Video Interviews

Emma Stone, Mark Ruffalo, and the Poor Things Cast on Pranks, Character Personas, and More

The stars of Yorgos Lanthimos' latest talk about his unique directorial style and building a kinship with each other.

by | December 11, 2023 | Comments


Yorgos Lanthimos has already come close to Oscar glory with 2018’s The Favourite, which earned 10 Academy Award nominations including Best Picture and Best Director (with star Olivia Colman winning for Best Actress). For his latest feature, Poor Things, Lanthimos reunited with that film’s co-star Emma Stone (who was also nominated, for Best Supporting Actress) to tell the story of a deceased woman (Stone) who is brought back to life by a scientist (Willem Dafoe) and embarks on an odyssey of self-discovery.

Ahead of the film’s release, Stone, Dafoe, and co-stars Mark Ruffalo and Ramy Youssef sat down with RT’s Jacqueline Coley to talk about how they became their characters, dish on a few on-set pranks, share the hardest part about making the movie, and more. Poor Things is in theaters December 8th.

Jacqueline Coley for Rotten Tomatoes: What would you say would be the most surprising thing that you sort of learned working with [Yorgos Lanthimos] this intimately with a lead character that spans so many different looks for you as an actor, and also as a producer at the same time?

Emma Stone: Yeah, I mean, I think we worked on this and talked about it for years before we made it, so it just felt like such a collaboration. I felt right by his side, and he was right by my side through the whole thing. So I guess that is what I learned, because on The Favourite, I was getting to know him still and what it was like to work with him. And here, we were really such a team that it was wonderful. It felt like such a trusting, great experience because there was so much lead-up to it and I knew about every aspect of how the film was going to be made.

Emma Stone in Poor Things (2023)

(Photo by ©Searchlight Pictures)

RT: Take us inside of his sort of style as a director, because his films are such wide swings, I just wonder what kind of environment he fosters on set with his actors. The one thing everyone — Mark [Ruffalo], Willem [Dafoe] — has sort of echoed is that it is totally unique to him as a director, and they’ve worked with obviously hundreds like yourself.

Scott: I think the rehearsal process is so imperative to Yorgos’ process with actors. We have three weeks together. We’re playing, we’re having a great time, we’re learning our dialogue, but in ways that are really unexpected and kind of strange and unique.

And by the end of that rehearsal process, the actors really feel great with each other and have a real kinship. And so I think that’s a big part of his work with actors is letting us all feel good and trusting of each other, because he’s not an overly… He doesn’t really tell you what to do as a director. He is definitely not prescriptive about characters. He kind of wants to see where you want to take it and then it’s subtleties and moments like that.

But I think he just hires people that he believes can play the roles and what he’s envisioning, and then he sort of lets you experience that together as a troop. It feels like a theater company or something. It’s really special.

Watch the video for the full interview with Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe, Mark Ruffalo, and Ramy Youssef.

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