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Poor Things - What We Know So Far

Active as a director since the mid-'90s, Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos made his feature-length directing debut in 2001 with "My Best Friend" before going on to helm 2009's "Dogtooth," 2015's "The Lobster," and 2017's "The Killing of a Sacred Deer." However, Lanthimos broke out with his 2018 black comedy period piece "The Favourite." Co-written by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara, the film stars Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, and Rachel Weisz. "The Favourite" earned 10 Academy Award nominations, with Colman winning the best actress Oscar (via The Guardian).

"The Favourite" (and all of its post-release success) sure seems like a hard act to follow, but Lanthimos has a new film in the works for Searchlight Pictures and Film4 that could top it. The upcoming project is titled "Poor Things" and is based on the 1992 novel of the same name by Scottish author Alasdair Gray, as reported by Deadline. The project will involve a few key members of "The Favourite" team reuniting with Lanthimos on the project. First, McNamara will pen the screenplay adapted from Gray's novel. Also, "The Favourite" alum Emma Stone will star in the movie and produce via her production banner Fruit Tree (via Collider).

Here's what else we know about Lanthimos' next film, including release date, cast, and plot.

When is the release date of Poor Things?

As of now, there is no official release date announced for "Poor Things." However, IMDb does have the release date listed as 2022, which narrows it down a bit.

To speculate where the release date could land in the coming year, we can look to Lathimos's most recent film, "The Favourite." By March 2017, "The Favourite" was rounding out its cast, with Joe Alwyn joining Nicholas Hoult, Stone, Colman, and Weisz (via The Hollywood Reporter). Production wrapped a few months later, as IndieWire reported. Finally, the film premiered at the Venice Film Festival in September 2018, then received a wider theater release in November of 2018.

"Poor Things" is currently in the stage of rounding out its casting, with several names now attached to the project. Searchlight Pictures and Film4 will likely have awards season aspirations for the movie, too, considering this is Yorgos Lanthimos' feature-length follow-up to "The Favorite." Thus, going off of this information and the previous movie's timeline, we could see "Poor Things" released in late 2022 following a premiere at one or more fall film festivals.

Who is in the cast of Poor Things?

Emma Stone was the first star attached to "Poor Things." Her casting was revealed in February 2021 by Production Weekly (via The Film Stage). The Oscar-winning actress will play protagonist Belle Baxter. Recently, Stone starred in Disney's 2021 live-action origin film "Cruella" and has lined up new projects, including a sequel to "Cruella," the Showtime comedy series "The Curse" (via IMDb).

Following Stone's casting, several prominent names have been added to the "Poor Things" roster. Willem Dafoe was cast in March 2021 (via Deadline). The veteran actor — who notably portrayed Norman Osborn, aka the Green Goblin, in 2002's "Spider-Man" — has recently starred in 2019's "The Lighthouse" and Wes Anderson's upcoming pic "The French Dispatch." Details on Dafoe's role were not reported in March, but the "Poor Things" IMDb page reveals he will play Dr. Godwin Baxter, the man who reanimates Stone's character.

Ramy Youssef was added just one month after Dafoe, per Deadline. Youssef is known for creating and starring in the Hulu series "Ramy." Although he's previously appeared in two feature-length films, "Poor Things" will be Youssef's first major film role (per IMDb). Similar to Dafoe, information on Youssef's character was scant back in April. However, he's credited as "Max McCandless" on the movie's IMDb cast page, teasing the possibility he could play the awful husband of Belle Baxter (in Gray's book, the character's name is Archibald McCandless). 

Then, MCU star Mark Ruffalo joined the project in May 2021 (via The Wrap). As of September 2021, Christopher Abbott is the most recent addition to the cast (via Deadline). An alum of HBO's "Girls," Abbott appeared alongside George Clooney in the Hulu series "Catch-22" and starred in a string of indie films, including trippy 2020 releases "Black Bear" and "Possessor" (via IMDb).

What is the plot of Poor Things?

The Film Stage's February 2021 report describes "Poor Things" as a "Frankenstein reimagining," which is echoed on the Goodreads page for Alasdair Gray's 1992 book. From these two sources, we know "Poor Things" is set in the Victorian era and centers its story on Victoria McCandless, a free-spirited, highly sensual woman who drowns herself to escape her abusive husband. In the aftermath, she is brought back to life by an eccentric scientist named Godwin Baxter. He replaces her brain with the brain of her unborn child and changes Victoria's name to Bella Baxter. Godwin finds his scientific dreams fulfilled through Bella but must deal with the complications of Bella's jealous husband learning about her existence. Goodreads concludes the description by saying, "'Poor Things' is a hilarious political allegory and a thought-provoking duel between the desires of men and the independence of women."

It's currently unknown how closely the film adaptation will stick to its source material, but it is clear is that there is much to work with, thanks to Gray's novel. We can't wait to see how this strange and compelling adaptation of "Poor Things" will play out on screen.