A teen comedy enters virgin territory

By Adam Markovitz
Updated September 03, 2010 at 04:00 AM EDT
Emma Stone It's hard to believe that Emma Stone started 2010 best known as ''that girl from Zombieland.'' But that all changed with her first…
Credit: Adam Taylor

STARRING: Emma Stone, Penn Badgley, Amanda Bynes

Sharp-tongued dialogue. A high-school-is-hell attitude. A redheaded star. Is it any wonder that bloggers have pinned their hopes on Easy A becoming the next Mean Girls? But for Emma Stone (Zombieland), who stars as a quick-witted teen branded with a bad reputation after lying about losing her virginity, the film’s movie roots go back even further. ”Olive just wants her life to be a John Hughes movie,” says Stone. ”She does everything she can to make it some half-ass version of The Breakfast Club.”

It was another teen comedy that inspired screenwriter Bert V. Royal to pen the script, his first original screenplay. ”When I saw Juno, I thought, ‘Okay, I guess we’re ready to introduce smart teen female characters back into the mix.”’ The result was Olive, the precocious, fast-talking heroine of Easy A. ”You don’t really see girl characters in a comedy be this smart and funny and vulnerable,” says Stone. ”I fell in love with her right away.” Director Will Gluck (Fired Up!) had the same reaction to Stone. ”A lot of people auditioned for the part, but Emma came in and blew me away,” recalls the director. Still, he made her jump through one last hoop: ”A lot of this movie is from the perspective of [Olive’s] webcam. So I told Emma to go home that night and just do a little iChat of any scene in the movie, record it, and then send it to me. And I remember after getting the iChat, walking to the studio and saying, ‘There’s no question. She’s the one.”’

The director and his star quickly developed a joking rapport on set. (”They bicker like brother and sister,” says Royal. ”It’s kind of adorable.”) Case in point: Gluck insists that Stone feigned a health crisis during a scene in which Olive helps her gay friend (Cougar Town‘s Dan Byrd) stay in the closet by pretending to have loud, public sex with him. ”They were jumping on the bed for six hours,” says Gluck. ”Emma faked an asthma attack to get out of doing it.” True to the movie’s rumor-mill plot, however, Stone remembers things differently. ”Will was mocking me — like I was so out of shape I couldn’t even simulate fake sex without dying. But I really do have asthma,” she says. ”So Will can shut it.”

Easy A

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 94 minutes
  • Will Gluck