Emma Stone’s star will soon shine on Broadway when she debuts in “Cabaret,” but the actress’s latest projects have been darker than her previous roles in “The Amazing Spider-Man,” “Easy A” and, earlier this year, “Magic in the Moonlight.”
In the film “Birdman,” directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, she plays Sam, a young woman fresh out of rehab and furious at her father, Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton). Sam agrees to be his assistant as he obsesses over staging his Broadway adaptation of a Raymond Carver story, but then feels neglected and relegated to menial tasks like getting his coffee.
Ms. Stone, 25 years old, filmed several of her “Birdman” scenes on the rooftop of Broadway’s St. James Theatre on 44th Street, just 10 blocks from where she will star in her own show, “Cabaret” at Studio 54, starting Nov. 11.
In “Cabaret,” she is set to take over the role of Sally Bowles, the despairing singer at the Kit Kat Klub in 1931 Berlin. Directed by Rob Marshall and Sam Mendes, this Roundabout Theatre Company revival stars Alan Cumming as the Emcee and, currently, Michelle Williams as Sally.
Sally is a tragic figure, for whom love is fleeting—and a role Ms. Stone has wanted to play ever since she watched Natasha Richardson sing “Cabaret” as a 9-year-old girl.
Ms. Stone spoke with the Journal about “Birdman” and “Cabaret,” navigating social media as a public person, and redirecting paparazzi interest. An edited transcript follows.
In “Birdman,” Sam is often on the periphery of things, then becomes the center of some key action. Were you able to use that to your advantage to play her?
It’s a good question, because she is lurking and sitting on her phone on the outskirts of scenes a lot of the time. It was one of those always-watching kind of feelings. I feel like a lot of people distract themselves when they’re on their phone, but they’re sort of aware of what’s happening around them, which gives them more insights than maybe it seems.
In the scene when Sam lashes out at her dad, it’s intense when she yells, “You don’t exist!” but also kind of funny because she’s criticizing him for not caring about Twitter and Facebook.
Because it’s such a tangent, I thought it was probably something she had written down in a journal when she was in rehab, as something she had felt about him and had probably said to herself a million times, and was activated enough to say it to him the first time. Which I think felt different than what she expected it to feel. I don’t think I saw it as comedy or tragedy, so much as just this little truth bomb that she was finally getting the chance to throw at him. [Read more…]