Romancing Emma Stone
BY Brandon Voss
July 07 2011 2:00 PM ET
She easily got our attention in films like Superbad, The House Bunny, and Zombieland, but it was her Golden Globe-nominated performance in Easy A — in which her character feigns sex with a gay pal to save him from bullying — that elevated Emma Stone to the A-list. This summer, after breaking hearts in Friends with Benefits and Crazy, Stupid, Love., the 22-year-old takes on another brassy firecracker in The Help, an adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s novel about the civil rights movement. Here, the unsinkable Stone breaks down her soft spot for tough girls and tomboys.
The Advocate: When did you become aware of your gay following?
Emma Stone: When The House Bunny came out, and it was incredibly exciting. That support is profoundly important and moving to me, because you guys are the best. I grew up with a ton of gay friends and witnessed their struggles. One of the most wonderful things about doing Easy A was that we got to tackle issues that many gay teenagers face.
Did you anticipate the extent to which Easy A would resonate with the gay audience?
Our writer, Bert V. Royal, is gay, and these were issues that he had actually experienced growing up, so we knew that would resonate. But when the movie came out last summer, media coverage of gay teen suicides was everywhere. Because the movie came out right in the eye of that storm, the timing ended up being more relevant and poignant than we anticipated.
Who’s the most important gay person in your life?
I did a lot of theater growing up, and I was lucky to be raised in a family that was very accepting, so someone being gay was never odd or off-putting to me. I have a lot of wonderful gay friends, but one of the most formative men in my life is Max, who’s been my best friend since I was 11 years old. He’s the funniest human being on the planet, and he single-handedly taught me how to do improv. He also taught me what friendship is and what it is to truly know someone. Now we both live in New York, so we’ve been able to stay close for our whole lives.
Your character in The Help, “Skeeter,” is a young journalist who exposes the injustices suffered by black housemaids in 1960s Mississippi. Do you also strive to use your creative power to speak out on socio-political issues?
I’m the least eloquent person on the planet, so I don’t know that I’d be the right person to speak out on anything. But that’s what’s so wonderful about good movies and writers: I can be a part of a project that says what I wish I could say. My ultimate goal is to continue doing movies with some sort of message that can make a change, like Easy A or The Help. Because that’s what good movies do for me: They teach me and bring injustices to my attention.
The civil rights message in The Help is certainly one to which the gay community can relate.
Absolutely. I didn’t live through the ’60s, obviously, so one of the ways I was able to really understand that struggle was by looking at what’s happening in America now with the gay community in terms of the lack of equality and what we’re fighting for.
The Help aside, you break up with Justin Timberlake in Friends with Benefits, and you’re unimpressed by Ryan Gosling in Crazy, Stupid, Love. Now that’s good acting.
[Laughs] Thank you. Yeah, it’s been a tough year.