Selena Gomez has said she looks up to Emma Stone and Emma tells HollywoodLife.com she appreciates the compliment! She also talks about whether or not she’d duet with BFF Taylor Swift
Emma Stone looked beautiful at The Help premiere last night in LA, and she stopped on the red carpet to chat with us about fellow young celebrities Selena Gomez and Taylor Swift. Selena has listed Emma as a Hollywood figure she looks up to, explaining “I feel like she is doing really great, fun roles, but also roles that display her talent.”
We asked Emma last night what she thought of Selena seeing her as a mentor and she smiled and responded, “That is very sweet!”
We also asked her if she’d ever do a duet with her close friend Taylor Swift. Emma’s revealed that she’s been in a VH1 singing competition before, and so we were curious if she’d use her pipes alongside Taylor’s. “Oh, I doubt it. My voice isn’t that great!” laughed Emma.
In case you weren’t paying attention, this has been, according to Vanity Fair magazine, the “Red-Hot Summer of Emma Stone.”
That headline was accompanied by a sexy bikini shot of the 22-year-old actress who has had three movies open in as many weeks. The first two – “Friends with Benefits” and “Crazy, Stupid, Love” – were only set-ups for the main attraction – a career-making performance in the period drama “The Help,” which opened Wednesday.
Based on the best-selling book by Kathryn Stockett, Stone plays a young woman from Jackson, Miss., who returns to her hometown in 1963 after college with dreams of becoming a writer. As the civil rights movement swirls around them, her white friends are interested only in living empty, but comfortable lives while oblivious to the black maids who clean their houses, cook their meals and raise their children.
Skeeter (Stone) cannot accept the life offered her, and she eventually persuades many of the maids to tell their stories. Those stories are turned into a book that scandalizes the town during a tense moment in history when civil rights leader Medger Evers is murdered outside his Jackson home.
“The Help” is a major career shift for Stone, who has shown considerable promise in lighter fare such as “Superbad,” “Zombieland” and “Easy A.”
“The Help” has delivered on that promise, and her star no doubt will ascend even more next year with the opening of “The Amazing Spider-Man,” in which she plays the superhero’s girlfriend Gwen Stacey.
Although she grew up in Arizona, she moved to Los Angeles early to pursue acting, and her parents still have the home in Newport Beach they bought to be near her.
A natural blonde, Stone is more familiar to movie audience as a redhead, but it is her distinctive laugh and raspy speaking voice that never changes.
Laughing frequently, she explained why she was shocked by the Vanity Fair bikini photo, how “Saturday Night Live” helped her realize a dream and what she has learned about what she didn’t learn in school about the civil rights movement.
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Who is that woman on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine?
EMMA STONE: What do you mean?
Q. A couple of years ago, you were a promising young independent film actress. When did you become a big movie star?
A. (laughs) When was I in an independent film?
Q. What about “Zombieland?”
A. That was a Sony picture.
Q. What about “Superbad?”
Q. “Easy A?”
A. Screen Gems
Q. “The House Bunny?”
A. Columbia Pictures.
Q. Have you ever made an independent movie?
A. Maybe one.
Q. Apparently I don’t know what I’m talking about. I don’t suppose the new “Spider-Man” movie is an independent film?
A. I don’t think so (laughs).
Q. Forget what I said. Let’s get back to the Vanity Fair cover. You never struck me as a bikini babe.
A. Boy, oh boy. That was the first time I ever wore a bikini in a photo shoot, and it was the only bikini I wore at that photo shoot, and they chose to make it the cover.
Q. You could have said no?
A. I never dreamed they would use that shot.
Q. Perhaps you’ve secretly cultivated a sexy screen image?
A. (laughs). That’s exactly right. It was a big secret, even to me. Anybody who knows me thinks it’s hysterical.
Q. Besides a lifelong dream of appearing on a national magazine cover in a bikini, didn’t you also recently fulfill a dream of hosting “Saturday Night Live?”
