Ever since she first appeared as Jonah Hill’s obsession in Superbad, redheaded Emma Stone has been the go-to actress for roles that needed someone who could be funny but could also offer dramatic weight when necessary. At just 22 years old, she’s already starred in a number of big comedies including The House Bunny, Zombieland and her own vehicle Easy A.
With that sort of credits list, it might not surprise too many that she’s appearing in three movies this summer, first reteaming with Easy A creator Will Gluck for a small scene in Friends With Benefits, then having a bigger role in Glenn Ficarra and John Requa’s Crazy, Stupid, Love. along with Steve Carell and Julianne Moore. In the latter, she plays Anna, a lawyer who Ryan Gosling’s character, the smooth-talking Jacob, hits on in a bar one night and then she pursues when she realizes how unhappy she is with her current life. In a couple of weeks, Stone will also be seen in Tate Taylor’s adaptation of Katheryn Stockett’s bestselling novel The Help, a far more serious film about the treatment of black housemaids in ’60s Mississippi. Despite being a drama, Stone still brings her quirky comedy sensibilities to the role of local reporter “Skeeter” who offers to help the maids tell their story.
Next summer, Stone will be breaking out in an even bigger way when she stars as Gwen Stacey in Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man opposite Andrew Garfield.
Stone touched upon all of the above when ComingSoon.net talked to her in a roundtable interview for Crazy, Stupid, Love. The outgoing personality Stone displays on screen is something very natural to her as she’s just as outspoken and funny when fielding questions about her crazy, busy summer.
Q: In your personal life, have you ever had to deal with lotharios coming up to you and running their game?
Emma Stone: Heck, yes. Nightly. Every single day. No, I don’t know. I’ve had maybe a little bit of a different experience because I don’t think I’ve ever… I don’t know. Maybe I have and I blocked it out (laughs) ’cause it doesn’t really ring a bell in that sense, sitting in a bar and having someone come up and use that kind of game, not so much. I’ve only been able to legally go to bars for a year now, so maybe I’ll have more stories in the future.
Q: Being so young, do you think really there’s only one soulmate per person?
Stone: I think there are multiple, that’s what I choose to believe.
Q: Can you relate to your character in the movie at all?
Stone: Yeah, absolutely. Well, she’s nuts when she has a couple of drinks in her, so there’s that, and I think maybe she doesn’t know that she’s not necessarily fully happy in her life until someone kind of shakes her out of it a little bit. That’s happened to me, and yeah, just a few things that. I don’t know that I have enough wherewithal… I was going to use the word “talent” but I didn’t want to hear anybody go, “Awwww… stop it”… to play a character that I can’t relate to in some way. There’s gotta be at least pieces that are similar.
Q: Can you talk a little more about the similarities between Anna and yourself?
Stone: Okay, well we’re both lawyers and I passed my bar. My life is pretty PG-13 sometimes and I really want Josh Groban to propose to me and he JUST WON’T DO IT! And we both think Ryan is a hell of a guy.
Q: How many takes did it take to do the “Dirty Dancing” sequence with Ryan?
Stone: I wish I had a better answer to this but I had a little panic when we were trying to shoot that scene when he lifts me. We had practiced it a couple of times but for some reason on the day. Whew. I broke both my arms when I was seven, falling forward off of parallel bars in gymnastics and I didn’t realize that I had a dormant primal fear until Ryan lifted me over his head and when I was over (him), I was like, “I can’t do this, I can’t do this” and my body just completely collapsed into him and kicked him in the throat. My bad. (laughter) But the screams of my panic are the screams they used in ADR overlaying the stunt double that he lifted, so I’m very, very full of hurt and to John and Glenn for making use of that terrible, terrible panic.
Q: Supposedly, Ryan does that move all the time with women and he was the one who suggested doing that in the movie.
Stone: Yeah, he did. That’s his big move.
Q: Did you find out how you rated against other women he’s lifted up like that?
