Before anyone accuses me of jumping the gun on this one, let me state right up front that Emma Stone is not yet on the A-List. What she is is a rising star with a lot of potential. Hollywood is littered with with the hopes and dreams of starlets who never quite made it to the top. I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that Emma Stone will not be one of them.
The last couple of weekends, I have been catching up with movies I missed when they were in theaters. I had been thinking about writing up a Best of the Year list, but there were a few films available on video that I wanted to see before writing up that list.
I didn’t know a lot about these films except that they had both received positive reviews. I knew Crazy, Stupid, Love was a romantic comedy starring Steve Carell. And I knew The Help was a civil-rights era drama with a largely female cast. I had no idea Emma Stone was in either movie.
As it turns out, I enjoyed both films immensely. And Stone was great in both of them. Which is pretty impressive given the vastly different tones of the two movies.
Stone first caught audiences attention in 2007’s Superbad. Superbad was a surprise hit that launched the careers of its teen male leads… not quite to superstardom. But it made Jonah Hill and Michael Cera into names. Stone, as Jonah Hill’s dream girl, didn’t get quite the same push. But Hollywood certainly took notice of the striking red head.
In 2008, Emma Stone appeared in two comedies. The Rocker starred Rainn Wilson from TV’s The Office. And House Bunny starred Anna Faris from the Scary Movie films. Expectations were low for both films. But reviews were surprisingly kind. And House Bunny turned into a sleeper hit. I have not actually seen either film. But retroactively, my interest is piqued. I may have to go back and seek them out.
In 2009, Stone appeared in a supporting role in The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. This Matthew McConaughey film didn’t do anyone any favors. But Zombieland certainly put Stone in the spotlight. Zombieland was an unlikely comedy/horror mash-up that helped cement Jessie Eisenburg, Abigail Breslin and Stone as stars to watch. It also marked something of a comeback for Woody Harrleson and Bill Murray.
In 2010, Stone snagged her first lead role in the high school comedy, Easy A. Easy A put a new spin on Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter in the same way Clueless was a reinvention of Emma. Only, it wasn’t quite as clever as Clueless.
Easy A was clearly modeled after Mean Girls, the movie that briefly put Lindsey Lohan on the A-list. But it wasn’t as smart, funny or quotable as Mean Girls. Still, Easy A got mostly good reviews and was a hit for Stone. It didn’t quite put her on the A-list, but it showed she could hold a picture together on her own.
2011 was a big year for Stone. She had supporting roles in Friends With Benefits and Crazy, Stupid, Love. Crazy, Stupid, Love is a really strong romantic comedy which is a rare thing these days. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend checking it out. Crazy, Stupid, Love got good reviews and was a surprise hit in a summer filled with robots and super heroes.
But the big movie for Stone was The Help. The Help was one of the lone bright spots for Hollywood in the late summer. Absolutely nobody expected this movie to be a hit. Some even worried that the subject matter might be offensive. But The Help received glowing reviews and word of mouth made it one of the biggest surprises of the summer. There is even talk of The Help being a contender come awards season.
Next year, Stone will have another big year. She’ll be playing the role of Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spider-man. Ironically, the role of Gwen was played by Stone’s co-star from The Help, (and daughter of director Ron Howard) Bryce Dallas Howard in Spider-man 3. The Help should be subtitled “Battle of the Gwens”.
It’s early to say for sure, but with such a strong track record and Spider-man right around the corner I feel confident that Emma Stone has a long career ahead of her if she wants it. I think we’ll be seeing her on the A-List in the near future.