Emma Stone and Yorgos Lanthimos Reunite for ‘Poor Things’

This will be the third collaboration between the actress and director, who were both Oscar-nominated for their work on ‘The Favourite.’
The Favourite Emma Stone and Yorgos Lanthimos
Fox Searchlight
By  · Published on February 2nd, 2021

When you find a director you enjoy working with, you’ll do anything you can with them. That’s how great filmmaker and actor pairing happen. If they also make creative works unlike anything else in the business, let alone anything you’re offered, and they’ve gotten an Oscar-nominated performance out of you, all the better. It’s no wonder that Emma Stone is reuniting with Yorgos Lanthimos for two upcoming film projects.

The first one isn’t something that will be widely seen, unfortunately. Announced a year ago, Lanthimos was invited to create a special installation for the Greek National Opera and the Greek cultural nonprofit Neon (no connection to the film distributor) as part of their The Artist on the Composer series. Stone stars in the short film alongside Damien Bonnard (Les Misérables), which is scheduled to be presented with a live orchestra this September after being delayed from last year.

The second project is Lanthimos’ next feature, which has been listed in Production Weekly as coming together for a fall 2021 shoot. Stone will star in the film, an adaptation of Alasdair Gray’s postmodern Victorian-era-set novel Poor Things, as a pregnant woman who drowns herself to escape her abusive husband and is then resurrected, Frankenstein-style, but her brain has been replaced by that of her unborn child. What, you thought the plot of a Lanthimos film would be anything but bizarre?

It also doesn’t sound like something that could net Stone another Oscar nomination, but that may just be because it sounds like a ridiculous broad comedy in which a woman has the brain of a baby. I think there’s a Saturday Night Live sketch with that very premise, but with a man. Stone has the comedic chops to make it work if it was that, and she’s got the dramatic talent to make something more substantial of the idea, too. She’s had quite the evolution from her teen comedy days to Oscar glory, but she’s not one to leave the funny stuff behind either.

Stone received her last Oscar nomination, for Best Supporting Actress, in 2019 for Lanthimos’ The Favourite, where I think she’s technically the lead. Prior to that, two years earlier, she won an Oscar for Best Actress for her co-lead role in Damien Chazelle’s musical La La Land (she was to also reunite with Chazelle this year but had to drop out of his next movie, Babylon, for scheduling reasons). Her first nomination was two years prior to that with a supporting role in Alejandro G. Iñárritu Birdman. She’s broken the pattern by not having something Oscar-ready this year.

Poor Things will be scripted by Tony McNamara, who also co-wrote The Favourite and Stone’s upcoming Disney movie Cruella, and released by The Favourite distributor, Searchlight Pictures. The hope is that we’ll be able to see it as early as fall 2022.

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Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.