Stone: Oh, no, he’s a gentleman, he wouldn’t tell me. No, no, but I’m assuming not very well as I kicked him straight in the throat. (laughter) I literally wrapped myself around his head like a spider-monkey.
Q: There seems to be a lot of room for improvising in this, so were you able to do that in your bar scene with Ryan?
Stone: Absolutely. Yeah, they were so great about it. I mean, obviously those guys are brilliant directors but they’re brilliant writers, too. I mean the movies they’ve written are amazing, and two of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen, both of them. I think they really understood that comedy can’t always be right there on the page, that sometimes that keeping it fresh is what can really make it funny so yeah, they were really open to it and let us do a lot and they actually kept a lot of it in the movie, which was really nice of them.
Q: You mentioned you were a fan of John and Glenn’s previous movie “I Love You Phillip Morris” so was that generally seen in the Hollywood community?
Stone: I think so. I think L.A. and New York is kinda like you talk to people that were born and raised in L.A. or born and raised in New York and they have these weird political view points like “This is just how it should be done.” When you live in L.A. like you don’t really like in the middle of America. I think in Hollywood everyone’s like (putting on an accent that sounds like a gay Jewish agent) “‘I Love You Philip Morris,’ you’ve seen it, you’ve seen it.” They talk about it like everybody’s seen it, but that movie should’ve been everywhere. Jim Carrey should’ve been nominated for everything. He was unreal in that movie. I thought it was such a good movie, and “Bad Santa,” that movie they wrote was one of the funniest movies of all time. Thurman Murman is the best. That kid is so funny.
Q: You have multiple movies coming out this summer, which has happened before when you had “The Rocker” and “The House Bunny.” Why is that you have all these movies coming out within a period of one month again?
Stone: You’re the only person that brought that up. I don’t know. It must be a summer movie thing. I think that maybe one or two movies that have come out any time but summer. It’s always been kind of comedy-centric so I think summer is the time for comedies. Yeah, it’s pretty funny. Although “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” and “The Help” and “Friends With Benefits”–I’m in one scene in that–I flew in to do “Easy A” press with Will Gluck, and he wrote me a scene in that movie and I just did it in August during “The Help” so it was all kind of at the same time.
Q: Other than that scene in “Friends With Benefits,” with so many R-rated comedies coming out this summer, you’re in one of the few PG-13 comedies and another PG-13 movie so do you feel bad you’re not able to be raunchy and swear like everyone else?
Stone: Yeah, I’m really beating myself up on that. (laughs)
Q: Were you excited when “Bridesmaids” became one of Judd Apatow’s highest-grossing movie? How do you see that affecting you in terms of the projects you’re cultivating?
Stone: Oh, my God. Of course, of course. I just think any woman that’s been a part of comedies in terms of writing or producing or acting in them would say that it’s so nice when something like that happens just because for a little while I think everyone at the studios, their minds always expand a little bit – I’m not gonna say what it is, but there was a movie that came out a couple of years ago that was R-rated that starred females that did not do well at all and in these past couple of years, every movie has been compared to that like, “Remember what happened with dah, dah, dah?” whenever you talk to studio people. So now, there are saying, “Look what happened with ‘Bridesmaids.'” So there’s that instant like doors are opened, so that’s great at least, but also what’s so great about it is that is a great movie. It’s a great movie! It’s not just like, “Oh, it did really well. It was an eh movie but it did really well. That’s cool.” It’s like that is a great movie that did well. “See? Great movies do well.” That’s what I don’t understand. Why keep writing the same formulaic comedy over and over and over and think that people are gonna… People aren’t stupid. People wanna see good movies, especially comedies. Those by the books comedies, I don’t get it. Who likes those? Nobody likes those.
Q: You play these female characters in comedies that are so different than the ones we usually get–the woman stressing over her job and pining for guys–but you play smart women characters who know what they want. Do you look for that when reading scripts?
