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Emma Stone Discusses ‘Easy A’

Emma Stone photo from Easy AEmma Stone in ‘Easy A.’

© Screen Gems

Emma Stone (Zombieland, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past) stars as Olive, a high school student whose made up story about losing her virginity takes on a life of its own, in the PG-13-rated comedy Easy A. Olive’s a smart young woman, more mature than most of her peers, who finds her life paralleling the main character in the book she’s studying in English class, The Scarlett Letter. Going along with the lie, Olive uses her undeserved reputation as being easy to alter her social life and to help out some of her school’s less-than-appealing-to-the-opposite-sex students increase their own social standing among the student body.At the LA press day for the Screen Gems comedy, Stone talked about the appeal of playing Olive. “I just kind of immediately responded to her,” explained Stone when asked why she was so interested in tackling the role. “I just liked the way she approached things. It felt honest to me and I could relate to her in a lot of ways.”

Stone’s interest in acting made home-schooling a better option, so she couldn’t fully relate to Olive’s public high school experience. But the 21 year old actress could relate to Olive personality-wise. “I felt I understood the way she thought and I wanted to try to do her justice. She was so fleshed out on the page I felt like I knew exactly who she was in the script, whereas a lot of times you can read a character and take it a million different ways.”

Olive’s good intentions – she helps a few nerds and a gay schoolmate out by pretending to have had intimate encounters with them – were also part of the appeal of Easy A for Emma Stone. “I loved that. I thought it was kind of great. That lie really spirals out of control. But she’s a bold girl, she’s not a delicate little thing so wounded by all these rumors. The poster where I’m biting the lips seems like a false representation of how Olive feels about the whole situation.”

“Her intentions are to protect her friends, although I don’t think I could perpetuate a lie the way that she does,” explained Stone. “I would be much too anxious all the time trying to live a double life.”

Handling the Lead in Easy A

Stone faced a lot of challenges when working on Easy A including singing along with an annoying song (Pocketful of Sunshine), delivering monologues to the computer, and wearing a sexy outfit and doing a provocative song and dance number. But none of those put as much pressure on Stone as she did on herself. “I didn’t realize I was like that until I realized I was like that. Thought I was more laid back. I’m not. Everyone were so nice, in terms of the crew and, well, Will [Gluck] gives me sh*t all the time, but that’s kind of our relationship, which is fantastic because he keeps me on my toes. But I became very micromanage-y, which is funny I didn’t know that I was that way. Very regimented: it was important to know what I was doing the next day, and my sleep schedule, and my clothes laid out. It was like, ‘Who am I?’ I was turning into my parents. But it was such a great learning experience and it taught me endurance and focus.”Being in nearly every single frame of the film wasn’t as daunting to Stone as just making sure she did right by the character. “I think it was less the size of the role and more the wanting to do her justice. It was about the part, you know? I loved the character so much and I felt so protective of her that doing it wrong or misstepping or making her seem…because you could dislike her if it was done wrong. She’s not an unlikable character, and I worried about that all the time – sounding snide, or being too bitchy, or coming across too sarcastic.”

Stone added, “The nice thing about Olive was she felt the same way about it that I probably felt doing it. If I had to dress up in a bustier and play a character that feels confident and sexy in a bustier, they wouldn’t have cast me because I’m the wrong girl. But Olive is playing such a part and feels so ridiculous in it, but she just decides to do it. ‘Why not?’ And that was kind of what I felt too, so that was nice. We kind of felt similarly.”

Asked how difficult it was to make Olive sexy without being inappropriate, Stone replied. “Well, it was me playing it so I knew it wasn’t going to go too over-the-top, sex-kittenish. There’s always going to be an element of, ‘Uhhh…,’ that’s kind of a little goofy, even when I try to not make it that way. That is my burden.”

Easy A‘s Supporting Players and Pop Culture References

Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson play Olive’s parents, and they’re not the typical teen comedy parents at all. These parents are straight-talkers, affectionate with each other, very supportive of Olive and her adopted brother, and willing to have adult conversations with their teenage daughter that aren’t Hollywood-ish in tone.”My parents are actually miraculously not too far off from those parent characters, which I know seem wildly open and free spirited and liberal,” said Stone. “My parents probably aren’t as liberal as them, but they have always had very open, honest communication, so that was actually very cool. And Patty, the way she was playing that mom reminded me of my mom in too many ways. So yeah, there were things to draw from.”

And speaking of things to draw from, fans of John Hughes’ films (Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller, The Breakfast Club…) should love all of the references to his movies in Easy A. “We’re launching a tribute to John Hughes,” explained Stone. “Definitely not claiming to be a new John Hughes movie or match anything that he did because what he did was so wonderful.”

So does Stone think kids are more sophisticated now than when Hughes’ popular films first hit theaters in the 1980s? “I don’t know, they were pretty sophisticated then too,” replied Stone. “Ferris Bueller’s a pretty complicated guy. He’s got that paint program on his computer with the naked girl. He asked for a car; he got a computer. I think what I appreciate about this movie and about Will’s real goal in this movie and [writer Bert V Royal’s] goal in this movie was to pay tribute to John Hughes, not just actually – and Cameron Crowe – by talking about how wonderful those movies are, but also by trying not to speak down to teenagers, which is what John Hughes did best. He was so empathetic and told the story through their eyes and could remember what it was like clearly and didn’t make their problems seem smaller just because he was an adult and knew that they weren’t as big a deal as he got older. And I think that was a big goal for Will, through Olive’s eyes, was not to diminish how she was feeling just because it was a temporary teenage situation.”

As for working with director Will Gluck, Stone said they have a very interesting relationship. It helped that Gluck’s like a male version of a 30-something Olive. “If you saw the two of us together right now, you’d want to brandish a weapon because we’re like, ‘Shut up, you shut up. Aaaah ahhh ahh.’ We just bicker constantly and that’s our relationship. So it’s like two Olives making a movie about Olive,” joked Stone.

“We both really loved the character and wanted to stay true to her story, and let her heart come through and her intentions come through. So, that balance, we were very interested in maintaining that balance and we talked about it a lot. It was very important.”

And finally, what lesson does Stone think Easy A has for teens? “I think one of the greatest things about it is there’s multiple. Without being pandering or talking down to anyone, which is what I liked about the script, it touches on extremism, with the Cross-Your-Heart Club so extremely one way, and Olive taking this girl, taking this character version of herself to this really extreme level. And it touches on judging a book by its cover, no matter how true it may seem. And the speed of technology and how quickly things can be communicated or miscommunicated.”

* * * * *

Easy A is rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements involving teen sexuality, language and some drug material and hits theaters September 17, 2010.

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September 23, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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