With her best-seller adaptation “The Help” hitting the box office this week, actress Emma Stone is attached to star in “Little White Corvette,” a comedy directed by Michael Diliberti, according to TheWrap’s sister website ItsontheGrid.com.
Reps for Stone denied the attachment, although one individual close to her conceded that the actress has read — and likes — the script.
“Corvette” is an independent film about a nerdy guy and his wild older sister who team up to sell $1 million of cocaine that they find in the trunk of their deceased father’s sports car.
Diliberti wrote Columbia’s “30 Minutes or Less,” which stars Jesse Eisenberg, Danny McBride and Aziz Ansari.
The movie is being produced by Scott Aversano and Michael De Luca.
Stone is a compelling young star who’d be a great get for the comedy. In addition to “The Help,” she’s starred in this year’s “Crazy, Stupid, Love” and “Friends With Benefits.”
And she stars as Gwen Stacy in Sony’s 2012 “The Amazing Spider-Man” and as Jean in Warner Bros.’ 2013 film “The Gangster Squad.”
The Help debuted Wednesday and led the box office with a solid $5.5 million. Disney and DreamWorks’ $25 million drama, based on Kathryn Stockett’s bestselling novel and starring Viola Davis, Emma Stone, Octavia Spencer, and Bryce Dallas Howard, was released on Wednesday to help build buzz heading into the weekend. That strategy should work out well, as The Help has received a rare “A+” grade from CinemaScore audiences, indicating that the PG-13 movie should benefit from excellent word of mouth.
On average, only two movies per year garner an “A+” rating from CinemaScore, a market-research firm that surveys moviegoers on a picture’s opening day. Since 2004, just 15 films have scored an “A+” grade. They are, in chronological order: The Passion of the Christ, Ray, The Incredibles, The Polar Express, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Cinderella Man, Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Akeelah and the Bee, Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married?, Up, The Blind Side, Tangled, Soul Surfer, and now The Help.
CinemaScore ratings, however, sometimes have to be taken with a grain of salt. After all, the moviegoers who rush out to see a new film on its opening day are likely predisposed to enjoy that particular film. It’s probably safe to assume that many of the CinemaScore graders for The Help were already big fans of the novel, and it’ll be interesting to see whether their enthusiasm spreads to those unfamiliar with the book.
Regardless, The Help has started its theatrical journey strongly and has the potential to become a real late-summer hit. Check back later today for EW’s weekend box-office predictions.
Emma Stone visits Live With Regis & Kelly on August 11, 2011, check out her interview in the two videos below!
I have just updated our photo gallery with 299 HQ and MQ photos of Emma Stone from the Los Angeles premiere of “The Help” that was held on August 9th. I also added 14 HQ photos of Emma Stone at LAX airport on August 10th.
I have just added 12 new photos of Emma Stone and her co-stars from “The Help” in a portrait session!
Emma Stone Photo Gallery > Miscellaneous > Photo Sessions > #46
When Emma Stone made her film debut in 2007’s Superbad, she felt like an unusual breath of fresh air — a brand-new teen actress who could already boast a fully formed personality. If it took her a few years to find her groove, well, she’s certainly found it now. Stone, who landed one high-profile comedy every year since Superbad — 2008’s The House Bunny, 2009’s Zombieland, and then irrevocably broke out with 2010’s Easy A, has been everywhere this summer, charming all the while. She’s brought her particular brand of husky-voiced good humor to three roles, a cameo in Friends with Benefits, a romance with Ryan Gosling in Crazy, Stupid, Love, and today’s conscientious drama The Help. At only 22, Stone already seems like a full-blown movie star: Can The Help do anything but help her cause? To get a sense of her esteem in Hollywood, we polled industry insiders and asked them one simple question: If Emma Stone were a stock, would you buy, sell, or hold?
Stock History: Let one impressed studio chief we spoke to detail Stone’s back story: “She told her mom when she was 15 years old that she was moving to L.A. to become an actress. Her parents believed in her so much that the mom moved her life out here, too, believing it was a matter of time.” The Stones ended up moving into short-term furnished rentals already filled with other families dipping a toe into the child-actor waters. “Most of those people come out because their kid is cute and has a few commercials,” noted the studio chief. “This was different: Her mom knew she was coming out and wasn’t buying a round-trip ticket, because she wasn’t coming back.”
