Why Emma Stone and Jesse Plemons can’t resist director Yorgos Lanthimos

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By the time Emma Stone and director Yorgos Lanthimos were promoting Poor Things, they had already started shooting their next film, Kinds of Kindness. Lanthimos juggled shooting by day and reviewing Poor Things‘ special effects by night. Stone recalls, “We were like, ‘We have to go make this movie right now because everyone is going to think Poor Things is insane. Definitely!’”

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, once Poor Things was released, they reasoned, they might not get the money to make anything else.

Poor Things earned Stone her second Oscar for Best Actress for her role as Bella Baxter, a woman reincarnated with the brain of a baby. The film was a hit at the Venice Film Festival and earned numerous awards. Despite Lanthimos’ doubts during production, the film’s success was overwhelming. Stone remembers constantly asking Lanthimos about the film’s progress, to which he would respond, “It’s a colossal disaster.”

Following the success of Poor Things, Kinds of Kindness premiered at Cannes Film Festival. This new film features three stories about control, dominance, and willing submission, all portrayed by the same ensemble cast, including Jesse Plemons, Willem Dafoe, Margaret Qualley, and Stone. Stone expressed her approach to expectations: “I’ve had to learn to let that part go, really. There’s no way of knowing.”

Stone, who began acting to manage childhood anxiety, dropped out of high school at 14 to pursue acting in Los Angeles. She eventually landed her breakout role in Superbad (2007). Stone’s career has since included significant milestones like her Oscar-winning performance in La La Land and her collaborations with Lanthimos, starting with The Favourite in 2018.

Photo: Atsushi Nishijima/Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures

Plemons, new to Lanthimos’ style, described the experience as challenging but ultimately liberating. In Kings of Kindness, he plays various roles, including a corporate pawn controlled by his boss (Dafoe) and a cult member on a messianic quest, all shot within seven weeks.

Lanthimos co-wrote the script with Efthymis Filippou, known for Dogtooth and The Lobster. Lanthimos was inspired by the idea of modern-day absolute control. Stone and Plemons ponder the themes of control and autonomy in Lanthimos’ work. Stone notes, “Who’s in charge? Do we want to be in charge of ourselves or do we want someone else to be? What does it mean to be loved?”

Kinds of Kindness contains frank sexual content, which Stone compared to dancing, thanks to an excellent intimacy coordinator. The actors, both married with children, navigate these scenes professionally. Despite the film’s title, Plemons admits, “It’s a pretty messed-up title, in a perfect way.” Crazy, sad, ridiculous, funny. It remains to be seen what the world will think of itself, seen through his eyes – but there just may be more Oscars around the corner.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

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