More of Emma Stone in Vogue













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To think that Stone and I could be at an observatory, pondering the essential questions of the universe. But this is the unpretentious madness that happens when you leave the activity to Emma Stone, whose movie-star life appears to be based on a likable philosophy of taking her profession seriously, and herself not at all. We will get to the 25-year-old’s rise to fame, the twists in the career of the actress whom Jonah Hill calls “probably the funniest person in the room . . . and so much more than that” and Bradley Cooper claims “has a lot of magic in her” and Oscar winner Octavia Spencer says will be able to work for as long as she likes “because she has the goods.”

We will get to all that. But right now, Emma Stone is going to pick out some bear sneakers, because bear sneakers rule.

The essential (and now-legendary) moment in the Emma Stone Origin Story occurs when Stone is still Emily Stone of Scottsdale, Arizona, an anxious child who combats her anxiety by jumping headlong into theater (she makes her regional-theater debut playing Otter in The Wind in the Willows). At fifteen, she requests a home audience with her parents, where, via PowerPoint, she presents the case that she should be allowed to move to Hollywood. This sounds like a plot turn in a movie Emma Stone might have once starred in, but it actually happened. Stone says she offered examples of successful entertainers who had started young. “Sarah Jessica Parker,” she recalls. “And I think the singer Michelle Branch.”

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This was around the time her mother spotted a commercial for a new Partridge Family reality-show competition. On YouTube, you can find a video of teenage contestant Emily Stone in a rowdy duet of Pat Benatar’s “We Belong.”
“I realized why the people on The Bachelor go so crazy,” Stone says now. “You go in there rolling your eyes, thinking, This is just a reality search competition, but then you’re there for seven weeks, and you just really, really want to win.”

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“She is just a breath of fresh air, she really is,” says Octavia Spencer, who recalls meeting Stone before making The Help and thinking she was a precocious fourteen-year old. (“The coolest little fourteen-year-old I ever met,” she jokes.) Spencer and Stone remain close; she has Thanksgiving with Stone’s family. “What you see is what you get,” Spencer says. “It’s not pretend or a feigned humility, it really is who she is.”

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What’s always striking about these superhero epics is the scale of them, all that technological imagination and elaborate global rollout; as pieces of entertainment, they resemble aircraft carriers. “Nothing matters unless you care about the characters at the heart of the story,” says Spider-Man director Marc Webb, and this is where Stone comes in, playing Gwen Stacy, early love interest to Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker. Stone says she wasn’t sure if she wanted to join the adventure until she auditioned. “I remember I came home after the screen test and was upset about the idea of not being able to do the movie. I knew I wanted to be a part of it.”

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She smiles. Talking about Garfield is a rare moment when Stone shows signs of putting up her guard. As celebrity couples go, they are not terribly public. The wildest paparazzi moment of the two I can find is a recent surfing excursion in Hawaii (this is what counts as an Emma Stone headline on TMZ: Emma Stone Wipes Out Surfing in Hawaii). Stone keeps a low profile in general; the past year has been all about work. She considers New York “the closest thing to home,” but at the moment, she is in L.A., living in a hotel (“L.A.-oise,” she says drily).

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That includes stage. Stone was ready to make her Broadway debut as Sally in Cabaret—she got the part after auditioning for Sam Mendes in London—but ran into scheduling difficulties with her Spider-Man obligations. She believes she’ll eventually get a chance to play Sally. “Someday,” she pledges. She talks about other theatrical parts, about taking more chances in film. “The thing I gravitate toward naturally is comedy,” Stone says. “But I want to do different things.” Like what? Maybe some “truly bizarre characters,” she says. Maybe she’ll produce. “I would like to see what I can do.”

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Here are some other things I learn about Emma Stone: She is not known as a partier, especially by L.A. standards, but when she was seventeen, she went out for a bunch of nights over a two-week period with a friend, drank loads of Red Bull, and somehow ended up at Paris Hilton’s house, twice. She does not have great eyesight: Stone wears contact lenses, but I tried on her prescription glasses. They were so intense, I nearly had to lie down afterward. When she was making Untitled Cameron Crowe Project, Bill Murray made a habit of bringing Stone small gifts: an umbrella hat, slippers, coffee, potato chips, a pie. (“He wants to take care of people. I just love him.”) She offers rides home, which is how I discovered that she drives an environmentally efficient car with large water bottles clinking below the passenger seat. She currently is reading Lolita for the first time, but don’t read too much into that. She would love to star in the second season of HBO’s True Detective. (“That would be amazing. I would do True Detective with Kristen Wiig in a heartbeat.”) Lately she has been listening to Cat Stevens. And Sufjan Stevens. (“A lot of Stevens,” she says.)

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“I had a nude selfie come out,” Stone says. “Did you see that one?” Wasn’t her, she says. She says her publicist e-mailed her: I just want to let you know . . . I want to be able to say that this isn’t you, but. . . . Stone reassured her: not her.

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