There are times in the past, making a movie, when I’ve been told that I’m hindering the process by bringing up an opinion or an idea,” the 28-year-old La La Land actress told the magazine. “I hesitate to make it about being a woman, but there have been times when I’ve improvised, they’ve laughed at my joke and then given it to my male costar. Given my joke away.”
Conversely, Stone adds, there have been instances in which she’s been forced to keep her opinions to herself when it came to jokes that she didn’t think were so funny. “Or it’s been me saying, ‘I really don’t think this line is gonna work,’ and being told, ‘Just say it, just say it, if it doesn’t work we’ll cut it out’ — and they didn’t cut it out, and it really didn’t work!” she said.
The Scottsdale, Arizona, native, who has made her mark in the industry as a timeless beauty and good-humored goofball — and is a probable Oscar contender this year for her turn in La La Land — has come a long way from her days growing up as a self-proclaimed anxious child.
“When I was about 7, I was convinced the house was burning down,” she said. “I could sense it. Not a hallucination, just a tightening in my chest, feeling I couldn’t breath, like the world was going to end. There were some flare-ups like that, but my anxiety was constant. I would ask my mom a hundred times how the day was gonna lay out. What time was she gonna drop me off? Where was she gonna be? What would happen at lunch? Feeling nauseous. At a certain point, I couldn’t go to friends’ houses anymore — I could barely get out the door to school.”
One thing that really helped her combat her anxiety, Stone said, was imagining a “little green monster” that sat on her shoulder and told her “all these things that aren’t true.” “And every time I listen to it, it grows bigger. If I listen to it enough, it crushes me,” she explained. “But if I turn my head and keep doing what I’m doing — let it speak to me, but don’t give it the credit it needs — then it shrinks down and fades away.”
Since getting her start in theater and improv, Stone said, she started using acting as a way to treat her anxiety as well, focusing on fictional worlds and scenarios to keep her from worrying too much about the real one.
“You have to be present in improv, and that’s the antithesis of anxiety,” she said.
The actress has made memorable appearances in everything from Easy A to Superbad to the Spider-Man reboots to The Help.