Emma Stone Is Not the New Lindsay Lohan, She's Better Than That
By John Mitchell Posted Sep 28th 2010 04:28PM
Pop-Ed. With the release of the recent hit 'Easy A,' 2010 found its breakout star -- Emma Stone. Intensely likable, quick-witted and seemingly down-to-earth, Stone, with her raspy voice and red hair, exudes a cool relatability that is getting her noticed and, blessedly, putting a young actress in the headlines for her talent and ability to carry a film to box office success rather than her drug exploits and court appearances.
Which brings us to the actress Stone is garnering a lot of comparisons to: Lindsay Lohan (circa 2004, of course). Now, I'm not here to dump on Lohan -- I still hope, against all odds, that she pulls it together and emerges from her situation like the film world's most well-known phoenix, Robert Downey Jr. (don't forget how desperate things were for him at one point). I'm here to gush about Stone and point out how she differs from LiLo.
It's not hard to see why some critics and columnists are comparing Stone and Lohan. The red hair, the voice and their breakout roles in high school comedies create an unavoidable parallel. But let's begin this breakdown of the differences between the two actresses by making a bold statement: 'Mean Girls' would still have been good without Lindsay Lohan; 'Easy A' would be nothing without Emma Stone.
Lohan was excellent in 'Mean Girls,' there's no question, but that film had a lot more going for it than its leading lady. It was written by no less than Tina Fey, who at the time was the head writer on 'Saturday Night Live' and would soon after go on to create the Emmy-winning '30 Rock,' arguably one of the better TV comedies of all time. The film also boasted stellar supporting turns from megastars-in-the-making Rachel McAdams and Amanda Seyfried. Sure, it was Lohan's vehicle, but let's be real, "Boo, you whore" -- the film's most famous line -- came out of McAdams' mouth and not Lohan's.
'Easy A,' on the other hand, is all about Stone's character, Olive; she is in nearly every scene in the film, has all of the best lines and carries the whole thing with a warmth and ease that Hollywood's stable of empty-headed, fame-seeking starlets can't fake.
(Though, were I to lodge one complaint about the film, it's that many potential storylines for the pic's excellent cast of supporting characters are ignored in keeping the focus squarely on Olive. Think of how interesting it could have been [spoiler alert!] if they'd have let Amanda Bynes' underused Bible-thumper discover the real truth about Olive by overhearing her conversations with Lisa Kudrow's guidance counselor about her affair with Micah [Cam Gigandet]. It would have given Bynes' Marianne the opportunity to reevaluate what Christian compassion is by seeing that Olive lost her way not by being promiscuous but in trying to help others by providing them cover in her lie. Just sayin.')
Stone has also smartly chosen to keep her private life private. During a recent interview with Chelsea Handler on 'Chelsea Lately,' the actress wouldn't open up about who she is dating (if anyone) but did reveal what she did after attending the MTV Video Music Awards. While everyone else partied, including Handler, who "got to bed at around 3:30," Stone went to Mel's Drive-In in Los Angeles and had a grilled cheese sandwich with some friends and her brother, who she took as her date to the awards because it was his twentieth birthday.
Lohan chose instead to make her private life public from the very beginning. We knew all about her relationship with actor Wilmer Valderrama and her "feud" with Hilary Duff. In the years since, we've had a front row seat to her string of relationships with both men and women, her failed films and, of course, her substance abuse problems and troubles with the law. She mistakenly welcomed the press into her private life in a bid to increase her fame, was never able to get them out and has suffered the consequences ever since. Once that door is opened, an actress becomes something else; she becomes a "celebrity." There is a major difference between being a famous actress and a celebrity, and Lindsay Lohan is a case study in how the distinction between the two manifests and what exactly it does to a performer's career.
Stone appears to be traveling a different road entirely. With her fame on the rise, she's thrown herself face first into her work -- and it's some serious A-list stuff. She's already finished filming 'Crazy, Stupid, Love,' a dramedy due next year, co-starring Steve Carrell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Kevin Bacon and Marissa Tomei, who between them have one Oscar, eight Oscar nominations, an Emmy, five Emmy nods and countless other acting prizes. Not a bad crew to pick up pointers from, eh?
She's currently in production on two features, a buzzed-about romance and an adaptation of a bestselling novel. 'Friends with Benefits,' co-starring Justin Timberlake (who is getting Oscar buzz for his turn in 'The Social Network') and Mila Kunis, reunites Stone with her 'Easy A' director Will Gluck, and is being primed as the rom-com to beat next summer. She's also taking her first real stab at drama with 'The Help,' an adaptation of Kathryn Stockett's beloved novel about the interconnected lives of a young college graduate and two African American women in Civil Rights-era Mississippi and the racial lines that divide them.
Two other very big roles are also on Stone's radar. She's reportedly being considered for a major part in Marc Webb's ('500 Days of Summer') upcoming 'Spider-Man' reboot, though it is unclear if she'd be taking over the role of Mary Jane Watson from Kirsten Dunst, or if she'd be playing one of the two other lovely ladies who occupy Spidey's comic universe: Gwen Stacy and Betty Brant. Stone may also reunite with 'Superbad' co-star Jonah Hill in the big-screen version of '21 Jump Street,' about a police unit that sends officers undercover into a high school as students.
In a matter of just a few short years, Stone has compiled a list of credits most actresses would kill for. And it is more than worth noting that she's done it all without a single salacious headline. She seems to be taking her cues more from the Rachel McAdams School of Keeping it Classy than the Lohan Academy of Any Publicity is Good Publicity.
And that's awesome. Because as a writer/editor here at PopEater (and a longtime film nerd/wannabe screenwriter), I've read one too many sad stories about fallen actresses and fame-obsessed reality stars.
So you can only imagine how refreshing it was to walk out of 'Easy A' thinking, "Man, she's got a real shot at something big. Whatever 'it' is, Emma Stone has it in spades." And I recall thinking the same thing about Lohan at one time too. I remember hearing Robert Altman, one of the greatest filmmakers ever and Lohan's director in 'A Prairie Home Companion,' praise her talent. It's why I've stayed on her side for so long, despite the havoc she's wreaked on her career. I can only hope she gets herself under control and realizes the promise the late director saw in her.
That's why I'm on my soapbox now to praise the rise of Emma Stone. With the list of projects she has lined up, her clear-headed approach to stardom and her desire to keep her personal life private, she clearly has her eyes on the prize. As long as she continues to keep the company she has been -- that is, on location with award-winning actors and not the Hollywood party scene with disposable fame-seekers -- she'll be just fine. Better than fine, actually; I think she might just be the next big thing. There's no question we're a culture that celebrates fame above all things, that we can't really tell it apart from infamy, and that it has destroyed more than one promising talent. So let's maybe give this 21-year-old beauty exactly what she deserves: The respect she's earned and the privacy she has requested.
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