Emma Stone Defends Controversial Sex Scene in Bad Things

Emma Stone addresses negative reactions to graphic sex scenes in her latest film, Poor Things.

In this comedy fantasy film directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, Emma plays Bella Baxter, a Victorian-era London woman raised from the dead by a scientist who swapped her brain for that of a baby.

Bella then hooks up with an unscrupulous lawyer, with whom she becomes sexually liberated.

In a new interview with BBC Radio 4’s Front Row this week, the Oscar winner defended risque moments in the film, including a masturbation visual, after presenter Samira Ahmed called the scene “quite graphic” and “unusual” to watch “right now in Hollywood” .

“(Sex) is definitely a big part of the experience and growth, I think, for most people in life. But I see it as just one aspect of many: his discovery of food, philosophy, travel, and dance. Sex is another aspect,” Emma said of her character.

She added: “One of the things we’ve talked about from the beginning, and I think is really important, is that Bella is completely free and unashamed about her body. He didn’t know whether to be ashamed of these things or cover them up or not dive into the experience fully in any case.

Emma won a Golden Globe for her performance in Poor Things earlier this monthEmma won a Golden Globe for her performance in Poor Things earlier this month

Rich Polk/Golden Globes 2024 via Getty Images

Emma later explained that removing controversial scenes from the film felt disingenuous.

“So if the camera avoids that, or says, ‘Okay, we’re stopping all this because our society functions a certain way’…it feels like a lack of honesty about who’s doing that. “That Bella,” he continued.

Doubling down on the importance of the scene, Emma added that she is “not someone who just wants to be naked all the time.”

“But I am someone who wants to honor the character as much as possible. It’s part of the journey, so who am I to say it’s embarrassing?” said the actor.

Poor Things, which awarded Emma Best Performance by a Female Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy at this month’s Golden Globes, caused a stir on social media upon its release.

Here’s what moviegoers on X (formerly Twitter) thought about the film’s sex scenes.

Thought emma stone was amazing in the bad stuff but I really hated that movie – a completely indulgent male fantasy wrapped up as an arthouse movie also hate hate hate how it depicts sex work

— sarah (@sarahmulgrewxo) January 16, 2024

bad stuff is great but it seems like people are acting like a very messed up movie?? it’s a woman enjoying herself having sex hello.

— kie (@pharbecue) January 17, 2024

I want to watch Poor Things but I don’t think I can get past the whole baby brain in the body of a grown woman having sex

— Lana Del Taco❤️ (@EdithPuthie445) January 14, 2024

(Poor thing) it’s been a few days but this is still bothering me. Did anyone find it strange how long the sex scene in front of the two boys lasted? If the goal is to demonstrate that the job is undesirable, there are other (or shorter) ways to do it. pic.twitter.com/DDM9SseTmZ

— ᖭི༏ᖫྀ } Danonator (EMMYS 🏆) { ᖭི༏ᖫྀ (@Dan0nat0r) January 16, 2024

(Poor guy) liked the movie but can someone explain why it’s okay for him to have sex when he’s said to have the brain + consciousness of a toddler/small child? Not even reaching maturity, a baby brain has literally been implanted in his mind and it’s not more than a few years old pic.twitter.com/l5rlJWpVSx

— ᖭི༏ᖫྀ } Danonator (EMMYS 🏆) { ᖭི༏ᖫྀ (@Dan0nat0r) January 15, 2024

Poor Things is one of the scariest films ever. Emma Stone is Frankenstein, so newly born/created. He is a child in a woman’s body having sex. This film glorifies that innocence.

— Dominic Gallagher (@DominicGalla7) January 15, 2024

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