Speaking at the Venice Film Film Festival winners’ press conference, Poor Things director Yorgos Lanthimos said he was “personally very disappointed” that his lead actress Emma Stone couldn’t be with him to enjoy the film’s Golden Lion win, but that he also “understands the cause”, referring to the SAG-AFTRA strike which has kept the actress away.
“I’m personally very disappointed she isn’t here,” the filmmaker said. “I of course understand the cause. There was so much love and time put into this film, that’s it’s a real shame Emma isn’t here. Hopefully soon enough she and the other actors and writer Tony McNamara will be able to join us.”
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Lanthimos added: “As soon as I mentioned this film to Emma, she immediately got very excited. That’s how she became a producer as well.”
Venice best actress winner Cailee Spaeny, who portrays Priscilla Presley in biopic Priscilla, said of her interactions with Elvis Presley’s wife: “We only met in person a few times, we had multiple phone calls. She was very generous with her time and she was a key part in how I played the role. I’m excited to win the award for the film and for her.”
Memory actor Peter Sarsgaard said of his best actor win: “I can’t imagine winning a more special award than this. A lot of other awards are given according to who your friends are. This is a film that speaks in a whisper and awards can help those types of films”.
Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Holland called on Europe to “wake up” to the issue of voiceless immigrants on the continent, which is the main theme of her new movie, which won her the special jury prize.
Poor Things, which also stars Willem Dafoe and Mark Ruffalo, is based on Alasdair Gray’s 1992 novel of the same name and follows Stone as Bella Baxter, a creation of the brilliant and unorthodox scientist played by Dafoe in an echo of Mary Shelley’s classic horror novel Frankenstein. Ruffalo plays a slick and debauched lawyer.
Dedicating the award to his lead actress, Lanthimos said earlier in the evening that Poor Things wouldn’t be the film it is “without Emma Stone: this film is her in front of and behind the camera.”
In the preceding jury press conference, jury head Damien Chazelle said: “We were all struck by the range of films, and the range of reactions to those films.” He described the jury’s discussions as “passionate, wide-ranging and fierce”.
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