A. Oh my God. That was the best week of my life.
Q. Did it live up to the dream?
A. Oh, it exceeded the dream.
Q. In what way?
A. I never allowed myself to imagine that it would ever happen. I went in with no expectations, and it was amazing.
Q. When you put together the “Saturday Night Live” hosting gig, the Vanity Fair cover and “The Amazing Spider-Man” role, it seems like you’ve totally bought into the movie star life.
A. I hope not.
Q. You may have been redeemed by “The Help.” It is something else entirely, isn’t it?
A. It really is.
Q. How did it come about?
A. I got this call to meet with Tate Taylor, the director, and when I told my mother that I was up for a part in “The Help,” she literally went crazy. She was so excited because she had read the book. I hadn’t even read the script so I had no idea what a big deal it was. When I got the part, she cried, and she never cries when I get a role.
Q. She didn’t cry when you got “Zombieland?”
A. (laughs) Not even then.
Q. So tell me what happened when you first met with the director?
A. We had a few drinks, and bonded quickly. He was so great, and I believe that he was the only one who could make this movie.
Q. Were you surprised by what you learned about life in the south in 1963?
A. I knew about Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, and that’s about all I learned in school. It’s kind of amazing.
Q. You grew up in Arizona?
A. Yes. My knowledge was pretty limited about life in the South during that time. But Tate made us watch this incredible documentary “Eyes on the Prize.” It was so helpful in learning about that time period, and what was really going on. It was mind-boggling.
Q. What were your emotions when you found out what was going on?
A. It’s insane to me. But it’s insane to me because it’s not my generation. Hopefully, it will be insane to my children that gay people were not allowed to get married. It’s the same as my grandparents’ generation where women were not allowed to vote. It’s easy for me to say it’s insane because I didn’t live through it. But it seems to me that it should be a birthright that everyone should be equal.
Q. How important is it for this movie to come out now?
A. It’s been my experience that my generation doesn’t know as much as it should about that time period. It’s hugely important to know our history. We’re in the middle of a civil rights movement now so it’s important to understand where it started.
Q. Will your generation come to see this movie?
A. I sure as hell hope so. I can’t speak for my generation, but I would go to see a movie like this.
Q. Where did you film “The Help?”
A. In a small town in Mississippi.
Q. What was it like to be in Mississippi filming a movie that is critical of a certain period in Mississippi’s history?
A. It was very hospitable. There was plenty of Southern hospitality. They brought us zucchini bread, and we met their children. At the same, you could feel the history.
Q. Are you saying the hospitality was a façade?
A. Not a façade; just a different mentality.
Q. Were you ever fearful?
A. No. Not at all. And I don’t think we could have filmed it in any other place. It was important to film this movie in Mississippi.
Q. You didn’t film in the summer, did you?
A. Oh yes; with 100 percent humidity. And mosquitoes like you wouldn’t believe.
Q. I suppose that helps an actor get into the right frame of mind?
A. You’re literally in the experience. You couldn’t be closer to being in the moment.
Q. As a 22-year-old woman, could you identify at all with how 22-year-old women lived in Jackson in 1963?
A. It’s easy for me to say now that I would have been like Skeeter, and that I would never have joined the Junior League and felt the pressures to have a husband and babies by this age, but you never know until you live that life.
Q. Did you run into any locals who were resentful of you filming this story there?
A. I’m sure they existed, but I didn’t meet anyone like that. In fact, the mayor and a lot of the residents were extras in the movie, so we felt nothing but support.
From “Harry Potter” to “The Hunger Games,” Hollywood always faces a challenge when it comes to adapting bestselling books into two-hour feature films. And by a challenge, of course, we mean the frothing micro-scrutiny of a million rabid fans who have some very specific ideas about what you should and should not do when bringing their beloved literary characters to life on the big screen.
