Love them or hate them – they tend to cause strong reactions – The Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos’s film has always shown resistance to arrogance and resistance to easy classification.
Lanthimos’ breakthrough in 2009, “Dog’s Teeth”, won an Oscar-nominated foreign language, is a dark portrait, a family takes family education to a strange extreme. The 2011 “Lobster” is a dystopian comedy where a single person can find a romantic partner within 45 days to avoid becoming an animal. The 2017 psychological thriller “Kill a Sacred Deer” centered on a cardiac surgeon and his family became a victim of mysterious illness after being cursed by a disturbed teenage boy. (You know, this kind of movie.)
Although Lanthimos’ latest movie, Gonzo’s movie “Favorite” may be the easiest to get to date – and, from the warm early reaction of the Venice and Telluride Film Festival, the Fox Searchlight release expires. Equally ridiculously strange and distorted will open on November 23 to get a strong award.
This film is centered on the court of the 18th century Queen Anne (Olivia Coleman) and is increasingly vicious and sexually active between the two scheming cousins of Rachel Wiss and Emma Stone. Power struggles are centered as they compete for the favor of the Queen of mood swings. Oscar forecasters have predicted that all three actresses will participate as the award season begins.
On the morning after the film’s first screening in Telluride, The Times interviewed Lanthimos and Stone about the tradition of subverting the age drama, the joy of wearing a corset, and why you shouldn’t hold Lanthimos to make a superhero movie.
You usually watch a costume drama that looks like a movie, and usually doesn’t include slow-motion duck games or scenes shot through fisheye lenses or dirty language. Part of the appeal of this movie, can you take this sometimes stuffy type and open it?
Lanthimos: At first I was only interested in this story, but apart from that, this is a period movie and I have not made a part of it. I think it would be interesting to try to do something a bit like this type of distortion. What will happen. This is definitely part of it.
Stone: I just like this script, I like it is a unique version of the 1705 story collection. [To Lanthimos] Is it 1705? I have always said this.
Lanthimos: Somewhere. Don’t be specific.
Stone: But I like to be specific.
Lanthimos: Yes, but we don’t like this movie. We have taken a lot of freedom in this story.
Stone: [simulated horror] What do we have? Oh no! I told everyone that this is actually accurate in history! This will be the movie they will show in history class!
Emma, what are your expectations for Yorgos’ work after seeing his early films?
Stone: Well, I think I saw “Dogtooth” before meeting him, but if I remember correctly, I saw “lobster”. So when I sat down with him, I thought he would become a mentally ill person. [Laughs] I thought, “Oh my God, this will be terrible.”
Then we sat down, he was so normal and sweet, which was very confusing for me. I just want to see what it will look like. It is a combination of the two: sweet and scary. In short, this is you.
Yorgos, your movies are very different, but they seem to share a topic about how power dynamics are distorted in relationships. Is this just what I am trying to find a thread or do you see a straight line?
Lanthimos: I really don’t think so about my work. I don’t take a step back, try to analyze it, try to think about similarities and those things. this is for you. But obviously I am the same person who makes them, so you can’t get rid of certain ideas, forcing ideas, dealing with certain things – at the same time, you are trying different things instead of repeating the exact same thing.
I just want to make progress with every movie I make and it gets better. Then you improved some things and other things falling apart, which worked well the previous time. Trying to balance all these different things is a tireless endeavor.
Watching this movie is about a movie filled with royal courts that are good at power and influence. This movie has an impact on leaders who are prone to unpredictable outbreaks. I think some people will be reminded of the White House. Daily drama. When you made it, is that in your mind?
Stone: We met before we encountered anything. This has been nine years. So no one can guess what will happen.
Lanthimos: Yes, we think we are extreme. [laugh]
Stone: We don’t think this is a documentary!
To make a movie around three powerful central female characters, like this