December 23, 2016

"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 co-star."

"Given my joke away... 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!'"

Said Emma Stone.

48 comments:

MayBee said...

Why make it about being a woman?

I know I know. Men never have anyone ignore them. And certainly men have never ever been given bad lines in movies.

Guildofcannonballs said...

If someone takes your joke and gives it to another, I humbly submit that they took ownership of the joke from you for themselves, and if they in turn give it to someone else it was, at that point in the chain of custody, their joke they gave away, not yours.

Thanks to the lowly lass' that made me think all about this stuff.

Henry said...

Why make it about being a woman?

This happens to introverts all the time. Laslo repeats your muttered joke and gets a big laugh. But when you do speak up, what comes out is plain awkward.

rhhardin said...

It's acting, not joking. Whatever makes the movie work best goes.

Ask for a writers' credit, if it matters, not the line.

Guildofcannonballs said...

Chain of comedy.

Look out, or I will insert you right in there. Forced chain insertion is my meglo-niche, and I can only succeed using your apathy.

Drago said...

She didn't build that.

"Her joke" was the culmination of all other efforts prior to that point. The people who built the roads to the studio, the studio structures, the sets, Producers, Directors, writers, etc.

Obama said so and disagreement with that is racism. Straight up.

Barry Dauphin said...

Why so serious?

Xmas said...

I like Emma Stone, but:

https://youtu.be/imW392e6XR0?t=2m2s

EDH said...

Interview articles with rising stars like this one with Rolling Stone are just too thematically contrived between the publicity agent and the magazine, making it difficult to take even the honest parts seriously.

Guildofcannonballs said...

"It's acting, not joking. Whatever makes the movie work best goes."

"You Don't Mess with the Zohan is a 2008 American political satire black comedy film directed by Dennis Dugan and produced by Adam Sandler, who also starred in the film. It was the fourth film that included a collaboration of Sandler as actor and Dugan as director. The film revolves around Zohan Dvir (Hebrew: זוהן דביר‎‎), an Israeli counter-terrorist army commando who fakes his own death in order to pursue his dream of becoming a hairstylist in New York City. The story was written by Adam Sandler, Judd Apatow, and Robert Smigel. It was released on June 6, 2008 in the US and on August 15, 2008 in the UK. Despite generally mediocre reviews, the film was a moderate box office success, with a worldwide gross of $201 million from a $90 million budget.[3]"

In the above film, whatever worked best went into the film for the first couple of acts, then what worked best must have gone on a heroin binge because what went into the film was American Rednecks caused and are causing all problems between Israel and its neighbors.

The reason this matters is these are smart men, John Turturro even came out and said the movie started okay and then something happened, he doesn't know what, but something happened and it ruined it. So they have immense talent and proven track records of comedic success, even within this very project they showed promise, but it was all abandoned, not to make money through ticket sales or DVDs or any above ground method, but to advance the Prog idea America is the cause of all the world's problems both in the distant past and the present. Of course all the anti-Bush bullshit box office disasters should suffice to reliably conclude Hollywood loves self-adulation over unsullied works of art, but Zohan shows in real time trainwreck-style how much behind the scenes money matters vs. a quality product or that nobody in the film bidness likes cash.

Wilbur said...

Like the lovely Brazilian Mrs. Wilbur would say "First World problem".

rhhardin said...

You have to take Hollywood villians as generic bad guys, sort of a slot in the narrative. It doesn't matter what they're represented as.

The Vault Dweller said...

Jokes aren't these universal things, that contain a set amount of humor and every time it is delivered the joke will deliver that same set amount of humor. Delivery matters. That is why hollywood contains people who are both writers and actors. And not every writer can be an actor and not every actor can be a writer. That is also why stand up comedians have to spend a lot of time honing their craft and figuring out the right pacing, tone of voice, and facial expressions to make when telling jokes.

How does she know this is a sex thing? And even if it is a sex thing how does she know it isn't a justified sex thing? It has been my experience that self-deprecating humor comes off better in men than women.

Phil 3:14 said...

My brain turns off when they call the job their "craft".

