Fans of “Superbad” and “Zombieland” (and we hear that there’s a lot of ‘em) know Emma Stone as the object of Jonah Hill’s affection and a survivor of the zombie invasion, respectively, but could she have an even more geek-friendly role in her future? One of the Marvel’s mutants, perhaps?
Talking with MTV News during a press event for “Zombieland,” Stone said she’s been told she’d be a good fit for Theresa Rourke Cassidy, a.k.a. the “sonic scream”-wielding Siryn.
“Someone keeps telling me that I could be Siryn in X-Men,” said Stone, whose red hair is certainly a match for the character in at least one aspect.
The daughter of X-Men member Banshee, Siryn is currently a major player in Peter David’s celebrated “X-Factor” series.
“There’s not too many people that haven’t been played already, it seems like, woman-wise,” said Stone.
While I’m not sure comic book fans would agree with the actress about the lack of female characters, she did have a caveat about potential roles that’s shared among the comics-savvy masses. One thing she didn’t want to play was “the superhero’s buddy that they added for the movie version that wasn’t in the comic.”
“But this Siryn thing sounds very interesting,” she added.
This past weekend, millions of moviegoers were transported to the magical, horrific, bloodthirsty realm of “Zombieland.” But with fun-loving stars like Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin and Emma Stone on screen, you know there’s got to be more to the story.
We recently caught up with a few of the last remaining humans on Earth to get some secrets on what was going on between the takes we saw this weekend. And they were eager to spill the brains — er, beans — on Quentin Tarantino’s influence, deleted kills that might make it onto the DVD and which zombie-hunter is most like President Obama.
People Die, Politics Lives Forever: Much of the humor in “Zombieland” is powered by the friendship between Woody’s Tallahassee and Jesse’s Columbus, a dynamic that they claim reminds them of our president and a certain high-profile heckler. “My character is like Obama,” Eiesenberg explained. “And he’s like the Joe Wilson of Zombieland.” Harrelson, however, disagreed. “I’m not sure I like that analogy,” he shot back. “Why can’t I be Obama?” Commenting on his character’s reluctance to directly confront his heckler, however, Eisenberg said that both Tallahassee and Wilson need to learn their lesson. “Obama knows to just sit it out,” he reasoned. “And my character knows: sit it out! [Tallahassee and Wilson] will be rebuked!” Conceded Harrelson: “I haven’t heard that word ‘rebuke’ in decades. I don’t get rebuked enough.”
More Kills to Come: Leaving “Zombieland,” you may have been marveling over the banjo scene or the rollercoaster kills — but according to the stars, they filmed plenty more that might be restored for the DVD. “[My favorite was] the butter knife to the jugular,” Woody offered. “Oh, I’m sorry. That’s not in there. They cut that. What else? The leaf blower! Oh no, they didn’t use that either, did they?”
The Bride of Zombieland: When it came time to kick ass, Emma Stone turned to a worthy mentor: Uma Thurman. “I’ve gotta be honest with you: I watched ‘Kill Bill,’ ” she said of her preparation before the film’s action scenes. “That was a big one.” Laughing, she added, “Ruben, the director, made this list that he e-mailed to me early on that was like, ‘You should watch “Terminator” and watch “Alien.” ‘ And I watched zero of them.”
What’s Better Than Splat?: There’s something viscerally satisfying about squashing a bug; according to Stone, the same feeling applies to murder after a zombie apocalypse. “My favorite kill is the part where we’re up on this ride,” she said of the film’s big finale, set on one of those rapidly dropping carnival rides. “Zombies are [climbing it], and I butt one in the head with the back of my shotgun. He falls 80 feet and splats on the ground!” Grinning, she added, “Shooting is one thing, but to really hit someone and they fall and splat? That’s a pretty satisfying crunch.”
After kicking off her movie career in Superbad as the high-school hottie throwing the cool party, Emma Stone is rapidly carving a niche for herself as a young actress with good comic chops. Her latest outing is the fright-com Zombieland, in which she plays one of four human survivors (with Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson and Abigail Breslin) blowing away zombies in America. Rotten Tomatoes meets up with an actress who, as she explains, was instructed to move to LA by a voice in her head…
How did you hook up with Zombieland?
