Friendship, to Emma Stone, is pretty much everything. Which is why the star and executive producer of Netflix’s Maniac—and face of Louis Vuitton’s new fragrance—requested that she be interviewed by her longtime pal Jennifer Lawrence (who calls her by her real name, Emily). The two got together in New York to discuss Emma’s new project, living life in the public eye, and turning the big 3-0.
Come along as ELLE listens in.
Jennifer Lawrence: Okay, let’s get things started! Emily, you’re the best. Care to comment?
Emma Stone: Um, oh God. Uh, no comment.
Next: You’re so pretty. How’d you get like that?
[Laughs] What’s the Bridesmaids line you always say?
That you smell like pinecones and you look like Cinderella. Care to comment?
She says that to me all the time.
Interviewing is very nerve-racking! I’m just gonna start with my list. So, Emily, you and I have never talked about acting because we’re not douchelords. So now we should talk about acting.
When you act, do you use your imagination? Do you use wounds from the past?
That’s a good question!
I know; I’m a great interviewer.
Well, I tend to use a lot of stuff that has actually happened in my life, and I pull from feelings that came with certain experiences. Then it at least feels productive to have all these feelings [laughs], which is why I started acting in general. And I guess I use my imagination to an extent.
So you can make yourself cry purely just from imagining something horrible? You’re that sensitive?
I know you, but I have to ask for the people who don’t know you. Emily, are you sensitive?
I am sensitive on a level that is problematic.
Emily blushes watching TV. She blushes for someone on TV.
[Laughs] I mean, I’ve talked to my therapist about it before, and she’s like, Thank God you found [acting].
I started acting in youth theater when I was 11. But it’s weird when it becomes your job. And then there are other parts of it, like sitting here with the tape recorder in between us, that aren’t things that you think about when you’re a kid and it’s just like, ‘This is a safe, great place to feel a lot.’
You seem to take something like anxiety or pain and you turn it into something. You take all your, what do you call them, your—
Your demons, and you use them for good.
Honestly, turning 30—because I’m turning 30 in a couple of months—I know people talk about, like, turning 30 and the experience of that.
Thirty, flirty, and thriving!
[Laughs] My twenties were a really interesting time, and there’s been a lot that has happened in these past 10 years, both positive and not as positive. It’s weird how much turning 30 crystallizes your life. Instead of just living the dreams that I had in my youth and getting to do the job that I love to do and making friends and going through all of that, it’s like, Now what do I actively want as an adult?
Yeah, what do you want from the world?
It’s been an interesting thing to ruminate on. I love to ruminate.
You love ruminating.
I can’t really help it.
Has any fruit come from it?
There’s occasional fruit.
Do you care to talk about it?
There’s occasional fruit, and then there are frequent sleepless nights.
Oh yeah. I get those phone calls. I feel so bad when I have to call her with bad news. I’m like, “Everything’s okay.” [Sinister voice] But it’s not.
What do you think caused your anxiety? Do you think you were born like that, or do you think something happened that made you extremely sensitive, or do you think that you’re naturally pathetic?
I think that it’s a combination of all of it.
Do you remember a time when you felt more anxious than you ever had?
Yeah, when I was seven. That’s when I started having panic attacks, which I’ve talked about pretty extensively. I think your wiring is just kind of what you are. My mom always says that I was born with my nerves outside of my body. But I’m lucky for the anxiety, because it also makes me high-energy.
You’re actually very adventurous. And you’re laid-back. I know that would surprise you to hear, but I know you to be laid-back. Until you’re not. And then when you’re not, you’re really not.
I think a huge part of it is that I really like being alive. I haven’t shot anything for six months, which has been amazing because there’s been time to be with friends or travel.
HERE’S ANOTHER TURNING-30 THING I’VE REALIZED: YOU PICK YOUR FAMILY. YOU REALIZE THAT YOUR FRIENDSHIPS, THE PEOPLE WHO GO WITH YOU INTO THESE NEXT PHASES OF YOUR LIFE— YOU’RE CHOOSING YOUR FAMILY.
I notice that you bring up friendship a lot.
Is that important to you?
Who’s your favorite friend?
I really like [Lawrence’s dog] Pippi.
She has a personality!
I love Pippi’s mom.
So are friends important to you? And why?
I think friendship is pretty much everything. Here’s another turning-30 thing I’ve realized: You pick your family. You realize that your friendships, the people who go with you into these next phases of your life— you’re choosing your family.
