poor things

Jerrod Carmichael is going to be in a Yorgos Lanthimos movie. That’s a sentence you don’t read everyday, nor one you’d likely expect to read, if you know of Carmichael for his work as a stand-up comedian and comedy actor, and if you know of Lanthimos’ particularly cruel style of filmmaking seen in such movies as The Favourite and The Lobster. But Carmichael has been cast in Lanthimos’ adaptation of Poor Things, which already stars acting heavyweights such as Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe, and Mark Ruffalo.

Variety reports that Carmichael has joined the cast of Poor Things, the upcoming Victorian-set film directed by Yorgos Lanthimos starring Emma Stone as “a young woman named Belle Baxter who is brought back to life by an eccentric and brilliant scientist, Dr. Godwin Baxter (Dafoe).”

Based on Alasdair Grey’s novel of the same name, Poor Things is described as a story with a “Frankenstein-esque bent” with a focus on “love, discovery and scientific daring.” Ruffalo stars as Duncan Wedderburn, while Ramy Youssef (Hulu’s Ramy) is Max McCandless. It’s not reported who Carmichael will be playing.

Carmichael might seem like a slightly left-field choice for a Lanthimos film, which are generally very dark, though with a vein of dark humor as seen in the Greek director’s 2018’s movie The Favourite. Carmichael’s casting might suggest a similarly dark comedic tone in Poor Things. Youssef also comes from the comedy side, creating and starring in Hulu’s Emmy-nominated comedy series Ramy, which Carmichael executive produces. But Carmichael has been making a significant shift lately, making his feature directorial debut with the stylish Sundance dark comedy On the Count of Three, in which he also starred. So perhaps his casting is not as left-field as one would expect.

Poor Things is directed and produced by Lanthimos with a script written by his Oscar-nominated The Favourite collaborator Tony McNamara, who is also behind Hulu’s pretty great The Great. The project is set up at Searchlight Pictures, which also distributed The Favourite. Production on the project is set to begin this year, with a 2022 release date likely. In addition to starring, Stone is also producing. Ed Guiney and Andrew Lowe from Element Pictures, Film4, and Lanthimos will also produce.

Here’s the synopsis for the Poor Things novel:

Ostensibly the memoirs of late-19th-century Glasgow physician Archibald McCandless, the narrative follows the bizarre life of oversexed, volatile Bella Baxter, an emancipated woman, and a female Frankenstein. Bella is not her real name; as Victorian Blessington, she drowned herself to escape her abusive husband, but a surgeon removed the brain from the fetus she was carrying and placed it in her skull, resuscitating her. The revived Bella has the mental age of a child. Engaged to marry McCandless, she chloroforms him and runs off with a shady lawyer who takes her on a whirlwind adventure, hopping from Alexandria to Odessa to a Parisian brothel. As her brain matures, Bella develops a social conscience, but her rescheduled nuptials to Archie are cut short when she is recognized as Victoria by her lawful husband, Gen. Sir Aubrey Blessington.

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