But if you’ve ever sat in the darkening theater, clutching your popcorn and praying to the gods of All Things Film-Related, “Please, Celluloid Gods, please let them NOT HAVE SCREWED THIS UP!”… well, guess what, Emma Stone knows just how you feel. Even when, as with “The Help,” she’s actually in the movie.
As an actress, she said, “When you read the book, you have a vision of those characters too. So not only are you saying, ‘How am I going to play that character… but who’s gonna play Celia?’ Because I love Celia, and if she’s played wrong, I’m going to be so mad.”
Oh yeah. This girl gets it. And, she added, “I definitely understand being protective of the characters and the material.”
Of course, getting to be a part of the movie-making process for one of your favorite books is a pretty sweet gig—which brings us to the next question: How do Emma and her “The Help” co-star Bryce Dallas Howard choose which films to act in?
Bryce cracked up, saying, “When someone casts me! Everyone thinks it’s a choice!”
But while we take a moment to be profoundly grateful that, unlike professional actors, we don’t have to re-apply for our careers of choice every six months, Emma offers some insight.
“It depends on the time in your life, kind of, too. There are characters I’ve played before that I can’t imagine being able to play now—I don’t know if I’d be able to get to that same place—and vice-versa.”
Fair enough. But listen, Emma? We’re just saying, we love “The Help.” And if it’s played wrong…well, you understand. YES YOU DO.
Emma Stone is down to answer the tough questions. Fortunately, we came with a few.
Our own Ashlan Gorse recently sat down with Stone and her The Help costar Viola Davis, and the two did not hold back. From romance to Spider-Man, the ladies shared all. But Emma revealed one thing we never would have dared ask…
As it turns out, the cast met quite the challenge while filming the flick down in Mississippi: comfort food. So how bad did things get?
“They took my costumes out twice,” Stone quietly revealed. But she wasn’t the only one. “Oh heck yeah! It was everyone.” And who’s to blame them, what with all that lemon pie, caramel cake, fried chicken and biscuits sitting around. But still, have to say the ladies of this stellar cast have never looked better.
And that topic was just the beginning. Check it out as we put Emma on the spot about who her girl crush is—Christina Hendricks or Catt Sadler—how it feels to be a part of something huge like Spider-Man and what she has to say about those Andrew Garfield dating rumors.
With roles in “The Help,” “Crazy, Stupid, Love” and “Friends With Benefits,” this has been the summer of Emma Stone. But the 22-year-old’s role as Skeeter Phelan in “The Help” marks a big departure from her previous onscreen personas.
Gone are the now-token red locks and girl-next-door vibe that have become so familiar. Instead, Stone is a blonde, curly-haired modern woman determined to tell the true story of what it’s like to be a black maid in 1960s Mississippi. On the surface, Skeeter might seem like a big change from the Stone audiences have come to know and love, but “The Amazing Spider-Man” actress said she has a lot more in common with her character than it might seem.
“When I was younger, I always wanted to be a writer or a journalist, and I don’t think I’d be much good at it, but it was really wonderful to kind of live out that dream through acting,” Stone said when MTV News caught up with her during Sneak Peek Week. “She’s curious about people and curious about her life and is questioning why things are the way they are, and I’ve definitely done that too, as I’m sure everyone has.”
Just because Stone felt a kinship with her character didn’t make her any easier to play, though. She had to adopt a Southern accent for the flick and also get in the mentality of what it’s like to be a Southern woman. Fortunately, Stone’s mother was raised in Louisiana so she was able to discuss with her what it was like to be a woman in the South in the 1960s.
Her co-star, Bryce Dallas Howard, had an easier time because she had previously played a Southern woman in “The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond.” But even in that flick, Howard had played a character from a different environment and background, so she had to figure out the right way to play Hilly Holbrook in “The Help.” She told us that filming the movie in Mississippi helped her get into the right mindset.
“I feel like, in the movie, you get a sense of true authenticity in terms of the period and obviously the setting because we shot the film in Greenwood, Mississippi,” Howard said. “I think it made all the difference in the world.”