Emma Stone: I read the script and told my agent I loved it and then I auditioned with a lot of other very cool actresses who probably would have been way better for the part than me. I auditioned with Jesse — we did some improv together. I knew he was going to be amazing in the movie.
Did you find anything challenging about it?
ES: I had never done any action before and I’m not very good at running so that was hard. I kept injuring myself. Other than that, it was just fun — learning how to shoot guns and pretending to be a bad-ass.
What was your favourite part?
ES: I got to shoot a lot of zombies but my favourite thing was to watch Abigail shooting them. She is way more bad-ass than any 12-year-old I’ve ever met. Needless to say, there were nights that it was incredibly scary and you’re being chased by 30 ravenous extras dressed as zombies.
Come on. You weren’t really scared, were you?
ES: Yeah! On the second day, Abbie and I had to be chased by something like 30 zombies and it was two o’clock in the morning and I was really overtired. I started getting these paranoid thoughts that one of them was really crazy. I was like, How do you know you can trust these people?! So we’re running from these people and shooting at them and in my mind I’m thinking, What if one of them snaps and attacks me? I got myself into a paranoid tizzy about it.
Emma WILL NOT be at the 17th annual Hamptons International Film Festival – as we reported earlier… According to News Day, she has dropped out in order to promote “Zombieland”.
Note that the festival is calling these people “expected.” That means there ain’t no guarantees. Already Emma Stone has dropped out of the fest to promote her current hit “Zombieland,” and Neve Campbell won’t be showing up with the documentary she narrates, “Dirty Oil.” But Stone is a safe bet (she’s getting an Outstanding Achievement in Acting award) and we can always depend on longtime festival supporter Alec Baldwin to bring some juice.
“Zombieland” has made $25 Million in its first weekend of release, which places it on #1 on this week’s box office chart!
Estimated Top 10 North America October 2-4 2009 Film (Dist) / Est wkd gross / Est total to date
1 (-) Zombieland (Sony) SPRI $25m –
2 (1) Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs (Sony) SPRI $16.7m $82.4m
3 (-) Toy Story / Toy Story 2 (3D) (Buena Vista) WDSMPI $12.5m –
4 (-) The Invention Of Lying (Warner Bros) UPI $7.35m –
5 (2) Surrogates (Buena Vista) WDSMPI $7.34m $26.4m
= 6 (-) Whip It (Fox Searchlight) Mandate Int’l $4.85m –
= 6 (31) Capitalism: A Love Story (Overture) Paramount Vantage Int’l $4.85m $5.3m
8 (3) Fame (MGM) Lakeshore Entertainment $4.8m $16.6m
9 (4) The Informant! (Warner Bros) WBPI $3.8m $26.6m
10 (7) Love Happens (Universal) UPI $2.8m $18.9m
If you are skeptical of a movie titled Zombieland, join the club. So was Woody Harrelson when his agent sent him the script.
Harrelson had just been in No Country For Old Men, the 2007 Academy Award Best Picture, which looked pretty good on his already hefty résumé. True, since then he had co-starred in Surfer, Dude,but still, could his career have collapsed so fast?
“I was like, ‘Zombies, man? Has it come to that?’ ”
Harrelson and his Zombieland co-star, Jesse Eisenberg (Roger Dodger), both laugh loudly at that, but the actor is not kidding about his Zombieland hesitation.
“I didn’t read the script for a long time. My agent kept pressuring me, ‘Woody, read the friggin’ script.’ I thought there’s no way this could be anything but stupid.”
Not that stupid hasn’t worked wonders for plenty of zombie movies, but in Zombieland the emphasis is on comedy. A plaguelike disease has turned 99.99 percent of humanity into hungry droolers with a taste for — need we say? — human flesh.
See, you’re laughing already.
Most horror comedies are slapstick or broad parody, but Zombieland goes for an unusual mix of ghoulishly homicidal dark humor — lots of splattering zombies in imaginative ways — and unexpectedly sentimental character comedy. There’s even a sweet story of young love thrown in for anyone not into zombie smashing.
“I wanted it to not be too broad,” Harrelson says. “Although generally I do go over the top in anything, admittedly.”
