What Fans Don’t Know About Emma Stone
When it comes to Hollywood’s most recognizable and celebrated actresses, there are plenty of amazing women working in the industry today. But few are quite as beloved and universally liked as Emma Stone. The red-headed Academy Award-winning actress broke onto the scene with 2007’s teen comedy “Superbad.” Since then, she’s become one of the most in-demand performers of her generation, racking up awards and nominations and delighting audiences both on and off the big screen thanks to her easy, charming acting style and her relatable real-life personality. In nearly every role she takes, Stone’s wide eyes and seemingly effortless talent shine through, making her one of the most popular movie stars in recent memory.
But even if you’ve seen all of Stone’s films, there are probably a few things you don’t know about this extraordinarily talented actress. From the meaning behind one of her tattoos and her surprising need for a stunt double to her actual name and the reason behind her signature voice, here’s everything fans don’t know about Emma Stone.
An Emma Stone by any other name
Emma Stone might be one of the most recognizable names in the film industry, but the truth is that “Emma” isn’t actually her first name. Born Emily Jean Stone in Scottsdale, Arizona, the actress didn’t initially intend to change her name, but when she became a part of the Screen Actors Guild, there was already somebody named Emily Stone.
As a matter of fact, Emma wasn’t even her first choice. As Stone told W Magazine, “For a 16-year-old, picking a new name is an interesting prospect, and back then I said, ‘I’m now going to be Riley Stone!’ So, for about six months, I was called Riley. I landed a guest spot on ‘Malcolm in the Middle,’ and one day they were calling, ‘Riley! Riley! Riley! We need you on set, Riley!’ and I had no idea who they were talking to.”
“At that moment, I realized that I just couldn’t be Riley,” Stone admitted. “So I became Emma. But I miss Emily. I would love to get her back.” So, why Emma? As it turns out, it was an ode to her favorite Spice Girl, Baby Spice (Emma Bunton), and Stone’s fans know just how much she loves the British girl group, as she famously wept after receiving a video message from Mel B.
There’s a reason behind the unique sound of Emma Stone’s voice
When most people think of Emma Stone, they think of her sultry, raspy voice. And apparently, the actress believes there‘s a reason behind the sound.
In an interview with The Mirror ahead of the release of “Birdman,” Stone was asked about her voice, and she offered up her own theory. “I think it came because I was a colicky baby, but I don’t know that for a fact,” Stone said, referring to colic, where very young babies cry non-stop for unknown reasons. “That’s just what I attribute it to. Nobody’s ever really said I was getting a part because of my voice, but it’s the only one I’ve got so I’m sticking with it!”
Unfortunately, Stone’s signature husky voice comes with a huge drawback. As she once told Now Toronto, “I screamed myself hoarse every day and developed nodules as an infant. I have calluses on my vocal cords, which makes me lose my voice all the time and makes doing something like screaming in a scene, over and over, really rough, because then I lose my voice for, like, a week.”
She’s refreshingly open about struggling with anxiety
Rather than hiding it, more and more celebrities are opening up about mental health and anxiety, and Stone is no exception. During a 2015 feature in the Wall Street Journal, Stone revealed that she’s struggled with anxiety since childhood. “The first time I had a panic attack I was sitting in my friend’s house, and I thought the house was burning down,” Stone said. “I called my mom and she brought me home, and for the next three years it just would not stop. I would go to the nurse at lunch most days and just wring my hands. I would ask my mom to tell me exactly how the day was going to be, then ask again 30 seconds later. I just needed to know that no one was going to die and nothing was going to change.”
Luckily for Stone, she quickly found something that helped — acting. She made this discovery after her parents got her involved with local theater productions. “There’s something about the immediacy of acting,” the actress told the WSJ. “You can’t afford to think about a million other things. You have to think about the task at hand. Acting forces me to sort of be like a Zen master: What is happening right in this moment?” Stone is lucky that she found a way to cope with her anxiety, and the world is definitely lucky that it turned out to be acting.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.
PowerPoint is just one of her many skills
Every celebrity seems to have a funny childhood story they can trot out during interviews, but for Stone’s story, it directly connects to her career today. Ever since showing up on the Hollywood scene, Stone has recounted the same tale, with subtle differences here and there, to various outlets about how she convinced her parents to let her be an actress.
“I made a PowerPoint presentation for my parents when I was 14. I asked them to let me move to L.A.,” Stone revealed to The New York Times in conversation with fellow Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne. “[It was] all about why I should be an actor. I never wanted to do anything else, from 7 on. It wasn’t a flight of fancy.” However, that’s not the only time she whipped up a convincing presentation. As the actress went on to say, “I asked to be home-schooled in a different presentation when I was 12. That was on a clipboard. I’m not kidding. I make presentations because when I feel strongly about something, I cry.”
