Emma Stone Talks Physical Demands of a Yorgos Lanthimos Movie (Like Dancing, Death and Doing It)

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At this point, any actor signing on for a Yorgos Lanthimos film knows they wont be resting on their laurels. Literally. One of his trademarks is a kind of heightened physicality — whether its Rachel Weisz and Joe Alwyn twerking in “The Favourite,” Emma Stone “furious jumping” in “Poor Things” or Nicole Kidman lending a man a hand, so to speak, in a parking lot in “The Killing of a Sacred Deer.”

This kind of movement, be it awkward, sexy or just bizarre, came up on Saturday during the Cannes Film Festival press conference for Lanthimos’ latest, “Kinds of Kindness.” Reunited with Stone, Willem Dafoe and Margaret Qualley, and newcomers Jesse Plemons, Mamoudou Athie, Hunter Schafer and Hong Chau, the new project sees the acting troupe engage in group sex, hardcore breakdancing , eckless driving and some light cannibalism. Another day on a Lanthimos set.

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“I certainly don’t mistreat the body, at least practically. I’m observing life, and a lot of it is dark, and harm and ridiculousness and awkwardness. We try to incorporate all that, and it starts from physicality,” Lanthimos said.

Stone agreed, saying she and the auteur “don’t discuss intellectually whats happening.” She explained: “He’s very physically oriented and he really loves dance, obviously. In doing ‘Poor Things,’ we really discussed the way Bella Baxter walked and moved. My relationship to body and movement in his films is interiorizing that physicality. It’s showing it, not saying it.”

Stone, who won the best actress Oscar for her performance in Lanthimos’ 2023 movie “Poor Things,” stars in the anthology film, which made its world premiere on Friday night. “Kinds of Kindness” freaked out the Cannes audience with its stories of sex cults, cannibalism and general debauchery, earning a 4.5-minute standing ovation. The film was not for the faint of stomach, with several graphic, gory scenes — but Lanthimos’ absurdist humor ensured there was also a good amount of laughter from the crowd.

In his review of “Kinds of Kindness,” Variety‘s Peter Debruge wrote that the film “finds Lanthimos taking a victory lap, with a killer cast and the far richer resources of an American indie studio at his disposal … It’s a quizzical concoction bound to baffle and delight in equal measure, structured so it feels like binge-watching three episodes of a nihilist ‘Twilight Zone’ knock-off.”

Lanthimos is no stranger to the the Palais des Festivals, having previously premiered the likes of “The Lobster” and “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” at Cannes. However, his more recent offerings, like “The Favourite” and “Poor Things,” both bowed at the Venice Film Festival, which served as a launching pad to their successful awards season runs. Searchlight Pictures, which released both of those films, will debut “Kinds of Kindness” on June 21.

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