Emma Stone, the staggeringly talented star of The Help and Easy A, plays science-loving student Gwen Stacy opposite Andrew Garfield’s high-schooler-come-superhero Peter Parker in the The Amazing Spider-Man.
With the film out in cinemas today, I chatted to Emma about falling in love, panic attacks, and teleportation.
- For my interview about 3D and spectacular stunts in The Amazing-Spider-Man, click here.
- For Spidey-licious cakes and costumes, click here.
That big sweeping first love, that I’ve-never-had-my-heart-broken, that “holy shit, this is love, wow!” kind of feeling was one I’d never gotten to play before. I’d only felt it in my real life. And I was like, ‘Oh my God, to feel that again!’
The whole story of Gwen Stacy is so epic and tragic. I was very swoony and girly about it. I was like ‘Oh, this is such a romantic story, wow!’ I was really smitten with the story of Peter and Gwen, so that was a huge draw. It was all very Romeo and Juliet.
What surprised you the most about making this film?
I try not to have expectations ever in life, in general, because then you’re always pleasantly surprised. But some crept in and I started thinking ‘ah, it’s gonna be a blue screen and I’m gonna be imagining things and looking at a ping pong ball with an x on it and having to react to it.’
But what surprised me the most was how grounded it all felt. It just felt like a boy and a girl, even if there was blue screen all around us and we were on a soundstage of an apartment.
My uncle’s a scientist so maybe it’s in the blood; I was so excited about science. I was ‘wow! And how do you…? And what is the..?’ I thought it was the greatest thing ever!
Also, Andrew had a trainer and the producers said I could train with him if I wanted as he was on full time.
I was like, ‘Cool! Free training! I’ve never really worked out in my life. That would be a great idea.’ It’s not a great idea! It sucks, it’s the worst!
I did do some lifting metal over my head, but it just made me miserable most of the time. [Laughs] And I didn’t have to do any stunt work to go with it so I was just in shape for no reason, so now it’s gone. Muscles destroyed… with cake!
What were you like as a teenager? Can you relate to Gwen Stacy’s character?
She’s a valedictorian so you assume she’s got to really work for it, she’s ahead of the curb, really good at science, very responsible, and is very close to her dad, which I was.
I had that responsibility thing and I was pretty driven as a teenager. I was ambitious, loud, really hammy – thank God that went away! [Laughs]
I was pretty much exactly like I am now, to be honest with you. I don’t know if it’s depressing or good.
I thought it was super-cool as everyone was 10 years old and I was 6, and it was so much fun.
Then the next year I had my first panic attack. I was really anxious – it just hit me hard one day, and I was super-freaked out to leave my mum’s side. My parents were awesome and put me into therapy.
Then I felt better and wasn’t so anxious anymore. And I remembered acting and how much fun it was to be on stage. I asked my parents to take me to this acting class downtown at the theatre in Phoenix.
I got into improv and sketch comedy, and I was, ‘this is the best!’ There was this outlet for my emotions and it’s ok to be scared and to feel how you feel.
It was a productive outlet for all this anxious energy. And I found people who were like me and liked the same things I liked.
It just kind of became this really special escape and way to be more myself too… so not escaping from myself but getting to actually express all the stuff I was feeling.
What advice would you give someone who wants to be an actor?
Listen to your gut. Make sure it’s what makes you really, really, truly happy. Because I can promise you that if it doesn’t make you really, really, truly happy, it’s gonna make you miserable. But if it is the thing you love and want to do, persevere and keep creating.
When you were a kid, was there a superhero you wanted to be?
When I was a kid I wanted to be Morticia from The Addams Family! And then I wanted to be Lydia from Beetlejuice. My comic books were spooky, funny movies like Hocus Pocus or Beetlejuice. So, my superheroes were almost dead people! [Laughs]
If you could have one superpower now, what would it be?
Teleportation, that’s the ultimate. If you could be with everyone you wanted to be with all the time, it would be so wonderful.