Stone had some early near-misses with reality and TV stardom, that, in retrospect, kept her movie career on track. At age 15, she entered the unlikely VH1 reality competition In Search of the New Partridge Family and won the role of Laurie Partridge for a potential series remake that thankfully never advanced beyond the pilot stage. Two years later, she auditioned to play the cheerleader on Heroes, and found out that Hayden Panettiere got the part just before she went in to read, a moment she later called “rock bottom.”
But those years of relative obscurity worked in her favor, forcing her to try to make it in film, which she has obviously done. Since Superbad Stone has worked steadily, and crucially, in rowdy movies with boy appeal, not standard-issue romantic comedies. She’ll try to work the same magic in 2012, when she plays Gwen Stacy to Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker in the down-to-earth reboot The Amazing Spider-Man.
Peers: She’s at the head of a pack that includes established stars like Scarlett Johansson (26), Rachel McAdams (32), and Keira Knightley (26), as well as comers like Blake Lively (23), Olivia Wilde (27), and now Rooney Mara (25).
Market Value: Pretty decent. She’s had the luck of appearing in several successful comedies, and though Crazy, Stupid, Love wasn’t quite the box office sleeper the studio was hoping for, its ensemble nature will protect Stone from any dents. More importantly, she managed to open Easy A all by her lonesome, and its eventual $58 million gross left other female-targeted films in the dust, including Love and Other Drugs, Morning Glory, and the Katherine Heigl vehicles Life as We Know It and Killers. The Help will be the first movie since Easy A she’s had to open alone, but even if it doesn’t do that well, she’s got a safety net: a spider’s one.
What Hollywood Thinks: “She’s unbelievably versatile,” raved the studio chief. “She has dramatic chops and comedic chops. But more, she’s got enough tomboy in her that she seems like someone who’d have a good relationship with her brothers. And she’s ‘relatable’ – which means she doesn’t look like she wants to fuck your boyfriend.”
Added this studio mogul, “I think it says everything about her that she’s blonde naturally, but dyes her hair red: In a town where everyone wants to be blonde and be a girl named ‘Muffin,’ she doesn’t want to be ordinary.”
“She’s right at the top of her age group: She has the Spider-Man franchise now, and she seems to work in both comedy and drama,” said one agent we spoke to. “And she has, as they say, that ‘approachable’ beauty – sort of like Jen Aniston had in the early nineties — and is not intimidating, like, say, Megan Fox.”
Stone’s relative youth means that “she hasn’t had any of the inevitable ups and downs” and even though one may be coming in the oddly-timed release of The Help, she’s not likely to be hurt by it.
“Why the hell are they releasing The Help in August?” asks our agent, adding, “It’s very peculiar. But even if it gets lost, it probably won’t hurt her, because she has so many other slam-dunks in the can. She has to be one of the hottest actors in the business right now.”
Of course, that’s not to say things can’t go off the rails — after all, look what happened to Kirsten Dunst: “For young women it’s very, very competitive, more so than for men,” explains the agent, “There are so few rugged leading men, but the women, there’s a lot of them, and so the town is very unforgiving to women, while someone like Tom Hardy will get shot after shot after shot.” SMH there.
The Analysis: No matter how it does, a serious-issues drama like The Help is going to be an asset for Stone, coming along at just the right time to break her comic typecasting. Her next two projects will help expand the town’s perception of her: She just signed on to play the femme fatale caught between Sean Penn and Ryan Gosling in the period picture Gangster Squad, and even her love interest role in Spider-Man gives her room to stretch: When she was first cast in the then-secretive project, everyone assumed she’d be playing the confident, redheaded Mary Jane, in what seemed like a perfect pick. Instead, she’s playing gentle, blond Gwen Stacy, subtly tweaking our expectations of her.
“I think she’s doing everything right at the moment,” raved one top manager. “The Help has a weird release, but I hear it’s good, so hopefully it’ll stay with us into the fall. And there’s Gangster Squad, which is an interesting project. She has breadth. Maybe the next step is to engineer her own success and develop something for herself, attach herself as a producer, because any studio would make a movie with her now.”
The studio chief disagreed somewhat: “I don’t think she needs to develop her own stuff; I think that’s a different talent and one I’m not sure that she has. But she can make it just be being selective. She makes the smart choices and goes after them like nobody else; I mean, she went after Easy A like no one has ever gone after a role before.”
He added, “She has the ‘c’ word. With Sharon Stone, it means something else, but with Emma Stone, it means ‘charisma.’ There’s something so charismatic about her.”
