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.
Last night, there was a premiere for the film “The Help” in Los Angeles! Emma Stone was in attendance and looked lovely in a Chanel dress. Check out a first look from the event below – tons of pictures will be added later today!
They’re no strangers to glamming it up on the red carpet, and now, beauties Emma Stone and Olivia Wilde will be glamming it up together as the new global brand ambassadors for Revlon. The up-and-coming actresses will appear in various television, print and digital campaigns beginning in early 2012.
“Revlon recognizes that every woman is multifaceted and magnificent in their own way and the expression of individuality is as important to Revlon as it is to me,” Stone, who has been known to experiment with makeup in the past, said in a statement. And for her, the connection to the brand stems from childhood. “I have been familiar with Revlon for as long as I can remember,” she added. “I vividly recall my mom wearing Revlon makeup and I remember getting to the age when I was finally able to wear Revlon myself.”
For Wilde, being the face of a brand that’s committed to helping others was key. “I have always admired Revlon and their commitment to giving women the confidence and tools they need to feel beautiful, both inside and out,” she said. “Creatively, Revlon has never been afraid to push the envelope, which is important to me. I also love that they use their tremendous recognizability around the world to do good as one of the industry’s biggest champions of women’s health. It’s exciting to join a company with a big heart and big ideas!”
The duo’s first campaigns will be tied to the launch of new color cosmetics and nail enamel products. They’ll also participate in Revlon’s fundraising efforts for women’s health issues; the brand has raised more than $65 million for women’s cancer research in the past 10 years.
Emma Stone has had a meteoric rise in her film career in four short years. From impressing with her 2007 film debut in “Superbad,” she has moved rapidly through “Zombieland,” “Easy A” and is coming up as Skeeter Phelan in “The Help.”
Born Emily Jean Stone in Scottsdale, Arizona, she famously convinced her parents to attempt an acting career by showing them a power point presentation. The newly crowned Emma Stone made her first appearance in 2005 as Laurie Partridge in a short-lived reboot of “The Partridge Family,” and made a splash through appearances in popular films like “The House Bunny.” The last month has seen three films featuring her performances, with a cameo in “Friends with Benefits,” a meatier role in “Crazy, Stupid, Love” and her lead in The Help.
HollywoodChicago interviewed Emma Stone in anticipation of The Help, and she spoke of her experience on the film with reverence, at the same time denying her status as a “movie star.”
HollywoodChicago.com: After researching and playing Skeeter, what circumstances of her life are you glad you don’t have to deal with, living in this era of America?
Emma Stone: I’m glad that that it’s not expected behavior to graduate high school, get married and have a baby. Skeeter was my age, and if I had a child now I don’t know how it would turn out, right now I couldn’t imagine it. I’m really glad that it’s not odd for women to enter a career path before that happens or while it happens. I’m quite happy not to be in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1963 under these circumstances.
HollywoodChicago.com: Skeeter is different from her friends for a couple reasons, the connection she had with her nanny growing up and the fact that she wants a career over getting married. How did you feel you best embodied those two characteristics in her character when researching the role?
Stone: I can never judge how it came out in my portrayal, I have no control over that. I don’t know. It’s hard for me to ever say, ‘here’s what I’m trying to convey’ or ‘this is what I’m expressing to the audience.’ My only goal is to feel right within myself and to be true to the character. I was lucky that Kathryn [Stockett, the novel’s author] wrote an incredible character and Tate [Taylor, the writer/director] translated it beautifully in the screenplay, and I was trying to stay true to the Skeeter they wrote. She already had that balance, so playing her in truth hopefully came across, and that was my ultimate goal.
HollywoodChicago.com: Cicely Tyson is a legendary actor who also happened to be an adult woman during the period of The Help. Did she offer any perspective about those times while you were working with her on set?
Stone: Cicely is an incredible actress, a complete living legend. We only worked together one day and she is a method actor in a certain way because she only wanted to be referred to on the set as her character Constantine and she treated me just as Skeeter. It was amazing because I’d never really worked with someone who operates in that way. It was old school. It was wonderful.
The only time we talked about the 1960s and the civil rights movement was when we had breakfast together. It was a story about how she decided to quit eating fried foods and crappy foods because the day that Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot, she got a real intense chest pain. She went to the doctor and they told her it was a hernia, so she has eaten healthy ever since. She went to King’s funeral with her husband, Miles Davis.
HollywoodChicago.com: Even though The Help is a piece of fiction, which actual men or women do you admire from that 1960s era and what made them as brave as Skeeter in what they did?