Stone: Maybe subconsciously. I don’t think it’s ever like, “You gotta make sure this girl is really independent, playing by her own rules.” ‘Cause I think there’s definitely vulnerability in a lot of points in these women, but yeah, I don’t think that I’d ever read a script where the girl is suffering for the guy somewhere, doesn’t have her own kind of strength. I just wouldn’t be able to relate to that. I think it would be hard to play, but it would be interesting.
Q: Of the three movies you have coming out, have you learned any one thing from doing them and if so, what?
Stone: Definitely. Well, “Friends With Benefits” I learned not to trust Will Gluck. (laughter) I had already learned that almost every day on “Easy A” and I learned it on this one because the guy decides to… this is something I talked to Bill Murray about because he was saying that when he came in for that cameo in “Zombieland” – you come in for a cameo you haven’t been there for the whole shoot so you don’t really know the tone. You can be at a totally different level than everyone else in movie and not know it. So I go in and she’s written as… this is all it says, “Crazy.” (laughter) So I go in and I’m like, “Alright,” so I just decide to go ballistic and start screaming my head off all night. So I’m screaming, screaming, screaming and I lose my voice. We’ve done so many takes and then Will comes over and goes, “Em, why are you screaming so much?” I’m like, “What do you mean? I’ve done so many takes!” He’s like, “That’s a little bit too heightened for the tone of the movie.” I’m like, “You’re such an *sshole. (laughter) You get to the point where I lose my voice and then you decide to tell me that I’m not matching the tone of the picture.” God, he’s the worst. I love Will.
Q: Are you still going to do another movie with him?
Stone: I hope so. He’s the best. He’s like my brother that I wanna strangle him and he also makes me laugh so much. That’s one. “Don’t trust Will Gluck.” Two, for “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” I learned that you can meet people that you want to literally do every movie with and I found that in Ryan. I just think that he is amazing and I’d gladly do as many movies as he’ll let me with him. So it’s really fun to find a teammate in an actor, you know, like a Hepburn-Tracy kind of thing. (laughter) No, I wish. (laughs)
Q: You’d have to do at least 20 more movies together to match Tracy and Hepburn.
Stone: Yeah, about 20 more so that’s the goal. Also that these guys are so great and you can have this relaxed fun time on set. I had learned that before obviously but and also that some directors will bring you salted caramel cupcakes every day, because they’re sweet as hell, the cupcakes and the directors. And “The Help,” oh my God. That would take the rest of our lives to tell you what I learned. I learned so much about parts of history that I had never been educated on in public school. I learned the story of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. and that was about it. I think it’s absolutely insane that I knew so much about European history but I had no idea what happened 50 years ago in our country and still informs so much of our lives today and how far we’ve come and how far we still need to go and so I learned so much and I lived in the South and I met a lot of people that I probably would’ve never met and learned a bunch of stuff. I mean to be honest in a formative sense that movie taught me the most because it was incredibly important for everyone to learn and I’m so glad that I have that knowledge now.
Q: Are you looking forward to going back to Comic-Con? You were there with “Zombieland” but now you’re going for “Spider-Man,” which will be insane.
Stone: Whooo! Can’t even wait! I love Comic Con. I’m really excited. I’m excited to see you know the reactions and the questions. I find that place so much fun.
Q: The screenwriter of “The Amazing Spider-Man” says that it’s a more realistic take on it, so what was it like making a realistic superhero movie?
Stone: It was great. It made it possible for me to do. I don’t think I would be able to function in a world that I didn’t understand and this was just doing a scene. It was just like making any other movie where you’re just two human beings connecting in the scene. It was like that. It just happened to be set in a New York City where I guy runs around in a spandex suit, and he just saves lives. He got bitten by a radioactive spider!
Crazy, Stupid, Love. is out today, July 29, while you can also see Stone in Friends With Benefits, still in theaters, and The Help out on August 10. Then on July 3, 2012, she can be seen in The Amazing Spider-Man.