Emma Stone (Superbad, Zombieland) has just been cast as Gwen Stacy in the Spider-Man reboot in 2012. And now, she’s starring in one of the year’s smartest and coolest teen comedies: Columbia Pictures’ Easy A.
This teen comedy had its world premiere at the 35th Toronto International Film Festival.
In the film, clean-cut high schooler Olive (Stone) finds that her new-found bad-girl rap--courtesy of a little white lie about losing her virginity--has an upside: she is finally getting noticed. Olive decides to exploit her "easy" reputation and use the school rumor mill to advance her social and financial standing. But life starts to spin hilariously out of control, and there is only one boy, Todd (Penn Badgley), who sees through her vixen veneer to the heart of it.
On paper, Olive was a dynamite part: intelligent, funny, observant, surprisingly tough and heartbreakingly vulnerable. The big question for the filmmakers, then, was who could make this vital role come alive on screen. The success of the project depended on the perfect casting for Olive.
"Olive is an extremely smart girl," explains director Will Gluck, "but she doesn’t annoy you with her smartness. A lot of people and characters that are really smart who know everything and talk like adults are so annoying that you want to punch them in the face. This is a girl who is smart like a whip, but doesn’t know she’s smart, and if anything, she’s embarrassed by the fact that she’s smart. You feel for this girl so much, because she’s trying to figure out who she is."
Naturally, Gluck and the producers had no shortage of actresses who were eager to take on such a well-written role. "Everyone wanted to play the part," the director recalls. "I got calls from what seemed like every actress between the ages of 16 and 28. As soon as I heard that Emma Stone wanted to do it, I was very excited. We met really quickly, and she had no problem auditioning for me. A lot of this movie takes place with Olive speaking into her computer’s web cam. After her audition, Emma went home, did a scene into her webcam and emailed it to me. I took the disc with that scene to the head of the studio and said ’This is the girl.’ She was by far, always my first choice."
Stone says she had been sent the script by a friend before it had been bought by anyone, and when she read it, she knew she had to do it.
"I instantly related to the character," recalls Stone. "Olive uses all these big words and makes silly puns, and she’s well aware that what she’s doing is kind of dumb, but she can’t stop herself from doing it. I do the same thing. There were so many things that made me feel a kinship with the character, that I felt that whether or not it was me, she deserved whoever it was that played her be willing to understand her. I think it would be easy to go very goofy with her, or read her the wrong way, and I was afraid that if it was the wrong actor, they wouldn’t be true to this amazing character."
In her first meeting with Will Gluck, Stone found that the two of them were very much in synch about the character. "Will told me he wasn’t looking for someone to become Olive," explains Stone. "He was looking for someone that was Olive, because Olive becomes whoever is playing her. I understood that there was no becoming this girl. You either were or weren’t Olive. I’m so thankful that they gave me the chance."
Opening soon across the Philippines, Easy A is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.