Interview: Emma Stone Talks Comedy, 'The Croods' And Cameron Crowe; Scores Off The Charts On Likability

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by Jessica Kiang
February 24, 2013 1:30 PM
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Did you ever feel like giving up?
That was the weird thing, bi-yearly it would be tough, because it was about three years of steadily auditioning and doing little guest parts on TV shows, but not really getting a steady job for three years. And I was missing high school all of those years – I do not condone it for children reading! But I never actually felt like I was supposed to give up, it felt like there was something in my gut telling me to keep going.

"I loved Gilda Radnor, Molly Shannon. When I was 15 I was really comedy-focused – Lucille Ball, those were the women I grew up watching."

But from the outside, it seems your rise to where you are now happened so fast…
It was a domino effect, it happened quickly. So it’s strange to be in a position where for so long you take what’s given to you, you audition and if they offer you the role, you take it. [Now] it’s overwhelming, it’s a great, lucky, insanely wonderful and incredible position to be in as an actor to get to say yes or no, based on what feels right in your soul and not on paying rent anymore. It’s overwhelming to have that choice.

And what do you credit with bringing you to this point? Luck, hard work, some quality you have that others don’t?
Can you imagine if I was like “it’s completely a quality that [only] I have”? No, I genuinely don’t know and I don’t presume to know. I have no idea and when I think about it for too long, which sometimes I allow myself to do, it really screws with my head. I have no idea and I don’t expect to always be lucky like this… the life of an actress is pretty, uh… I mean, you’ve seen actresses right? Throughout time? It ebbs and flows, there are very different periods in the career of an actress and unfortunately it’s different between men and women too.

So I’m just trying to remain unattached to whatever position I’m in externally in the world at any given time, as long as I’m on the right path internally. I could be doing dinner theater in Boca Raton Florida and if it’s a play that I love, as long as I feel good about me and my relationship with my family and my friends and who I am, I’m all right.

So basically you have to be in denial to carry on? [!?]
I have to be denial to keep going? [laughs] Yes. I’m glad that’s what you took from all that.

Who were your role models growing up?
[Goes girly for a moment.] Hmm, my role model when I was 15 was the Spice Girls and Kate Winslet in “Titanic,” because she got to be with Leonardo DiCaprio… Just kidding. I loved Gilda Radnor, Molly Shannon. When I was 15 I was really comedy-focused – Lucille Ball, those were the women I grew up watching, and men like Steve Martin and John Candy. But then as time went on, it expanded a little bit. And my love of comedy grew into watching Woody Allen movies or Hal Ashby movies and I started to understand the comedy-drama relationship which is really my vein of gold. That’s my favorite type of story: one that makes you laugh and cry.

So then it became people like Diane Keaton and Debra Winger and Meryl, people that know how to balance that reality of life. But you know what, every great comedian does that. Gilda did that, Kristen Wiig does that. You can feel pain behind the comedy and that’s what makes them truly great. You know in “The Apartment” when she has the broken glass, the mirror in her compact and she says “I like it like that, it reminds me of how I feel”? That broken glass moment – you can feel the broken glass in a lot of comedians.

You speak of loving that comedy/drama crossover, is that why you’re working with Cameron Crowe next?
Oh, I love him! I’m beside myself for that, I cannot wait. It’s been the greatest process ever already and we haven’t even started yet really. We’ve just gotten to meet up and talk and I’ve gotten to hear his ideas and read his writing and that’s enough for me. And listen to music that he sends. It’s been the most special experience of my life this far, because I think he has the same outlook on storytelling. [Before] I went on like a Cameron soliloquy – they were like, "you have to stop" – but he has a quote that I read of his, that he said he makes movies for “the battered idealist in a cynical world.” And he really does, his movies are really far from cynical, and his characters are beaten down but rising above their circumstances. They are hoping. They’re hopeful, and I think that’s pretty beautiful.
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