Welcome to Mastermind 15

A brand new issue of Mastermind arrives this week, filled with interviews and essays, faraway voyages, mighty fashion editorials and much, much more.

In this corner, weighing in at a colossal 2.5kgs, fresh from the printer and looking better than ever, the heavyweight champion of the (magazine) world… Mastermind 15!

The latest issue of Mastermind is now available for pre-order via our friends at KD Presse. Copies arrive in Paris stores from March 29, and will appear on shelves internationally in the weeks to come.

Having crunched the numbers, I can report that Mastermind 15 contains:

  • 344 pages printed on thick, glossy, luxurious Condat 2 paper;
  • 150 images, all but 12 of which appear here for the first time;
  • 30 articles including interviews, essays, reported features and other dispatches;
  • 15 cities from which our busy writers and photographers filed their contributions;
  • 9 actors, who have appeared in a combined 328-odd films;
  • 4 mighty fashion editorials shot by Alasdair McLellan, David Sims, Ethan James Green and Julien Martinez Leclerc;
  • 2 Olympians, mind-bogglingly impressive athletes in the thick of preparations for the forthcoming Olympic Games;
  • 2 alternate covers photographed by Craig McDean, both featuring the unstoppable actor Margaret Qualley.

Margaret Qualley’s alternate covers of Mastermind 15, both photographed by Craig McDean.

“I love figuring out how a character moves through the world, how they stand and walk – that part is really fun for me,” Qualley says in her cover story. Most recently she appeared on screen in Drive-Away Dolls as Jamie, whose physicality is “butch and carefree, a little bit like a puppy,” she says. It’s a marked departure from her Emmy-nominated role in Maid as a down-and-out single mother who turns to cleaning houses. That performance “was all about preserving energy. The other thing of note,” Qualley adds, “is that’s the strongest my arms have ever been.”

Elsewhere in Mastermind 15, filmmaker Luca Guadagnino welcomes us into his sumptuous cinematic universe ahead of the release of Challengers, his highly anticipated film starring Zendaya, Josh O’Connor and Mike Faist. Guadagnino’s ascent to the upper echelons of the world of cinema began, he recalls, “with the kind of preposterous vanity of a child who said, ‘I want to be a director.’ I was six, not even knowing what that was. But then, as always, when you start to believe in something, you then become that thing. I became a film-maker – I can’t be anything but that.”

Luca Guadagnino, photographed by Giulio Ghirardi.

“What’s special about Luca, and what I love about him as a director, is that he’s really intuitive and has sharp instincts, and he doesn’t second-guess himself at all,” says the bold-yet-discreet actor Taylor Russell, who makes a radiant appearance in this issue, too. Russell starred in Guadagnino’s 2022 film Bones and All and, most recently, has been performing on stage in Lucy Prebble’s The Effect, which finishes its run at New York’s The Shed theatre next week.

Taylor Russell, photographed by Alasdair McLellan.

There’s plenty more to discover: voyages to the historic Villa Medici in Rome and the ultra-modern Lanserhof health spa on the remote German island Sylt. Discussions with former French prime minister Édouard Philippe, screen icon Fanny Ardant and artist Theaster Gates on the role reinvention plays in their life and work. An impassioned call by popular French food writer François Simon to overthrow the dictatorship of virtuous gastronomy and eat what you truly want to.

In a way, Mastermind 15 is like the perfect meal Simon advocates for: a beautiful, nourishing dish we’ve worked hard to prepare, at once nostalgic and new and certain to leave you feeling full. Bon app!

Paul Kircher, from The Animal Kingdom, photographed by Hill & Aubrey.

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