Emma Stone is known for her work across various genres, ranging from comedies like Superbad and Easy A to more nuanced takes in films such as Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite. In recent years, she has received critical acclaim for her work in projects like Maniac as well as last year’s live-action Disney film Cruella.
As a child, Stone was terrorised by frequent bouts of anxiety and panic attacks for which she had to attend therapy. However, she later claimed that it was her involvement with local theatrical productions that helped her deal with those issues. After dropping out of high school, Stone decided to pursue her dream of becoming an actress and auditioned unsuccessfully for almost all Disney Channel productions.
Despite the early missteps in her acting career, Stone ended up securing bit parts on various television series before making her breakthrough with her debut feature Superbad where she starred alongside other promising talents like Jonah Hill and Michael Cera. She went on to garner many more accomplishments through her work in celebrated projects like La La Land.
In a past interview, Stone was asked to name some of the films that influenced her the most in her formative years. While talking about the cinematic masterpieces, she cited Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights and Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice. As an actor, a performance that never fails to amaze Stone is Peter Finch’s magnificent artistry in Sidney Lumet’s Network.
Stone said: “Peter Finch in Network, the scene where he’s in the raincoat, and he comes storming in and gives that speech [‘I’m as mad as hell…’] on camera. That is great acting. He just was that part. That’s one of those things where you realise that some roles are destined for certain actors. He was meant to play Howard Beale.”
In addition to those films, Stone also highlighted the influence of a horror film that really scared her when she first saw it. In fact, it was such a terrifying cinematic experience that she called it the scariest film ever made because it subjected her to weeks of insomnia and affected her like no other film had.
While talking about the brilliance of William Friedkin’s The Exorcist, Stone recalled how it got to her during her first viewing: “I saw it when I was a kid, and I didn’t sleep for weeks. Then I found out it was based on a true story, and I was like [shudders]. It was the most terrifying movie ever. It’s the psychological stuff that gets me.”