While some have lightly mocked the actress for using the same story over and over again, it’s a solid tale, and it’s pretty endearing to imagine a much-younger Stone flipping through slides about her future career.
Emma Stone’s natural hair color isn’t what you’d expect
Stone’s fans might’ve been somewhat shocked when the performer dyed her fiery red hair blonde for the 2012 superhero flick “The Amazing Spider-Man,” but the truth is that Stone was just returning to her roots — literally. As Stone has revealed throughout the years, director Judd Apatow suggested that she dye her hair red after her “Superbad” audition, and as Stone’s famous hairstylist Tracey Cunningham confirmed, the rest was history.
“One day, I got a call from Judd Apatow, who I knew well because I had been working with his wife, Leslie Mann,” Cunningham told Refinery29. “He told me he was directing a movie called ‘Superbad’ starring this young actress, Emma Stone, who was just a teenager at the time. He said she was a natural blonde, but he wanted her to be a redhead in the movie, and he needed me to make her red.” Cunningham went on to say, “At the time, when she was around 17 or 18, she was already experienced in coloring her hair . Without hesitation I made her really red — and she looked incredible.” It’s hard to imagine Stone without her red locks, and clearly, we have Cunningham and Apatow to thank.
One specific audition was ‘rock bottom’ for Emma Stone
Many actors have stories about projects they missed out on early in their career, and in Stone’s case, she apparently missed out on a pretty huge primetime drama. As the actress told Vanity Fair, she auditioned for the role of Claire Bennet, the central cheerleader in need of salvation on Fox’s hit “Heroes.” However, she called the audition her most difficult moment during that particular stage of her acting career. “I could hear that, in the other room, a girl had just gone in, and they were saying, ‘You are our pick . On a scale of 1 to 10 you’re an 11,'” Stone revealed. And as it happens, that particular girl was Hayden Panettiere, who, as we all know, ended up booking the role.
“I went home and just had this meltdown,” Stone revealed. However, that moment — which at the time felt like “rock bottom” — led to bigger and better things. After booking the short-lived series “Drive,” “Superbad” followed shortly thereafter, proving that nabbing a spot on “Heroes” was never the be-all end-all for Stone.
She has some big career regrets
Any actor with a long career is bound to rack up some regrets, and where Stone is concerned, her fans probably know exactly which project she wishes she hadn’t done in the first place. Yeah, it’s 2015’s “Aloha,” written and directed by Cameron Crowe of “Almost Famous” and “Say Anything” fame. Stone, who’s of Caucasian descent, appeared as an Asian-American character, stirring up some understandable backlash.
After the fact, Stone owned up to her mistake, telling an Australian outlet that the experience, while regrettable, made her realize the rampant inequity in Hollywood. “I’ve become the butt of many jokes,” Stone said. “I’ve learned on a macro level about the insane history of whitewashing in Hollywood and how prevalent the problem truly is. It’s ignited a conversation that’s very important.”
Later, as she told Vanity Fair while addressing a controversy over a huge age gap in a different film, “Magic in the Moonlight,” she’s capable of learning valuable lessons from her mistakes. “There’s a lot of conversation about how we want to see people represented on-screen and what we need to change as a business to reflect culture in a clearer way and not in an idealized way. There are some flaws in the system. My eyes have been opened in many ways this year.”
She’s performed on Broadway
If an actor can sing and dance — which, as anyone who’s seen “La La Land” knows, Stone can — they typically take a turn on Broadway. And in 2014, she did just that. Before her Oscar-winning turn in Damien Chazelle’s lauded film, Stone headed to Broadway to take over the leading role of Sally Bowles in “Cabaret” from Michelle Williams, performing in the part from November 2014 through February 2015 in a limited run.
Stone called the experience “nerve-racking,” but she came up with some strong pre-show habits, including listening to French radio and re-reading Christopher Isherwood’s book “Berlin Stories,” on which “Cabaret” is based. Ultimately, she earned positive reviews, including one from Marilyn Stasio at Variety, who said that while no actress has ever surpassed Liza Minnelli’s vocal performance as Sally, Stone “[acted] the hell out of it.” Clearly, it was good training. Just a few years later, Stone’s vocal chops in “La La Land” netted the actress her first Oscar.
