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Ceci Dempsey is no stranger to how director Yorgos Lanthimos’ mind works on set, having teamed up with him for The Lobster (2016) and his latest The Favourite, starring Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz and Olivia Colman and set to open Nov. 23.
“He has a very particular, contained view. And he reserves it and conserves it, deliberately. He’s very intuitive on every level. Casting, yes. Even hiring the department, it’s all the same process,” Dempsey told The Hollywood Reporter Producer Roundtable. “You’re not going to talk him into anything ever, ever, ever, ever. Once you accept that, you have to intuit or inhale what he wants, but he’s got a very particular contained view and you just need to go with it.”
The producer added, “You have to get into his head space. That’s the way it’s done.”
The Favourite could be considered an “oddball take on Queen Anne,” Dempsey said, but she countered, “It was this crazy ride that you go on with him, which is incredibly original.”
Dempsey added of Lanthimos, “He got into it. He’s got this amazing almost alchemy where he’s throwing all this stuff at you, and you’re thinking, ‘This is insane. It’s just bizarre, but it’s also very emotional.’ Somehow he gets under your skin.”
The producer also discussed encountering problems on set that “happen out of the blue,” including having to change one major scene in the beginning of the film from an “aggressive” cockfight to a “witty and silly” duck race.
“You think it’s unsolvable and it’s going to ruin the entire movie and it’s terrible, and in fact it made the film much better — but you can never anticipate what that’s going to be,” Dempsey said.
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