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Write On: 'Poor Things' Writer Tony McNamara

December 6, 2023
2 min read time

“I don’t write sex scenes. I write character scenes and sometimes they’re having sex during their character scenes. It’s a beat about character,” says Tony McNamara.

Known for the TV show The Great on Hulu and 2018’s The Favourite, screenwriter Tony McNamara’s new film is Poor Things, staring Emma Stone and Willem Dafoe with a genius performance from Mark Ruffalo who’s already getting Best Supporting Actor buzz.

Adapted from the book Poor Things by Alasdair Gray, this film is part Frankenstein story, part fairytale and part coming-of-age story full of female sexual liberation! I chat with Tony about his ability to create fascinating female characters, sex without shame and the ways Poor Things is similar to this year’s blockbuster Barbie ­– both are wildly different takes on the theme of feminine identity.

“This is a great Frankenstein premise to wrap a story of a young woman entering the world completely naïve and also be a satire about the seeming need for human beings, men in particular, to control. It was about this woman having this adventure and creating herself while everyone around her is trying to control what that creation is,” says McNamara about his vision of the protagonist, Bella Baxter, played by an electric Emma Stone.

To go deeper into McNamara’s writing process, take a listen to the podcast. Poor Things is in theaters Dec. 8.



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