The Bottom Line: And it’d be a shame to waste that charisma in supporting parts. Stone is smart to pick great ensembles to work with, and we’re looking forward to Spider-Man and Gangster Squad, but let’s hope she can find some 2013 projects where she gets to be the star, and not just the love interest.
Buy/Sell/Hold: Strongest Possible BUY.
Emma Stone maintains modesty in interviews, telling OnTheRedCarpet.com that she never felt totally confident that she could play Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan in “The Help,” despite the increasingly loud Oscar buzz surrounding the actress.
“I still don’t know if I could be Skeeter,” Stone told OnTheRedCarpet.com in a recent press junket. “I knew I wanted to play Skeeter from reading the script and reading the book. I knew that I understood facets of Skeeter, but it was Tate who gave me that opportunity. I don’t think there has ever been a day where I felt ‘I know I can do this for a fact,’ that’s never been something in my [head].”
In “The Help,” Stone plays Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan, an aspiring writer and college graduate who was partially raised by a black maid in 1960s Mississippi. She decides to write a book from the perspective of “the help,” with the help of Aibileen (Viola Davis), Minnie (Octavia Spencer) and their peers.
When Entertainment Tonight asked Stone about the Oscar buzz, she joked, “Oh, is that what that is? I thought that was a fly. Well, it hasn’t even come out yet, so I hope that people just come to see the movie and enjoy it.”
“The Help” is based on a 2009 novel by Kathryn Stockett. It also stars Bryce Dallas Howard of “Twilight” fame, whose character acts snotty around the “help.”
Emma Stone has cemented herself as the summer’s hottest actress, appearing opposite Ryan Gosling in “Crazy, Stupid, Love” and dumping Justin Timberlake in “Friends with Benefits.” The 22-year-old actress will also play Peter Parker’s blonde love interest Gwen Stacy in “The Amazing Spider-Man,” opposite her rumored boyfriend, “The Social Network” actor Andrew Garfield.
Emma Stone and her equally in-demand fellow actress Olivia Wilde were named beauty ambassadors for Revlon cosmetics on Wednesday. Their first campaigns will appear in early 2012, according to People magazine.
Emma Stone rose to fame with the teen comedy films “Superbad” in 2007 and “Easy A” in 2010, which earned her a Golden Globe nomination.
The Help, one of the first thoughtful and emotionally-evocative dramas in a summer jam packed with explosive event film offerings, is now in theaters. Adapted from the bestselling novel by Kathryn Stockett, the film stars Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Jessica Chastain, Allison Janney, and Sissy Spacek.
Set in Jackson, Mississippi amidst the racial turbulence of the 1960s The Help takes a look at the more intimate social politics of the time – rather than the broad societal conditions. It explores, as novelist Kathryn Stockett says, “How it all worked out in the kitchen.”
The film follows the story of four women that (each in their own way) are living at the edges of the popularly accepted Southern culture of the time. Skeeter, who is striving for a career as a journalist at a moment in history when marriage and babies were the markers of a woman’s worth, Celia a woman judged by the poverty of her youth and her inherently uninhibited sexuality, as well as Aibileen and Minny — two of the maids who silently worked and lived in an existence that seemed pre-ordained for them.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan (Stone) is a young woman who just returned from College and is given her first foot in the door as a journalist – a domestic column for the local newspaper. Being less than inclined toward the domestic arts, she seeks the advice of her best friend’s maid, Aibileen (Davis). Skeeter soon shifts her focus from collecting housekeeping tips to investigating the lives of the women that support and enable the lives of wealthy Southern families that she grew up with – The Help. The African American maids that raise the children, and make the sweet ambrosia for bridge parties, but often lived either as specters at the edges of their employers lives, or (by the worst of the employers) as tolerated (but necessary) evils.
A few weeks ago we had the opportunity to sit down in roundtable interviews with novelist Kathryn Stockett, director Tate Taylor, songwriter Mary J. bilge (who wrote an original song for the film) and the cast of The Help – to talk about working on a movie that was in many ways a family affair, the pleasure of bringing these rich characters to life, and looking back at a time, a place and a culture that holds painful collective memories.
Memories of a history that, as Emma Stone points out, many people still know very little about today:
“I don’t know if it’s my generation or if it’s just me, but I didn’t know the levels, the depths, the intricacies. I didn’t know on a day to day basis what life was like [then]. I learned a huge amount of it through this story (even though it’s fictional) and through researching the time period more, but I really hope for my generation that they will go see this movie because I don’t know that we know as much as we should about our very recent history.”
