Director Yorgos Lanthimos said Emma Stone had “no shame about her body” while filming the wacky nude scenes in his latest movie, Poor Things.
The 34-year-old actor leads the Greek director’s new sci-fi fantasy – based on Alasdair Gray’s novel of the same name – as Bella Baxter, a young woman brought back to life by the brilliant and unorthodox scientist Dr Godwin Baxter (Willem Dafoe).
Following its world premiere at Venice Film Festival on Friday (1 September), critics quickly hailed it as “one of the best films of the year”.
“It’s a shame that Emma could not be here to speak more about it, because it will be coming all from me,” the director said at a press conference, according to Variety.
Addressing the film’s sex scenes, he continued: “First of all sex is an intrinsic part of the novel itself, [Bella’s] freedom about everything including sexuality.
“Secondly, it was very important for me to not make a film that would be prudish, because that would be like completely betraying the main character,” he added. “We had to be confident Emma had to have no shame about her body, nudity, engaging in those scenes and she understood that right away.”
This isn’t the first project the two have collaborated on, in fact, they’ve now “made four films together”, Lanthimos said. Stone starred in the director’s 2018 The Favourite, 2022 Bleat and is set to star in his forthcoming movie, And.
He credits their ability to “communicate without having to explain or talk too much about things” with their extensive rapport.
“As soon as I started saying something about sex, she would say: ‘Yes, of course, it’s Bella. We will do what we need to do,’” Lanthimos recalled.
Of hiring on-set intimacy coordinator Elle McAlpine, the director said: “She made everything much easier for everyone.
“At the beginning, this profession felt a little threatening to most filmmakers, but I think it’s like everything: if you’re with a good person, it’s great and you realise you actually need them.”
Poor Things currently holds a perfect critical rating of 100 per cent on the review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes.
In Geoffrey McNab’s near-perfect four-star review for The Independent, he praises Stone’s performance writing that the actor has “never been bolder than in this oddball farce”.
“Stone gives surely the boldest performance of her career so far, in a role that puts upon her heavy physical and psychological demands,” McNab writes.
Poor Things is expected to release in US cinemas on 8 December, followed by a 12 January 2024 release in the UK.