JONAH HILL AND EMMA STONE take part in a terrifying medical trial in a new Netflix thriller
DRAMA Netflix Directionless Annie (Emma Stone) and schizophrenic Owen (Jonah Hill) hope a drug trial will fix their problems.
Available from Fri 21 Sept, Netflix
IN 2007, then-unknown actors Emma Stone and Jonah Hill joined forces to star as a pair of romantically linked high-school students in Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen’s hit teen comedy Superbad.
Now, 11 years on, the pair are finally back on screen together in a very different kind of drama, Netflix thriller Maniac.
‘I love Jonah,’ says Stone. ‘Obviously, lots of things have happened in the past 11 years, so it was nice to just get to be around each other again.’
The 10parter, based on a 2014 Norwegian series (which is also available to view on Netflix), co-stars Sally Field and Gabriel Byrne, and tells the story of Annie Landsberg (Stone) and Owen Milgrim (Hill), who decide to take part in a pharmaceutical trial.
THE PERFECT CURE?
Landsberg is obsessed by her broken relationships with her mother and her sister. Meanwhile, Milgrim, the son of wealthy New Yorkers, has struggled his whole life with what appears to be schizophrenia.
With neither able to find their way in life, they are drawn to the promise of a radical kind of pharmaceutical treatment – a sequence of pills invented by Dr James K Mantleray (Justin Theroux), who claims the medication can repair anything about the mind, be it mental illness or heartbreak.
Mantleray recruits Landsberg, Milgrim and 10 other human guinea pigs to attend the Neberdine Pharmaceutical and Biotech facilities for a three-day trial that will, they’re assured, cure all of their problems permanently – with no complications or side-effects.
But as Landsberg and Milgrim enter a test chamber, things start to go haywire, and they appear to meet each other again and again in a series of multiple universes and scenarios. Will they be able to survive the ordeal?
‘The thing I like about Maniac is that it’s about people who have their own internal struggles and are trying to fix them with a pill,’ says Stone. ‘However, you see over the course of the show that human connection and love are really the only things that get us through life.’
In the years since Superbad, Stone and Hill have both earned Academy Award nominations, with Stone taking home the Best Actress Oscar for her performance in La La Land in 2017. The Arizona-born star also has Crazy, Stupid, Love, The Help and The Amazing Spider-man among her credits, and recently portrayed 1970s tennis ace Billie
Jean King in Battle of the Sexes.
But despite all her success, the 29-year-old says she can identify with her Maniac character’s anxiety and self-doubt.
‘I was a very, very anxious child, and I had a lot of panic attacks,’ she recalls. ‘I benefited in a big way from therapy – I started at seven – but I still have anxiety to this day, though not panic attacks.’
Stone says that acting has helped her overcome a lot of her problems.
‘I knew this was what I wanted to do with my life, so that gave me plenty of drive and ambition,’ she reveals. ‘But, even after you start getting bigger parts and more recognition, you never really feel secure. You’re always worried about landing the next role, or how your last film did.’
Happily, Stone says she has recently achieved a more healthy work-life balance by cutting down on her Hollywood roles.
‘It’s been good to get a little perspective, because things were so heavy work-wise for the past few years,’ she says. ‘I’m at peace now. So many of my dreams are now personal and less professional. Family and friendship are pretty much everything.’
‘Maniac is about people trying to fix their internal struggles with a pill’
JUSTIN THEROUX AS DR JAMES K MANTLERAY ANNIE LANDSBERG (EMMA STONE) AND OWEN MILGRIM (JONAH HILL) KEEP MEETING IN MULTIPLE UNIVERSES
LET THE MIND GAMES BEGIN…