Rian Johnson has been generating buzz for days with the cast announcements for “Knives Out 2” (Daniel Craig, Edward Norton, Kate Hudson, Janelle Monae, Dave Bautista, etc.), but he’s not the only filmmaker assembling a dream ensemble. Enter “Poor Things,” the new movie from “The Lobster” and “The Favourite” visionary Yorgos Lanthimos. Variety confirms Jerrod Carmichael is the latest addition to the “Poor Things” cast, which already includes Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe, Mark Ruffalo, and Ramy Youssef.
“Poor Things” is set in Victorian-era England and is being described as a riff on the classic Frankenstein story. Stone, reuniting with Lanthimos after “The Favourite,” plays a young woman named Belle Baxter who is brought back to life by an eccentric and brilliant scientist, Dr. Godwin Baxter (Dafoe). That’s the only official plot details being released at this time, although the plot is being teased as “a story of love, discovery and scientific daring, featuring Youssef as Max McCandless, Ruffalo as Duncan Wedderburn, and Carmichael as Harry Astley.”
The “Poor Things” script is written by Tony McNamara, currently showrunner of “The Great” and an Oscar nominee thanks to his role as co-writer on Lanthimos’ “The Favourite.” According to Collider, the screenplay is based on a book from Scottish author Alasdair Gray. In the novel, the character Victoria Blessington drowns herself to escape her abusive husband and is resurrected as Belle Baxter, a “beautiful, volatile erotomaniac brought back to life with the brain of an infant.”
“Poor Things” will mark the second collaboration between Lanthimos and Stone, who was Oscar nominated for Best Supporting Actress for “The Favourite,” and the third pairing between Stone and McNamara, as the writer also co-penned the upcoming “Cruella.” The new film has the backing of Searchlight, Element Pictures, and Film4. Searchlight Pictures released “The Favourite” to $34 million in the U.S. and $95 million worldwide, plus 10 Oscar nominations (including Best Picture and Best Director).
Dafoe, Ruffalo, Youssef, and Carmichael will all be making their Lanthimos debuts with “Poor Things.” Carmichael started the year in a big way with the Sundance premiere of his feature directorial debut “On the Count of Three,” which got picked up by Annapurna. Youssef, meanwhile, is currently working on the third season of his Hulu series “Ramy,” while Dafoe has Robert Eggers’ “The Northman” on the calendar for April 2022.