Web of love

Star of the lat­est Spi­der- Man movie, Emma Stone, is the hottest thing in Hol­ly­wood right now and, as Neala John­son dis­cov­ers, she’s just as smart and sassy off- screen as she is on

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LUCK­ILY for Emma Stone her first ca­reer choice – act­ing – is work­ing out. Her sec­ond choice? Jour­nal­ist. And we all know what’s hap­pen­ing in that field right now. Still, Stone won’t be dis­suaded. ‘‘ I’d love to be a copy edi­tor, I re­ally would,’’ she says in all se­ri­ous­ness.

‘‘ I love punc­tu­a­tion and gram­mar and spell­ing. I don’t mean to brag, but I’m pretty good at it.’’

Well, maybe she could check this story be­fore it goes to print?

‘‘ I would love to! I’ll edit you!’’ she al­most­growls with ex­cite­ment.

‘‘ That’s one of my favourite things. My friend has been writ­ing a lot lately and she sends over her stuff and I go through it with a red pen like . . . ‘ Yes!’ . . . ‘ Para­graph break here!’.’’ She sighs hap­pily. ‘‘ I love it so much.’’ That’s the 23- year- old’s log­i­cal side shin­ing through, a side she’d like to feed in fu­ture by learn­ing more about as­tron­omy, bi­ol­ogy, medicine and, yes, bak­ing.

Stone is a smart cookie but she didn’t at­tend high school. She was home- schooled through those years and shot her break­out movie Su­per­bad in what would have been her fi­nal year.

But she doesn’t feel like she missed out on any of the, er, fun.

‘‘ I’ve been to high school three times: once in Su­per­bad, once in Easy A and once in The Amaz­ing Spi­der- Man ,’’ she says.

‘‘ So my high school ex­pe­ri­ence is: guys want­ing to get al­co­hol and have sex with you; you have to pre­tend to be a slut and get paid for it; and your boyfriend is a su­per­hero.’’

She puts on her best you- go- girl­friend voice: ‘‘ So I can re­late to you girls! I get it!’’

How­ever, as much as Stone craves log­i­cal pas­times, cre­ativ­ity is her full- time con­cern.

She was head­strong about mov­ing to Hol­ly­wood from Phoenix to pursue act­ing as a teenager, and post- Su­per­bad has zoomed ever up­ward through Zom­bieland, Easy A, Crazy, Stupid, Love, The Help and now on to The Amaz­ing Spi­der- Man.

She’s also Golden Globe nom­i­nated and the face of Revlon. Now she’s here, is it all she had imag­ined? ‘‘ It’s stag­ger­ing. It’s been such a whirl­wind, it’s over­whelm­ing. I feel so lucky and so con­fused all at the same time. Like, which way is up?’’

The husky- voiced faux- red­head ( who’s cur­rently blonde), says it worked be­cause she found ‘‘ peo­ple who ‘ got’ me’’. ‘‘ And a lot of peo­ple did not un­der­stand what was go­ing on with a 15- year- old who sounded like I do now.

‘‘ I do know there’s some­thing inside me that wouldn’t let me go home. But why it worked out I have no clue. Luck.’’

Luck, sure. But there’s some­thing that sets Stone and her char­ac­ters apart from your run- of- the- mill early- 20s star­lets. No scream­ing at sharks while wear­ing a bikini and gaz­ing doe- eyed at the lead­ing man.

From the bud­ding jour­nal­ist in The Help to the law grad­u­ate of Crazy, Stupid, Love, the Stone we’ve fallen for on screen is just as smart, sassy and witty as the girl she is off- screen.

‘‘ I’m hugely drawn to smart, in­de­pen­dent women on screen,’’ she says.

‘‘ Most of my comedic he­roes are men be­cause that’s what I was ex­posed to when I was younger. But now I’m so grate­ful for things like Brides­maids.

‘‘ The ’ truth’ of women is some­thing I’m see­ing more than anything now, not just th­ese one- note, con­fi­dent women!

Falling in love for the first time has to have that un­com­fort­able chem­istry

‘‘ My ul­ti­mate goal is to por­tray lots of dif­fer­ent women and lots of dif­fer­ent sides of women.’’

So her ditzy arm- candy mo­ment may yet come? ‘‘ That’s right!’’ The young woman Stone plays in

The Amaz­ing Spi­der- Man is cer­tainly multi- faceted – though she doesn’t get to play out all those notes in what is to be the first in­stal­ment of a fran­chise.