And what’s most important to you in friendship?
Loyalty is enormous.
Oh, I love that you pointed at me.
You’ve been one of my most loyal friends for years. And I think knowing that you can laugh together and that not everything has to be such a big deal.
How do you view professional mistakes?
There are definitely things that I’ve beat myself up about. Ha, surprise, surprise, that’s the theme of the interview.
Doesn’t it suck that we have to learn lessons publicly?
It feels like a lot of people have to learn lessons publicly now because of the way the world is wired.
You mean social media?
Speaking of, you don’t have a big social media presence. Thoughts? Why not?
Wow, that was an amazing segue.
I know; I’m getting the hang of this.
I think it wouldn’t be a positive thing for me. If people can handle that sort of output and input in the social media sphere, power to them.
What kinds of things do you let roll off your back?
What I wear, how I look. I struggled a couple of years ago with feeling like how I looked was being scrutinized, and then I realized that anything that really bothers me that people could comment on is something I’m already worried about. So it’s not really something that I’m overthinking right now. But in a different period, if I was feeling bad about something, it would bother me much more to hear people talking about it.
Again, nobody really gives a shit at the end of the day except for me. [Laughs]
Unfortunately, people do give a shit.
Well, for like 30 seconds.
About you, not me. [Both laugh] What movie changed your life? Care to take a gander? Obviously the best movie ever made was Jurassic Park. We all know that.
But I wasn’t in that, Jen. I’m not Laura Dern, as much as I want to be.
You were amazing with the triceratops.
It’s not me! I wish it were me, but it’s not me.
You look so good in khaki shorts. [Both laugh] What role did you play that had the biggest impact on you personally?
I loved doing Paper Man. It was about 10 years ago. That was an intense time in my life. I had just turned 20. All these pieces fit together, and it was a really impactful time.
For the record, note that she said “pizzas,” not “pieces.”
[Laughs] All the pizzas fit together.
Did you ever think you would win an Oscar? Which apparently you’ve done.
We were talking one night and I was, like, passionately speaking about something and said, “Emily, you’ve been nominated for two Academy Awards!” And she goes, “Jen, I won.” And I was like, “You did!?”
ES and JL: [Both say] Congratulations!
ES: She was one of the first people to reach out to me when it happened, but she just blocked it out. You had to block it out. [Both laugh]
What’s the biggest blessing and what’s the biggest drag of your j-o-b? And also, what’s your perspective on it? I think about my parents, and how I grew up in a working-class family. That’s why I hate working with people who don’t come out of their trailers or are late. It’s a job!
Me too. That drives me nuts. Lack of professionalism makes me really insane.
What are other things that get your goat?
[Laughs] I don’t like the idea that anybody thinks that this is, like, special. There’s nothing to complain about. The fact that anyone could think that [fame] is true or special….
HONESTLY, SO MANY OF MY DREAMS ARE NOW PERSONAL AND LESS PROFESSIONAL.
What you’re saying is, you see behind the curtain; you’ve seen Oz.
Exactly. My job is fun and it’s wonderful and it can be hard, but it’s also like, But how hard can it be? [JL laughs] You know what I mean?
I really wish we could include your arm gestures.
There are really hard jobs in the world, like really hard, and everyone is being so nice to me and bringing me a coffee. Like, calm down. Are you serious?
I brought you a coffee! You’re a movie star; what else am I gonna do? [ES laughs] I had to make you a coffee.
[Fancy voice] I’m so glad you noticed. I’m very important.
Have you ever gone through a spell in your life where you’ve felt that you’d lost grip on yourself?
Oh my God, I went through that last night. [JL laughs] When I was a teenager, I was in a real sweet spot. Then in my mid-twenties, I really lost the plot. A lot of things shifted, and it felt like whatever that protective layer was, that mask that you build for yourself—this is my personality, this is who I am—totally shattered.
What shattered? Security?
The structure of my life shifted so much that I didn’t know how to relate to this new version, you know? My parents got divorced, and I went through this stuff with my career really starting. It all happened at once.
It’s so much more helpful to talk about your life in a realistic way instead of having these false realities. Like, if I look skinny in a dress, that’s probably because I was watching what I ate. I didn’t eat a whole pizza and fit into a size 2! [ES laughs] I find it irritating when people make their lives look perfect. I remember when you were first talking about anxiety and reading that and being like, “Me too.” And then I didn’t feel like such an asshole for bringing it up. You look at the world realistically.
