Emma Stone Hated Playing An Elf In Netflix's New Show Maniac

Emma Stone Maniac Netflix

Emma Stone and Jonah Hill's Netflix limited series Maniac, which won't be returning for Season 2, feels at times like a showcase of each actor's array of talents. The premise allowed each to step into the kinds of roles they haven't previously played on the big screen, and act out situations viewers have never seen them in. That wasn't always a good thing according to director Cary Fukunaga, who said Emma Stone actually hated playing the drunken elf ranger Annia:

But I can guarantee you Emma's favorite character was not playing an elf. When we were first brainstorming I said, 'How about an elf or a vampire?' And she said, 'No. Nothing that's not real.' She doesn't like not real things. . . . She can do anything. Just personally, that's not her taste. She's never seen Lord of the Rings, she can't get into things that aren't real. So Patrick and I thought, well, doesn't that make sense for the 'Confrontation' drug? Something she really doesn't enjoy? So we wrote that mildly into the character. And when she did the scene she was just like [gritting his teeth] 'Cary, I'm doing this for you!'

Emma Stone may be down for future projects on streaming services, but Amazon's Lord of The Rings television series doesn't appear to be on her list of interests. Despite that, Stone soldiered on for the good of Maniac and delivered a elven performance in Episode 7 that gave little indication of her loathing every minute within that character's headspace. Cary Fukunaga admitted he sort of leaned on Stone's attitude for the episode, which was focused on her character Annie taking the "confrontation" drug, since going with a role she wasn't entirely comfortable with helped to sell the performance. Stone was no doubt jealous of co-star Jonah Hill during that episode, since he filmed a much more realistic fantasy sequence where Owen was an informant for the feds on his crime family.

Cary Fukunaga told Insider Emma Stone was against playing an elf because she didn't want to portray anything that's not based in reality. Looking across her career in Hollywood, one can see this isn't a decision she made specifically for Maniac, since her roles in Zombieland and The Amazing Spider-man films also indicate she didn't want to play fantastical characters there either.

Emma Stone is at a stage in her career where turning down high-profile projects carries some weight, so the fact she gritted and bared her teeth all the way through it to push on for Fukunaga shows how much she trusted his vision and/or the premise of the series as a whole. Which might have led to a completely different outcome had the elf role gone on for more than one episode. Unfortunately, the experience doesn't seem to have changed her thoughts on fantasy roles all that much, so viewers should embrace her role as Annia for all its worth.

Maniac is up on Netflix and is currently streaming the entire first and only season. Lots of new and returning television is flooding the airwaves at the moment and it can all be a little disorienting, so be sure to visit our fall premiere guide to keep track of all the shows coming up.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.