Even before Kathryn Stockett’s novel was released an intimate, or as director Tate Taylor calls it, “incestuous” web of connections began to form to make the movie possible.
Childhood friends Taylor and Stockett grew up together in the Jackson, Mississippi that serves as the backdrop for both the novel and the film, The Help (thought they grew up several years after this story takes place). Stockett, a woman who has little interest in Hollywood and confesses that the last movie she has seen in the theater is Seabiscuit, was not driven by the prospect of making a film — she was writing a novel.
Her friend and budding director, Tate Taylor, on the other hand would read the manuscript as it was being written and knew the book had potential to make a wonderful movie. He also knew that he had to be the one to make it. It took some convincing, but he eventually convinced Stockett that he was the man for the job, and to give the rights to him.
As Stockett explains it:
“The thing that really kind of broke me, and it wasn’t like a huge argument that we had about whether he would make the movie. What really got under my skin was he said, ‘Katy if you don’t give me the rights to The Help some kind of Hollywood type or,” the author continued teasingly, “I mean God knows like a Canadian might get them and chances are they will try to make this movie, and they’ll get scared and it will sit on the shelf and it’ll never be made.’ And I think you (Taylor) were right cause’ you pushed through a lot of walls to get it made.”
“I may have been trying to scare you a bit” Taylor laughingly confessed to Stockett. ”But I’ve just been out here and you hear of these great projects…I think of ‘The Secret History’ that’s one you had always talked about. That’s one that, as you know, they put expensive writers on and then people don’t like it and then they bring on another expensive writer and all these people get involved and gets whittled and ugh. I just didn’t want that to happen.”
The history that Taylor and Stockett share is a reflection of the very stories that each were bringing to the world with both the novel, The Help, as well as its cinematic adaptation.
“Both of our moms were divorced,” Stockett explained.
“Our moms were Celia’s,” Taylor continued. “Honestly they were not accepted in Jackson society at all. We both saw the pain that it caused them.”
Celia, the character that actress Jessica Chastain brings so vividly to life in this film, is a Marilyn Monroe-esque woman from poverty stricken Sugar Ditch, Tennessee. A vibrant, life-loving (if somewhat inappropriate) woman who is outcast by the Jackson society ladies in the film – who are threatened by what Chastain describes as her “innocent sensuality” and “color-blind” point of view. Color blind due to the unique nature of her integrated upbringing in Sugar Ditch — where everyone was equally poor.
Stockett explained that as the children of single working mothers, “the woman that we would come home to was the black woman that was working for our moms because our moms were working in an office.”
Taylor continued, saying, “It was a different dynamic because my mom and Carol, the woman that raised me (who’s also in the movie – when Aibileen comes into the church and says, ‘who are we clapping for?’ and the woman says; ‘They’re clapping for you’ that’s the woman that raised me) she and my mom had a really great relationship, I mean they…”
“That was more of a partnership,” Stockett interjected.
“Yeah,” Taylor contained, “but that was like Celia and Minny. My mom was a single mom trying to support me being a real estate agent and three months went by and she had not sold anything. Luckily I was at that age where franks and beans is gourmet so she just kept opening up the cans. But she had Carol. Carol was a single mom with three kids and it was really cool because Carol would take care of me and sometimes mom would take care of Carol’s kids. They would come spend the night with us one weekend. So it was different. It was the South and the African American care-giver but more of the Celia/Minny relationship. So what spoke to me in the book was that bond between like Mae Mobley (the three year-old white child Aibileen cares for) and Aibileen. As well as that going against the grain relationship (of Minny and Celia) – which is still against the grain – a black woman and a white woman being friends in the ‘70s and just taking care of each other.”
“It was much more of a hierarchy,” Stockett revealed of her own upbringing.
“After school I went to my grandmother’s house and it was her maid Demetry and my grandmother grew up in Shanghai. So she’s American but she understood class and enunciation and that the maid did this and that she was the woman of the house. So that was a different dynamic. But still, we just, you know, we came home to that face and those arms around us.”
Understanding the confusing weave of the bonds and distrust between these caregivers and their employers is at the center of the stories told in The Help.
Stay tuned for part two of our coverage of The Help which addresses art imitating life in casting as well as what the cast and creators had to say about shedding light onto the South’s painful past.
The Help opens in theaters today, August 10th.