Stone: There are so many people in research, like Medgar Evers or Dr. King, those people that made such a difference back then. Personally, having to do with the journalism, I read and admire Tom Wolfe. Also Skeeter and I are deeply effected by the music of Bob Dylan.
HollywoodChicago.com: After you get a little power as an actress with box office success and recognition, how do you pick roles that best will represent you and keep your career viable? How do you feel about that process?
Stone: That process, that mentality is brand new to me. It mostly comes from your agents and manager. They are concerned about the monetary issues and such, but my mentality is to disassociate from anything to that effect, and pick roles that mean the most to me. One of the only upsides to life changing in that way is that for the first time you actually get the opportunity to choose what you want to do, what stories you want to tell and what you want to be a part of. That should have nothing to do with career ‘trajectory’ or anything like that. All the people I love and respect just made films they cared about. One of my mentors is Woody Harrelson, who has talked to me about never compromising and never making choices that you don’t want to make.
HollywoodChicago.com: How is Marc Webb, the director of ‘(500) Days of Summer,’ creating a new platform for the upcoming ‘The Amazing Spider-Man,’ and how was the experience like becoming part of Superheroland?
Stone: Very interesting becoming part of Superheroland. I liked the change and evolution. It’s a different story this time around and Marc was keen about telling it in a different way. It was a lot for him, there are a lot of opinions and impressions. He handled it really well, even when balancing a million things. I can’t imagine being a director, that must be the hardest job, except maybe being a parent. [laughs]
HollywoodChicago.com: Do you find it more difficult to maneuver through the emotional minefields of your own relationships when you are a so-called ‘celebrity’? Does it make it more difficult?
Stone: I wouldn’t consider myself a so-called ‘celebrity.’ Arrrgh, for the love of God! [laughs] For sure! Quit it. I have no experience outside my own. It like people asking me what was it like not going to your high school graduation. I don’t know, because I didn’t go! I have no experience outside my own, so I really couldn’t tell you the difference navigating my life as compared to anyone else.
HollywoodChicago.com: Since you have three major motion pictures opening only weeks apart from each other, do you feel you change a bit as a person after every role you play? Does the experience of different movie sets provide you with a creative evolution?
Stone: Absolutely. It’s funny, but I don’t know that because it’s 2011 and everything moves so rapidly with the internet culture, but I just bounced, bounced and bounced from film to film. When I look at the resumes of actors of the past, like my favorite Diane Keaton, she made five movies in the 1970s. My next film will be my fifteenth, and that is in five years. That’s cuckoo bananas! If I didn’t take everything as a learning experience that would be really frickin’ sad. It’s basically like I’m taking acting classes in front of everybody now. [laughs]
It’s huge growth, huge change and it’s like being at summer camp over and over again. You’re in these little groups of people, and then you move to another group of people, like summer camp back-to-back-to-back. You always are changed when you come back from summer camp. [laughs]
“The Help” opens everywhere August 10th. Featuring Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, Octavia Spencer, Cicely Tyson, Jessica Chastain, Allison Janney and Sissy Spacek. Adapted for the screen and directed by Tate Taylor. Rated “PG-13”
“The Help” marks the third Emma Stone movie released in four weeks, following “Friends with Benefits” and “Crazy Stupid Love.” Isn’t she worried about, uh, Stone-verkill?
“Stone-verkill! Yes! Coined a word,” Stone exclaims, laughing. “I’m always worried about Stone-verkill. I have to live with me every day. I’ve had to listen to my voice way too much the past week. I probably shouldn’t do anything ever again.”
That self-deprecating sense of humor and irresistible charm is part of why the 22-year-old actress has become such a hot Hollywood commodity, with her biggest role having just finished filming (in next year’s superhero reboot “The Amazing Spider-Man”). In “The Help,” opening Aug. 10, Stone leads a fantastic cast of actresses in writer-director Tate Taylor’s adaptation of the bestselling book by his longtime friend Kathryn Stockett.
The story centers on African-American maids in highly prejudiced 1963 Mississippi who finally have a place to voice their life experiences, thanks to a book by Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan (Stone). The movie co-stars Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer as the maids who serve as Skeeter’s most prominent sources, and Bryce Dallas Howard as the community’s most unbridled racist who refuses to share a bathroom with her maid.
At the Elysian Hotel, Arizona-native, New York-dwelling Stone talked about becoming Southern for “The Help,” releasing her rage while weightlifting and going back to high school for “Spider-Man.”
You put a lot of work into your Southern accent for “The Help.” How do you think it turned out, and how often do you accidentally slip back into it?
I don’t know how it turned out. I worked really hard on it. It was incredibly difficult for me because it’s like patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time, and I’m not that coordinated. I slip back into it whenever I’m around [Mississippi native director Taylor].
