The Daniels might be tearing up awards season right now as the incredible Everything Everywhere All at Once racks up accolades, but their latest work is just as eclectic and delightful: taking queer icon Jennifer Coolidge and transforming her into a high camp Power Rangers villainess to die for.
Photographed by Lenne Chai for the cover story of the latest W Magazine, the Daniels’ (directing duo Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert) directorial ethos places Coolidge into the action-packed, quarry-set carnage of any good Tokusatsu story—the special-effects laden Japanese filmaking genre home to Kamen Rider, Godzilla, Ultraman, Super Sentai, and more. The result imagines the acting icon as a stunningly fashionable foe to a squadron of masked heroes.
Giant weapons and monsters, ruined cities, even the clothes themselves all encapsulate the playful, energetic, and knowingly camp, yet utterly sincere vibe of Tokusatsu greats. Coolidge wouldn’t look out of place facing off against Ultraman or a similarly rainbow-clad troupe of superheroic sentai as she does here, and is clearly having a blast in all these photos.
“Tokusatsu/sentai/kaiju stories were always inspiring to us as kids because of how tangible it all felt,” Daniel Kwan, one half of the directorial team known as the Daniels, said in a caption on Instagram discussing the shoot. “Can’t believe we got to finally play in that world with the one and only Jennifer Coolidge.”
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It’s clear the madcap, practical-driven spectacle of Tokusatsu was on full display in EEAAO’s multiversal action, but what’s so lovely about these images is that the aesthetic of the genre isn’t played for mockery. It’s playful, yes, but equally loving and, like the best Toku itself, utterly sincere in its desire to deliver bombast on the scale and beyond of a blockbuster Marvel movie on an infinitesimal fraction of the budget—but with every bit as much heart. For her part, Coolidge was thrilled, as you’d expect:
You can read W Magazine’s full cover story with Coolidge here.
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