Emma Stone is following up one fantastic year in 2010 with an even better one in 2011. With Crazy, Stupid, Love and Friends with Benefits’ recent releases and The Help arriving on screens August 10, it seems the red-haired actress is everywhere. Oh and then there’s that little movie called The Amazing Spider-Man that she just finished shooting.
In The Help, Emma Stone is Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan, a young writer who has grown up with the poorly paid help literally raising her. She has seen firsthand not only the difficult life The Help must endure, but also the severe prejudice that is rampant in 1960s Mississippi. With the stroke of her pen, she hopes to write a book detailing what life is like in the South from the perspective of The Help — something that has never been done, is extremely dangerous and highly illegal.
The Help is based on the bestselling novel by Kathryn Stockett and features an incredible cast (don’t miss our review going live August 10) at the top of their careers handling a story that is equally as tough as it is tender in one of the best films of the year.
Movie Fanatic: Your success seems to be growing exponentially. What keeps you down-to-earth?
Emma Stone: I’m crazy [laughs]. It’s nice that it’s not coming across so much, though. My mom and my dad never boosted me up, irrationally. They never told me, “Oh, you’re so great! Look at you go!” They said, “We’re proud of you and we’re happy you’re doing what you want to do.” But, I could drive a garbage truck and they would say the same thing, if that was my passion. I’ve just got a good momma.
Movie Fanatic: Viola Davis and your relationship onscreen just pops. Was that evident from the first table read?
Emma Stone: I think we were pretty lucky because — for the most part — we were relatively chronological in shooting. Skeeter and Aibileen don’t really know each other very well at the beginning. They slowly get to know each other, which was our experience as well. It was relatively chronological, so it wasn’t that we felt the need to develop this deep, long-lasting friendship chemistry from the very beginning.
Movie Fanatic: How do you handle fans’ expectations for a film? You have that with The Help and will certainly have that with The Amazing Spider-Man.
Emma Stone: I always struggle with expecting anything. I don’t know. We’ll have to see. It’s that expectation thing. I don’t know what people are expecting from Spider-Man. It’s like that with The Help, too. When you are part of a movie that has a fan base already built in, audiences come in with these expectations. You just hope that they’ll be happy with the way the story was told and the way it was translated for the screen.
Movie Fanatic: Where does being on the cover of Vanity Fair rank for you?
Emma Stone: I’m in a bikini on Vanity Fair, and I don’t wear bikinis in real life [laughs]. There was one set-up where they were like, “Wear a bikini because we’re in St. Bart’s.” I was like, “Okay.” I had the stomach flu for that whole shoot and I was vomiting. So when I look at that cover, I see the stomach flu and a really great photographer [laughs]. It just feels so different than you think it would feel.
Movie Fanatic: You had a great year in 2010 with Easy A and now in 2011 with Friends with Benefits, Crazy, Stupid, Love and The Help — all while filming Spider-Man — do you feel your life is changing?
Emma Stone: If I had a nickel… actually, let me say something. There’s nothing you can know until you know. There have been a million times in my life where that’s happened. I was like, “When I turn 13, I’m going to get my own phone line in my room and I’m going to make so many phone calls to all my friends. I’m going to be up all night talking on the phone.” And, it was exciting for two days, but the phone never rang. Then, I was like, “When I’m 16, I’m going to get a car, drive wherever I want and do whatever I want.” And, I picked up my friends for a couple weeks, and then I was like, “Oh God, I just want to stay home.” There are a million things in life where people say, “This is going to happen,” or “That is going to happen,” or “Here’s how it’s going to feel.” And, pretty much, it just feels embarrassing.
“Sorry I look like a hooker,” deadpans Emma Stone, her lips a shade of candy apple red, as she rushes into the bar at the Sunset Tower hotel.
She’s wearing the bright lipstick, she explains, because she has just come from taping an interview with Jay Leno, the umpteenth late-night appearance the 22-year-old actress had booked in recent weeks to promote the three films she is in this summer: “Friends With Benefits,” “Crazy, Stupid, Love” and “The Help,” which arrives in theaters Wednesday.
