Emma Stone had quite a lot to say about the subject of being swept off your feet during this conversation, and she wasn’t exactly talking about sky diving, simulated or unsimulated, with her designated leading guy Andrew Garfield in The Amazing Spider-Man. It was actually all about unlearning and relearning first love as her character Gwen, iconic kisses and thigh-highs, and a special boy/girl feeling she basically describes as ‘that uncomfortable ugh.’ Emma also mulled Gwen moxie, acne, dads and teen hormones, and that essential wow factor about Spider-Man from a female point of view.
EMMA STONE: Wow. hello!
Hi there. So why The Amazing Spider-Man?
ES: I always wanted to play Mary Jane. I thought Mary Jane was so great. Then I got a call and they said, we’d like to you audition for the part of Gwen Stacy.
And I was like, ugh. I don’t know who Gwen Stacy is! Because I hadn’t read the comic books growing up. But then I looked into the story of Gwen, and I just fell in love with her story.
Why is that?
ES: Because it is so incredibly epic and tragic. And Andrew is one of the best actors I’ve ever worked with. And I instantly knew how much I could learn from him. And that really, really drew me to, you know, that challenge.
What about your relationship with Andrew?
ES: Rising to meet him every day, was something really exciting. And it was a huge growing experience for me.
And it was a combination of things. But like most of the other movies I’ve been a part of, with guys like Seth, they were just cute.
What was it like being in love in this movie?
ES: This kinda swept me off my feet. And I wanted to experience that feeling of first love. Before you know what it’s like to get your heart completely shattered!
You know, that life or death love, where you’re like, I know what love is! Um, so I wanted to feel that again.
You know, I wanted to unlearn. And go from the very beginning of, oh my god. There’s an attraction to another human being. And in a way that I never felt before.
And, what is this! You know, that uncomfortable, ugh! I wanted to feel that again. So it was a matter of unlearning, and really becoming seventeen again.
And then just letting yourself be seventeen in those moments. It’s fun, you should try it! It’s really cool. It’s pretty cool to feel that way. Again!
Well, that kiss of yours with Andrew, is certainly iconic.
ES: I know, I know. And obviously, there’s no comparison there. Of course I thought about it because…I just did! Yeah, I thought about the kiss.
So how would you explain the chemistry between you and Andrew?
ES: Can one explain chemistry?
I knew you were going to say that, for some reason!
But can you try?
ES: It’s hard to. Because with any person in life that I’ve had chemistry with, it’s hard to pin down exactly what it is.
Sometimes it either clicks, or it just doesn’t. So it really is indefinable, it’s exactly what they call it, you know?
Um, it’s something else entirely. It’s some soul thing. I don’t know, I don’t know what it is!
What do you think is the wow factor about Spider-man, as a female?
ES: Well he’s the only teenage superhero, which is major. So you can relate to him. Not to mention, he’s bullied. Which is huge, for a girl or boy.
And the fact that he is bitten by a spider, in this kind of wish fulfillment thing – that he’s able to fight back against the bullies when he wasn’t able to before, is symbolism for kids.
You know, that they have so much power within them. To speak out, and to stand up for themselves. To stay unique, and to stay true to who they are. As Peter does.
So yeah, I think that’s probably why it’s so resonant. And has been for fifty years. And will continue to be.
Were you ever bullied?
ES: I think everyone has experienced something along those lines.
How about those iconic thigh-highs of yours in the movie?
ES: Obviously I’m a lot less voluptuous than Gwen, unfortunately! So…It didn’t really go to those heights! Ha!
But you know, the signature headband, and the thigh-highs, all of that, was important to stay present.
And right down to hair and makeup, we really tried to attain that as well. But keep her realistic, and still keep her, you know, earthbound.
And I’m by no means a super-model. And like an unattainable person. So that element of Gwen was a bit different than the comic books.
ES: Because she was such a beauty queen in the comic books. And I’m a lot more…next door! Than she might be.
Um, and I know she’s not very hippie-ish in this. And that she won’t be birthing Osborn’s twins! I don’t think that’s gonna be happening!
But we did try to keep some of that moxie in there. And some of that self-assuredness. But I think it’s important that she kind of took on that energy of being in charge, you know?
And then she’s drawn to a male who is in kind of the same position as her police chief dad. A little Electra Complex thing going on!
How familiar were you or not, with the science stuff in the movie?
ES: That’s a great question. My aunt and uncle had a hand in creating the cervical cancer vaccine. And I’ve always been fascinated by what they did.
And I myself – this is gonna sound a little bit strange to you – but I had really, really bad acne! A couple of years ago.
And it was during a really stressful time period. And so I started going online, trying to figure out what causes this kind of thing.
I didn’t do Accutane for it, but they took us to these labs. And this is the first time in my life that I’ve really been angry about not going to college.
Because I went to these labs, and I was fascinated. And I knew what they were talking about. Like the same thing that causes acne, causes diabetes. And they’re proving that stress has a link.
And I was studying regeneration, and we looked into stem cells. Because they’re finding ways to wire it to beat a human heart.