What sounds were the hardest?
All the “wh’s.” (In Southern accent) “White.” “Where?” (No accent) That was difficult for me. (Back to Southern accent) “What?”
When you were filming “The Help,” how aware were you of how much things have or haven’t changed?
We were shooting in Greenwood, Miss., and it was the only place I think in the world that we could have made the movie accurately. Just the location alone, you could feel the history and you could feel the difference, but it’s all so informed by how recent this all was. It’s a strange balance that’s being struck in Mississippi right now. Really, really wonderful people, but you’re on the Tallahatchie River six miles from where Emmett Till’s body was found, and it’s kind of impossible to forget that while you’re making it. So I definitely became more aware of how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go.
RedEye reader @blairjanis wanted to know: How much of a person’s character is shaped by the times they live in?
I think a pretty damn fair amount. I believe that nurture outweighs nature so much of the time in human beings. It’s hard to tell because you don’t really know what your nature is until you get really angry and you’re kinda primal. [Laughs.] I think that it affects us hugely in ways that we don’t even realize. I will probably check my phone within the next 20 minutes. If this were 20 years ago I wouldn’t even have a phone to check, and that’s keeping me connected to all these people that I speak to back home, which is maintaining relationships that I wouldn’t have been able to maintain throughout the day 20 years ago. It’s shaping the way I maintain relationships with people and the way I speak to people. That’s talking about the technological aspect of our time, but I think that the cultural aspect of our time, you either go with it or you fight against it.
So what happens when you get angry?
Blind rage. I also find out that I’m filled with rage when weightlifting. Who knew? It’s all bubbling right under the surface. I do not feel like a rage-filled human at any other point in time, but when I’m weightlifting, I’m a lunatic.
What are you benching right now?
Nothing. I am not benching anymore. [Laughs.] I want to make it through my days, man.
This summer we’ve seen “Bridesmaids” and “Bad Teacher,” and people are talking a lot about women in comedy. Mila Kunis was on the cover of GQ saying some people don’t find women funny and some just see them as attractive. She’s also not wearing much on the cover. What can you do to be seen as funny and attractive without having to minimize one or the other?
I think you just have to be totally and completely yourself. Mila’s a friend of mine and I think she’s awesome and she’s one of the most beautiful human beings on the planet, and incredibly funny, so you choose your own path. There’s no one you can emulate in any sense. I think Tina Fey said, I’m completely paraphrasing, but the basic idea of what she said was you really can’t follow anyone’s specific career path, you kind of have to make your own. And I believe that to be true the most in this business, in any business, in any life, you have to follow your heart and do what’s right for you in your life. If you’re comfortable being done up and also being funny, then why not get done up and be funny? And if you’re not comfortable with it, then don’t do it.
Some people say, “How can she say this about attractiveness vs. comedy and then pose this way on the cover?”
There [are] other elements that come into play too. You realize when you’re shooting for a men’s magazine there’s going to be that skew. It just depends on the thing and the time period and your personal opinion.
At one point your goal was to host “SNL,” and now you’ve done it. When will you join the cast full-time?
Oh my God, I. Will. Do it right now. If you will let me. Do you cast the show?
I do. They just gave me that power.
Great! Can I be in the cast please?
Great! Perfect. Then right now. I’m ready.
How do you feel about going back to high school for “The Amazing Spider-Man”?
It’s pretty fun. In “Crazy Stupid Love” I’m 27 and in “The Help” I was 23 and then I’m 17 again [in “Spider-Man”] and it was lovely. I like getting younger and younger as time goes on. I’m like “Benjamin Button.” [Laughs.]
How confusing is that for your emotional state?
I don’t know how well I did as a 17-year-old this go-round, but we’ll see.
You seem to be climbing People’s Most Beautiful List, among other lists. Is it true that people become more beautiful as they become more famous?
[Laughs.] What an interesting theory. Um, apparently. I guess that’s a … notion. I don’t know what the hell is going on. [Laughs.]
On picking the right roles: “[Doug Wald, my manager], is brilliant, and we have long discussions about all these scripts. He’s been my manager since I was 15, so this whole time I’ve got a real teammate in terms of picking things. It’s also not like I just get my pick of the litter. It’s like a relationship. Like, ‘Wow, I think you’re really attractive. Do you want to date me?’ The answer is either yes or no, and sometimes they do not want to date you unfortunately. The movies are not into you.”
On feedback from strangers: “I try not to put too much stock into anything people say, negative or positive. [Laughs.]”
