Thursday, August 11, 2011

19 days of Emma Stone

Actors are not always as busy as we may think they are. Sometimes it's just a timing issue.

We tend to think that if an actor or actress has a couple movies coming out in quick succession, it means he or she was a real workaholic about 11 months earlier. When in reality, movies just have different gestation periods from principle photography to final cut. An actor may work on these movies at different times, and seeing them all come out around the same time is just a coincidence.

Which has just happened with Emma Stone. If you're a Stone fan, you've had reason to be thankful the last three weeks.

First she appeared in a supporting role in Friends With Benefits, which came out July 22nd. A week later she had one of the leads in the ensemble romantic comedy Crazy Stupid Love. Now 12 days after that, she's out with The Help today.

This kind of thing can actually be sort of damaging to an actor, if it leads to perceptions of overexposure. (Actually, all overexposure is a function of individual perception, so I guess that statement is redundant.) Instead of getting our Emma Stone spaced out throughout our year, we get a big dose of her all at once. Some people might say "She's in this movie too? She's in everything." Disillusionment soon sets in.

I hope that's not happening with Stone, because she is simply fantastic. I've sung her praises before -- four different times, actually, according to a quick search of my blog. So I won't contribute more print on why she's so great today.

However, I do start wondering when she's going to finally graduate from her status as "an up-and-comer" or "a face you recognize, but name you don't know." I thought we were past that with Stone, but then she did the cover of the August Vanity Fair:

If you can't read the fine print under her name, it says: "You may not know her, but given she's got three big movies between now and the end of August -- including The Help -- you will!"

Stone must think, "Jeez, what do I have to do for people to 'know' me?"

Let's consider some of the titles from which a person might "know" Emma Stone, even before this summer:

The House Bunny

The Rocker

Easy A

And if you're a geek, you know she's been cast as the romantic lead in The Amazing Spider-Man. I wouldn't think it would take a blockbuster like that to give her the credit she deserves, but you never know.

All five of the comedies mentioned above had a decent amount of prominence, and Superbad and Zombieland were downright phenomena. Plus, didn't she get a Golden Globe nomination for Easy A? Confirmed. She did. Maybe it's just the older-skewing Vanity Fair audience she needs to be introduced to. Still, I tend to think of her as the opposite of forgettable, so it's very discouraging that Vanity Fair takes the implied position that people keep forgetting who she is.

Well, I've sat out the 19 days of Emma Stone so far, despite great reviews for Crazy Stupid Love and the strong likelihood that Friends With Benefits is better than No Strings Attached, which I did not like. As for The Help, I don't actually know much about it despite a decent amount of hype. More than anything, I'm glad to see a studio get behind a period piece that addresses the issue of racism. It seems like an anomaly in 2011, especially in the summer landscape.

And maybe, if it crosses over from Stone's familiar realm of "mere" comedy, it'll be a big Help in people finally learning Anna Stallone's name.

1 comment:

Mike Lippert said...

This comment isn't about Emma Stone per say about about her two latest movies. I am happy to see that, with Crazy Stupid Love and the Help Hollywood is getting behind more movies that are smaller and more character based but the question is, do they still know how to do that right or are they just phoning it on on a smaller scale?

I say this because while we saw hints in the Adjustment Bureau, Source Code, Water for Elephants, Crazy Stupid Love and now the Help that Hollywood still has a touch of old-fashionism in them, there are all still middle of the road entertainments, not the kind of grand entertainments we used to get with say something like Glory, The Colour Purple, Monster's Ball, Bridges of Madison County, etc. These are all good but almost completely forgettable (each to their own varrying degree) and I here the Help is about the same.

That's too bad, Crazy Stupid Love was advertised as an honest comedy that had something to say about love while it's really just another romantic comedy that has maybe better characters and less gimmick in the plot than last week's romantic comedy and (I assume Friends with Benefits is at about that same level as well) and the Help doesn't sound like it manages to be an important adapatation of an important book that it promised to be.

I'm still holding out that One Day will provide the emotional impact and "unforgettable story" that it's trailers are promising, or else I may just give up hope.