Emma Stone Shares Her Biggest Fear About Taking on 'Poor Things' Character (Exclusive)

The actress opens up to ET about reuniting with Yorgos Lanthimos for his surreal new film.

Emma Stone is an acclaimed actress, Oscar winner and new inductee of Saturday Night Live's Five-Timers Club. But she admits to being somewhat intimidated by her role in the new film Poor Things.

"I definitely didn't have reservations," the actress told ET's Rachel Smith this week. "If anything, I just had fear of not living up to how great this character is. She doesn't follow. She's never been taught by society what to be -- what she's supposed to be as a woman."

Poor Things is Stone's third collaboration with director Yorgos Lanthimos, following her Oscar-nominated role in 2018's The Favourite and the 2022 short film Bleat. The new dark comedy follows Bella Baxter, a young Victorian woman who is brought back to life by an eccentric doctor, Godwin Baxter (Willem Dafoe). Reanimated without an understanding of the gender-based constraints of her time, Bella escapes on the arm of a sleazy lawyer, Duncan Wedderburn (Mark Ruffalo), before embarking on her own journey to find adventure and liberation.

"She's a creature of her own making," Stone said of the eccentric character. "I think she's so inspiring to me just because she has such a hunger for life and experiences."

"She feels so happy to be alive, which is a great reminder -- we're not here for long," she continued. "And she really takes it all in and drinks up everything, even the hard things. It's all part of the human experience, it's all fascinating to her so I think that’s the most inspiring thing that I try to remember, as much as I possibly can."

Stone described the creative process of making Poor Things as "heaven," even if the film was "a long time coming."

"We worked on it for years before we started filming," she recalled. "Yorgos told me about it right after we made The Favourite, and then it was, like, four years later we started filming it. So it was so much conversation... And then to actually be in it and those sets, those costumes, everything -- it was mind-blowing."

The actress dons a striking look in the film, with dark, flowing locks -- anachronistic to her proper Victorian counterparts, who would have stuck to updos -- and matching dark eyebrows.

Atsushi Nishijima

"Yorgos doesn't do wigs," she said of taking on the look. "It was massive extensions sewn into the back of my head, my hair... that would get longer and longer because your hair grows so rapidly. So it was a heavy, heavy set of extensions."

Stone also serves as a producer on the film, meaning she could potentially be in line for double nominations if both the film and her performance are recognized when awards season kicks off in earnest at the start of 2024. However, for the actress, the real reward was another creatively fulfilling collaboration with a visionary director like Lanthimos.

"I just love this film so deeply," she raved. "I'm just so proud of him [and] what he was able to achieve with this. It was really, really incredible what he did. So, that's the coolest thing to me."

Poor Things is in theaters now. 

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