Director's Cut: David Corenswet

Director's Cut: David Corenswet

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Director's Cut: David Corenswet

A vision is nothing without direction. Here, a slate of this season's biggest projection, as chosen by close collaborators and superfans.

A vision is nothing without direction. Here, a slate of this season's biggest projection, as chosen by close collaborators and superfans.

Photography: Blair Getz Mezibov

Styling: Kate Mossman

Text: Owen Myers

The Politician, the first product of Ryan Murphy’s Netflix partnership, is about all the topics you’re supposed to avoid at a dinner party: sex, lies, power, and politics—all this swirling in the sun-kissed world of an L.A. high school, with enough high-camp scheming to evoke twisted teen classics like Election and Cruel Intentions. Slap-bang in the middle of it all is Payton Hobart, an industrious high school student with the humble aspiration of becoming POTUS. The Iago to Hobart’s Othello, the Cheney to his Bush, is River, Hobart’s frenemy-with-benefits played by actor David Corenswet.

Already, the 26-year-old has played a shady campaign aide in 2018’s Affairs of State (he was compared to a young Armie Hammer), and had a brief turn in House Of Cards as Robin Wright’s college sweetheart. But little prepared him for one early scene in The Politician which called him to spar with Gwyneth Paltrow, lounging poolside, in a language that neither actor spoke—Mandarin. “We were both really extremely stressed out about it!” he recalls, with a light laugh. “We had a great coach but it was just me and her trying to stumble through.” He found Paltrow to be “wonderful” though, and praises his co-star Jessica Lange’s performance in the show as “simply operatic.” Indeed, her wig alone deserves an Emmy.

David wears top Guess, Pants Salvatore Ferragamo

Corenswet still lives in his hometown of Philadelphia, where he grew up as the son of a stage actor. His father imparted an early love for the Marx Brothers’ physical comedies—the influence is clear in Moe & Jerry, a goofy Vimeo sketch show that Corenswet makes with a friend. Even the family’s cats were named Fred and Ginger, after the legendary Hollywood Golden Age double act. After a childhood in which he spent weekends and holidays acting in productions as varied as Arthur Miller’s All My Sons and Hairspray, Corenswet made it to Juilliard. There, for the first time, he found others who matched his obsession with stage and screen. He remembers thinking, They are as crazy as I am! They really want to figure out what acting is and how to do it better.

With his academic background, Corenswet may be a dyed-in-the-wool actor, whose star power has just begun to show its luster. But, like any good politician or Hollywood power-player, he’s always plotting his next maneuver—namely one inspired the influx of actors-turned-directors. “I was very inspired by Olivia Wilde directing Booksmart,” he says. “And Jonah Hill with Mid90s. Probably my favorite directorial debut is A Star Is Born by Bradley Cooper. It was really cool to see [Cooper] come out with that incredible story, and I definitely want to [do the same]; I think storytelling is [so important], and in film, the director is the storyteller.” Color Corenswet a power-player in the making.

Ryan Murphy's The Politician airs September 27th on Netflix.

Jacket Tom Ford, Top Zadig & Voltaire, Pants Jil Sander
Credits: Makeup Virginia Young (Statement Artists), Hair Luke Chamberlain (Statement Artists), Digital technician Tim Ryon, Lighting director Ricardo Fernandes, Photo assistant Corey Danieli, Location highlight studios

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