Why we're all going LA LA for Emma
A quick glance through any gossip magazine, tabloid newspaper or online news site and it’s clear to see, this is the year of America’s all- singing, all-dancing golden girl – Emma Stone.
Fresh from her Oscar win where she scooped the Academy Award for ‘Best Actress’ in a Leading Role for her part in La La Land, her fresh- faced beauty, fiery red hair (she’s actually a natural blond), and girl next- door charm make it easy to see why audiences around the world have fallen for Emma.
Emma’s movie back catalogue reads well, featuring a mix of well- received teen movies, such as Superbad and Easy A along with weightier roles in The Help and Birdman. Born Emily Jean Stone in Arizona on 6 November 1988, Emma’s appetite for acting was whetted when, as a youth, she appeared in a series of amateur productions, leading to a decision aged 15 to pursue a career in acting.
Moving from her native Arizona to Los Angeles with her mother (she finished her education being taught at home), she set about making her dreams a reality.
Her instinct paid off and Emma’s big break came in 2004 when she won the role of Laurie Partridge in a talent/reality show called In Search of the Partridge Family. While the role was perhaps not the leap forward she might have hoped for, it did lead on to other TV roles.
Emma’s big movie break came three years later, in 2007, in the teen hit – Superbad, the story
of a group of geeky high-school friends looking to buy alcohol for a party. The Judd Apatow comedy was a hit with audiences, and while Stone’s role was not leading, she still shone.
While she has received critical acclaim in the past (she received her first Academy Award nomination for her supporting actress role in 2015 for Birdman), it is 2017’s La La Land that has sent critics and movie-fans alike ecstatic for Emma.
With Oscar buzz surrounding the film from the outset, it is no surprise that the film has won 11 BAFTAS, including ‘Best Film’ and ‘Best Actress’ for Emma, seven Golden Globes, again a best actress award for Emma, and 12 Critics Choice nominations. She also won the award for ‘Outstanding Performance by a Female
in a Leading Role’ at the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the film earned 14 Academy Award nominations, winning six Oscars on the night, including ‘Best Song’ and ‘Best Director’.
Along with awards, the movie has also raked in the big bucks at the Box Office, taking $300 million to date, not bad for a film made for, the relatively modest sum, in movie terms, of just $30 million.
Charting the romance of Stone’s Mia, a budding actress and Sebastian, an ambitious jazz pianist, played by Ryan Gosling, as they fall in love, you’ll be forgiven for thinking so far, so Hollywood rom-com, however the twist in this bittersweet tale is that the pair, sing and dance their way through the story.
Speaking to CBS News on what drew her to the role, she said,
“I loved the idea that it was set in modern day, that the touches felt very modern, but the feeling of the film was this anamorphic sort of Cinemascope celebration of the musicals that Damien (director), Ryan and I, and many, many people, have fallen in love with through the decades. The combination of it was definitely a tricky balance, but [also] what made it so inspiring.”
Playing a struggling actress facing rejection after rejection, is something Emma, like all young actors desperate to make their mark can relate to. She recently described playing the role of Mia as a “cathartic experience” referring to her years auditioning for parts she didn’t get.
In an interview with ENews, Emma remembers, “I wasn’t getting called back for anything when I first moved to LA and so, they just stopped sending me out,” she recalled. “There was a large swath of time where nobody wanted me to come in and that feeling was actually worse than any of the, you know, the initial auditions and being kind of rejected.”
These days Emma is very much in demand and those who might have doubted her ability to take on such a role as in La La Land were soon silenced. Training which took three months, paid off with her on-screen performance described as “luminous” by Variety and with The Guardian saying Emma “has never been better, her huge doe eyes radiating wit and intelligence when they’re not filling with tears.”
Pairing Emma with Hollywood heavyweight, Ryan Gosling, La La Land isn’t the first time the duo have been cast together. With
a fizzing on-screen chemistry, it seems the pairing of Stone and Gosling is box office gold. First working together on 2011’s Crazy, Stupid, Love, a romantic comedy that pitted Gosling’s womanising Jacob against Emma’s Hannah, the film raked in $142.9 million at the global box office and saw the pair go on to star together twice more in 2013’s Gangster Squad and La La Land.
While their on-screen chemistry is palpable, off-screen the pair have never been romantically linked. In fact, Emma is very protective of her private life, saying in 2015 to the Wall Street Journal, “See, I never talk about this stuff for this exact reason—because it’s all so speculative and baseless. Once you start responding—once you’re like, ‘No, that’s not true’—then they’re like, ‘Well, if we push enough, we’ll get a comment, so let’s see what else we can make up.’ I understand the interest in it completely because I’ve had it, too. But it’s so special to me that it never feels good to talk about, so I just continually don’t talk about it.”
Her most high-profile romance was with actor, Andrew Garfield whom she met on the set of The Amazing Spider-man. Playing the role of Gwen Stacy, Emma and Andrew (who was in the titular role), played on-screen love interests and love
in real-life soon followed, with the pair dating from 2011 to 2015.
While roles in the black comedy Birdman, where she played
a former addict and the family movie, The Croods where
she was the voice of cave girl, Eep, demonstrate Emma’s versatility, it is arguably her comedic roles which have earned her the greatest number of fans. Her breakthrough role, playing Olive Penderghast in 2010’s teen-comedy, Easy A, was a showcase for what fans have come to adore about Emma; relentless cheerfulness, eagerness and just enough geekiness to make her natural beauty disarming.
It is hardly surprising that Emma excels in comedy roles, she has credited comedies such as Steve Martin’s, The Jerk, 1977’s Annie Hall, black comedy, Beetlejuice and family comedy Hocus Pocus as the films that made her want to be an actress
While Emma is riding high during awards season, her star
is set to continue to rise with a number of films slated for release in 2017/18. Up-coming films include the much- anticipated Cruella – Disney’s 101 Dalmatians spin-off, The Favourite, which is set in the reign of Queen Anne, The Croods 2 and Battle of the Sexes, a biography of tennis champ Billie Jean King.
Catch Emma’s Oscar winning turn in La La Land coming soon to DVD. To find out more, visit the official movie site, www.lalaland.movie
SET IN STONE – EMMA’S FILMOGRAPHY
Cruella (eta 2018) - Cruella De Vil
The Favourite - (eta 2018) – Abigail Masham
The Croods 2 (2017) - Eep
Battle of the Sexes (2016) – Billie Jean King
La La Land (2016) – Mia
Irrational Man (2015) – Jill
Aloha (2015) Allison Ng
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014) - Sam Magic in the Moonlight (2014) – Sophie
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) - Gwen Stacy
The Croods (2013) - Eep
Movie 43 (2013) - Veronica
Gangster Squad (2013) - Grace Faraday
The Amazing Spider- Man (2012) – Gwen Stacy
The Help (2011) – Skeeter Phelan
Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011) – Hannah
Friends with Benefits (2011) – Kayla
Easy A (2010) – Olive Penderghast
Marmaduke (2010) – Mazie
Paper Man (2009) – Abby
Zombieland (2009) – Witchita
Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (2009) - Allison Vandermeersh The House Bunny (2008) - Natalie
The Rocker (2008) – Amelia
Superbad (2007) - Jules