‘Poor Things’ Team Returns With ‘KINDS OF KINDNESS’

Searchlight Pictures’ KINDS OF KINDNESS — which opens in limited release this Friday before a nationwide rollout on June 28 — reunites Oscar®-winner Emma Stone with director Yorgos Lanthimos for a trio of thematically connected stories within a single film.

The two have previously collaborated on Academy Award®-winning films The Favourite and Poor Things, both of which were distributed by Searchlight. Stone went on to win Best Actress at last year’s Academy Awards for Poor Things.

“There are so many things that we can just get on with, without having to analyze, discuss or argue about it,” Lanthimos said of working with Stone. “We also have this experience now and we can keep building on it, trying to go further each time we make something.”

A Triptych Fable

KINDS OF KINDNESS is a triptych fable, following a man without choice who tries to take control of his own life; a policeman who is alarmed that his wife who was missing-at-sea has returned and seems a different person; and a woman determined to find a specific someone with a special ability, who is destined to become a prodigious spiritual leader.

“One of the most exciting things about these stories is that people find that it reflects what’s going on within them,” Stone said of KINDS OF KINDNESS.

The idea for the film has taken on multiple narrative forms over the years, eventually evolving into an anthology.

“We had started out with one story, but as we were working on it, we thought that it might be interesting to make a film that has a different structure to what we had done before,” Lanthimos, who also co-wrote and co-produced the film, explained. “As we identified the subsequent stories, we wanted to keep a thematic thread, so it felt as if it all belonged under the same umbrella.”

During the writing process, Lanthimos sent the script to Stone, who was immediately fascinated by the project.

“I loved the script and how it developed into a triptych,” Stone said. “The stories weave together in a way that is not necessarily clear but capitalizes on what has come before. I thought the prospect was really exciting.”

There were challenges, as Lanthimos explains, specifically with time constraints — but he was excited about overcoming those hurdles to make the film.

“With a feature film that only has one story, the audience can engage more actively because there is room to think about what is happening and apply your own logic,” Lanthimos explained. “With an anthology, you bring whatever you’ve been thinking about from the first story into the next. It is more complex and more engaging. Different people identify different themes, which is a hugely interesting structure.”

“Weight Off Our Shoulders”

Having just completed principal photography on the four-time Academy Award-winning Poor Things, Lanthimos took advantage of the lengthy post-production process to move forward with KINDS OF KINDNESS.

While Lanthimos edited Poor Things, the producers of KINDS OF KINDNESS were able to pave the way past logistical constraints to ensure that the film could be shot on time and on budget.

The story also lent itself to a less complex production process compared to Lanthimos’ previous films which take place in different time periods. KINDS OF KINDNESS was filmed at existing locations, utilized natural light, and the actors were dressed in contemporary costumes.

“It was a huge weight off our shoulders, notwithstanding the other usual complications that come with filmmaking,” Lanthimos said of the film, as it didn’t have to rely on building large sets or extensive lighting. “It felt good to be able to go around and look at locations, not having to think that things need to be built from scratch.”

“In His Own Dimension”

“Yorgos is way off in his own dimension. I knew that this would be a completely isolated, standalone experience, as his films are,” Jesse Plemons, who stars in the film, said. “It hasn’t been what I expected, in the best way.”

Plemons — who won the Best Actor Award at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival for his performance in KINDS OF KINDNESS — is referring to the very unique tone and sense of humor that Lanthimos’ films take on.

For Stone, the humor of Lanthimos’ work is what excites her about his projects and is a reason that they’ve collaborated so often.

“Part of why I feel a deep connection to Yorgos and the things he makes is that nothing is straightforward,” Stone said. “Even the darkest moments have an inherent comedy in them.”

“Sometimes you just need to be ridiculous in order to achieve what we’re trying to achieve,” Lanthimos said.

KINDS OF KINDNESS was directed by Lanthimos, written by Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou, and stars Stone, Plemons, Willem Dafoe, Margaret Qualley, Hong Chau, Joe Alwyn, Mamoudou Athie, and Hunter Schafer. The film is produced by Ed Guiney, p.g.a., Andrew Lowe, p.g.a., Yorgos Lanthimos, p.g.a., Kasia Malipan, p.g.a.