Starstruck by Stone
If you observe films endlessly in your spare time (as I do), you’ll be well aware of certain actors/actresses you simply cannot hate.
They may be outstanding treasures of performance masterclass, brasher than billboards or wooden enough to make IKEA furniture feel like terracotta cushions. And yet you just adore them…
They are your favourites. The ones you look up to. The ones you aspire towards. The ones you’d be utterly unable to construct “hello” if you were ever ridiculously fortunate enough to encounter them…
It's okay. It's called being starstruck...
I, like many others, have my idols. On a director’s front, Christopher Nolan – the maestro auteur behind ‘Inception’ (2010), ‘Interstellar’ (2014) and ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’ (2005-2012) – would hold the crown!
Actor’s-wise, you can’t beat Idris Elba! A broad-shouldered, raspy-voiced, 6ft3 hunk built like a Linebacker; men don’t get manlier than DCI John Luther/Stringer Bell (‘The Wire’).
Favourite actress is a rather more difficult question, however. Namely it causes me to choose between the greatest female performing talent (Kate Winslet would be most viewer’s best bet) and simply someone I have nothing, but glowing admiration for.
If someone was to ask me maybe a year ago, I would’ve likely answered with Maisie Williams. Indeed the fierce, feisty yet sweet-natured 19 year old girl who is ‘Game of Throne’s Arya Stark earns my total Stark praise.
However perhaps the actress and – let’s be honest – overall performer, who I believe I would be most lost for words in the presence of is Emma Stone.
Frankly I could spend all week listing why I believe Miss Stone to be the most utterly charming and delightful actress of her generation.
Largely because she really does seem “utterly charming and delightful” if all her interviews are any indication. Not to mention her heart-melting recent response to a similarly swept away male fan who rather sweetly asked her to his high school prom – all while re-enacting ‘La La Land’s sun-stroked, car-leaping opening number!
A combination of stunning natural looks and pitch-perfect persona, Stone is unquestionably Hollywood’s nicest leading lady.
How thrilling therefore that her acting range is every bit as versatile as those big eyes!
Blessed with whip-smart comic timing mixed with touching vulnerability, I first became aware of Stone’s deliciously sassy charisma when viewing ‘Superbad’ (2007).
Like most gross-out frat fare from Judd Apatow and co., there was an inevitable level of leery laddishness seeping through this high school back-catalogue of “dicks”, “sex” and “babes”. However the film can at least take prizes home for being the opening chapter for the big screen’s most unstoppably reliable “girl next door”.
Since then, no matter how toe-curling flicks such as ‘The House Bunny’ (2008), ‘The Help’ (2011) and ‘Aloha’ (2015) might be, Stone remained top of her game.
(I'll even forgive her for a baffling cameo in the revolting 'Movie 43' (2013)!)
Perhaps the soprano to my symphony of Stone mania arrived in ‘Easy A’ (2010). I may have floods of almost entirely male mates scoffing in my face that this contemporary spin on Hawthorne’s ‘The Scarlett Letter’ is corny, contrived and cringe-worthy in the extreme, but frankly what do they know!
‘Easy A’ may well be all those clichés, but is that really such a bad thing? Especially when you have EMMA STONE whipping up every whimsical one-liner your voicebox could never dream of delivering. Plus singing 'Pocket Full of Sunshine'!
This is how you do a “chick flick” (it pains me to use that anti-PC term!); bolstered by Stone’s fully fledged-out and too clever for words female heroine Olive Prendergast. A girl so genuinely and subtly hillarious she makes the ‘Sex and the City’ ladies drown in their drooling corpulence of consumerist filth!
I’ve now seen ‘Easy A’ three times and can barely leave the house without wanting to skip down every street screaming "I GOT A POCKET FULL OF SUNSHINE!" from the top of my lungs! Thanks Emma!
Stone would follow her a-list breakthrough with unsurprisingly terrific performances in ‘The Amazing Spiderman’ (2012-2014) and ‘Birdman’ (2015). The former being alongside her then real-life boyfriend Andrew Garfield and cementing Peter Parker + Gwen Stacy as the cutest couple of cinema.
The latter film was a surreal satire shot in a singular take. Arguably more pretentious than 10 committees of Cannes Film Festival snobs!
However, once again Stone shone; stripping away her bubbly exterior to reveal a damaged, sensitive and fragile soul swimming hard against the tides of Tinseltown vacuousness.
It is this determination, commitment and passion for her profession that forms my grandest respect for Miss Stone.
Given the industry’s conveyer belt of lust, greed and superficiality, it’s a joy to see a celebrity so giddily in love with the art of acting itself.
Stone’s openly discussed daily battles with crippling Social Anxiety may have taken its toll, but she demands it doesn’t get to her – cheerfully pioneering her immense talent as both pure escapism and an accomplished path to well-deserved dreams!
When she finally stood proudly and inspiringly back in February with OSCAR in hand, I felt truly happy for her. If only more celebrities were as generous and heartfelt as Stone! No doubt the world would be a better place!
If only I could meet her…