阅读与作文(英语初中版) 2021年4期

Tucked into a corner booth at a seafood restaurant off the Pacific Coast Highway, Emma Stone listens attentively as a waiter with a handlebar mustache describes the evenings specials. Maybe its the candles, but Stones green eyes look even bigger than usual as she nods enthusiastically, taking it all in. Then the waiter turns to leave, and the 26-year-old actress lets the facade drop.“I was concentrating so hard on making my face look like I was listening that I totally forgot to listen,” she confesses. “I wasnt listening at all!”

Weve just met, but this feels like a very Emma Stone moment. The self-effacement, the goofiness, the slapstick laugh. Stone is a famous person who is very good at not seeming famous. Its the kind of loose-limbed naturalism that has allowed America to fall for her, starting with her breakout role in 2007s Superbad all the way to her Oscar-nominated turn in Birdman last year.

As a girl in Scottsdale, Arizona, Emily Jean Stone was a spelling-bee champion with recurring acne. She was anxious and suffered panic attacks. “It was really bad,” she says. “The first time I had a panic attack I was sitting in my friends house, and I thought the house was burning down. I called my mom and she brought me home, and for the next three years it just would not stop. I would go to the nurse at lunch most days and just wring my hands. I would ask my mom to tell me exactly how the day was going to be, then ask again 30 seconds later. I just needed to know that no one was going to die and nothing was going to change.”

Stones parents took her to a therapist, but what really helped was when she started acting at a local youth theater. The thing that would induce anxiety in most people—performing onstage in front of hundreds of strangers—for her helped ease it. “Theres something about the immediacy of acting,” Stone says. “You cant afford to think about a million other things. You have to think about the task at hand. Acting forces me to sort of be like a Zen master: What is happening right in this moment?”

When she was 14, Stone created a PowerPoint presentation to try to persuade her parents to let her move to Hollywood. It worked: She got an apartment with her mom in L.A. and a job as a baker at a dogtreat bakery, and before long had graduated to playing the voice of a dog on a Disney Channel sitcom. Within a year shed landed guest spots on Malcolm in the Middle and Louis C.K.s short-lived HBO show, Lucky Louie, and then in 2006—which would have been her senior year of high school—she shot Superbad and was on her way.

Since then, Stones career can be divided into roughly three eras. First came her supporting years, playing the funny, cool girl third or fourth on the bill(The House Bunny, Zombieland). Then her lead years, doing teen comedy (Easy A) and comedic drama (The Help). Most recently came her comic-book period, playing Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spider-Man and its sequel, as well as Michael Keatons recoveringaddict daughter in Birdman. When she was nominated for an Oscar alongside such luminaries as Meryl Streep and Laura Dern, she claims she didnt even bother writing a speech.

Though shes a funny, gifted, award-winning actress whose face, Woody Allen told me, “is worth the price of admission,” Stone is not without her eccentricities. She buys ingredients to make her own skin-care products. She lurks on strangers blogs, usually mom blogs or ones about baking. She has no shortage of pet peeves: animals dressed in outfits, people who send eight texts instead of one (“Just take a second!”), classic names intentionally misspelled.

All of which makes her sort of a perfect fit for a Woody Allen movie. Stone has been a fan of Allens since she saw Annie Hall when she was 14. She used to go to the Café Carlyle in Manhattan to watch him play clarinet; she even had a dog named Alvy, after Allens character in Annie Hall, Alvy Singer. She first met the director when he requested a meeting about his last movie, 2014s Magic in the Moonlight. Allen says hed seen her in “one of those young peoples movies” while exercising on his treadmill and thought, “My God, this girl is remarkable.”

“Its terrifying,” she adds. “He doesnt do table reads or any rehearsal. You cant even ask questions about your character, because hell be like: ‘You know this is a movie, right? ” Says Allen: “I never talk to any of the actors in any of my movies about anything if I can avoid it.”

Irrational Man, their second film together, is a story about, as Stones costar Joaquin Phoenix says in a voice-over at the beginning of the film,“morality, choice, the aesthetics of life, randomness and murder.” Stone plays Jill, an enthusiastic college student who embarks on an ill-fated and possibly dangerous affair with Phoenixs character, an alcoholic philosophy professor. When Allen first began writing the film, he wasnt thinking of Stone. “But once I was 10 pages in, I thought, Oh God, who else would play this so perfectly? A beautiful young college student, an intellectual philosophy major? Emma could phone this in and be great.”

“She can handle anything you throw at her,” says Will Gluck, who directed her in Easy A and Friends with Benefits. “Shes so good in everything,” agrees Allen. “I see a lot of the best traits of Diane Keaton in her—Keaton was someone who could be in The Godfatherand and movies with Meryl Streep, but could also do comedy and sing and dance. I think Emma has the potential to be one of the biggest female stars for years.”

Next week Stone goes to Cannes for the premiere of Irrational Man, then to London for a few days with her mom. Then its back to L.A. to start work on La La Land, a contemporary musical about an aspiring actress and a jazz pianist, directed by Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) and co-starring her frequent on-screen partner Ryan Gosling(Gangster Squad; Crazy, Stupid, Love). Stone will sing and dance in it; shes already rehearsing the dance numbers. But shes also trying to follow the advice of her good friend Bill Murray, who counseled her to keep some things—like singing—for herself.

“He told me to keep some things I love just for me,”Stone says. “The idea is to have some things that you dont feel like you need to share with the world. To have some things that are only yours.” She smiles.