Interview: Easy A's Emma Stone
Though she only started acting in films three years ago and never played a leading role before now, itís hard to not be a fan of Emma Stone. Beautiful, charming, smart and fun to watch, she can easily be ranked among the top five actors under 25 with her performances in Superbad and Zombieland alone. But she enters a whole new world with her newest film, Easy A.
Appearing in nearly every scene of Will Gluckís film and narrating the ones she doesnít, itís truly the first litmus test that sheís had as a star and she pulls it off with flying colors. Playing the Hester Prynne role in a story that takes heavy notes from The Scarlet Letter, sheís smart and engaging enough that all demographics can enjoy the film.
I was lucky enough to sit down with her at a junket where she discussed the pressures that come with a leading role, the PowerPoint presentation that brought her to Hollywood and what it was like doing takes that lasted 30 minutes at a time.
So, to start, youíre in basically 100% of this film. How much pressure did that put on you?
It was less about the size of the role and more about doing the role justice itself, I think. Yeah, that was my concern throughout the whole thing. Yeah, the size of it you canít really think about too much or else you go crazy. By you, I mean me. Iím really neurotic. Yeah.
Will was talking about your audition and going back home and taping your webcam segment. Tell me about how that came about and what your approach was when you did that.
Taping the webcam?
Well, I was not happy needless to say, when he asked me to do that. Because I know myself. I knew that if I had the control I was going to do it over and over and over and over because you donít want to send something and be like, ďThat is the best I can do.Ē You know? Like, thatís the one. I knew I was never going to feel that way. So, I did that for a couple hours. Itís like a one-minute monologue, and I did it over and over and over. Then, finally, my roommate was like, ďJust send it. Come on.Ē I was like, ďAll right. Fine. Fine. Iíll do it one more time. Just one more.Ē And then sent it. Yeah. So, I just did it that night. It was right after the audition and just went home and tried to get it out of the way. Because the longer I waited the worse it was going to get.
What was it like when you read the script and it was the lead role and, Iím assuming, a smart script because the film is very smart.
Yeah. Oh, the script was wonderful. You feel like you struck gold or something when you read a well-written comedy part for a female. Itís just such a rare thing, which is horribly sad. Although, it is nice nowadays, it seems like more female comedians are developing movies or coming up with characters and working with writers and kind of making your own thing, and thatís what Anna did for The House Bunny. But, I couldnít have been more grateful even to read it much less be involved with it. It was fantastic.
Are you big on technology?
I love it. I love it. But, I canít get too involved in the Internet. I am an Internet fan, needless to say. Since I was a kid I thought I wanted to be a website designer. So, I made those when I was a kid. In my day, there werenít any blogs or social networks. It was all e-zines and drop-down menus. So, I had been, like anybody that is an Internet lover knows, itís been fascinating to watch the progression of social networking and the blogosphere and the shear speed of it all. The fact that you can transfer pictures so quickly and all the programs theyíve come out with. So yes, needless to say, I love it and have an addictive personality and canít use it, any of it. Because if I have a Twitter or Facebook, thatís all I will do. So, I donít. But, I completely appreciate it and can see the good in it. Itís funny, I have a friend that is like, ďI canít believe all the world is soÖitís just shrinking. Itís so awful.Ē Iím like, ďBut think about for marketingís sake on Twitter. Think about how you could do this and this and theÖĒI love it. I love it.
What is your favorite gear? Like computers, iPads.
I actually donít have an iPad. I have the 4G iPhone, which drops calls. You know, Iím not very computer savvy. Itís more Internet. Itís more HTML based than coding or whatever. But Iím not very good with Flash or anything like that. Is that still a current thing to talk about, Flash? I havenít been to many websites in awhile.
The first time I ever made one wasÖyou remember Angelfire? And, like Geocities, which I didnít think was a very good program. But, Angelfire, kind of let you have the open square box to make your own thing. But, when I was in fifth grade, weíd make like travel brochures forÖyou know, he would assign each of us a different place, so it was just kind of to research a place. I was a real overachiever, in a very obnoxious way. So, I decided Iíll make a website and itíll get me a free pass out of class to go to the library and use the computer, which was awesome to get to leave every day. Because we had 30 minutes allotted time every day that week. So, I went to the library and I learned how to kind of do it and started dabbling. Then, I just got really, really into it. Like, Photoshop and animation programs and just trying to make cool frames.
Is it true that when you were trying to convince your parents for you to move out to Hollywood you did it with like a PowerPoint presentation?
Uh-huh. Yeah. Well, thatís just easier than buying a bunch of material and making a foam board presentation.
Did you have a laser pointer and everything?
No, because itís all on the computer. All youíve got to do is click. Itís so easy. Little wipes, incorporated a song. Yeah. I donít know. I mean if you know the basicsÖI mean that was also easier because basically the Internet you just look up pictures and save them and put them in. It was a pretty easy thing.
Yeah. My dadís a businessman. So, I think maybe I grew up thinking presentations were a good way to get your point across instead of just sitting down and having a conversation. I also get really emotional when Iím excited. If I feel strongly about anything I get overwhelmed with emotion. So, I knew that sitting down and going, ďIíve got to move. Iíve got to move. Please let me moveĒ wasnít going to be a good approach. So, I did it in a little bit more of a business-y way. But, I cried the whole time.
What made you so passionate to feel that you absolutely had to do it?