Peter Parker/ Spi­der- Man’s love in­ter­est Gwen Stacy is, as Stone puts it, ‘‘ one of the orig­i­nal damsels in dis­tress’’.

But she’s also Parker’s in­tel­lec­tual equal, un­afraid of bul­lies and very funny.

Yet it’s the tragedy of play­ing Spidey’s first love and the daugh­ter of the lo­cal po­lice chief that Stone seems to have been drawn to most.

Spoiler alert: When Gwen was killed off in a 1973 edi­tion of the comic- book, there was a fan out­cry and the death be­came a marker of an end of an era in comic his­tory.

‘‘ I didn’t know what happened to Gwen, I was like, ‘ Holy s---!’ I mean, it’s in­cred­i­ble, it’s so tragic and hor­ri­ble and awe­some. It’s so dar­ing of them to do,’’ Stone says.

‘‘ That was a big draw, maybe like a mor­bid cu­rios­ity of mine. There’s also that ele­ment where her fa­ther is in the face of death ev­ery day and she’s drawn to a guy that does that same thing. I’m mak­ing her sound pretty tragic and twisted.

‘‘ I’ve never re­ally played a damsel in dis­tress be­fore, I’ve never played some­one who ul­ti­mately is re­liant on a man and I found that in­ter­est­ing. I know that’s the op­po­site of what I’ve usu­ally said be­cause I love strong, in­de­pen­dent fe­male char­ac­ters, there’s not enough of them in cin­ema.

‘‘ But there’s also some­thing tragic and head- over- heels in love about Gwen, it’s like a Romeo and Juliet sit­u­a­tion and some­thing I felt a kin­ship to for what­ever rea­son . . . That first love,’’ she takes a deep breath, ‘‘ oh boy.’’

Stone and the new Spi­der- Man, English­man An­drew Garfield, 28, do make a great Romeo and Juliet. And the ‘‘ oh boy’’ leaked off screen – the pair have been pho­tographed snug­gling up on the streets of New York.

Stone won’t com­ment on that, but will ad­mit to be­ing ‘‘ in love with Spi­derMan’’. And her bub­bly, fun- pok­ing de­meanour served as a good coun­ter­point to Garfield’s very se­ri­ous ap­proach to mak­ing the movie.

Did Stone take on the ex­tra

re­spon­si­bil­ity of get­ting her co- star to lighten up on set?

‘‘ I don’t know if that was my role, that’s just how I func­tion,’’ she laughs. ‘‘ So I’m sure I did that.’’

She can’t de­fine who found their on­screen spark, but says they worked at mak­ing it a be­liev­ably teenage ro­mance.

‘‘ Falling in love for the first time has to have that un­com­fort­able chem­istry.’’

In her next film, the noir mobster drama

Gang­ster Squad ( which re­unites her with Crazy,

Stupid, Love co- star Ryan Gosling and

Zom­bieland direc­tor Ruben Fleis­cher), Stone will get to dip her toe into arm- candy ter­ri­tory.

‘‘ She’s kind of arm­candy and kind of bro­ken in a lot of ways,’’ Stone says of her char­ac­ter.

But she’ll al­ways re­turn to that in­cli­na­tion for a well­timed one- liner.

‘‘ My brain is nat­u­rally com­edy in­clined so it feels like sec­ond na­ture to make a joke about some­thing,’’ she says.

‘‘ It’s harder for me to cry, it’s harder for me to get to those places that I don’t wanna feel be­cause as a co­me­dian you spend your life try­ing to make peo­ple laugh and try­ing to lighten the sit­u­a­tion. Since I was a kid, that’s what I tried to do.

‘‘ So breaking out of ‘ Let’s make every­body feel bet­ter!’ is hard for me.’’

A box of­fice tally near­ing $ 1 bil­lion would sug­gest the movie- go­ing pub­lic doesn’t want Stone to break out of her habit of mak­ing ev­ery­one feel bet­ter any time soon.

Yet it seems in­evitable she’ll do many other things with her time on the planet, whether it be jour­nal­ist or pas­try chef or . . .

‘‘ Ev­ery­thing!’’ she says, wide- eyed. ‘‘ Don’t you have that? Where you wish you could do ev­ery job for a day? Just see what it’s like to be every­body else, lit­er­ally?

‘‘ I guess it’s one of the great things about be­ing an ac­tor and be­ing a jour­nal­ist, is that you get to see what it’s like in some­one else’s shoes and try it out and write about it and feel it. It is a re­mark­ably sim­i­lar job in that way.’’


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