilliance that gave me the wonderful opportunity to recreate these images with John Malkovich.

Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich put the photographic talents Miller and  Malkovich masterful acting front and center. Tens of thousands of dollars were spent on elaborate costumes, makeup, wigs and prosthetics to morph the pop culture icon into everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Albert Einstein.  Miller remarks that John was was very involved with the styling of each character, often applying his own makeup and making is own wax nose for the Salvador Dali and Picasso shots. “He allowed himself to be that very, very sensual, sexual woman. The hair and makeup helped to get him there.

Dorothea Lange / Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California (1936)

© Sandro Miller courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago 

Herb Ritts / Jack Nicholson, London (1988)

© Sandro Miller courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago 

Andy Warhol / Self Portrait with Fright Wig (1986)

The resulting images are remarkable. Malkovich replicates the subjects expressions and emotions with such precision that some of the images are indistinguishable from the  source material. Miller didn’t slave over his computer working in Photoshop; there are full recreations done in camera.

© Sandro Miller courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago

David Bailey / Mick Jager “Fur Hood” (1964)

© Sandro Miller courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago 

Alberton Korda / Che Guevara (1960)

© Sandro Miller courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago

Andy Warhol / Green Marilyn (1962)

Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich: Homage to Photographic Masters, will open at the Catherine Edelman Gallery in Chicago on November 7 and run through January 31. If you can’t get enough of John Malkovich, then watch out for the muse’s exclusive interview with French publication 7-POST and French newspaper Liberation. Check out more from Sandro Miller at his website.

Which one is your favorite? Leave a comment below.

CREDITS: All photographs by Sandro Miller are copyrighted and have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist.

[Via PetaPixel]

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, however, this does not impact accuracy or integrity of our content.

Justin Heyes wants to live in a world where we have near misses and absolute hits; great love and small disasters. Starting his career as a gaffer, he has done work for QVC and The Rachel Ray Show, but quickly fell in love with photography. When he’s not building arcade machines, you can find him at local flea markets or attending car shows.

Explore his photographic endeavors here.

Website: Justin Heyes
Instagram: @jheyesphoto

Q&A Discussions

Please or register to post a comment.

  1. Ipek Amdahl

    I really enjoyed these!

    | |
  2. Brian Hammonds

    Very Nice! The Dali is great.

    | |
  3. Al cu

    Man that is Sooooooo cool

    | |
  4. Rui Pinto

    John Malkovich – the man with a thousand faces! Brilliant.

    | |
  5. Vince Arredondo

    This is what happens when a talented photographer and a talented actor work together! They are amazing!

    | |
  6. Dre Rolle

    Don’t think I’ve laughed so hard this early in the morning. These are all brilliant but the migrant and twins by far the most memorable for me.

    | |
  7. | |
  8. Greg Krycinski

    John Malkovich has the goodness! Awesome series.

    | |
  9. Clare Havill

    Salvador Dalí

    | |
  10. Hannes Nitzsche

    This is great! Compliments to both the photog and the model! :) Never would have thought of this combination of world-class actor re-enacting world-class historical photographs and the execution is superb! Thanks for sharing this article and the photos with us! This made my day :)

    | |
  11. mugur ic

    Impressive work

    | |
  12. Nick Viton


    | |
  13. claude laramée

    Very impressive work ! I specialy like the Pablo Picasso / Irving Penn portrait.

    | |
  14. Chuck Eggen

    They are all fantastic!

    | |
  15. Barry Cunningham

    The Albert Einstein is amazing.

    | |