Emma Stone Bombarded With Sex Scenes Questions in Uneasy ‘Kinds of Kindness’ Press Conference

The press conference for “Kinds of Kindness,” the new Yorgos Lanthimos film that debuted at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday to positive reviews, maintained an uneasy vibe throughout as questions were largely focused on sex scenes and directed towards actress Emma Stone, despite the fact that the impressive ensemble was sitting right there.

“Kinds of Kindness” stars frequent Lanthimos collaborators Stone, Willem Dafoe, Margaret Qualley, and Joe Alwyn alongside Lanthimos newcomer Jesse Plemons, and the anthology film contains three distinct storylines using all of the same actors as different characters in each chapter, many of whom are subjected to horrific occurrences. Though the ensemble cast also includes Academy Award-nominated actor Hong Chau, Emmy-nominee Mamoudou Athie and “Euphoria” star Hunter Schafer, none of these talented performers were asked questions by journalists at the film’s press conference on Saturday.

Much of the attention in the room was directed at the use of sex in “Kinds of Kindness,” a theme often utilized in many of Lanthimos’ films. Lanthimos discussed this in detail by noting, “I find physicality very, very important. I very often start from that.” He continued by asserting that, “I certainly don’t mistreat it. I think it’s just observing life.”

Emma Stone received a lot of questions, most of which were directed towards her work as a female in the film industry. She was visibly surprised that many journalists wanted to focus on her sex scenes and observed, “Because [Yorgos] is very physically oriented, he really loves dance, obviously. When we were doing ‘Poor Things,’ the things that we would discuss at length were the way [my character] walked and moved, not what was happening underneath the surface.”

“Poor Things,” the previous collaboration between Lanthimos and Stone that won Stone the Best Actress Oscar, also heavily featured sex and nudity. Again, a theme in Lanthimos’ work.

Stone attempted to bring the conversation back to the acting side of the film instead of wanting sex to be a focal point of Saturday’s presser. “That’s my part of it [as an actor]. In [‘Kinds of Kindness’], a lot of that expression happens through the body even when it’s violent or when it’s sexual or whatever might happen. Instead of explaining it, our job as actors is to bring more and it’s all about physicality.”

The oddest part of the entire exchange was that Jesse Plemons, arguably the lead of “Kinds of Kindness,” was hardly asked any questions. Most of the talented ensemble on the dais didn’t speak at all, which seemed to make Stone a bit flustered when put on the spot.

The Oscar winner was confronted about her role as a leading lady in many of her movies and what it means to be a feminist.

“It’s not just up to me. I think there’s a lot of people that are doing their best to change things, move things along, move things forward so that you know women feel a true sense of equality in cinema.” Unsure exactly how to fully express her place as representing all women in the film industry, Stone motioned to the rest of the female actors in the film, to which Margaret Qualley shouted, “Do you like my hat??”

She pointed to her noticeably large white hat, which garnered much laughter in the room.

Yorgos Lanthimos filmed “Kinds of Kindness” back-to-back with his Oscar-winning “Poor Things,” and discussed how both films came to be distributed so close to one another.

“There was a long post production process for ‘Poor Things,'” Lanthimos added, “and while we were finishing the VFX, we had already finished the script [for ‘Kinds of Kindness’], which we have been working on for many years in between other projects. So, it was ready and we just thought, instead of sitting around waiting for the delivery of the VFX, why don’t we go and shoot another movie?” He continued, “It was a very cleansing experience for all of us, and especially the people that worked on ‘Poor Things’ making this film. We just gave it a go.”

Finally, towards the end of the press conference, Plemons was able to deflect the tone in the room by getting a word in about working with Lanthimos for the first time.

“It’s a very collective sort of community that he gathers across the board. It does really feel like everyone is working towards understanding and achieving this vision that’s just always kind of right beyond your grasp. It’s really exciting and fun.”

Plemons and Stone are due to reunite with Lanthimos on his next film “Bugonia.”

“Kinds of Kindness” will be released in theaters on June 21.

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