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Emma Stone Explains Why She Couldn't Stop Laughing When She Fingered The Queen

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Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures

Talking with one of the stars of 'The Favourite'

Few people familiar with the recent work of director Yorgos Lanthimos would expect to leave a movie of his feeling anything other than oppressive despair, a general sense of mourning for our collective loss of innocence. Another common feeling: straight-up confusion—because, seriously, what the fuck happened in The Killing of a Sacred Deer?

Perhaps the overriding feeling though, when leaving a Lanthimos film, is one of having just been seduced, utterly enchanted by both the mesmerizing narrative contortions happening on-screen and the sumptuously, inventively shot characters and settings. This feeling of being mesmerized—if not always pleasantly so—dominates those other reactions, leaving departing viewers in something of a dreamy fugue state, unsure of what they just witnessed, but wishing they could linger within its framework for a little while longer.

Lanthimos' latest, The Favourite, is perhaps his dreamiest yet, and, most would agree, his least nightmare-ish (not that there aren't plenty of atrocious elements within it to be found), and thus the film in which you'd most like to linger. Starring three incredible actors at the top of their games—Olivia Colman, as Queen Anne; Rachel Weisz, as Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough; and Emma Stone, as Abigail Hill, later Lady Masham—The Favourite is an absurdist feast, visually stunning (if not historically accurate), with as much physical comedy as pitch-perfect verbal sparring.

Set toward the end of Queen Anne's reign, The Favourite has some historical basis; the Duchess of Marlborough was a close confidante and advisor to the queen, but seems to have been usurped by Lady Masham, an impoverished cousin of the Duchess, who rose quite unexpectedly to become Queen Anne's favorite during a politically tumultuous time. It's a story ripe for a reimagining, and that's exactly what Lanthimos and screenwriters Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara have done, notably by injecting humor and unflinching sexuality into the normally sedate realm of a period piece.

Stone, in particular, wields the twin blades of humor and sex to great effect, though, as she told me recently, she often burst into hysterics when playing a scene that was particularly inane. Stone explained that there was one specific point in filming during which she just couldn't stop herself from laughing, saying, "I blame Olivia—even though I love her so much. But [it was when] I had to finger the queen. We had to put a sponge between her legs, because it had to have movement, and we could not stop laughing, because I'm, like, squeezing a sponge and she's making sounds. And it's, like, a very close close-up on my face, but her face is off-camera, so she was like this"—here, Stone paused to contort her face in such a way that it was possible to see, in her wide-eyed features, the face of Olivia Colman as Queen Anne getting fingered, and it was all very special—"And we just kept cracking up, just because the circumstance was so ridiculous, like—the sponge. So that one was tough."

And yet, while this scene, and others—including a wedding-night hand-job that needs to be seen to be fully appreciated—are perfect examples of the seemingly lighter elements of the film, and are precisely what viewers will reference when noting how much more digestible this film is than Lanthimos' prior work, that doesn't mean that there isn't a truly dark, insidious undercurrent running through The Favourite.

And, that is perhaps what is most perverse of all about this film—it's not the fact that various members of the aristocracy are manually fucked by one another, but rather it's the ways in which it is possible to see how the most ordinary people are fucked a dozen different ways by those in power, and can only hope to get power for themselves by learning how to participate in these dirty games, get down under the covers and beneath the frilly skirts, so that they're in the dirt all together.

It's not exactly something to laugh at, or maybe it is. Maybe, since we're all fucked anyway, we might as well laugh so we don't cry—or get crushed by the perfectly shod foot that seems to hover indefinitely over our necks.

The Favourite is in theaters on November 23.

Screenshot via Youtube

While the song should serve as a reminder to your exes

Just a day after dropping new single "Nunya," featuring Dom Kennedy, Kehlani has released the winter-wonderland visuals to go along with. The singer, NYLON November cover star, and mother-to-be rocks some of the best winter 'fits I've seen in a while, including a glorious puffer jacket that could double as a down comforter that I absolutely need in my life right now.

Kehlani is clearly living her best life up in some snow-filled forest hideaway, vibing on the beach at sunset and sipping on something bubbly as she coolly reminds nosy exes that who she's with is "nunya business." There's not much of a story line (unlike her recent "Nights Like This" video); the main takeaway is that Kehlani is busy dancing through a forest, missing no one and chilling amongst people who are clearly not the subjects of the song.

Kehlani is only two short months away from bringing baby Adeya into the world, who she thanked for helping her get through the video process. "Shot that 7 months pregnant in da snow..." Kehlani wrote on Twitter, adding, "thank u baby for da motivation, mommy was FROZE."

Even from the womb, Adeya has been hustling hard alongside her momma. Twitter user @ODtheMC pointed out that this is already her second music video appearance, and she's not even been born.

Get some mulled wine ready and escape into Kehlani's winter getaway, below. Stay tuned for her forthcoming mixtape, While We Wait, out on February 22.

Kehlani - Nunya (feat. Dom Kennedy) [Official Music Video] www.youtube.com

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Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images.

As in Black Panther Political Party leader

It's been a running joke that the Black parents/grandparents of millennials were really confused about all of the Black Panther hoopla ahead of its 2018 release. Many of them were anticipating a movie about members of the Black Panther Political Party and didn't know who the hell T'Challa was. Well, those people are about to have their moment, and we're about to have another one.

Variety is reporting that Fred Hampton, the Black Panther leader at the center of the upcoming biopic Jesus Was My Homeboy, could be played by none other than Daniel Kaluuya. Apparently, he is in negotiations for the role. And he's not the only Black Panther alum in the mix. The Warner Bros. project is being produced by Black Panther director, Ryan Coogler. The same article reports that the forever swoon-worthy Lakeith Stanfield—who appeared with Kaluuya in Jordan Peele's Get Out—is also in negotiations, to play William O'Neal, an FBI informant who infiltrated the Black Panther Party.

Coogler and Charles King are putting together a dream cast to tell a difficult story. Hampton was killed by the Chicago Police Department, while his pregnant girlfriend lay next to him, thanks in part to information they received from O'Neal. Whenever it's out, I strongly recommend having Black Panther queued up as a palate cleanser.

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