Gender stereotypes are flipped upside down in Yorgos Lanthimos’ hotly-tipped Oscar contender The Favourite, and it’s the men of the film who wear the most makeup, and dress in the highest heels.
Mad Max: Fury Road star Nicholas Hoult says the experience of playing the bewigged dandy Robert Harley in the film has given him a new sense of sympathy for those who wear stilettos.
“I definitely understand the pain that heels cause now,” Hoult tells Yahoo Movies UK.
“That’s real. Sandy Powell, the costume designer, would make me walk up and down. She was like ‘you can’t walk how you walk’, so I had to try and glide a little.”
The Favourite is set during the 1700s in the court of Queen Anne where powdered wigs and heavy makeup are all the rage with the landed gentry. Olivia Colman has been tipped to win the Best Actress Oscar for the role, which sees Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone as courtiers vying for the monarch’s attention.
Harley, a politician and influential landowner, is a machiavellian figure in Anne’s court, who has his own agenda, and seeks to bend the sickly monarch’s will to his own ends.
Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos, the filmmaker behind The Killing of a Sacred Deer and The Lobster, The Favourite cast have talked at length about how the Greek director’s unorthodox rehearsals process helped to create a unique atmosphere on set.
“We would meet up and do a warm up first with the choreographer,” shares Hoult.
“Then we would dance. Then we would get ourselves into tangles, knots, holding hands where you weren’t allowed to let go as a group. We would hum, and then we would close our eyes and walk around and bump into people and you had to say their character name, figure out who it was.”
“Then we would start working on scenes, and they’d run certain scenes together, and whilst doing the scenes you’d play physical games throughout that as well.”
“There’d never be any notes from Yorgos,” adds Joe Alwyn, who plays Baron Masham.
“When you do these scenes, it would never be conventional direction.”
The Favourite is in cinemas on 1 January. Watch a trailer below.