You do! Let’s just say “You do” until the end of time, and that’ll be the whole article.
Wait! We need to talk about Maniac.
The thing I liked about Maniac was that it’s about people who have their own internal struggles and are trying to fix them with a pill. But you see over the course of the show that human connection and love is really the only thing that gets us through life. I liked that idea, and I love Jonah [Hill]. I had worked with him on the first movie I ever did [Superbad], so it was, like, 11 years later.
So when you met him, was he, like, a big deal?
I was 17.
And you were nobody?
[Laughs and changes voice] I was a nobody. I was a nobody. It was really early on for him, too. [JL gets interrupted by a call from her dad, promises to call him back]
He never calls me, so I could not ignore that.
Do you know that her dad makes jam?
He makes blackberry jam. But he only makes it for people if they’re really going to eat it.
She was like, “My dad wants to know if you want some of the jam, but only if you’re really going to eat it, because he doesn’t want to waste a label on you.” It was so good.
He’s so cute.
Truly the sweetest, it’s heartbreaking. Wait, what was I saying?
I don’t remember. Oh, Jonah!
Right! Obviously lots of things have happened in the past 11 years, so it was nice to just get to be around each other.
On another note: You have a beautiful voice, but you hate to sing.
I don’t hate to sing! I love to sing.
But you were talking about something recently, and you were like, “But it’s musical.” We went to see you in Cabaret [on Broadway] and you were like, “I was awful.” I feel like you don’t.
The night that Jen came to see me in Cabaret, both of my contacts popped out of my eyes.
She’s blind as a bat.
It was so weird. I’ve never had that happen in my whole life.
I would have never noticed. My jaw was on the floor the entire time; I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
You’re the best, Mom.
I want an album from you of lullabies.
I’ll record an album for just you. We’ll do ’90s country music!
Oh my God! Will you make me a ’90s country album? [Starts singing “Who I Am” by Jessica Andrews] “I am Rosemary’s granddaughter.” I want that one!
That’s your favorite.
We’ll do that. Okay, so you do like to sing. Do you like to dance?
I love to dance.
Really? God, you and I couldn’t be more different. Why do you like to dance?
Because it’s the most fun thing in the world.
Do you learn dances quickly?
Dance is my very favorite art form to watch.
What? You played a ballerina [in Red Sparrow].
Ugh, tell me about it.
Tell me more.
Fucking miserable. I can’t learn choreography. It doesn’t click in my mind. The pizzas don’t come together.
The pizzas do not work.
I’ll watch somebody do something and then I’m like, ‘But how’d you get your arm over here?’ I would watch my choreographer and be like, ‘But your head just did a 360. I can’t do that.’
You just fully exorcised it.
What’s your sad and lonely movie?
Anything Nancy Meyers.
Oh, fuck yeah. What about Baby Boom?
ES and JL: [Both say] Baby Boom!
I put on Bridget Jones’s Diary. Bridget Jones feels me. I had one night of horrible insomnia, like random insomnia. I watched Bridget Jones.
I started 30 Rock, and that’s been a pretty good one.
That’s nice. We all need some Tina Fey. Do you want to be back on set again? Or are you kind of at peace with not working right now?
I’m at peace. I think it’s been a good time to get a little perspective, because things were so heavy work wise for the past few years. And honestly, so many of my dreams are now personal and less professional.
You don’t want world peace?
No, I do want world peace!
Well, it sounded like you didn’t want world peace for a second.
It’s less thinking about the next 10 years and what needs to happen and just sort of relaxing into what will be instead of trying to control the outcome.
You are very good about that, I’m telling you.
I’m getting better at it.
Would you be a mother? She’s going to be the best mom; she’s so nurturing.
That’s how you are! I think your maternal instinct is very strong and always has been.
Thank you, honey.
My perspective about kids has changed as I’ve gotten older. I never babysat or anything. As a teenager, I was like, I’m never getting married, I’m never having kids. And then I got older and I was like, I really want to get married, I really want to have kids.
When I was a teenager, every boyfriend I had I was like, I guess this is the one! I was that girl. [Laughs] Wouldn’t it be great if we could have a baby?
Aw, a whole village.
It’s the turning-30 thing where you’re like, I’m not that young. I’m young, but I’m not that young.
I can tell you’re fertile just by looking at you.
I can see it in your fucking face.
Thank you. That’s the sweetest thing you’ve ever said to me.
I’d be honored to father your children.