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Emma Stone Talks Kinds of Kindness, Feminism Cannes

Emma Stone Talks Kinds of Kindness, Feminism Cannes

Just eight months after filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos and star Emma Stone unveiled Poor Things at Venice, the duo are back on the festival circuit with Kinds of Kindness. The frequent collaborators faced the press at Cannes, where they tried to define the alchemy between their relationship, which netted Stone an Oscar for Poor Things and also includes The Favourite. Stone brushed off the suggestion that she was Lanthimos’ muse, responding, ““He’s my muse.”

“I feel like I can do anything with him, because we’ve worked together so many times,” said Stone. “I trust him beyond the trust I’ve had with any director, and I’ve been lucky to work with great directors.”

As is common at Cannes, female stars are asked to share their thoughts on the #MeToo movement or being a woman in the industry. In this case, Stone was asked about how her work with Lanthimos contributed to feminism and activism.

“How do you think I contribute to feminism?” she responded with a smile and to laughs from the crowd. Stone went on to say she’s not necessarily the type of actor who picks parts because of the message of the movie, but rather because she finds the worlds and characters interesting. She concluded to more laughs from the crowd: “I’m a feminist and I like working with Yorgos Lanthamos. I guess that’s activism.”

At another moment, a journalist accidentally addressed a question to “Emily Stone,” which got laughs, with Stone saying good naturedly that yes, “My name is Emily.”

Lanthimos shot Kinds of Kindness while Poor Things was still in post-production and was awaiting visual effects work. “It was ready, so we thought, instead of sitting around waiting for the delivery of the VFX, let’s go,” said the filmmaker of jumping on the project.

The cast includes Jesse Plemons, Willem Dafoe, Margaret Qualley, Hong Chau, Joe Alwyn, Mamoudou Athie and Hunter Schafer, who flanked Stone and Lanthimos at the presser.

The 2 hour, 44-minute film tells three interconnecting stories. One centers on a man (Plemons) whose wealthy boss (Dafoe) outlines every facet of his life, from what he eats and drinks and what he wears. Another centers on a police man (Plemons), whose marine biologist wife (Stone) goes missing, but when she is rescued and returned home, he becomes convinced the woman who came back is not his wife. The third story centers on a woman (Stone) who has abandoned her husband (Alwyn) to join a sex cult, run by characters played by Dafoe and Chau.

Veteran actor Dafoe shared some thoughts on the types of notes the filmmaker gives, noting it’s a give and take.  He gives you a great setup, you go there, you try to apply yourself to the words, the actions,” said Dafoe. “He watches you, he thinks about it. It’s not only clear what he wants, or what you want, but that’s the process. There’s a call and response.”

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In his review, The Hollywood Reporter chief film critic David Rooney described Kindness as “a trilogy of progressively weirder stories that’s both an uneven head-scratcher and a fascinatingly unpredictable exploration of such subjects as love, faith, and in particular, control.” Added Rooney: “Irrespective of the degree to which the three stories are interwoven, this is a work of audacious originality, vicious humor and balls to the wall strangeness, giving the impression there are few places the director won’t go. That includes places of darkness, perversity and mutilation not for the squeamish, but there’s a counterbalancing lightness to Kinds of Kindness that serves the material well.”

Searchlight releases the film in June 21.

As for her previous work with Lanthamos, Stone admitted that the only character in her career she’s had trouble letting go of was Poor Things protagonsit Bella. Said Stone: “I don’t think I should revisit her, probably. It doesn’t make any sense. That was the character I was devastated to let go of.”

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