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Emma's learning that it's not easy to achieve victim status when you're a pampered celebrity. It's a good first try but she still trails Lena in the grievance department.

rhhardin said...

Car clocks of the 60s were a failed attempt to solve the longitude problem.

joke idea stolen from Iowahawk

HoodlumDoodlum said...

How much of the problem is that she's just very physically attractive, to an extreme degree? She has a unique look and is, as I said, extraordinarily attractive, and that probably makes it difficult to think of her in other terms sometimes, I'd bet. Even "as an artist," I mean.
I know that's a problem for me w/Emily Blunt--I've liked her in pretty much everything I've seen her in but it's tough to separate how attractive & charming she is from the character she's playing; she's so attractive that it's a distraction, at times.

That should be a less-gender dependent problem, so super-attractive men should in theory have a similar problem (although of course to a lesser degree/extent).

Gahrie said...

As Glenn would say:

"Why is Hollywood,dominated by the Democrats, so corrupted by Sexism?

prairie wind said...

Why aren't women actors taken more seriously? I mean, just look at how serious she looks in the photo for which she agreed to pose in what seems to be a sexy nightgown.

Laslo Spatula said...

Trouble on the Set…

“This line, it doesn’t work. What if I said ‘I’d rather be ass-raped by a Norwegian’ instead?”

“Sure, Emma, that’s funny. But I don’t think that’s something your character would actually say.”

“What do you mean? I’ve spent a lot of effort on my character’s back-story. She has a fear of Norwegians stemming from an unfortunate lutefisk incident in her youth.”

‘That’s good, Emma, that’s good, but I don’t think the audience will get that connection. It sounds more like something your co-star Derek would say.”

“Derek? Really?”

“Yes, Emma. I think most people don’t find women getting ass-raped funny, but a man getting ass-raped: THAT’S comedy.”

“But Derek doesn’t fear Norwegians. It makes no sense.”

“Yeah, we might have to change the line a bit. Maybe ‘I’d rather be ass-raped by a rodeo clown.’ He DOES play a rodeo rider.”

“So you’re giving my line to Derek?”

“It’s just a line, Emma. And I think I’m going to change ‘ass-raped’ to ‘butt-raped’: I think that’s funnier. ‘Butt-rape’ sounds less threatening than ‘ass-rape’.”

“Okay: so what if after Derek says ‘he’d rather be butt-raped by a rodeo clown’ I then say “Can I watch you get butt-raped by the rodeo clown?”

“THAT’S funny, Emma. But that sounds more like something your slutty friend Beth would say. I see Beth saying that.”

“Beth? Really?”

“Yeah. And I think it would work better for Beth just to say “Can I watch?” Quicker and to the point.”

“I hesitate to make this about being a woman, but I feel you are taking my lines away from me.”

“Emma, a funny line is funniest when it is said by the right character. We are all a team here.”

“Okay, okay: I’ll be team player.”

“Good, Emma, good! Now this next scene is the one where you are topless…”


I am Laslo.

mccullough said...

Sultry cover photo. Reminds me of a Rolling Stone cover photo of Winona Ryder from the early 90s.

Rolling Stone has never taken young actresses seriously, even ones that share their last name.

Mark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark said...

"I hesitate to make it about being a woman, but . . .

That's a learned behavior following decades of screaming about how oppressed women are. Right now today's women are graduating college believing and spouting nonsensical ideology and propaganda from the 70s.

These exact same kind of things happen to men. They get treated unfairly, they have the higher-ups favors others, they have people ignore them.

So if you want to talk about sexual equality -- congratulations women, you got it and you got it a long time ago.

Bob Ellison said...

I had a boss once who couldn't say the word "but" without pausing and saying, "and this is a big butt".

She was really funny. I once entered her office to report something like "we fixed that bug", and she said "Get out!" I said, "No, we really did!" And she said, "No, I mean get out."

Mark said...

Originally Gracie Allen was going to be the smart one, but they changed it to make her the fool and George Burns the intelligent one.

I hesitate to make it about her being a woman, but they never would have done that if she were a man.