“My brain feels like liquid mush,” she sighs, collapsing into a corner booth and promptly ordering a glass of white wine. She has barely taken a sip before the hotel’s famous Eastern European maitre d’, Dimitri Dimitrov, notices a starlet in his midst and rushes over to greet her.
“You are eh-vuh-ree-where,” he gushes.
Indeed. In addition to working the talk show circuit, Stone’s freckled face has been virtually inescapable lately — on glossy magazine covers, billboards, and, of course, the big screen. Her three summer films have opened within a span of three weeks, and she’s already promoting “The Amazing Spider-Man,” the upcoming reboot of the big-budget comic book franchise (in which she’ll play Gwen Stacy, the first love of Peter Parker), even though that film isn’t being released until next July.
It’s been a swift rise for Stone from anonymous Arizona teen to Hollywood “It” girl, propelled by her easygoing style, somewhat tomboyish beauty and comedic chops. Amid a wave of celebrity, she is attempting to transition from the funny girl-next-door in lower-budget movies to an actress of greater range and substance in higher-profile films, and she seems determined to hold her fame at arm’s length.
“I haven’t really given myself time or space to examine all of this because I don’t think it’s a good idea to,” she says. “You have to hold it lightly. You have to be like, ‘This is gonna go away.’ Because it will. After these movies come out, these questions will stop, and I’ll be like, ‘What happened?'”
Stone’s almost-too-good-to-be-true Hollywood story begins with the oft-repeated tale of how she put together a PowerPoint presentation for her parents to persuade them to let her move to Los Angeles to pursue acting. She and her mother moved into the Park La Brea apartments; Stone began auditioning and working a day job at the dog bakery in the Farmer’s Market at the Grove.
Her first film role came as Jonah Hill’s hook-up buddy in 2007’s “Superbad”; the following summer she was one of a slew of geeky sorority girls in “The House Bunny.” She had a memorable turn opposite Jeff Daniels in “Paper Man,” a quirky independent film selected to open the 2009 Los Angeles Film Festival — but the movie barely got a theatrical release, grossing a paltry $13,514 at the box office.
But her true breakout came last year with “Easy A,” a high school comedy in which she played a brassy teenager who mistakenly gains a reputation for sleeping around. The role earned her a Golden Globe nomination, put her on the public’s radar, and attracted the notice of big-name directors like “Spider-Man’s” Marc Webb.
When Webb screen-tested Stone for the superhero film, “she had been known for a lot more whimsical comedic stuff,” he acknowledges.
“And there’s certainly a lot of that at play in ‘Spider-Man,’ but there’s also a lot of real in-depth emotional material to handle. But early on, when we were doing hair and makeup tests, there was just a gut feeling I got about her. It was easy to tell that things were going to work out because she’s fearless.”
Stone shows off her gusto in “The Help,” an adaptation of the bestselling novel about race relations and civil rights in 1960s Jackson, Miss. In the film, Stone plays a young college graduate who befriends a group of African American maids and writes a page-turner about the injustices they face. It’s the first major dramatic role the actress has taken on and the one she says affected her most personally.
“I’m from Arizona — there was no in-depth conversation in my life about the civil rights movement,” says the actress, who completed the majority of her high school courses via online correspondence after moving to L.A. “Now I feel more open to those kinds of discussions. Friends I have will say closed-minded stuff about things having to do with race that they haven’t really examined. And I’m like, ‘Maybe I would have thought that way before I actually knew the history.’ It really changes your perspective.”
The movie also shifted her approach to her career.
“It made me feel like I don’t need to be afraid anymore — afraid of relying on a joke,” she admits. “My whole life, that’s been the way I relate to people. ‘Oh, let’s hope I can make them laugh at some point, otherwise — I don’t know.’ I was always the ham. There’s been an element of playing to my strengths. This was exciting, because it made me feel like I could be part of something that I wasn’t necessarily comfortable doing before.”
