Teen Vogue Magazine
Emma Stone: From Superbad to Superstar
At a time when Hollywood is thirsty for comedy, Emma Stone is running the coolest lemonade stand in town. She’s fresh! She’s tart and sweet at the same time! She’s—OMG—funny! And yet folks are quick to point out that Emma idolizes Diane Keaton, Lucille Ball, and anything related to Saturday Night Live, so however new she is, the actress must be an old soul. The references! The love of classic television! It’s a dichotomy that she wears well—even if she doesn’t quite agree with it.
“I mean, what is an old soul?” she says, half fed up, half laughing. “Let’s just tell the world that this is BS, and I’m not an old soul. I am a screaming, newborn, just-slapped baby.”
We’re sitting at a loud Mexican restaurant in downtown Los Angeles, rehashing the bits and pieces of her life that have been written about to death lately—this is Emma’s third major magazine cover in as many months. For someone who’s only 22 years old, the Scottsdale, Arizona, native has quite a mythology. At the tender age of fifteen—so the story goes—this precocious, geeky, gawky girl put together a winsome PowerPoint presentation to convince her parents to let her drop out of high school and move to Los Angeles to act. It worked. (She later earned her GED.)
Although Emma got her start on the never-aired TV series The New Partridge Family and the short-lived action show Drive, people started paying attention when she played Jonah Hill’s feisty crush in the R-rated teen caper Superbad. She has gone on to crack up audiences in The House Bunny, Zombieland, and the film that cemented her comedic-genius status, Easy A. The Scarlet Letter–inspired high school romp earned her a Golden Globe nomination and a seat at the awards-ceremony table next to Brad and Angelina. This year she appears opposite Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, and Ryan Gosling in Crazy, Stupid, Love; dumps Justin Timberlake in Friends with Benefits; and stars in the big-screen adaptation of the best-selling novel The Help.
But her biggest coup so far has been landing the role of Gwen Stacy, Peter Parker’s main squeeze in next summer’s Spider-Man reboot. Peter, played by The Social Network’s Andrew Garfield, and Gwen are something of a power couple—and, if the tabloids are to be believed, so are Emma and Andrew. When asked about their relationship, Emma demurs but praises his talent. “Andrew is one of the most giving actors I’ve ever worked with,” she says. “If I needed to get to a place of love or sadness in a scene, he’d leave messages on my phone to replay, or slip in lines off camera for a different reaction than what was scripted. He gave me so much to react to.”
For The Amazing Spider-Man, Emma had to abandon her signature red tresses to return to blonde, her natural color. While most actresses would freak out about a change like that, Emma’s blasé. “I mean, it’s just hair,” she says, rolling her eyes. The actress has since gone back to attention-grabbing red, so it’s no surprise she’s spotted by a table of teens the second we walk into the restaurant. Later they sweetly request autographs. “We loved you in Easy A,” they gush. When they walk away, I tell her that they’re super into her style. She laughs. “You mean my henley?” she deadpans, tugging at her collar to read the label. “It’s Splendid. And my jeans are Gap 1969.”
Emma, who names Lanvin, Chanel, and Louis Vuitton as favorites, has become quite the sartorial It girl, sealing the deal when she hit the 2011 Golden Globes red carpet in the most insanely formfitting backless peach Calvin Klein Collection dress. She’s very aware of what works: “At first I didn’t think I was allowed to have opinions without being a crazy person or completely irrational—it’s like in life, you learn where you can have them. But my stylist understands me completely. She’s not like, ‘You’re going to wear this sparkly princess gown.’”
The waiters are fawning all over Emma too. One wants to know the dirt on Comic-Con; the actress went for Zombieland and again this year for Spider-Man. “It’s my favorite place; I’m dead serious,” she says. “Don’t you find people who are passionate about something—it doesn’t matter what it is, unless it’s like, murder—kind of amazing?”
“I’m dead serious” is something Emma says a lot. She has to. For all the goofiness and mastery of the world’s huskiest laugh, her delivery is flawless. Even if you’re sitting across the table from her, it’s hard to distinguish stoic sarcasm from, well, dead seriousness. It doesn’t help that she’s completely neurotic. For example, Emma has a total fear of being lifted over people’s heads—which wouldn’t be an issue, except that for a scene in Crazy, Stupid, Love, Gosling attempted the infamous Dirty Dancing move with Emma. “I didn’t end up doing it, because I had a panic attack,” she says.
So, what’s Emma’s passion? “Change,” she blurts out. She’s adamant about being someone who is not classified as this or that. Maybe Emma will be an actress forever, maybe not.
“I have dreams of being a producer, being behind a camera, eating seven tacos for every meal, and making movies that affect people the way they affect me. I don’t even need to be in them,” she says. “I still really like acting, but I feel like if a day came . . .” Here’s hoping it doesn’t come any time soon.