Rising Star: Emma Stone
First Published: June 4, 2008 4:19 PM EDT Credit: AP
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- She may have made her mark in a raunchy modern teen comedy, but 19-year-old Emma Stone looks to the classics for her comedic inspiration.
“I was really drawn in by comedy — by people like Gilda Radner and all the old ‘SNL’ sketches with her,” Emma told AccessHollywood.com. “And at a very young age, my dad showed me films like ‘Animal House’ and ‘The Jerk’ and ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles.’ The [acting] bug kind of bit me right then and around age 11, I started doing local theater.”
Emma (who most will recognize as Jonah Hill’s crush, Jules, from “Superbad) has quite a busy summer ahead of her, starring opposite Rainn Wilson in “The Rocker” and alongside Anna Faris and friends in “House Bunny.”
And who knows – maybe down the road, fellow up-and-comers will look to AccessHollywood.com’s latest Rising Star for their own funny bone inspiration.
Having performed in local theater while growing up in Scottsdale, Arizona, Emma made the jump to Hollywood at the age of 15 – but not without some technological intervention.
She actually used a PowerPoint presentation to convince her parents to let her make the move from Arizona to Hollywood.
“I was really into computers and I got into PowerPoint. It looks pretty old school now, but at the time, I thought it was the hippest thing,” she laughed. “I had it on my computer and made them popcorn and pointed out some key points… I guess it worked.”
After making the move, Emma scored her first big break in Hollywood on VH1’s reality show “In Search of the New Partridge Family,” where she landed the role of Laurie Partridge for the series pilot.
“I met a lot of people that ended up having a big effect on my life,” she said of her “Partridge” experience. “It all kind of changed from there.”
After her “Partridge” stint (the pilot was never picked up), Emma landed roles on several TV shows, including “Medium,” “Malcolm In The Middle” and a seven-episode arc on the short-lived Fox series “Drive.”
And then… “Superbad” happened.
“I was crazy about it. I just loved it,” she said of the first time she saw the script.
However, after her audition in the spring of 2006 for the role of Jules, Emma didn’t necessarily have high hopes for landing the gig.
“I didn’t think my audition was all that great,” she revealed. “But it was nice that they gave me a shot.”
And while the writing was right up her alley, the thought of working with her prospective co-stars wasn’t too bad either.
“You know, it’s not bad at all,” she laughed of working with the likes of Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill. “It was an amazing experience. And being that it was my first movie, I really had nothing to compare it to. It was definitely very different than other experiences I’ve had since then. It was a really cool thing to be a part of.”
That “Super” shot appears set to launch Emma into household name status, as she prepares for a very busy summer.
In “The Rocker” (in theaters Aug. 1), she plays the self-described “stone-faced” Amelia, who plays bass in A.D.D., the band put together by the past-his-prime headbanger Robert “Fish” Fishman (Rainn Wilson).
“She’s pretty sardonic. Doesn’t really crack many smiles,” Emma said of her “Rocker” character. “It’s an interesting part to play because in my life, I’m a big laugher and smiler, so it was an interesting challenge, but definitely a cool one. Amelia is sort of a modified Wednesday Adams.”
When it comes to “Office” star-turned-“Rocker” frontman Rainn Wilson, Emma offered some hefty praise for the bespectacled comedian.
“That guy has the most amazing work ethic. We shot pretty much all night and it would be 4 AM, and he’d be riding a tricycle into a pool or submerging himself into an ice bath for the 40th time in a row and he just knocked it out of the park and never complained,” Emma said. “I learned a lot from him… I like to think of working with some of these people as a Master’s class. Because that’s really the only way to learn for me is talking to people who really know what they’re talking about.”
Later this summer, Emma will be trading in her bass for a sorority pledge pin in the campus comedy “House Bunny” (in theaters Aug. 22), starring and produced by Anna Farris.
“She is so wonderful,” Emma said of Anna. “She’s very inspirational. As a star and producer on the movie, it was cool to get to see her wear a couple different hats. It was a really good experience.”
Another “Bunny” Emma had the pleasure of working with was former “American Idol” runner-up Katharine McPhee, who Emma also offered sincere praise towards.
“Not everyone knows it, but she’s from a theater background and has been acting for a long time. She was great,” Emma said of Katharine. “It was her first movie experience. It was nice to be around some first-time people since my first time was not too long ago.”
A far departure from her days on the set of “Superbad,” this movie offered Emma the chance to join a girls club of sorts on set, with a female-dominant cast.
“I come from a series of boys club it feels like, so to be surrounded with so many girls was kind of daunting in the beginning, but I couldn’t have asked for a nicer or kinder group of people. Everyone was really supportive and really cool to work with – and I’m not just pulling that out of my a**,” she laughed. “It was a really surprisingly wonderful experience.”
And while she is honing her acting chops, much like Anna Faris, Emma also has her eyes on stepping behind the camera.
“My ultimate goal is to produce and make movies that are in alignment with the honesty of the movies that affected me in my past. It’s really incredible to see something that you got to be a part of become something that people really respond to and are grateful is around,” Emma noted.
As if that’s not enough, Emma also recently wrapped production on the romantic comedy “The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past,” starring Matthew McCounaghey and Jennifer Garner.
“It was a great experience. So much fun! It was my first time getting to be an entirely characterized version of someone – it was very much a character role. And it was exciting to get to delve into that in film, because I had only gotten to do that in theater so far,” she explained.
And after her upcoming three-picture assault on the box office, what comes next for this teen from Arizona-turned-Hollywood-star-in-the-making?
Actually, she’s not sure – and that’s just fine by Emma.
“I’m a person who relies very heavily on intuition and feeling out the situation, so I’ve never really made a five-year plan or anything like that,” she admitted. “If it’s right, it will fall into place and if not, I understand.”
But if she has it her way, there’s one gig that will soon come calling.
“My dream is to be on ‘Saturday Night Live,’” Emma revealed. “And that dream has not faded away.”
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