Emma Stone: Hollywood has a new queen and her name is Emma Stone, the young actress who won an Oscar for the movie La La Land. In Toronto we had the opportunity to talk with herabout her career

her movie La La Land, her amazing chemistry with Ryan Gosling and her passion for the Spanish culture. Stone plays Mia, an aspiring actress caught in an endless loop from her boring barista day job on the Warner Bros.

Hollywood has a new queen and her name is Emma Stone, the young actress who won an Oscar for the movie La La Land. In Toronto we had the opportunity to talk with her about her career, her movie La La Land, her amazing chemistry with Ryan Gosling and her passion for the Spanish culture. Stone plays Mia, an aspiring actress caught in an endless loop from her boring barista day job on the Warner Bros. lot to tedious, dead-end auditions. While trying to catch a break, she repeatedly bumps into the same disgruntled pianist, Sebastian (Gosling), whose life ambition is to become a great jazz artist amidst a ruthlessly fast-changing pop culture.  

Q: Did you ever have a moment as an actress where you didn’t think you were going to make it or you didn’t think you were good enough?

A: Yes, definitely, but I think that might also be part of the life of a creative person those sort of ups and downs and security and insecurity. It’s just part of the lot in life when you’re pushing yourself and hoping to always keep growing and expanding. It’s emotionally tricky.

Q: You did this film right after doing “Cabaret” on Broadway, which was a tremendous critical and box office success for you. What was the big difference between doing live singing and dancing on stage eight times a week versus creating this timeless musical?

A: Well, lots of things. I think that to tell a story chronologically every night from beginning to end is incredible. When you’ve been doing film, you’re like, “Oh my God, it starts here and it ends here,” instead of, “And today I’m in love and today we’ve broken up,” and you’re bouncing all over the place. That’s a really nice thing. Also, doing a show eight times a week, I’m sorry, it is infinitely harder than film could ever be. It is so hard. It’s incredible.

Q: If you feel so miserable and insecure, why do you keep doing it?

A: It’s the best! I have to. I do make it sound awful, but I loved doing “La La Land.” It was such a joy. “Cabaret” was the single greatest experience of my life. It reinvigorated how much I love being an actor. Playing that part and getting to sing that song at the end of the show in that spotlight was absolutely mind blowing. It was pure joy with my friends learning to ballroom dance. It’s the best job ever, but it’s also fucking awful.

Q: Why do you have so much chemistry with Ryan Gosling?

A: : I don’t know. He said this, so I’m going to steal his answer because I think he’s right about this. It’s that in our first ever audition together, which was seven years ago, we were asked to improvise. We immediately had a rapport that you can find a lot with someone if you improvise with them. And, if it works then, then it usually continues to work in that way, such as a similar sense of humor, a similar sort of mentality. They kept letting us do that in each film, and Damien let us improvise a lot in this. I think that really helps build a trust with each other as actors.

Q: He speaks Spanish, did he teach some?

A: Yes, I learned some words from him. He is a great teacher

Q: Have you ever being in Spain

A: You’re kidding, I love Spain. Is a beautiful country with an amazing culture that is an inspiration for all of us. La La Land has a lot of influences from Buñuel and Pedro Almodovar. I’m learning Spanish right now

Q: How many months have you being learning?

A: About three months total  I will say two and a half or three months.

Q:  How was it for you when you realized that moment that everyone was paying attention to you?  Was it an ego boost, was there adrenaline?

I think that would be pretty narcissistic to think that everybody is looking at you at the time. (laughs)

 Q:  But you realize that people know your name and you don’t know their name.

Yeah, that part sort of feels like being in a dream, and you are looking around and everybody knows your name but you don’t know their name, but not everybody.  Again, I have never been in a circumstance where everyone is looking at me.  (laughs)  But yeah, it’s a strange adjustment and still one that I am not sure how to deal with but I find I am a bit quieter and keep my head down a little bit more in public.  

Q:  How fun is it to be you ?

A: As an actress, it’s been a really sort of, I guess it feels like I am in a, like it’s not really happening a lot of the time, (laughs) so I am usually just trying to get my work done, but when I step back, it seems to me that every single conscious dream role I had with people or people I wanted to work with have now come true.  So I am trying to re-imagine my dreams, which is a really strange place to be and you sort of mourn it, even though it’s the most exciting thing, because you have got to keep living and got to keep making goals, but I have gotten to work with all the people that I have wanted to work with. 

Q:  What were your choices based on?

A: I think at the beginning, my choices were based on, can I play this part and can I pay rent? (laughter) Can I make this my only job, instead of having to have another job as well?  And then as time went on, and as levels move up, you get to dream differently.  And so I then really wanted to work with directors that I had admired.  And now it’s changing and evolving still because I have been through more in my life, so the types of roles I feel l can play have evolved.  

Maria Estévez

Correspondent Writer