We’re sitting on the mezzanine balcony of the Driskill Hotel, just hours before a Zombieland screening at Austin’s Fantastic Fest film festival. Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer and co-star Emma Stone are here, too. It’s a pleasant day, and Harrelson prefers the outside air to air conditioning. The zombies on the street below don’t realize we’re up here.
(It doesn’t have anything to do with zombies, but even before we sat down, Texas-born Harrelson bursts out with, “My first job was delivering papers for the Houston Chronicle. That would have been around 1970-1972.”)
In the film, Eisenberg plays Columbus, a lovable nerd who is one of the world’s last uninfected humans. Columbus stumbles on another survivor, Tallahassee (Harrelson), obsessed with finding the world’s last remaining Twinkies. That’s not a euphemism; he really craves those spongy, cream-filled cakes. He also lives to destroy zombies. It’s not a perfect partnership, but in Zombieland you can’t be picky about your friends.
“They needed someone to augment Jesse’s character because obviously Columbus is more nervous about things, a very sensitive character.” Harrelson says. “It kind of helps to have someone more bombastic. Tallahassee is a bad-ass dude who likes to kill zombies.”
Columbus and Tallahassee — everyone in the movie is named for their favorite town — meet up with two smart con-gal sisters, Wichita (Stone of Superbad and The House Bunny) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin of Little Miss Sunshine). Soon they are all on the road together, trying to avoid zombies in their search for Twinkies and a better place to live.
Here is the video of Emma on Jimmy Fallon.
Long before her family moved to Newport Beach, Emma Stone was just another 14-year-old suburban teen growing up in Scottsdale, Ariz.
And, like many 14-year-olds growing up in Scottsdale, she desperately wanted to get out of Scottsdale.
In her case, she wanted to move to Los Angeles to be closer to the entertainment industry. She had appeared in numerous school plays and local theater productions, and wanted to try to start a movie career.
Unlike most 14-year-olds, however, she made her case to her parents without the usual whining, crying and temper tantrums. She made a PowerPoint presentation. Apparently, it was a really good presentation because she and her mother immediately took up residence in California and, after three years of frustrating auditions, she was cast in the hit comedy “Superbad.” She followed it with roles in “The Rocker,” “The House Bunny” and “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.” She also stars in “Paperman,” which debuted at the recent L.A. Film Festival.
Her sixth film, the horror-comedy “Zombieland,” opens Friday.
Stone plays the older sister of Oscar nominee Abigail Breslin (“Little Miss Sunshine”), two survivors of a deadly virus that has turned most of the world’s population into flesh-eating zombies. Hey, it could happen.
The sisters join forces with two other survivors, Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg, for a road trip to California, vanquishing an army of zombies along the way.
Although only 20, Stone has a sexy, throaty voice reminiscent of an early Lauren Bacall, and she is still young enough to talk freely without a hint of self-censorship. In this interview, which took place on the Santa Monica Pier within the shadow of the giant Ferris wheel, the young actress explained the PowerPoint presentation, where she got that voice and how she rates her zombies against more traditional zombies.
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: I apologize for asking a question that you’ve probably been answering all day but …
EMMA STONE: My favorite zombie kill?
Q. Not even close.
A. Oh, because that’s what everybody’s been asking.
Q. No, I want to know about the PowerPoint presentation.
A. Why are so many people fascinated by that?
Q. It’s not every day that we run into a 14-year-old girl who tries to convince her parents to let her move to Hollywood with a PowerPoint presentation. Besides, there isn’t a lot of information about you on the Web, except for that story.
A. Yeah, I know. That’s pretty cool that there aren’t a billion rumors about me on the Internet.
Q. That’s true; I haven’t heard of a single scandal about you.
A. Hooray. That’s the goal.
Q. I think the fascination also stems from the fact that it sounds like a very brave thing to do for a 14-year-old.
A. It didn’t seem that brave. I knew how to use PowerPoint and I figured it was the best way to make my point. I gave them some popcorn, sat them down in my room and I made my case.
Q. What was the argument you presented?
A. Just that I wanted to move to L.A. to pursue acting. I had done 16 plays, and I was washed over with this overpowering feeling that I had to go. I never even liked L.A. that much, but I felt I had to go there. It had to be right then, or it would never happen.
Q. Was it an intellectual decision, or a gut decision?
A. Totally gut. I don’t know why I had to do it, but I did.