Never mind about Lou Costello and Jerry Lewis and lots of other men playing the dumb one. And never mind that the act was a lot better with George as the straight man and Gracie the funny one with all the laugh lines.

Martin said...

If she hesitates to make it about being a woman...then, don't make it about being a woman.

Did she ask those writers or directors why they "gave" her line to someone else? Maybe they just thought it worked better that way? or not... but if it bothered her, did she pursue it?

Anyway, she seems to be doing OK, it does not seem to have crippled her career. Unlike some people who have faced real discrimination and suffered real loss.

And, I would just offer a cliche that is no less true for being a cliche: There is no "I" in "TEAM." If "her" line worked coming out of someone else's mouth, and the project was a success and she got her acting credit and her performance was there for everyone to see-- well, this really is a case of playing Hearts and Flowers on the world's smallest violin.

Mac McConnell said...

I didn't know who Emma Stone was till I happened to watch "Aloha" on cable. It's worth watching, she's good.

Who hasn't told stolen jokes and told them better than the original. Has Amy Schumer ever had an original idea?

EMD said...

I like Emma, and I suspect that this does in fact happen, so I'll give her a pass.

She's to the point in her career where she can probably afford to speak up the next time that happens.

Sebastian said...

From whom did Stone steal the idea that this happens uniquely to women?

Laslo Spatula said...


“About this topless scene…”

“We’ll film it very tastefully, Emma. We’ll make sure you won’t look fat, if that is what you’re worried about.”

“Fat? No: it’s just that in the script I’m wearing a bra…”

“We need this for character development, Emma: it’s essential.”

“And I’m not sure about my line: ‘Are my breasts big enough for you?’”

“It shows your vulnerability, Emma. You have been jealous of all the cowgirls that hang on Derek having big breasts.”

“I am?”

“Yeah, we added that to the script. We’ve already cast the girls. Big breasts, all of them. Like BIG-big. We’re filming that later.”

“But I am confident about my breasts…”

“So the nude scene should be fine. Now: Derek has a new line that follows yours…”

“And what is that?”

“You say ‘Are my breasts big enough for you?’ And then HE says “It’s okay, babe: where I come from in Texas the land is flat, too…”

“I don’t think I like that line…”

“It works great in context. Reminds people he is from Texas: you know — story development.”

Then how about I say “You ride rodeo, you then better be hung like a horse.”

“Nah, that doesn’t work.”

“It doesn’t work? It reminds people he’s a rodeo rider, right?”

“You can’t make fun of the male lead’s penis size, Emma: all the men in the audience will then hate you.”

“What? They can’t handle a little joke?”

“You can sometimes get away with saying that about the male lead’s goofy best friend, but this movie needs to be about more than dick jokes.”

“"I hesitate to make this about being a woman, but it seems that this all is written from the male point-of-view.”

“Well, men laugh louder. That’s important in an audience.”

“I’m really not feeling good about this scene.”

“Like I said, Emma: we’ll make sure you won’t look fat, if that is what you’re worried about…”


I am Laslo.

AlbertAnonymous said...

Professor, you really should let us know its a HuffPo article so we can, like we do with the NYT articles, avoid clicking on the link.

Poor Emma is so discriminated against...

mikee said...

As I recall, there are no more male actors and female actresses.
They are all actors, now, without distinction by crotch equipment.

Take a deep breath and enjoy the equality, actor.

JaimeRoberto said...

I'll give her the benefit of the doubt and assume the interviewer was trying to lead her in a certain direction.

campy said...

"I hesitate to make it about being a woman, but ..." is another phrase we can put in the Lie File, along with Glen Loury's "I take no pleasure in saying this, but ..." and "It's not about the money."

Joe said...

What she didn't say is that there have also been times when she's improvised and the director went with her improvisation. Other times, she was handed a line someone else came up with. (Okay, almost all her lines are something someone else wrote. Contrary to popular belief, film and TV actors rarely improvise.)

Another point, Emma Stone just lost herself some roles. Not because she is a woman, but producers and directors really hate whiners. There's already enough stress of making a movie, they don't want any more, plus whiners cost time and time is money. Lots of money.

