Emma Stone lets fly in Netflix series Maniac
She opens up about playing volatile character in new Netflix series
If you study Emma Stone's career, you will find that she has forged an interesting path for herself.
Pursuing worthwhile projects has landed the 29-year-old US actress in Maniac, a dark comedy miniseries helmed by the newly announced Bond director Cary Fukunaga that is showing on Netflix.
This is after her turn as a British aristocrat in the period drama The Favourite, which debuted at the Venice Film Festival to raves. And of course, there was the Best Actress Oscar for La La Land a couple of years ago.
Stone was struggling with a cold, but being a trouper, she turned up at the Crosby Street Hotel in New York City for our interview.
Maniac is set in a sort of alternative reality New York City where there is no Internet or iPhone, but robots clean up dog poop on the street and you can hire an actor to impersonate your best friend.
Two misfits decide to participate in clinical trials that promise a magic fix to their sorry lives.
Stone is Annie Landsberg, broke and an addict after a traumatic incident in her life. Jonah Hill plays Owen Milgrim, a misdiagnosed schizophrenic and scion of a rich family now out on the streets.
Over the course of the series, a lot of the action takes place in Annie and Owen's joint dreams, a metaphor for their subconscious lives that reflect the pain they are in.
Why did you take the role?
The reason I liked the script and wanted to take the trip was I liked the idea of exploring this concept, that pain and issues that we deal with internally can be fixed with three easy pills.
That we can experience the trauma and then we can confront it and heal it and that will be it. No need to maintain working on yourself.
Of course, it does not work out exactly that way. But I liked the sort of devices that are used, going into those experiences. And it was a lot of fun to do because we are in such disparate worlds, but they do feel kind of cohesive as you watch it. I think it is just a wild ride of a show.
Annie is described as gunpowder, volatile and ready to explode. How did you find the character?
I definitely know some people like her and I also know those parts in me, so it was a great experience to sort of let that fly.
She has a hair-trigger temper and I think a lot of that is because she is in a cycle of addiction. So yeah, it felt important to me, especially in comparison to Jonah's character, who is kind of muted in the way that this man feels, he feels oppressed in his life.
And she kind of is constantly breaking out. So they are sort of opposites in that way.
You play five different characters in Maniac. Which was the most challenging or fun?
Linda from Long Island. I really love that she shows a part of Annie that has a big heart and cares about people.
She can't really find the connection to her husband because she is going through so much herself. But she really cares and she goes deep, and Annie really refuses to admit that to herself, that she can take care of anybody else.
The most challenging was the elf. Ugh. (Laughs.) It was a lot to figure out. Shoot bow and arrows and throw knives and things I just did not know how to do. She is drunk the whole time, and there was just a lot going on. And it was also very fun, but more challenging.
You co-starred with Hill back in 2007 on your movie debut Superbad, where you played teen love interests. How was it to work together again?
It was great. We had kept in touch since Superbad and that was my first movie when I was 17. To get to look across at him again in all these different worlds and characters was so much fun, to be with my friend.
I really like working with someone you know, because they can tell when you are lying.
It really makes you stay present and convince them of the truth.
How do you deal with a bad day?
Calling somebody. Usually I feel if I can talk it out with somebody, it really helps. I pretty much can't keep anything in to a fault, so I just sort of say it or show it, act it away.
What is a typical day for you if you are not working?
It is pretty embarrassing, I have had a lot of them lately. If I am in New York, I usually order breakfast and then I drink coffee and sometimes I will exercise, but not necessarily always.
I try to go for a long walk. And then I have got really into adult colouring books. They are soothing, and I highly recommend it if you are looking to do something on an airplane or you are stressed out. They are fun and meditative.
Why are you not on social media?
I think one of the few gifts of anxiety is it makes you really sure that what you say or put out into the world is hopefully clear. That is not always the case for me, but I think that social media would just be a little bit too much information.
The writer is the president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a non-profit organisation of entertainment journalists that also organises the annual Golden Globe Awards.