At the age of 28, Emma Stone HAS SUCCEEDED in almost everything an actress can dream of. She made a name for herself playing comic roles, appeared in a series of super-hero films and has taken Broadway hy storm.
Emma Stone grew up in Arizona, a state with a hot dry climate. Her mother was a housewife, her father a building contractor. “I’ve got nothing against heat, just so long as it rains occasionally. As a child, I was always rushing around outside dripping sweat with my hair a mess, and I thought the heat would one day be the end of me.” Emma wanted to be an actress for as long as she can remember; and, in addition to the heat, she also suffered from panic attacks. It was for relief from this that she started taking part in children’s theatre productions. To begin with, she persuaded her parents to let her homeschool. Then, when she turned 15, she headed for LA in the company of her mother. “I chose a career as an actor because I wanted to appear in funny films, out of my love of contradiction. As a teenager, I was often depressed; I wanted to fight fire with fire.” By an irony of fate, the first him in which Emma was noticed was Superbad, a school comedy, although she had never been to school.
Emma’s next notable appearance on the big screen was in the comedy horror him Zombieland. In one episode a desperate band of survivors, seeking refuge from the zombies which have flooded LA, break into a house belonging to Bill Murray. When Murray hrst saw Emma on set, he told Woody Harrelson: “That girl’s pure gold!” What the legendary comedian’s experienced eye saw at a glance became obvious to everyone else when Stone played her hrst lead role – as Olive in Easy A, another school comedy. In the hint a misunderstanding results in her best friend deciding that Olive has lost her virginity during a chance date. When talk of her bad behaviour spreads through the school like wildhre, Olive decides not to refute the rumour but to fan it to grotesque proportions. This role won Stone a Golden Globe. Her reputation was reinforced by The Help, a story of racial segregation in the American south in the 1960s. Choosing this serious-minded him was for Emma a deliberate career move, an attempt to break free from the niche she had carved out for herself with appearances in a series of comedies. The Help won several Oscar nominations, and Stone could now be considered to have made it. Nevertheless, as she says, she “panicked badly” and auditioned for The Amazing Spider-Man, a relaunch of the Marvel comics character. “No one really knew me, and I again started panicking, unsure whether I could manage a blockbuster. But then I magically calmed down after my audition with Andrew Garfield, who was to play the main role. The producers put us together in a shot in order to see whether we could generate the ‘chemistry’ required for a successful screen partnership. The chemistry worked, and I was given the part.” The ‘chemistry’ between Emma and Garfield worked not just on screen, but in real life too, developing into a serious relationship.
"I chose a career as an actor because I wanted to appear in funny films. As a teenager, I was often depressed; I wanted to fight fire with fire".
The second Amazing Spider-Man him prevented Stone realizing her longtime dream of playing in Sam Mendes’ production of Cabaret on Broadway. She flew to London specially for the audition – and got the part! But then had to surrender it to Michelle Williams so as not to break her contract with the Spider-Man franchise. The hrst thing she did when her contract ended, however, was to return to the Broadway project. The year she spent playing on Broadway sent her career off in a new direction: she was noticed by Woody Allen, who invited her to play the pretty adventuress in Magic in the Moonlight. An altogether different, dramatic, aspect of her talent was noted by Alejandro Gonsales Inarritu, who chose her as the female lead in Birdman, where she played a fragile teenager who conceals her vulnerability under a pretend boldness. For this role Emma won her hrst Oscar nomination.
Over the years she spent in Elollywood, Emma changed considerably. She was no longer the inexperienced girl who had wanted to play in comedies in order to cure herself of panic attacks. She again played in a Woody Allen him – Irrational Man, the story of an ideal crime committed for the sake of justice (based on Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment). After her stage debut in Cabaret, Stone said, “I feel that now no challenge is beyond me.” Her claim was tested when director Damien Chazelle invited her to play in La La Land, an ambitious attempt to revive the half-forgotten genre of the musical him. Emma and co-lead Ryan Gosling were required to dance like the legendary Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. The result exceeded all expectations. As Tom Hanks said after the premiere in Venice: “If the audience doesn’t go and embrace something as wonderful as this, then we are all doomed.” ♦