Justin Theroux & Peter Noah: two tours through New York

Lainey Posted by Lainey at September 24, 2018 16:21:24 September 24, 2018 16:21:24

The New York Times published profiles this weekend of Peter Noah Kavinsky Centineo and Justin Theroux back to back. I read them back to back on Saturday morning – Justin first, then Noah . It was perfect timing. Because they are, basically, the same. Except, probably, one prefers the comparison more than the other. If you’re Noah Centineo, there’s no downside to being considered alongside Justin Theroux, a seasoned actor. If you’re Justin Theroux, though, I’m not sure it’s a good look, although he probably doesn’t mind. 

New York is the connection here. Both profiles follow each actor as they explore different places in New York. Justin is “of New York”. He considers himself a “New Yorker”. And we’ve heard, from “sources” close to him, in the aftermath of his split from Jennifer Aniston, that he was missing the NYC “edge” in their relationship. That he craved the grit of New York over the dullness of her LA lifestyle. Which, I guess, is why he’s playing pool and running the table for the New York Times, hanging out at a “faux-dive bar” which is dressed up to look like a mock hunting lodge. There’s your New York realness. But, you know, before you criticise him for being a fraud, he’s in on the fraud. Because he designed the interview to take the shape of a “meta profile”. Basically he’s promoting himself the way we expected him to promote himself and therefore he isn’t so much of a sellout as he is a performance artist. I love how performance art has, over the last few years, been coopted as a way for actors to rationalise their self-indulgence. See also James Franco and Shia LaBeouf. But don’t worry, everyone. Justin Theroux is still a real one. 

Attempting to fit him into a standard celebrity profile seemed like a foolish venture, as if commissioning Jeff Koons for a family portrait. And as Mr. Theroux would point out, he has spent the last three years dodging the kind of tabloid glare he never asked for.

Once a matinee idol for the art house set, thanks to the cerebral, aloof demeanor and subtly anarchic wit he displayed in cult favorites like “American Psycho” and “Mulholland Drive,” the celebrity-industrial complex transformed him from an actor that cool people knew into an actor everyone knew.

“Dodging the kind of tabloid glare he never asked for”? This explains why he’s front row at fashion week. And, you know, he certainly didn’t seem to f-cking mind when Ellen DeGeneres showed up at his wedding and Sia serenaded him and Jennifer Aniston. Or, sorry, is that not the kind of wedding that “matinee idols for the art house set” have always wanted? I must have missed the part about Jen putting a gun to his head, forcing him to participate. 

The problem with Justin Theroux is that he’s thirsty but he’s too cool or too edgy or too arty to admit it. 

The thirst is also on display in another part of New York, with Noah Centineo who is also described as a “matinee idol” in his profile.

“I just like climbing things and exploring,” he said, as sweat formed above his matinee-idol brows.

And then he actually does climb up on a traffic light pole and pose for the camera, willingly making a spectacle of himself. THIRSTY. And thirst trappy. This too is performance art. Peter Noah knows that he’s having a moment. Every moment, then, every piece of publicity, is about extending the moment, and serving up all the thirst angles that have made this moment possible. Without pretending like he’s not. Noah’s not fronting like this is beneath him. Nor is he hiding it behind a claim of irony, like an escape clause to justify his famewhoring. Nobody is doubting what is happening here: he wants you to pay attention to him as much as you want to pay attention to him. He’s one step away from holding up a sign that says “I AM PETER KAVINSKY”. In that sense, he’s coming by it more honestly. How is it that at 22, which makes him a full ass 25 years younger than Justin Theroux, he’s so much less pretentious? And how long will that last?  

Wenn, Bauer-Griffin/ Getty Images

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