As former stripper Channing Tatum stands in his expansive, glistening marble kitchen putting the finishing touches on his signature dish — an egg white omelet, minus the whites — his crowd-pleasing abs are encased in a loose-fitting, slightly sheer garment that skims the top of his jeans in an almost loving way. He’s at ease here, actually enjoying himself, like he’s cooked this meal for his movie star wife and their young daughter a thousand times before. As he reaches for the pepper — “It really brings out the flavor of the air” — his shirt rises, giving me a glimpse of those tanned, rippling muscles that have launched a million fantasies.
When the waiter comes over, Zac Efron orders a sandwich with the exuberant joy of a beautiful, thin woman freed by pregnancy. “A Reuben, please,” he says, “with extra corned beef. No, wait! And extra Swiss. You know what? Extra dressing, too.” He giggles and hands the menu to the waiter. “I’m so bad! But I can FINALLY eat whatever I want.”
“I’m starving!” Chris Evans exclaims excitedly — he does everything excitedly, like life is one giant, stimulating gift — and he shoves a menu my way. “You have to order A LOT, OK? Because I am ready to EAT, and I can’t do that alone.” I breathe a sigh of relief as I realize that, despite the lithe and lean body that suggests he subsists on kale alone, he’s actually just a regular guy in a sea of men who are on never-ending diets. As he orders corn chips and guacamole without even looking at the menu, I’m struck by his realness. It’s refreshing. “I am really into their shape,” he says, speaking of the corn chips, and his eyes widen innocently, as though he’s an 8-year-old child.
At 71, Robert De Niro still looks just as radiant and youthful as he did before he became a dad of six. As he glides into an effortless downward dog during our interview — “Yoga is my bliss,” he tells me — you realize that this is a man who’s resisted the temptation of Botox and lip fillers but still looks every bit the glowing Hollywood ingenue. What’s his secret? “Swiss chard,” he purrs.
The first thing you notice when you walk into Jake Gyllenhaal’s romantic Malibu beach cottage is the light, lilting scent of sandalwood incense. He’s burning it in a sleek porcelain bowl on one of his pristine counter tops. “I want it to feel sexy in here,” Gyllenhaal says, offering me a glass of sauvignon blanc — he pours it himself! — before we step out to his beautiful sun-soaked infinity pool. He gives his short brown hair a toss and laughs a warm, tinkling laugh. “But I want it to feel…zen. Really sexy zen.”
Steve Buscemi, his trademark eyes hidden behind oversize dark designer glasses, purses his lips and gently caresses his black coffee (no sugar) with his breath. “Can’t have it too hot, now can we?” he says with a suggestive grin.
Idris Elba shifts behind the wheel of his luxurious vintage car and changes gears with surprising ease. He’s in weekend mode today, dressed in casual yet cool slacks and a button-up shirt that hugs his famous physique in all the right places. I ask him where we’re heading and he bites his lip, a crease forming between his brows as he thinks. Suddenly, he lets out a giggle that catches me off-guard. “Shall we go to Taco Bell?”
George Clooney, his rebellious gray locks tamed into submission and his surprisingly supple 54-year-old body clad in all black, is glowing as he ushers me into his extravagant yet cozy living room. Despite having no children, he is clearly somehow satisfied with his life. As he gestures for me to take a seat, he picks up a crystal bowl filled with Turkish delight and urges me to take a piece. “I’m very serious about my sweets,” he purrs.
His publicist has suggested we “get mani-pedis together” for part of our interview, but Jeremy Renner seems nonplussed by the idea of something so stereotypically feminine. “How about…shooting guns?” he says. He’s wearing a casual white Acne V-neck and boyfriend jeans he bought at Topshop 10 minutes ago, which means you can tell he’s the kind of down-to-earth “cool guy” who is just as comfortable on the red carpet as he is at home watching the ball game throwing back beers.
Tucking his shapely legs underneath his curvaceous body in the dimly lit booth, Chris Hemsworth looks longingly at the bread basket the waiter places on the table in front of us. “Screw it — I could die tomorrow, right?” He smiles charmingly at me as he grabs a crisp roll and wraps his mouth around it, not even caring who’s watching. He closes his eyes and moans, savoring the carb-loaded moment like it could be his last. “If I die, bury me in a bread casket,” he says, displaying the kind of outrageous humor that doesn’t quite match his angelic looks.
Bradley Cooper hurries into the restaurant, almost tripping over his stilettos but still somehow looking effortlessly chic in a white silk pantsuit and his perfectly coiffed blonde tresses. “Sorry I’m late!” he exclaims breathlessly, immediately flagging down the waiter for a sourdough grilled cheese sandwich. He seems totally unconcerned about calories when the waiter mentions it comes with fries. “Oooh! Onion rings! Let’s get some of those too!” he says to me, a naughty glint in his eye. (Cooper, for every inch of his Pilates-honed physique, isn’t afraid to EAT.)
A timid young fan looks up at Eddie Redmayne — who is actually dazzling in real life, like a solar eclipse or a unicorn’s mane — and he immediately envelops her in a bear hug. It’s the kind of unaffectedness that makes you believe he wouldn’t mind if you grabbed his butt just a little bit. He gracefully tucks himself into the chair next to me and studies the menu carefully. “Ohhhhhhh, I’ll have a sausage,” he whispers giddily.
Tom Hanks curls up on the hotel suite’s elegant white couch, folding his sleek legs — clad in a supple pair of white ankle jeans — under him and clutching a warm earthenware mug of lavender chamomile tea.
I’m meeting Will Smith for a “sinfully caloric brunch” at The Ivy, a restaurant he chose because he thinks the vowels in the name sound “cute.” When we meet, his hair is still wet from the shower, and his face is clean of makeup save for a swipe of mascara. He doesn’t care — he’s low maintenance like that. “Traffic was a freaking nightmare,” he says as he tucks into a luscious vegetable omelet. Smith, as I’ll find out, swears like a sailor sometimes, and he doesn’t even apologize for it. How sexy and cool is that?