Cooper asked her what she did to prepare for such an odd role, and Stone laid it out:

“We went to Budapest for a monthlong rehearsal process with the other actors. And then we would have solo rehearsals with just [Lanthimos] and me where we would work on the walk for an entire day. I went into it being more literal than I needed to be, watching videos of a toddler learning to walk or how someone says their first words.”

The toddler videos, it turns out, gave Stone good ideas as to how to move, but she eventually concluded that she needed to develop a slightly different relationship to her movements than a toddler might. Ultimately, it was a creative process that could be invented from the ground up. Bella’s final movements are, one might notice, only about 40% toddler and 60% Stone’s and Lanthomos’ own creative caprices. She continued:

“Because [Bella is] in this fully formed, adult healthy body, her relationship to not knowing how to walk — it’s not even like you could compare it to someone who’s just been in an accident and is recovering and learning to walk. She’s completely fine. It’s just her brain that hasn’t caught up, which was great because there was nothing to compare it to.”

As the film progresses, Bella eventually learns to move more gracefully. Eventually, “Poor Things” emerges as a drama about a woman retaining mastery over her body in a world that always seeks to exploit or commodify it. Stone’s movements weren’t just a character choice but vital to the themes of the film.

“Poor Things” is currently playing in theaters.

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