Emma Stone has a strong sense of humor — and social awareness
As one of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood, Stone has to deal with the paparazzi pretty often, but during her relationship with fellow “Spider-Man” star Andrew Garfield — which lasted from 2010 to 2015 — the two figured out a pretty original way to take advantage of attracting frequent media attention.
A few times during their relationship, when the stars spotted paparazzi spying on them through restaurant windows, Stone and Garfield devised a pretty incredible diversion tactic. In 2012, the couple left a restaurant with signs bearing the message, “We just found out that there are paparazzi outside the restaurant we were eating in. So . why not take this opportunity to bring attention to organizations that need and deserve it?” After listing websites for charities like Gilda’s Club and Worldwide Orphans Foundation, the duo wished the photographers a “great day.” And in 2014, the two did it again, promoting Youth Mentoring Connection and Autism Speaks. Being tailed by paparazzi is never fun, but Stone and Garfield figured out a cheeky way to find the silver living.
A super famous musician designed Emma Stone’s meaningful tattoo
Celebrity tattoos typically make headlines, but when it comes to Stone’s tattoo, it’s easy to understand why. Not only is it extremely significant to Stone personally, but it was designed by one of the most famous musicians of all time.
Speaking to late night host David Letterman in 2010 (via TV Guide), Stone revealed that she and her mother, Krista, were set to get matching tattoos depicting bird feet as an homage to the Beatles song “Blackbird,” getting their ink to celebrate Krista’s cancer recovery. To make it even better, Sir Paul McCartney himself designed the drawings. “My mom’s favorite song is ‘Blackbird,’ and it’s my favorite song as well,” Stone revealed. “I wrote a letter to Paul McCartney asking him if he would draw two little bird feet, because he wrote the song. And yesterday, he sent them to me.” Plenty of people have Beatles tattoos, but it’s safe to say very few have a Beatles tattoo designed by one of the actual Beatles.
She met her husband at Saturday Night Live
Hosting “Saturday Night Live” is a huge opportunity for any celebrity, and in Stone’s case, it also introduced her to the man she would later marry. After hosting the program multiple times, as well as appearing on its 40th anniversary special in 2015 — as her favorite Gilda Radner character, Roseanne Roseannadanna — Stone ended up meeting her future husband, Dave McCary, during her 2016 hosting gig.
McCary, who directed the fan-favorite sketch “Wells for Boys,” has worked at “Saturday Night Live” since 2013. And after meeting on set, the two struck up a relationship, which was later confirmed in 2017. In 2019, McCary posted a selfie of the two, with Stone rocking a pretty stunning engagement ring. And after their 2020 wedding, the two welcomed a baby girl in March 2021. Stone has played plenty of roles throughout her career, and now, she and McCary share the role of parents.
A stunt double had to fill in for Emma Stone for a pretty crazy reason
Stunt doubles normally assist actors on intense action sequences, but during one of Stone’s most popular movies, she needed a double for a seriously unique reason. In the 2011 film “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” Stone and her co-star, Ryan Gosling, re-enact the famous lift from “Dirty Dancing” during their first romantic rendezvous, but even the most eagle-eyed viewer might not catch that Stone isn’t the one Gosling is hoisting into the air.
As Stone told British talk show host Graham Norton, thanks to a traumatic childhood incident where she broke both arms after a fall in gymnastics class, she’s avoided anything airborne. And when the time came to do the lift, she freaked out. “When we do ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love,’ I know that we’re gonna do the ‘Dirty Dancing’ lift,” Stone told Norton. “I don’t know, however, that I have an internalized phobia of being lifted over someone’s head at the height of about 6 feet. It was a lot. And then it was a meltdown. I mean, I had a real meltdown. I had to go lie down.”
Apparently, the experience was just as traumatic for Gosling. As he put it, “I never had this happen, but I imagine if a possum fell out of a tree and tried to scratch your eyes out, it would be something similar.”
She knows what job she would have if she wasn’t an actor
At this point, with an Oscar and several nominations under her belt — as well as notable roles in blockbusters, prestige fare, and indie flicks alike — it’s impossible to imagine Stone being anything but an actor. However, as she told fans during a backstage interview on Ellen DeGeneres’ daytime talk show, she definitely knows what she would do if she wasn’t working in Hollywood.
“I would like to be a journalist, I think,” Stone said, answering a Twitter question about what job she would have if she wasn’t a performer. “It’s the same kind of idea — you’re looking at people and breaking down why they work the way they work. I think it’s kind of interesting.” Stone’s reasoning makes perfect sense, but there’s no question that fans would rather watch Stone play a journalist than see her leave her illustrious acting career behind.