Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein didn’t just help launch science-fiction as a genre; it remains one of pop culture’s most famous and influential stories. Now that iconic tale of a scientist’s attempt to create life is the inspiration for Yorgos Lanthimos’s new film. The director of The Lobster and The Favourite has teamed up once again with Academy Award-winner Emma Stone. And the first bizarre teaser trailer for Poor Things introduces her as the work of Willem Dafoe’s mad scientist.
That’s exactly the type of strange, stylish, slightly off-putting, totally enchanting teaser we’d expect from a Lanthimos movie. What exactly is going on here, though? And what does Mark Ruffalo and his mustache have to do with this steam punk-esque world? Here’s the Poor Things‘ official synopsis from Searchlight Pictures, which gives us a better idea of what this story is truly about:
From filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos and producer Emma Stone comes the incredible tale and fantastical evolution of Bella Baxter, a young woman brought back to life by the brilliant and unorthodox scientist Dr. Godwin Baxter. Under Baxter’s protection, Bella is eager to learn. Hungry for the worldliness she is lacking, Bella runs off with Duncan Wedderburn, a slick and debauched lawyer, on a whirlwind adventure across the continents. Free from the prejudices of her times, Bella grows steadfast in her purpose to stand for equality and liberation.
Naming the scientist who brings a dead body back to life as an entirely new person “Godwin” is really good. But “Duncan Wedderburn” is an amazing name. No wonder Bella will run off to explore the world with him in Poor Things. If that name was the first thing we learned in life, we’d follow it everywhere, too. All mad scientists, whether Dr. Frankenstein or Dr. Baxter, should keep that in mind when naming their own creations. A good name could keep the angry mobs off your back.
Poor Things also stars Ramy Youssef and Jerrod Carmichael, and Christopher Abbott. It comes to theaters this fall on September 8, 2023.