Daniels, her “Paper Man” costar, said he recognized Stone’s potential to do more than comedy on the set of that film.
She’s “letting it fly in front of the camera and trusting that she’ll end up somewhere good,” says the actor via email. “I think the fact that she’s able to be so moment-to-moment this early in her career bodes well for her being around a long time.”
Stone recognizes, though, that it takes more than talent to guarantee longevity in this town. So at the recent premiere of “Crazy, Stupid, Love” last month, she spent an hour talking to her 50-year-old costar Julianne Moore, a four-time Oscar nominee, about how she should navigate her career.
“I was asking her about how to make choices. Like, ‘What do you do when people tell you that you should be thinking one way, but you’re inherently thinking another way?'” she says. “Those are the kind of people that I like talking to. And if you have the opportunity to — why not? What are they gonna say, ‘You’re such an idiot, asking me how I turned out so great?'”
Meanwhile, Chris Columbus, who produced “The Help” and has worked with a number of young actors, including Macaulay Culkin and the stars of the “Harry Potter” franchise, has been busy offering Stone some advice of his own.
“The thing is, she’s not just the ‘It’-girl. She’s a great actress who just happens to be in a slew of movies that are all coming out around the same time,” the filmmaker says. “And while she’s an amazing actress who I think will work for the next 40 years, I’ve been telling her over the last few months that I think she’d make a great director. Because she’s so bright that it’s a little scary, and she has a great ability to read people. Every time I talk to her, it seems like she’s twice as old as she is.”
Stone’s first real grown-up move came two years ago, when she bought a place in New York and moved out of L.A. for a change of pace. Lately, though, she’s been trying to spend more time in Hollywood because she has been missing her closest friends, most of whom live here.
“I’ve realized that home is where the people you love are. My dad has been pounding that into my head — his biggest thing is, ‘I’m 51, and I miss my friends.’ … So he is obsessed with me staying in touch with my friends and keeping perspective,” says the actress, who will soon be spending a few months in town while shooting “The Gangster Squad,” a period crime drama that will re-team her with “Crazy, Stupid, Love” costar Ryan Gosling and a slew of other A-listers.
Still, it’s unclear how much Stone has allowed herself to bask in her recent successes, since she seems so convinced that her fame is ephemeral.
“This is so wonderful, but if this goes away — and it will, I really believe that. It’s not fatalistic,” she says, beginning to realize she’s returning again to the theme. “I guess there is that fleeting element that I have. I think I’m the kind of person that would get pregnant and wouldn’t decorate the room for the sex of the baby until the baby was born. I’m that kind of person. Until it happens — unless it’s true — I’m not going to commit to it.”
Emma Stone is quickly becoming one of Hollywood’s most recognizable faces with memorable roles in this summer’s Friends with Benefits, Crazy, Stupid, Love and The Help, but the modest actress is taking her sudden success in stride.
At the Los Angeles premiere of Stone’s latest film, The Help, which is already gathering quite a bit of award season talk, Emma played off the early buzz with her trademark humor.
“Is that what is? I thought there was like a fly,” Emma jokes playfully mock-searching for the creature at the source all that “buzzing.” Stone laughs it off, saying in all seriousness she is really “glad,” and hopes “people go see the movie and enjoy it.”
Co-star Viola Davis admits she appreciates the favorable reception of the film but “[doesn’t] know what to do with” talk of Oscars in their future.
The Help stars Emma as Skeeter, a young aspiring journalist in 1960s Mississippi looking for a story angle that disturbs her, “particularly if it bothers no one else.” She turns to her own experience growing up with “the help,” looking to tell the point of view of Aibileen (Viola Davis), Minnie (Octavia Spencer) and their peers. From there, the women build an unlikely friendship around a secret writing project that breaks societal rules and puts them all at risk.
Also starring Bryce Dallas Howard, The Help arrives in theaters today, August 10.