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
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.’’
THE AMAZING SPIDER- MAN
Now Showing Village Cinemas