Variety didn’t just get two Oscar-bait stars from off the street for the latest Actors on Actors conversation. Emma Stone and Bradley Cooper have history, having met on the set of 2008’s The Rocker. So when Bradley Cooper saw Poor Things and was completely “blown away” by it, “I called you and luckily you answered… there’s nothing like being able to communicate with someone you love when you’ve seen them create art like that,” he says. “I’ll never forget the FaceTime we had after I saw it.”
And when Stone gently roasts him for his hyperbolic reaction to a FaceTime, her old pal will push right back: “Just be here with me. Just take it. Just breathe and let me talk,” he jokingly admonishes, before adding: “I love you so dearly as a friend, but to see you soar as an artist in this film, it was really moving. Just your effortless abandon. I think I said this to you: There’s absolutely no one else who could have done that—like, ever.”
Two A-listers FaceTiming after seeing each other’s movies is modern Hollywood lore—perhaps some future generation’s Ryan Murphy will make a whole miniseries about it. Stone has some behind the scenes snippets to drop as well, by the way, recalling that before Maestro, “I remember having dinner at your house, and you were talking about Lenny and that idea for the opening shot. So to see that in the film years later, it was just so personally fulfilling to watch.” Years later, she brought her mom over to his house to watch a cut of the movie. (Both mother and daughter were “an absolute wreck by the middle of the film.”)
The conversation is not all Inside Hollywood’s Best Friendships (though there is a notable bit about Googling the plot of Poor Things that detours into an anecdote about Cooper’s daughter asking what happens after we die). They also talked about their years-long process of preparing to make these movies, both of which happened to begin when they were both coming off of other major projects (The Favourite for Stone and A Star Is Born for Cooper).
“[It] is interesting that these projects began in 2017, and then we made them years later. For both of us, this lived in the same frame of time, where even when you’re not actively prepping, it’s weirdly working its way inside of you because you’re thinking about it so much,” Stone reflects. “It’s a huge gift. And it’s also scary because you have so much time to think about everything that could go wrong or the ways that you could fuck this up—at least for me—when you love something so deeply. As you’ve said that you do with Leonard.”
In Cooper’s opinion, both of their experiences will affect the way they both act in the future: “What [Bella] demanded of you and what Lenny demanded of me, there’s no way it’s not going to translate. It’s impossible.”