Emma Stone Thinks Yorgos Lanthimos Is ‘Still Miserable’ Despite Success

After having collaborated with Yorgos Lanthimos now on three feature films, one short, and an upcoming project shot in his native Greece, Emma Stone feels she has a pretty good handle on the comically bleak filmmaker. Tapping into new depths of Stone’s bubbly and free-spirited persona, Lanthimos has helped shape a new act in her career that recently earned her a second Oscar for Best Actress with “Poor Things.” Though clearly endeared to his brand of weird, uncomfortable humor, Stone also acknowledged recently in a piece for GQ that his desire to understand the power people hold over one another seems to be a throughline for her in his work.

“I think the elements of control are in every thing he’s ever done,” Stone said. “That’s I think an obsession of his and something very interesting to him—human nature and the kinds of agreements we make about socialization and what we’re supposed to be. 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? These are all these abstract, strange, surrealistic depictions, these things that are very human and affect us all.”

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In a recent interview with IndieWire, Lanthimos’s frequent collaborator and co-writer on “Kinds of Kindness,” Efthimis Filippou, also spoke on the director’s interest in the darker side of humanity and how it ends up being examined in their latest film, specifically with one of Joe Alwyn’s characters.

“Life itself makes people uncomfortable,” said Filippou. “I mean, it’s not like we try to write weird films or to make [Joe Alwyn] to be a rapist … there are rapists out there, and there are people that are raped.”

Despite the intensity and vulnerability of many of the scenes she’s done for Lanthimos, Stone’s never felt discomfort around what she’s made to do. She said, “It’s weird because the subject matter obviously is so intense in those moments [in ‘Kinds of Kindness’], but the feeling of the set doesn’t really change, because it’s such a contained environment and because everybody, a lot of times, has typically worked together before and trusts each other. I think it would be very different in a different environment.”

This environment has seemed to work for both Stone and Lanthimos, as exhibited by the recent critical and financial success of “Poor Things,” but that doesn’t mean Lanthimos is now the type to stop and smell the roses.

He’s still miserable,” said Stone jokingly. “I haven’t seen him change. He asks why everything costs so much. Like, ‘Why does it cost so much to make this movie? We made ‘Dogtooth’ for like a shoelace.’ When it comes to the studio system, especially the American studio system, it’s just obviously a different beast. It’s just general questions like, ‘I don’t get it. What is going on in America?’ Personality-wise, he’s pretty much the same, just equally like, ‘This is a fucking disaster.’”

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