How Yorgos Lanthimos Found His Creative Soulmate in Emma Stone | Features | LIVING LIFE FEARLESS

How Yorgos Lanthimos Found His Creative Soulmate in Emma Stone

Emma Stone and Yorgos Lanthimos have teamed up yet again for a new creative endeavor entitled Kinds of Kindness, which is going to be released in theaters in June. Fresh from her second Oscar win, the actress is making her return to the big screen along with her ultimate partner, in a contemporary anthology composed of three different stories set in the United States.

Apparently, Hollywood has found a new artistic couple destined to churn out one success after another. A visionary, non-conformist director from Athens and an eclectic American actress fresh from her second Academy Award win seem to have struck an alchemy that is somehow reminiscent of the artistic partnership between Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter, or the one between the Coen brothers and Frances McDormand.

Kinds of Kindness will have its world premiere at the 77th Cannes Film Festival this month. So, now, without further ado, we would like to take some time to examine how this budding partnership between Lanthimos and Stone came to life and how it is defining the successful progression of both their artistic paths – let’s dive into it!

A Triumph of Creative Collaboration

Lanthimos and Stone spent a significant amount of time together in the last few years. In 2018, Stone took on a key role in Lanthimos’s The Favourite as a scheming, aspiring aristocrat. Later, they teamed up for Bleat, a surreal black-and-white short film shot in Greece, which required a live orchestra for the few screenings the film had around the country. Following that experience, they collaborated on Poor Things, an audacious feminist adaptation of Alasdair Gray’s 1992 novel, which earned the American actress a second Academy Award.

But what made this collaboration work so well? “I think during and after The Favourite, there was that kind of realization that we really loved working with each other and we get along in life, too, as friends. And that we’d love to just keep doing stuff together,” the director said to Vulture. So, we are looking at a bond, a relational alchemy that goes beyond a professional agreement. Yet, this cannot be the only reason, as we are talking about two top-notch professionals.

In fact, under Lanthimos’s direction, Stone becomes a physical comedian, a clever deceiver, something that she wouldn’t have imagined to become while filming Easy A or La La Land. This redefined version of herself wouldn’t even be possible if she didn’t have a full-blown trust in her creative partner. And, as a matter of fact, Lanthimos manages to foster this trust through an unconventional rehearsal process reminiscent of improv comedy.

He admitted, on several occasions, that rather than simply acting out scenes, his actors engage in activities like walking backward, or even closing their eyes while reciting lines outside. For Lanthimos, it’s essential to create a sense of camaraderie and fun among his actors, allowing them to get to know each other and feel comfortable enough to embrace self-mockery. That’s also why his films turn out to be so original and eccentric.

The Right Ingredients

There are plenty of actor-director partnerships that ended up establishing lasting collaborations in Hollywood. In many of these cases, directors required actors to deviate from their familiar personas on the screen and redefine themselves. Yet, while working with Lanthimos, Stone hasn’t needed to abandon her comedic timing, or innate empathy. She creatively employed these strengths in unprecedented ways, shaped by her director’s unique perspective.

Yorgos Lanthimos’ distinct directorial style, often characterized by its unconventional storytelling and dark humor, aligned with Emma Stone’s versatility and ability to inhabit complex characters. What they share is, in fact, a profound comprehension of human psychology and how this reflects on the body. Their collaboration also benefits from a strong affinity and effective communication on and off the set, which allow them to explore challenging themes and push artistic boundaries together.

In conclusion, empathy, dark humor, social consciousness, and a little bit of good levity, are the right ingredients that made these creative soulmates work so well together. In some ways, they are reminiscent of Bella and Dr. Godwin from Poor Things: Emma has essentially agreed to free her mind and body, ignoring how she’s expected to behave in the industry. Once she did that, she grew fast, powerful and beautiful, showing all her loyalty to her creative soulmate.

Damaged City Festival 2019 | Photos | LIVING LIFE FEARLESS

CULTURE (counter, pop, and otherwise) and the people who shape it.

Damaged City Festival 2019 | Photos | LIVING LIFE FEARLESS

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