The cast of Poor Things talks about what it’s like to be in a film that pushes boundaries in a world that seems intent on going backward.

Blavity/Shadow and Act Managing Editor Trey Mangum and film/TV columnist Sharronda Williams spoke to Emma Stone, Mark Ruffalo, Willem Dafoe and Ramy Youssef and learned more about the film and the Stone’s Frankenstein’s monster-esque character Bella, who changes everyone around her through her fearlessness.

Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Stone said that playing Bella was “absolutely incredible.”

“She was my favorite. So just trying to live up to how beautifully that character is written and who she is…I was incredibly lucky to even attempt [to be her],” she said.

Stone said what she loved playing about the character was portraying her “hunger for life and her experience and her curiosity.”

“She has no fear about growth, about improving herself and learning and expansion in all ways. I think that’s very inspiring to me,” she said.

Mark Ruffalo, who plays Duncan Wedderburn, said it was “scary at first” to play his character, who is crass and unrefined. But he called the character “really freeing” to embody.

“[It was]a little bit feeling like it was taboo and I was breaking the rules…once I was in it, [it was] so fun and…spiritually freeing in a time where you feel like you have to be so well-behaved,” he said. “…It’s great to break all those expectations.”

Dafoe, who plays Dr. Godwin Baxter, also talked about how the film was able to act as another way to see the world.

“I just enjoyed playing the character so much and the fact that it had so much external stuff to spin you into another world, I always like that,” he said. “It really allows you to leap into another way of being.”

Youssef’s character Max McCandles is a foil of sorts to Bella in that he is trying to be a part of the stuffy world he lives in, but Youssef said what attracted him to the character is how he also has a sense of wonder similar to Bella’s.

“I think we all wonder what we would be like without the condition of our family, of society, what our raw self would be like if we were allowed to explore our curiosity without any inhibitions, and I saw that in the story,” he said. “I saw that in the Bella character, and I saw this character in Max, opposite her, who was training to be this scientist, to be a doctor in this world that has all these rules, but he had that curiosity as well.”

Listen to the full interviews below to understand how the film is, according to Ruffalo, a “blast” to the “incredibly regressive” times we’re currently living in.

Here’s more about Poor Things:

From filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos and producer Emma Stone comes the incredible tale and fantastical evolution of Bella Baxter (Stone), a young woman brought back to life by the brilliant and unorthodox scientist Dr. Godwin Baxter (Willem Dafoe). Under Baxter’s protection, Bella is eager to learn. Hungry for the worldliness she is lacking, Bella runs off with Duncan Wedderburn (Mark Ruffalo), a slick and debauched lawyer, on a whirlwind adventure across the continents. Free from the prejudices of her times, Bella grows steadfast in her purpose to stand for equality and liberation.

Also starring Jerrod Carmichael and Christopher Abbott, Poor Things is in theaters no.