Bruce Willis and his new wife, Emma Heming, have become Steven Klein's next celebrity victims. Usually, Willis and Heming are the picture of wholesome happiness, both glowing and looking ten years younger (31 year old Heming looks 21, Willis looks 44 rather than 54). But in the current issue of W Magazine, the couple become tragically beautiful freaks of nature entrapped in a sadistic haunted house--which Klein calls Honeymoon Hotel. The shoot's disturbing because of the heavy make-up, the blue-lit haze, and the lycra briefs; but it's frightening because it doesn't make any sense. What is this couple doing dressed like that, posed like this?
With few exceptions, I'm a fan of Klein's work with couples. His 2005 Domestic Bliss, a collaboration with Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, seemed prescient. Jolie and Pitt posed pushed at the confines of traditional marriage, had dinner with too many young children, exhibited a muscular unrest and a tendency toward dark musings. In 2007, Klein took on Victoria and David Beckham, playing into public obsession with the world's "hottest couple." The shoot was a melodrama, set in the desert, in which over-sculpted demi-god collided with white trash stereotype.
I can't deny the aesthetic punch of Klein's composition and coloring; he's sculpted Willis and Heming brilliantly. But the cultural savvy that attracted me to his previous shoots is missing and I feel Heming and Willis are miscast actors playing roles that should have gone to Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp.