Emma Stone knows the life of an aspiring actress
Emma Stone drew on her personal experience for her latest movie
Playing an aspiring actress certainly resonated with Emma Stone.
In her latest film, La La Land, the US actress and Ryan Gosling play lovers who follow their dreams in an idealised Los Angeles.
Stone said: "There was something so exciting about taking her into this musical world where you can suddenly spin down the street or burst into a song. That was a wonderful challenge."
We are at the Fairmont Royal York hotel in Toronto where the movie was screened at the film festival.
One of the most versatile young actresses of today, Stone, 28, is upbeat and cheerful, no doubt buoyed by her Best Actress win at the Venice Film Festival and also by the rapturous reception at the screening the previous night.
Were you a fan of movie musicals growing up?
I have seen Grease about 60,000 times (laughs). But I grew up loving stage musicals. My mum and I would go to New York starting when I was eight, and we would go see a ton of musicals.
I did a ton of plays at my youth theatre growing up. So my relationship with musicals has been more of the stage version of it.
My mum and I would go to New York starting when I was eight, and we would go see a ton of musicals.
As I got older, I saw Singin' In The Rain, An American In Paris and those classic musicals.
Then doing them on stage, which I did right before La La Land (Stone played Sally Bowles in the revival of Cabaret on Broadway in 2014) helped me to understand the through line of how you can measure a performance to burst into song, or let the song tell the audience something emotionally.
Did you do the song and dance numbers in one take?
They were all in one take. The only song we lip-synched to was the duet in Griffith Park, because it had to turn into the whole dance number. We were not singing that live because our microphones were pretty precarious for that whole scene.
But our audition number was in one take and that was live. And the City Of Stars song, which we sang together and kind of laughed through, was live too.
This is your third time working with Ryan. Do you both have a shorthand now?
There was a shorthand that made it much more comfortable than maybe needing to create a bond with a new actor.
The musical aspect was definitely a newer thing for the both of us. I don't think either of us had ever done a musical on screen before, so we were learning to sing and dance together.
Did you struggle like Mia to make it?
I moved when I was 15 from Arizona to audition, and my mum came out with me.
This agency signed me and sent me out for every blonde role, because I was blonde. I didn't get anything. Months went by where there was no audition. So I worked in a dog bakery (laughs). I sold fancy dog treats to Beverly Hills women.
I now realise that rejection can be really brutal, and people really do look up at you and write you off before you have even talked.
But at least you are getting the chance. When you are not getting the chance, it can be pretty soul crushing. Then I auditioned for a reality search competition, and that was what changed everything.
It was an interesting time for sure, and I could definitely relate to some elements of Mia's struggle.