And I was fascinated. And I was like, what do I need to do to intern. You need to be a college graduate. And I was like, but I know what you’re talking about! I get it!
And it made me so upset. I was like! I mean, this sucks! I can learn, I can learn. I swear. And so now I’ve gone on my tangent about the word ‘smart!’
Which had really been bothering me for the past year! I don’t like the word ‘smart.’ anymore. Because what does ‘smart’ mean?
Does it mean that you’re able to learn, or does it mean you graduated college! I didn’t graduate college, but it doesn’t mean that I’m not smart.
So I really, really, I got so interested in biology. That was one of the most exciting parts of this process, was learning about medicine. And regeneration. And stem cells, and all of it.
It just expanded my mind in so many ways. And so now I’m gonna take biology classes! And now what’s amazing, is you can do it at home!
And it doesn’t mean I’m not smart…Ha!
What was a favorite scene?
ES: Um…Where we’re asking each other out, but not! And then that awful scene, where I have to keep my dad out of my room when Andrew was in there with me. You know, when you give me an inch, it’s not good!
And so I was like, what is the one thing that would keep a dad out of his teenage daughter’s room. Anything related to hormones!
That’s gonna be – I knew in an instant, from my own life experience! That you can be like, sorry. ‘I know, okay! I’ll let you go.’ Dads don’t want to talk about that!
Let’s talk hair color. What made you go redhead?
ES: Um…I’ll tell you. I dyed my hair brown when I was fifteen, when I was first auditioning in LA.
And I sounded pretty much like I do now, and my personality was pretty much the same. Which was a little bit weird for parts for fifteen year olds!
And a lot of the time, I was going for a lot of Disney Channel stuff. And I don’t know if I exactly fit into the mold!
And so I dyed my hair brown. I was like, okay I’ll dye it brown. And a week later, I got my first role! Which actually worked out. So it was kinda cool.
And then a couple of years went by, and I was cast in Superbad. And Judd Apatow walked in and was just, make it red! To the hair person.
And they took me to the hair salon the next day, and they dyed my hair red. And my mom is a natural redhead, so I guess I have the skin tone of a redhead.
So they made my hair red. And I’m telling you, for five years I tried to get it back to blonde! But for every role, people would be like, we want it red,
You know, we want it strawberry blonde. We need a shade of red. Just something red. And so I stayed red.
But if you actually look back through the things that I’ve done – The Rocker was right after Superbad – it was like blonde. And then Zombieland, it was brown.
I’m always trying to dye it! Yeah, it’s Judd. Blame it on Judd! Yeah. But no, I love having red hair. So I’m sure it’ll happen again. Some day!
Do you feel responsibility comes with stardom, like being a role model for kids?
ES: I will say, and I could talk about this for a long time, I don’t in any way, shape or form think that I am any type of a role model. Or anything like that.
But I think for whatever reason, when you’re put into a public place, you have to figure out what that purpose is in your life. Why that may have happened, or what you can possibly do with something like that.
And I’m not political, and I’m not gonna talk about those kinds of things. And I know that it’s never gonna be my job as an actor, to be championing any specific cause. Except for originality.
That’s the one thing that I identify with, as maybe part of my responsibility per se. And I know it’s not my responsibility, and I know all of that.
But there’s something that came with getting a Revlon contract, actually. When they approached me for the Revlon contract.
And I thought, why in the world would I be approached for a beauty campaign. Because I had always been the funny girl. And that’s not to put myself down. That was always the way my brain worked.
And then I thought about Diane Keaton for L’Oreal, and Ellen Degeneres for Cover Girl. And how sometimes real beauty gets to be celebrated. Like what’s inside is what counts.
And you can still feel beautiful, or put makeup on. But because it makes you feel good and not for anybody else, that was like, well if I have an opportunity to possibly reach people or reach young girls, in a way that makes them feel like what they are. It’s enough.
And those elements of their personality that set them apart and that make them original, if they feel good about that in any way, if that affects one person, then that’s a game changer. That’s something that I’m proud to be helpful in any way.
And in looking real. Or being a real person. Obviously I have a stylist who puts me in clothes like this! And I have a hair and makeup artist who are doing those sorts of things.
So there’s all of that going on too. And I’m not eloquent right now, at all! But yeah, I do feel a slight – not responsibility. But a privilege, to be able to speak to younger girls. And hopefully make them feel like it’s okay to be themselves.
What’s the strangest thing about making a big 3-D movie like this one?
ES: ‘This’ feels different! Talking to the press feels different. It really strikes you that you’re in Spider-Man! Yeah.
And were you really rigged up for all that swinging up high?
ES: Yeah, yeah. We swung. We were swinging!
Are you afraid of heights?
ES: No! That was awesome. I really loved it, yeah. Thankfully I’m not afraid of heights, or that would have been horrific.
It would have been awful, actually. Because you’re so out of control. But no, I loved it. Other than the bruising, I loved it. Harnesses bruise! Yikes.
Do you think you can convince Andrew to do Saturday Night Live?
ES: Ha! You’re telling me! Yeah, I think so. I can’t convince Ryan Gosling, but I’m working on Andrew!