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Emma Stone in Athens: “A Great Gift” to Work with Yorgos Lanthimos

Emma Stone Lanthimos
Emma Stone and Yorgos Lanthimos at the press conference for the new film in Athens: Credit: AMNA

At a press conference in Athens on Thursday, Oscar-winning actor Emma Stone said it was “a great gift” to work with Greek internationally acclaimed director Yorgos Lanthimos.

Stone was in Athens for the presentation of the Oscar-winning director’s film “Bleat,” or “Vlichi” in Greek, commissioned by the Greek National Opera (GNO) and NEON for the program “The Artist on the Composer,” which involves live performances of music.

Also starring French actor Damien Bonnard and filmed on Tinos island in February 2020, the film will have its global premiere on May 6th through May 8th at the Opera, located at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation’s Cultural Center (SNFCC) south of Athens.

It is the third Lanthimos film Emma Stone has worked on, and the fact it would be directed in Greece was an added incentive, she said.

Emma Stone: The film was a challenge

“I don’t know if it’s the hardest project I’ve ever done, but it was definitely a challenge. I could talk for hours about the things I like in working with Yorgos,” she noted, adding she trusted him fully because he looks after all details.

Emma Stone and Yorgos Lanthimos
Emma Stone and Yorgos Lanthimos at the press conference for the new film in Athens: Credit: AMNA

Lanthimos: We tell a story without words

Lanthimos said that in creating the film he was interested in “returning to an earlier state of film and the arts in general, when [films] were silent and black and white. It was a chance to tell a story without words, to begin from scratch and find out how this could be combined with other arts.”

Referring to his collaboration with Stone, he said it’s very rare to find people to work with so well.

He said that during his collaboration with Opera Artistic Director Giorgos Koumendakis, “I was thinking of the story and accepting music proposals by Giorgos Koumendakis, and discussing how they could work out. It wasn’t a logical process—rather [one] based on instinct, I’d say.”

The film, he said, came out differently from what he initially had in mind. The film, he noted, is meant to be seen live with an audience and live music accompanying it rather than at a home screening. The music accompanying the screenings is provided by GNO musicians and the chorus of the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation.

The GNO’s participation in the co-production is made possible by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) to enhance the Opera’s artistic outreach.

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