The Help's Emma Stone channels her inner thespian


LOS ANGELES—Emma Stone is playing with the big boys. Her skills as a comedian have been blessed by Vanity Fair, which put her on the cover to celebrate her move from comedy to drama in The Help. Male movie comics usually get around to seeking their inner thespian at some point, but to mixed results. Bill Murray, Adam Sandler, Jim Carrey, Mike Myers, and even Jerry Lewis all wanted to show their fans they could do more than just be funny. Stone has chosen the route a little early in her career.

In The Help, which is based on a bestseller of the same name, she plays Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan, a journalist who returns, in the 1960s, to her old hometown of Jackson, Mississippi, to discover that although she has changed, Jackson has not. The maids who brought up little girls like her are still doing the job but are treated more like slaves than a part of the household. (The film opens on August 10 in Vancouver.)

Stone came to the movie having taken on high-profile roles in comedies like The House Bunny, Superbad, Zombieland, Easy A, and Crazy, Stupid, Love., which opens this week. However, in an L.A. hotel suite, she says that although she thinks her movies have been funny, she doesn’t think comedies work well unless they have more to offer. “I do understand that when you go into a video store, there is the comedy section and the drama section and the science-fiction section, but there were parts of Superbad that made me cry. There were elements of Easy A where I was sobbing, and there is heartbreak every day. There is humour every day in life. I don’t believe that a movie can be good unless it has elements of both comedy and drama. I know that not every moment in my comedies has been funny.”

Stone’s biggest-budget film will be in the science-fiction section. She will take on the lead female role of Gwen Stacy in next year’s The Amazing Spider-Man. She admits that there was more excitement at home when she was cast as Skeeter.

“I called my mother, and she was obsessed with the book. She said, ”˜You have to play Skeeter just the way she is in the book. You have to make sure Skeeter is Skeeter.’ ”

Watch the trailer for The Help.

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