Donald Glover, Kumail Nanjiani, Sean Baker have 'Mavericks' moment at Esquire's West Hollywood party
By Ellen Olivier
Feb 21, 2018 | 4:45 PM
So how does it feel to be named a “Maverick of Hollywood” by Esquire magazine?
“I don’t like to put a label on things, but I feel honored,” said Donald Glover, the “Atlanta” actor-creator and Grammy winner featured as this month’s cover star.
“Oh my God, it’s the first time I’ve ever been called a maverick in any context — and then a ‘Maverick of Hollywood’ — by Esquire. That’s a pretty good first maverick,” said Kumail Nanjiani, star and co-writer of “The Big Sick,” adding that the year has been satisfying and wonderful, but also overwhelming. “I don’t know where we go from here.”
“The Florida Project” director Sean Baker said, “It feels wonderful just to be even in the same discussion with all these folks. Esquire is such a prestigious and sophisticated magazine — that it’s really great to be recognized by them.”
An invitation-only crowd turned up at the Feb. 20 cocktail party to fete Glover, named last year, along with those named this year by Esquire as “Mavericks of Hollywood.”
Presented at the Sunset Tower hotel by Hugo Boss, the Feb. 20 cocktail party coincided with the release of the magazine’s March issue, which highlights 23 talented individuals, considered to be taking bold and creative risks.
On the chilly Tuesday evening, guests mingled under heat lamps outside by the pool and inside by the bar as servers passed jumbo shrimp, burgers and truffle fries on trays. Some guests seated themselves on comfy sofas, dotted with silk-screened pillows that showcased a variety of the magazine’s covers, dating as far back as an Andy Warhol Campbell’s soup can.
In a nod to the event sponsor, Baker and Will Packer, producer of “Girls Trip,” also named as a maverick, turned up in Hugo Boss, as did other guests, including Darren Criss (“American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace”), Jay Ellis (“Insecure”), Joe Keery (“Stranger Things”), Billy Magnussen (“Game Night”), deejay Zane Lowe, and Esquire’s editor in chief, Jay Fielden, and fashion director, Nick Sullivan.
Also on the scene were directors Ron Howard (“Solo: A Star Wars Story”), TV host Chris Hardwick (“Talking Dead”), Terry Crews (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”), Billy Eichner (“American Horror Story: Cult”), Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent (“Nate & Jeremiah by Design”), Angela Sarafyan, Jimmi Simpson and Clifton Collins Jr. (“Westworld”), Aldis Hodge (“Hidden Figures”), Anders Holm (“Champions”), Ali Fazal (“Victoria & Abdul”), Brandon Larracuente (“13 Reasons Why”), Jimmy Tatro (“American Vandal”), composer Reggie Watts (“The Late Late Show With James Corden”), actress-producer Samantha Quan, model Lydia Hearst, singer-songwriter Gallant, producer Mike Medavoy and artist Awol Erizku.
Having directed the cover star as a young Lando Calrissian in “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” which premieres in May, Howard said, “Occasionally, you come across someone who has the sort of range and array of tools and qualities that Donald Glover has, but it’s not very often. It’s a blend of talent with this incredible work ethic and an exploratory kind of boldness — but the interesting thing that came with it was a grounded sense of himself and the world. … He’s one of those people that everybody admires and appreciates the opportunity to collaborate with. I felt that way too.”
In choosing each maverick, Fielden said the magazine doesn’t just pick the “flavors of the month — or the same names on every other list,” but an individual “who we think is going to be really important and should be paid attention to” and “somebody who doesn’t follow the rules of the status quo.”
He called Glover “the modern equivalent of a renaissance man. He’s a musician, an actor, a creator of [‘Atlanta’] … and starting a big-movie career.”
The fashion tip
“A lot of guys want to sail under the bar as low as possible, because they don’t want to be seen to be trying too hard,” Sullivan said. “In my mind, just get over the bar, by that much [indicating an inch], just so you feel like you’ve made an effort. … The idea is to be comfortable but be noticed.”
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