Well, I always loved acting and improv and sketch comedy and theater, which I did at a local youth theater. But, the actual moment of moving to LA was a little bit like Howard Beale in Network. Like, when he wakes up and heís like, ďWhy me?Ē I had a moment a little bit in the middle of class. It was kind of just like, got to move, got to move. Then, I made the presentation. Then, two months later I moved. It was a little weird.
Was this in high school?
It was in high school, yeah. My freshmen year of high school. So, I only went toÖthat parlayed into a questionÖI was home-schooled for high school. So, I didnít really have a traditional all of high school experience either. But then again, I donít really see this asÖIím just going to make this a different question. I just realized what I was doing. To me, I donít think this is really a high school movie. I think itís more a story of reputation and miscommunication and the speed at which, with technology, that spreads now. So, it didnít really feel like I was misinformed or had the wrong high school experience to try to bring this to life. You know it neededÖWill didnít really have a traditional high school experience either.
Bert V. Royal also said that he was home-schooled. Thatís really interesting.
Yeah. It just happens to be through a 17-year-old girlís eyes thatís in high school. But I think it could be something other than sex and it could be a girl thatís 35 and everyone in her office is hearing a rumor about her and itís all over the Internet and Twitter. I mean it would still kind of be the same story.
I mean I canít relate to that because thatís notÖthereís a lot of people in my job, my age that have it completely differently than I do. But, seeing it, just as people living in 2010, I think weíve seenÖand not just with actors but politicians or sports figures. Where you feel like you know them well enough that how could they mess up? It becomes such a story. Rumors spiral out of control. But, I think nowadays, Iíll say, Iíd rather have rumors than the truth. You know what I mean? Wouldnít you feel safer with rumors than people knowing all the truths about your life? I mean think of all the truths that have come out lately. Lord. Itís not fair, first of all. Thatís peopleís personal lives and thatís just notÖit just doesnít even seem fair. So, much rather have some rumor that IímÖI was just going to say something awful. Never mind. Lord. Blushing.
What about creating the family dynamic with Stanley and Patricia? What was that like?
For me, I just had to sit there and laugh and be happy and have the best three days ever. For them, it was so nice because they had known each other for a really long time. So, they had a great relationship already and could kind of play off each other really well. I donít know if it was ad-libbing. But, Byrd had written really hilarious characters as Oliveís parents, smart, great parents, in script that kind of defined how this girl became the way she is and as confident as she is. They were just incredible.
Do you ever watch Friends? Was it exciting to work with Lisa Kudrow?
Yeah. You know what? This is the second movie I got to do with Lisa. I did a movie called Paper Man with her in 2008. So, I did Paper Man, then Zombieland, and Easy A back to back to back. So, it was like Lisa, no Lisa, Lisa. It was great. I think sheís amazing. As a comedian, no oneís like her at all. Her timing is impeccable. SheísÖyeahÖIím lucky to have worked with her twice.
Will was talking about the way he would kind of shoot was he would just keep the camera rolling for like 30 minutes at a time per shot. What was it like working under those kinds of conditions?
Iíve actuallyÖI say lucky enough because I do feel that way. Iíve been lucky enough to work under those conditions before. It was the same way, kind of, on Superbad and on Zombieland because we had Genesis, which kind of allows you to shoot for incredibly long time and makes the editing process faster. Itís not like film where youíre reloading all the time and you have to stop rolling because of the expense of it. So, it does make things a little easier just in terms of getting things done faster or getting more takes or not having to stop what youíre doing, reload, and then get back into it. I really like that. That was the originalÖI mean the first movie I did that was the way we did it. So, Iíve only been doing this for three long years. Oh, Iím such an old woman.
Whatís the nextÖ
The next movie coming out is Crazy, Stupid, Love; which will be in April, I think. Iím working on a movie right now called The Help in Mississippi. I just came from that. Crazy, Stupid, Love; itís Steve Carell and Julianne Moore and Ryan Gosling.
It didnít surprise me. I think maybe people will be. But, heís really funny. I mean in real life too. So, I thought it was justÖitís going to be really good.
Being in this for three long years, does it seem like itís happenedÖare you surprised at how quickly things have happened?
Yeah, absolutely. But then again, thatís being in 2010. Itís soÖI mean movies were being made all the time, I know, in other generations. But, you look back at actresses like, Iím going to go with my favorite, Diane Keaton and you look at her track record. Itís like 1971, 1974, 1975, 1978. Thereís more space between each thing. Whereas next year, thereís like three movies coming out or something. Itís just becauseÖthis is why I know that I need to appreciate it right now because I know itís a very fleeting, changing thing. I think nowadays, with the now, now, now-ness of everything you have to latch on and just letís go, letís go, letís go. Right? Come one. Then, next person. Letís go, letís go, letís go. I know thatís the way it is. So, trying to navigate that and not have to be the case because Iíd really like to do this for awhile.
Whatís your greatest fear at this point in your career, in your life?
This is not what I think would be the case but since Iíve seen it with some people my age that do the same job as me, not being able to live life like a regular person. Because my entire job is based on people. If you canít live a regular life I donít know how you could play a person that does. I have a very regular life. Now itís been completelyÖitís fine and great and itís never beenÖthereís not photographers or anything like that. That ever changing would be horrific, horrific. It makes me shaky. So, that would be the only fear really.
Has there been any motion with a Zombieland 2 that you know of?
No. You know as much as I do. Anything thatís been printedÖyeah, I havenít really heard much. Rubenís really busy working right now on 30 Minutes or Less. Yeah, I donít know.
But, youíre excited at the idea of it?
Oh my God. How do you not be? Those are like four of my favorite people in the entire world - Iím including Ruben in there. Yeah, that would be a blast.
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