STONE That still happens.
LANTHIMOS So that was quite a disappointment because I was very naïve in meeting people and them saying, “Oh my God, ‘Dogtooth’ is amazing, we want to do things with you.” And then I would produce “The Lobster”  and they would go, “Oh, no, no, we’re not talking about something like this. Don’t you want to do something more normal?”
Emma, how did Yorgos pitch this project to you?
STONE He gave me sort of the brass-tacks overview of Bella, what she goes through and what the men in her life experience as a response to how she’s evolving. And I was just like, “Sign me up.” My God, she’s the greatest character I’ll probably ever get to play.
What is it about this character that’s so beguiling?
LANTHIMOS She’s unlike anyone.
STONE She’s drinking up the world around her in such a unique and beautiful way that I just dream I could. I find her so inspiring, and living in that every day throughout that whole process was just the greatest gift — it’s the most joy I’ve ever gotten to have as a character. Every person that exists has so much that built them up to what they are in adulthood, and it was interesting to discover that if you strip all that away, all that’s left is joy and curiosity.
We meet Bella when she’s not far into her brain swap: Formerly an adult woman named Victoria Blessington, she’s now like a full-grown baby, impulsive and childlike. What was it like to embody that phase?
STONE Tough. That was the hardest stage for me, just because that’s where she’s at her most primitive. Acting is inherently embarrassing — this, as a job, is just silly and you can feel really stupid. Thankfully, with Yorgos, it’s much more freeing and I feel confident because we can quickly get to, “I guess this one’s not working, let’s go somewhere else.” Also, I can cry to him if I’m freaking out about something, which I have many times.
We’d been working on this for so many years, and to actually commit it to film is always terrifying. I find the first two weeks of filming anything really difficult because you’re still finding your footing and the tone of what it actually is in practice, not just the idea of it. So the first week was really challenging to just give myself over to it and trust the process of it, and I think you felt the same way.