Why Poor Things And Maestro’s Six-Year Development Span Was ‘A Huge Gift,’ According To Emma Stone

We here at CinemaBlend think Poor Things is one of the best movies of 2023. While there are many different elements to credit for the film’s success, like Emma Stone’s performance, its production lifespan is one of the more unexpected ones. So, in a recent interview, the Easy A actress engaged in a conversation with Maestro star and director Bradley Cooper, and they delved into the intricacies of their 2023 movie releases, shedding light on the significance of the six-year development span for both projects, describing it as a “huge gift.”

During a candid and heartfelt chat on Variety‘s Actors on Actors series, Bradley Cooper and Emma opened up about the intricate journey of bringing their passion projects to the big screen. They found it interesting that both films had kickstarted in 2017, eventually leading to a shared experience of a long period of creative gestation. The Help actress pointed out the unique aspect of living with a project for an extended period, even when not actively in the pre-production phase. She explained:

Obviously, I didn’t direct Poor Things. You were also writing, directing, producing. You were in every single facet of that experience. That’s so much to take on. But it is interesting that these projects began in 2017, and then we made them years later. For both of us, this lived in the same frame of time, where even when you’re not actively prepping, it’s weirdly working its way inside of you because you’re thinking about it so much. 

Director Yorgos Lanthimos’ book-to-screen adaptation of the Alasdair Gray novel reimagines the Frankenstein story, features Stone in a leading role, and early critical reviews are overwhelmingly positive. The actress totally transforms into her character Bella Baxter in the film, and as she said this was partly because she had the time to let the film work “its way inside” her.

Cooper, who went through a similar development process to play Leonard Bernstein in his film Meastro, then jumped in, describing this extended period as a “gift.” Stone readily agreed, delving into the mixed emotions it brought. She continued:

It’s a huge gift. And it’s also scary because you have so much time to think about everything that could go wrong or the ways that you could fuck this up — at least for me — when you love something so deeply. As you’ve said that you do with Leonard. 

The Curse star plays the main character Bella Baxter, a young woman brought back to life by the unconventional and brilliant scientist Dr. Godwin Baxter (played by Willem Dafoe) and given the brain of a toddler. Bella then embarks on a journey of self-discovery after leaving her home. Since she is still in the early stages of development and growing up, she has no filter and behaves and speaks like a child, leading to some hilarious lines. Interestingly, one of the funniest lines in the movie came from an actual 2-year-old.

Although labeled as a Frankenstein story, her film extends far beyond its genre boundaries, as our review of Poor Things says. Packed with humor, heartfelt moments, and a touch of whimsy, many are hailing it as one of Emma Stone’s best movies. The early buzz even hints at her possibly securing a second Oscar win with this film.

Cooper’s performance and direction in Maestro have also been praised. And he’s spoken in-depth about the process of figuring out how to tell Leonard Bernstein’s story throughout the long development process. 

I am glad that the two Hollywood heavyweights had the extended time to develop and produce their movies. If they had been rushed, we might not have had the opportunity to witness Emma Stone’s tour de force performance. 

If you want to catch Stone’s brilliant portrayal of Bella Baxter in Poor Things, you can watch it in theaters now. Bradley Cooper’s Maestro is now available to stream with a Netflix subscription


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