Home Hollywood Emma Stone Shocked By “How Many Agents You Have to Talk To” As ‘Poor Things’ Producer

Emma Stone Shocked By “How Many Agents You Have to Talk To” As ‘Poor Things’ Producer

Emma Stone Shocked By “How Many Agents You Have to Talk To” As ‘Poor Things’ Producer


Producers for nine of the 10 nominees for Outstanding Producer of a Motion Picture at the PGA Awards spoke at a breakfast panel about their films Saturday.

Emma Stone called herself the newest producer on a panel that included Oppenheimer producer Charles Roven, Past Lives producer Christine Vachon and The Holdovers producer Mark Johnson. Stone’s first producer credit was the 2018 Netflix series Maniac.

Producing Poor Things, in which she stars as a woman created from a reanimated body, Stone said what surprised her the most about producing was “how many agents you have to talk to. Whoa, it is very interesting to be on the other side of it now. It’s a lot. Agents are great, but whew.”

Vachon backed Stone up from her experience, which includes Go Fish and Kids. In her context, Vachon said she liked producing films for first time directors like Past Lives’s Celine Song, because they provide a counterpoint to some of the negatives of the industry grind.

“Usually a first-time director is telling the story they’ve waited their whole lives to tell,” Vachon said. “It is impossible to be cynical on that set. I really feel like cynicism is one of the No. 1 creativity killers. It’s very hard in this business to avoid for obvious reasons, i.e. agents, etc.”

As producer of Barbie, Margot Robbie had unique negotiations with Mattel, the toy company that produces Barbie dolls. Robbie said Mattel and studio Warner Bros. were uncomfortable with aspects of Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach’s script. Robbie said she and her fellow producers went page by page with all parties involved to fight for the film, which became the year’s biggest box office hit.

Robbie plays Stereotypical Barbie, based on the most common blonde iteration of the doll. Robbie said Mattel objected to the term until she explained Stereotypical Barbie’s visit to the real world, learning about the patriarchy and sexism, and growth as a woman.

“Okay, I understand why you don’t like the word Stereotypical Barbie,” Robbie recalled of conversations with Mattel. “But if she doesn’t call herself Stereotypical, what journey does she go on by the end of the film?”

Robbie said she could be more vague about other issues, like the the Kens having a “beach off.” Robbie said Mattel was uncomfortable with the sexual connotations, but she insisted they were not “beating off.”

“There’d be other things like, ‘When they say beach off, when they beach each other off, what does that mean?’” Robbie said. “We’d say, ‘What do you think that means? They like the beach, I don’t know. It could just be one of those funny things.’ Or it could be something like ending the movie on the gynecologist line. Days before we picture locked that was still a fight.”

Bradley Cooper was also on the panel as the producer of Maestro, which he directed and starred in as Leonard Bernstein. Cooper joked that working with the director was difficult, but got serious about finding a home for the movie. Netflix ultimately produced the film after every theatrical studio turned it down.

“I don’t take anything personally,” Cooper said. “It’s business, man.”

Stone was also asked how she as a producer protected herself as an actor. Poor Things explores Bella Baxter’s (Stone) sexual awakening in many nude love scenes. However, Stone said those were “the easiest part,” thanks to the film’s intimacy coordinator and closed sets.

“Those were quick,” Stone said. “We knew exactly what we were doing. Figuring out how to walk, or eat 60 Portuguese tarts, which at first bite are really delicious, but by the end you really want to puke, her seeing death and decay was much more challenging than the nudity, which is the only thing people seem to want to ask me about. I get it. It’s provocative.”

The panel also included American Fiction producer Ben LeClair, Killers of the Flower Moon producer Daniel Lupi, and The Zone of Interest producer James Wilson. Producers for Anatomy of a Fall were unavailable, as they had attended the Cesar Awards. The PGA Awards will be announced Sunday night.

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