By Mariam Schaghaghi
When she starts laughing heartily, her eardrums fly out. Loud, loud, uncompromising, drowning out everything. Quiet tones, but she also hits them very well. Emma Stone stars with Ryan Gosling in an enchanting musical that beguiles everyone: La La Land. At the Golden Globes, the film has already cleared, now it is considered the big favorite at the Oscars on February 26.
The 26-year-old plays the ambitious up-and-coming mime Mia, who wants a great Hollywood career as much as her boyfriend, the jazz pianist Sebastian, her own jazz venue. In “La La Land”, the film has been shown since this week in the Heidelberg Gloria, L.A. is a squeaky colorful backdrop for dreams and longings, promises and disappointments.
Emma, in “La La Land” you play a young actress who dreams of her breakthrough. Have you ever experienced casting marathons yourself and constantly heard “no thanks”?
Oh yes, and how! Some of my own experiences that I told the director about were even included in this script. The worst thing wasn’t a “no” at all, but when I wasn’t really listened to. I have not only experienced this once, that immediately after a single sentence of mine on stage it was said: “Thank you very much! – The next one please.” That hurts.
Isn’t that completely devastating?
Well, in the so-called “Pilot Season” there are a few weeks in which actors are recruited particularly intensively for the pilot episodes of new TV series. The casting people pass through so many actors that they already know when they come in whether someone is eligible for the role or not. Of course you then curse “Lousy job!”
In “La La Land” you will enchant not only with your dancing skills, but also with great singing! They sound very gentle – much more delicate than in nature.
So I’m not a miscast – that really means a lot to me! (grins) But I don’t smash here as snotty as I have already sung the Sally Bowles from “Cabaret”, but am quite reserved. Almost ladylike.
For a long time, it was said that you were not allowed to sing at all because you were diagnosed with vocal cord nodules. Justin Timberlake also suffered from it. Did you also have surgery – or how did you get rid of the problem?
I avoided the operation. Instead, I took a lot of singing lessons until I was able to really perform in “Cabaret” on Broadway. And that was right before the shooting of “La La Land”. In addition, I was treated by a wonderful ENT specialist, who got me back with holistic medicine.
Her famous hoarse-deep voice is said to have the same cause as her battered vocal cords. As an infant, you must have screamed your soul out of your body because of colic.
Yes that’s true. The problems with the voice were the worst two or three years ago. Since then, the vocal cords have been regularly examined. Meanwhile, I also have a better vocal technique on it. Nevertheless, I lost my voice quite often during the shoot. But: I did it!
If you want something, you probably enforce it: At the tender teenage age of 15, you persuaded your mother to move with them to L.A. because you wanted to be in front of the camera. Is this a legend – or really true?
Clear! I seriously wanted to be an actress. We lived in Scottsdale, Arizona at the time, but I really wanted to go to Los Angeles.
Sorry, but every fifteen-year-old has doch Fluff in the head.
Right, And if my daughter ever come to me with something like that, I would lock her in her room. – I know it was really crazy. I gave a PowerPoint lecture to my parents, with excerpts from the 16 school theatre plays I played in. Because of that, I was so obsessed with the desire to become an actress. My father clapped his hands and just said, “Of course! If she really wants to do that, she has to go there!” He was immediately on fire – that was also a bit strange.
And your mother?
She wasn’t at all impressed. And even less amused by my dad’s solo effort. She first ordered a consultation in private. To say no later.
How did the “yes” come about?
I think today it was because my parents had both been confronted with death very suddenly, quite independently of each other, when they were quite young. Therefore, both were totally “carpe diem”-like and preached to me things like “Use the day”, “You can do anything you imagine” and so on. Then I was fortunate that they were financially able to make this time in L.A. possible in the first place. I never took this privilege for granted. In addition, they thought: “If she really wants this so badly, she must be allowed to try it.”
So it really went to Hollywood. And then?
We didn’t have a plan! I auditioned like a madwoman for all sorts of things, but I didn’t get a single role. Then I wasn’t even invited to castings for months – that’s even worse than being rejected. I mean, we were just in L.A., separated from my dad because I was so burned to play – but then nothing happens. Terrible!
Didn’t the many rejections break your heart?
Of course, we thought about whether it didn’t make sense to go home again. After three months without any casting, I went to an audition for “The Partridge Family” on VH1 – without an appointment, really with hours of queuing. And I got the job! Although nothing came of the series, but from that day on it went up. From then on, casting invitations fluttered regularly into the house. That’s when I met my agent. He still manages me today.