William said...

As a zen exercise, you should try to feel sympathy for the plight of Emma Stone. If you can feel compassion for her sorrows, you have taken the first step towards Buddhahood. .

Darrell said...

Directors direct, writers write, and actors act. Pick one.

n.n said...

Men are better tenors. Women are better sopranos.

madAsHell said...

From the comments at HuffPo....

Why can't we just stop treating women like Cheesecake regardless of how they portray themselves?

Can I have my Cheesecake, and eat it too?

Paul Snively said...

I have two reactions:

1. The director gets to direct the project. Sometimes that may mean taking a perfectly good improvised line from a cast member and giving it to another cast member for any number of reasons, including "in this story/scene/set of circumstances it's appropriate for the man to say it rather than the woman." Does this happen to actresses more than actors? Maybe. Especially if they're even smarter and funnier than their characters, I would imagine.
2. It's a perfectly normal, human thing for someone as smart and funny as Emma Stone is to be annoyed and frustrated by this, and I take her at her word about her reluctance to make it about "being a woman." It might be. It might not be. There's a refreshing acknowledgement that she can't judge all of the relevant circumstances in her comment. I've always respected her; this interview only reinforces that.

I guess one more observation, following up on HoodlumDoodlum's: she does have a pretty strong *gulp* factor, doesn't she? At some point, millennial actors are going to rediscover the golden age of film noir, with their intelligent, sexy femme fatales, and create amazing new entries in that genre. I'd nominate Emma Stone and Julia Stiles as kick-ass femme fatales.

Laslo Spatula said...

" I'd nominate Emma Stone and Julia Stiles as kick-ass femme fatales."

Julia Stiles' and Matt Damon's faces were made from two very similar potatoes.

I am Laslo.

Paul Snively said...

Laslo Spatula: Julia Stiles' and Matt Damon's faces were made from two very similar potatoes.

Well, they are Scots-Irish.

Spiros Pappas said...

Emma Stone was widely criticized for her portrayal of a young Chinese woman in "Aloha." Unlike Mickey Rooney's turn in "Breakfast at Tiffany's," Ms. Stone didn't tape her eyelids back and wear fake buck teeth. She also didn't have an accent. Still, for someone complaining about sexism...

Guildofcannonballs said...

This reminds me of Katy Perry and "California Girls." At least if that is the song with the video of her all gussied up in pink and silver glittering longing sexy-looks. I mean at the very, very first start of it, not like all the rest.

She says "another one in the can" and I think when she says "can" she means that stinky, bacteria-immensed place called anus.

Her parents taught her better than that, but there you go.

Freeman Hunt said...

"if it doesn't work, we'll cut it out"

This happens to all types.

And sometimes the director or editor does cut it out, and someone on the business end puts it back in! (Of course, that's not done out of maliciousness but because, right or wrong, that person really does think it works.)

Guildofcannonballs said...

"Another One In The Can" was Katy Perry and the song by her "Wide Awake," her super duper artistic expression that daddy and mommy were mean religious zealots brainwashing any and all anybands all perfect angels (secular) were it nto for the Jewish Catholic Protestant sects who rule all through osmosis-style intimidation.

Bob Loblaw said...

Who hasn't told stolen jokes and told them better than the original. Has Amy Schumer ever had an original idea?

Eh... has she ever told them better than the original? Schumer's whole schtick these days is "If you don't laugh at my jokes you're a misogynist."

stlcdr said...

There's a lot that can be said about this:

Hollywoo(d) is one big mass of cognitive dissonance; not surprisingly, mostly in California.

Welcome to the real world: ideas get stolen, justifiably or not, all the time. If you are a janitor who keeps the halls clean, it's the floor manager that takes the credit.

Your an actor; you are paid to act - and look pretty - just like every other actor, male or female. If you want to write, become a writer. If you want to direct, become a director.

However, you get paid a shit ton of money to say stuff and do stuff that someone else has told you to say and do. It doesn't matter if you are a man or woman, do your job that you are well compensated for. Sympathy for highly paid people doesn't exist.