On the worst thing she’s ever eaten: “I drank some sour almond milk the other day. It was disgusting. It was a horrible, horrible experience. I only took a sip.”
On her iPod: “I’m listening to Noah and the Whale. Have you heard that? It’s pretty good. And that new Fleet Foxes album. I’m listening to this song by Audiobullies called ‘Only Man.’ That’s what pumps me up, if we’re being honest. That’s what really pumps me up right now.
At a recent press junket in Los Angeles I had the opportunity to sit down and speak with Emma Stone about her new film “The Help.”
The film The Help is based on the number one New York Times best seller by Kathryn Stockett. Set in Jackson, Mississippi during the 1960s, it follows the lives and relationships of three women who build an unlikely friendship while writing a secret project that will break social rules. When Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan (Emma Stone), a recent graduate, gets a writing job about cleaning hints, she seeks advise from Aibileen (Viola Davis), her best friends maid. Aibileen has been a house keeper her whole life, having raised 17 children total from her employers. When Skeeter enters her life, Aibileen finds herself opening up and telling her stories for the first time from her life. We soon find other maids coming forward with their stories and a sisterhood emerges. From this bond Skeeter is able to compile a book with a new point from the help. By finding their unique voices these women are able to triumph and become the heroes of their own lives.
The Help, also co-stars Bryce Dallas Howard, Jessica Chastain, Allison Janney, Octavia Spencer, Mary Steenburgen, and Sissy Spacek.
What was the research process and what did you learn from this kind of role?
Emma: Well I was lucky that Skeeter was a relatively kind of modern woman with the kind of goals I had in my life. Having her own career and not necessarily wanting to get married and having kids at 22. I’m 22 right now. In terms to relating to that time period she felt different then her peers. It was the other things like learning about that time period and how limited my knowledge was and getting to realize that Skeeter’s knowledge was also relatively limited. She learned so much as long as that process went on. Reading about the Jim Crow Laws and reading about Mississippi in the early 1960’s. Learning the dialect that alone was huge and a large part of the process. When I’m with actors now who are from different countries or have different accents. I’m like how do you, is it constantly. It’s like you have this filter in your head and you got to go through that. It’s such an interesting addition to the process.
Did you stay in the dialect the whole time?
Emma: No, I didn’t stay in the dialect but I can understand why people do. It’s like patting your head and rubbing your stomach. You’re trying to get to a point and then you’re like ahh I got to add this dialect on top of it.
Did the character of Skeeter show you the different side to Journalism?
Emma: When I was a kid I wanted to be a journalist. I went to school for Journalism. I’ve always seen why journalism can be a great thing. I think that’s another reason I was excited to play Skeeter, I kept to be a journalist thats fantastic. I grew up loving Tom Wolf, that’s the stuff I read, it was incredible. So I was already a big journalist fan. I think we do something similar. We read scripts, you interview people and we beak them down and try to get these points across and parts across. We both have a lot of interest in humanity and what makes people tick and the psychology of human beings. We’re not so different you and I.
Some actors are afraid to talk with journalist because they think we’re going to write something bad?
Emma: And some do. Just like some actors do parts to look sexy and wear a bikini. There are also some actors that have a different mentality. There are so many writers that do what they do because they’re interested and want to know more and love movies just as we love movies.
How was the experience on working on this set?
Emma: In terms of life experience I highly doubt I would have lived for three months in Greenwood, Mississippi and gotten to know people in a town like that. Just seeing what that side of America is like. There are a lot of interesting facets to our job in that you get to be paid to enter a different life and to enter a different mind set of your character. To learn about the history of that time or to learn new skills. I learned to shoot guns for other movies. In this I got to learn about a part of history that is important and hugely informative to where we are now and still being struggled with now. How we grow as a person is irreplaceable. The friendships that where made and the fun that we had, it was just an incredible summer.
Emma’s you’ve talk about your appreciation for sketch comedy and I was excited when you got to host SNL. Was it everything that you’ve had hope for?
Emma: It was the best thing I’ve done in my life.
Are we going to see you back in comedies or is it just dramas from now on?
Emma: Oh no God, no, no, no. Sketch comedy is my theater. I just love it, more then anything in the whole world, it makes me so happy. I’m coasting from the SNL experience, now I have no other goal. It’s all down hill from here. Nothing can ever be bad again. But absolutely I should be so luck to continue to do anything along the lines of comedy. It’s just so amazing to just do anything you love and passionate about whether it falls under the comedy or drama umbrella. Whether it’s a movie or play or hosting a variety show.
So how do you stay grounded among all the success?
Emma: Well nobody is really following me around that much.
The Help is in theaters August 10th.