Poor Things Cast & Character Guide

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Acclaimed Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos’ (Dogtooth, The Lobster, Killing of a Sacred Deer) latest, Poor Things, made its debut at the 80th Venice International Film Festival on September 1, 2023, where it won the coveted Golden Lion award. Since then, the movie has won various awards for the cast and crew during its festival run before its theatrical release on December 8, 2023, and a nationwide release date on December 22, 2023.

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Written by Tony McNamara (The Favourite, Cruella), and based on the 1992 novel of the same name by Scottish writer and artist Alasdair Gray, Poor Things follows a young woman, Bella (Emma Stone), who is resurrected by scientist Dr. Godwin Baxter (Willem Dafoe). The following is a journey of self-discovery and liberation as Bella heads out into the real world at the request of her friend Harry Astley (Jerrod Carmichael) and a chance meeting with a corrupt lawyer, Duncan Wedderburn (Mark Ruffalo)​​​​​.

To celebrate the recent theatrical release of the outstanding dark comedy fantasy film, we will take a closer look at the cast behind Poor Things.

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Emma Stone as Bella Baxter

With an approach to acting described as “superbly smart, vulnerable, and intelligent,” Emma Stone has become a household name thanks to her roles in films such as La La Land, Easy A, The Help, and The Amazing Spider-Man. In addition, she has offered up one of the most iconic live-action Disney looks in the lead role of Cruella. Still, her most accomplished role comes from the musical La La Land, where she picked up an Academy Award for Best Actress, a Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA Award, and a SAG Award for her role as Mia.

Emma Stone plays Bella Baxter in Yorgos Lanthimos’ Poor Things. Bella Baxter is a young Victorian woman brought back to life by an eccentric scientist, Dr. Godwin Baxter. Upon her resurrection, she struggles with her newfound life, including tackling the gender-based constraints of the era. Her meeting with a sleazy lawyer who sweeps her away from her idle existence marks the start of a journey of sexual awakening and self-discovery.

Mark Ruffalo as Duncan Wedderburn

Mark Ruffalo’s ability to thrive in comedic and dramatic roles has kept him in demand as an actor, and he has been recognized for his abilities, including Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony nominations and wins. Ruffalo is best known for his role as Bruce Banner (The Hulk) in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but he also has notable credits in Spotlight, Normal Heart, and Foxcatcher, to name but a few.

Mark Ruffalo plays the described ‘debauched lawyer’ Duncan Wedderburn. Webberburn catalyzes Emma Stone’s Bella to head out into the world after he takes her on a globetrotting adventure. Ruffalo’s character is seen as a greedy opportunist, using his connection as Dr. Godwin Baxter’s lawyer to have the newly reanimated Bella join him on an adventure of carnal fantasies.

Willem Dafoe as Dr. Godwin Baxter

Willem Dafoe is one of the most recognizable actors of his generation, with an utterly impressive filmography working with a wide range of the greatest directors of all time. A multiple-award winner with a diverse skillset, Dafoe is best known for his performances in Robert Eggers’ The Lighthouse, Spider-Man, and Antichrist, which are just a few of his massive 140+ acting credits sprinkled with iconic and award-winning performances.

Related: Robert Eggers: Explaining the Endings of His Films

Willem Dafoe plays the role of a brilliant yet troubled scientist named Dr. Godwin Baxter in Good Things. Baxter is the one who discovers and resurrects Bella, acting as a father figure of sorts before letting her leave after realizing he cannot combat her desire to head out and explore the world alongside Duncan Wedderburn​​​​​.

Ramy Youssef as Max McCandles

Ramy Youssef is an American stand-up comedian, actor, screenwriter, and director who came to the notice of many with his show Ramy, where he played an exaggerated version of himself. The show would win him a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Television Series Musical or Comedy. His role in Poor Things marks his first significant screen role. Max McCandles is depicted as a hopeful young doctor trying to make a name for himself and rise out of poverty. He looks at Dr. Godwin Baxter for guidance and a means to advance his abilities.

Related: The 12 Best Dark Fantasy Movies of All Time

Jerrod Carmichael as Harry Astley

Jerrord Carmicheal as Harry Astley in Poor Things
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Jerrod Carmichael is an American stand-up comedian, actor, writer, and filmmaker best known for his work on his TV show The Carmichael Show and the three stand-up specials released on HBO. His recent directorial debut, 2021’s On The Count of Three, alongside actor Christopher Abbott, saw him in the lead role. Jerrod Carmichael plays the role of Harry Astley in Poor Things, a friend and confidant to Bella, who encourages her to explore the world and find herself.

Additional Cast

Poor Things also boasts an impressive supporting cast, including Cristopher Abbott, best known for his roles in A24’s It Comes at Night and Brandon Cronenberg’s Possessor; Margaret Qualley of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood fame; and accomplished theater actor Kathryn Hunter. The entire supporting cast is listed below.

  • Christopher Abbott as Alfie Blessington
  • Margaret Qualley as Felicity
  • Kathryn Hunter as Madame Swiney
  • Suzy Bemba as Toinette
  • Hanna Schygulla as Martha Von Kurtzroc
  • Vicki Pepperdine as Mrs. Prim
  • Wayne Brett as Priest
  • Tom Stourton as Steward
  • Carminho as Fado Singing Woman
  • Jerskin Fendrix as Lisbon Restaurant Musician

Yorgos Lanthimos’s Poor Things is currently in theaters and is anticipated to be available on Hulu at a later date. You can view the trailer below.

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