Emma Stone threatens to punch a screaming baby in the trailer for Searchlight Pictures' Poor Things. The black-comedy fantasy film directed by Yorgos Lanthimos and written by Tony McNamara also stars Mark Ruffalo, Willem Dafoe, Ramy Youssef, Christopher Abbott, and Jerrod Carmichael.
The official plot description of Poor Things from the production notes reads, “From filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos and producer Emma Stone comes the tale of the fantastical evolution of Bella Baxter (Stone), a young woman brought back to life by the brilliant and unorthodox scientist Dr. Godwin Baxter (Willem Dafoe). Under Baxter’s protection, Bella is eager to learn. Hungry for the worldliness she is lacking, Bella runs off with Duncan Wedderburn (Mark Ruffalo), a slick and debauched lawyer, on a whirlwind adventure across the continents. Free from the prejudices of her times, Bella grows steadfast in her purpose to stand for equality and liberation.”
Entertainment Weekly reports, “Bella's transition finds her navigating otherwise normal social situations with comedic candor, such as a scene in the trailer in which she grows increasingly frustrated with the irritating sounds of a nearby baby after she spits out a piece of food while dining at a fancy restaurant.”
“Why keep it in my mouth if it is revolting?” asks Bella in the trailer. “I must go punch that baby!”
Poor Things Is a Fresh Take on Frankenstein
Poor Things is based on Alasdair Gray's 1992 novel of the same name. Lanthimos and McNamara were interested in making a modern version of the Frankenstein story, inverting Mary Shelley's story by making the “monster” a beautiful young woman and her suitors the true monsters.
“We made it more open to the world,” says Lanthimos of Poor Things in the official production notes. “The novel itself is also very Scottish and has many other themes and layers from the ones that we're exploring. That made it a little bit more niche whereas I was more interested in Bella's point of view.”
“It’s Bella’s coming-of-age story, and it lives in a dystopian version of a Merchant Ivory film, with the idea of a grand tour,” says McNamara. “From being trapped at home, she goes to Lisbon on a ‘romantic’ voyage with her lover. On the ship, she is met with a constant desire to escape. Then Alexandria are her younger years, where she sees the world as a messed-up place. Paris is her exploration of sexuality where she pushes herself as far as she can before she returns home.”
About playing Bella Baxter, Stone says:
“I was so excited and scared for all the right reasons. Bella doesn’t have any shame or trauma, or even a backstory. She's not raised by a society that is putting these confines on women. That can be incredibly freeing, and there is really no research you can do for something like this. Bella draws things from the men she meets, from the women she meets, from the environment she's in, from what she's eating. She's like a sponge.”
Poor Things opens in theaters nationwide on December 8.
Robert DeSalvo is a professional writer and editor with over 25 years of experience at print and online publications such as Movieline, Playboy, PCH, Fandango, and The A.V. Club. He currently lives in Los Angeles, the setting of his favorite movie, Blade Runner. Robert has interviewed dozens of actors, directors, authors, musicians, and other celebrities during his journalism career, including Brian De Palma, Nicolas Cage, Dustin Hoffman, John Waters, Sigourney Weaver, Julianne Moore, Bryan Cranston, Anne Rice, and many more. Horror movies, sci-fi, cult films as well as gothic, postpunk, and synthwave music are what Robert geeks over.