Yorgos Lanthimos with the cast of The Favourite at the New York Film Festival on Friday, September 28.
Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris (Getty Images)

As any actor will tell you, there are few things in this life more mortifying than auditioning. All directors are different—some want to yell at you, others want to probe your brain, and others, like celebrated Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos, want to see you create invisible force fields.

Lanthimos’ highly anticipated period comedy The Favourite had its U.S. premiere at the New York Film Festival this past Friday, and stars Emma Stone and Nicholas Hoult each took a moment during their press rounds to recount the weird shit they had to do to land their roles. As Hoult tells USA Today: “Yorgos asked me to hum while the person I was with said their lines, and then I had to imagine force fields around the room and sculpt them into things.”

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Stone, meanwhile, “had to pant like I was giving birth throughout the lines.” As Indiewire points out, her character, Abigail Masham, never gives birth in the film. She didn’t seem to mind, though: “I think he just does this to everyone.” Hoult says it didn’t end in the audition room, either. “There were lots of games like that throughout rehearsal as well. I’m not sure how it affects the performance.”

“I have no idea either,” Lanthimos added, to the ire of exhausted actors everywhere. With this knowledge, perhaps you will. The Favourite opens on November 23 via Fox Searchlight. Watch its bonkers trailer below.

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