Here’s a bit of news we had to re-read multiple times, just to make sure we were absorbing it properly: Director Yorgos Lanthimos will reteam with The Favourite star Emma Stone in a modern Frankenstein spin that will involve Stone having the brain of a fetus placed into her head. And they say that no one is making interesting cinema these days?
This film is entitled Poor Things, an adaptation of a 2002 novel by Scottish author Alasdair Gray. It would bring Stone back to work again with the much-lauded Lanthimos, known for his disturbing comedy dramas and genre movies like The Lobster and The Killing of a Sacred Deer. When it comes to Poor Things, though, it’s sort of difficult to focus on anything but the batshit nature of the premise.
To reiterate: According to the only information that has leaked about the film so far, Poor Things is about “a volatile, oversexed, emancipated woman and a female Frankenstein” named Bella Baxter (Stone), who kills herself in order to escape an abusive husband. Baxter is then revived by having the brain of her own unborn child placed into her head. Which is to say, “woah.” That is deeply disturbing on all kinds of levels, not the least because it presumably means Stone will be spending the rest of the film completely nonverbal and unable to do much of anything.
Frankly, it’s hard to see how such a concept could be stretched into a feature film, but Lanthimos also managed to make an incredible feature out a man being forced to fall in love or be transformed into a lobster—don’t count him out, is what we’re saying. Meanwhile, there’s still several other Frankenstein films in the work elsewhere, thanks to its public domain status. For A24, Sebastián Lelio is directing Bride with Scarlett Johansson, a modern film about a woman created to be the perfect wife. And Universal is still trudging along with the evolution of its former “Dark Universe” into smaller-budget horror films ‘ala The Invisible Man, and still have their own Bride of Frankenstein reboot of some sort on the docket.
If we’re making a bet, though, none of them will be weirder than whatever Lanthimos brings to the table.