Emma Stone
Credit: Jon Kopaloff/

There’s something different about Emma Stone. Maybe it’s her smoky voice, which your dad will say reminds him of Lauren Bacall. Maybe it’s her freckled skin and green eyes that remind you (okay, me) of that girl from French class with the great laugh. You’d really like to make Emma Stone laugh, wouldn’t you?

After a year in which she starred in the highest-grossing non-superhero/sequel/animated film, The Help, Stone is poised to enjoy an even greater 2012, starring as Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spider-Man and re-teaming with her Crazy, Stupid, Love beau, Ryan Gosling, in the 1950’s L.A. noir, The Gangster Squad. And as Deadline initially reported today, she’ll soon jump back into comedy with Little White Corvette, playing a wild child who tries to unload the drugs she and her brother find in their dead father’s old car.

Some actresses’ beauty has almost a porcelain fragility to it — it separates them from us mere mortals — but Stone’s allure has a realness that makes you think she’d be a hoot on a cross-country roadtrip (zombies, or no zombies). “She’s simply the best,” Ruben Fleischer, who directed Stone in Zombieland and Gangster Squad, told EW last month. “Everyone as soon as they met her was taken by how cool and smart and funny and talented she is.”

There have been many other actresses who have experienced similar success at her age, 23, but Stone seems to be a different creature. Even when she’s cast as The Girl, she’s never been limited by those constraints. From Superbad to CSL, she’s imbued what might have been clichéd female characters into something indelibly richer. And as she increases her clout, she’s finding the unique roles that enhance her growing stardom without making her a prisoner of any specific genre or pre-fab persona.

I guess what I’m getting at, and I mean it as a high compliment, is that Stone is a dude — in the sense that she is building a career typically allowed to only serious actors in Hollywood. Guys in the industry unfairly get more leeway, whereas actresses are so easily boxed in at an early age, and few have been allowed or earned the freedom Stone currently enjoys. She can literally do anything, and she’s getting opportunities to prove it in period dramas, high school comedies, adult romantic comedies, and comic-book epics. She’s on her way to becoming a lucrative brand, an ironic but nevertheless well-deserved achievement considering her multiple talents and eclectic taste.

Where does Emma Stone currently rank in your pantheon of female stars? Do you feel like she’s something new and different, as I and Jim Carrey obviously do, or does her current run of early success resemble those of Julia Roberts, Reese Witherspoon, or Rachel McAdams?

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