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WMagazine | Best Performances: this year’s 33 brightest stars, up close and unscripted. (x)

Amy Adams“When I did Catch Me If You Can, in 2002, I had a really big crush on Leonardo DiCaprio. I had fixated on him in Growing Pains and in Titanic. I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh, if I ever work with Leo, it will be wonderful.’ And then, there I was, with pigtails—looking not at all like Gisele, whom he was dating at the time. I figured my chances were pretty slim, so I just focused on the work.”

Keira Knightley“I can’t think of a better love scene than the one in Don’t Look Now. A married couple, Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie, are in a Venice hotel room and the movie cuts backwards between them getting dressed after sex and having sex. That scene will haunt your dreams. The sex is fraught. Maybe a great love scene needs to be fraught—in Anna Karenina, we had a choreographer direct the love scenes. They were like dances, which somehow made it easier for me to concentrate on Anna’s emotions. With Vronksy, her lover, she’s like an addict—she probably never had an orgasm before she was with him, and she equates that with love. We all want to be the hero of our own story, of our own great passion, but Anna thought love would allow her to break all the rules.”

Rachel Weisz: “It is difficult to feel comfortable when you’re acting and you are naked. I was naked in my first movie, Stealing Beauty, and the director, Bernardo Bertolucci, sort of made me feel ridiculous even to be worrying about showing my breasts. In The Deep Blue Sea, my character has a passionate need for her lover. The director, Terence Davies, told me, ‘Rachel, I would like you to lick his back.’ My character needs to nourish herself through this man or she will perish. So I licked him. I was tempted to take a bite.”

Jessica Chastain“It’s easier to do an action scene than a love scene. I love fighting. When the camera’s not rolling, I’ll usually punch some of the actors, just for fun.”