Ma­niac

JONAH HILL AND EMMA STONE take part in a ter­ri­fy­ing med­i­cal trial in a new Net­flix thriller

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DRAMA Net­flix Direc­tion­less An­nie (Emma Stone) and schiz­o­phrenic Owen (Jonah Hill) hope a drug trial will fix their prob­lems.

Ma­niac

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.

PER­SONAL CON­NEC­TION

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’

EMMA STONE

NEW

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…

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