Emma Stone on the dumpster fire of 2017: ‘It still feels like we’re in a bad dream’

Oscars 2017 Arrivals

Emma Stone and Andrea Riseborough cover the latest issue of Out Magazine. I’ve watched the trailer for Battle of the Sexes about a million times already and it’s only right now, at this very moment, that I realize that Andrea is playing Billie Jean King’s lover Marilyn Barnett. Andrea is a shape-shifter and I feel like I’m face-blind because I never recognize her in photos or movies. Anyway, yes, Battle of the Sexes. It’s a film about the famous 1973 exhibition tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, where Billie Jean beat Riggs and solidified her position as one of the most badass women around. She became a global figure of feminism and the “Battle of the Sexes” match is often listed as one of the most iconic global events and global sporting events of the 20th century. Out got the real Billie Jean to sit down with Emma Stone and Andrea for the cover story – you can read the full piece here. It’s worth the read just because Billie is so f–king awesome. Some highlights:

Emma on putting on 15 pounds of muscle: “Yeah, it was like six days a week. I was really going for it. You know, I see old pictures of you, and you’re so muscular and sinewy, and I’m like, ugh. Your body was so iconic, and all I wanted was to just match that exactly. You know, my tennis double was such an imperative part of the movie—me being a novice, and Billie Jean being number 1 in the world [laughs]—so thankfully our bodies matched enough that I was like, OK, we’ve got a happy medium here—it’s about the essence of Billie Jean and her heart and her spirit.But god, what I wouldn’t give to have those same muscles. You have no idea.

Emma on the responsibility she felt: “The responsibility I felt to Billie Jean is immense. She relieved me when she came to the set and said, “You’re never going to disappoint me. You’re never going to let me down.”… her strength of spirit is unlike that of anyone I’ve ever met, but there was also this confusion and this pain and things I could really relate to. I’m lucky enough to be at that age right now, and I know all of those stirrings and those feelings in me. I can’t understand being the number 1 tennis player in the world. I don’t know what it’s like to be a hero to millions in that way. But I do know what it’s like to struggle and to be afraid and to be a public person, and to feel like you can’t share all of yourself, and to be afraid of saying the wrong thing, or not furthering goodness in the world. And somehow f–king it up.”

Emma on 1973 versus 2017, and pay equity: “The parallels in this movie are pretty fascinating. We began shooting in the spring of 2016, when there was still a lot of hope in the air, and it was very interesting to see this guy—this narcissistic, self-focused, constantly-stirring-the-pot kind of guy—against this incredible, qualified woman, and at the same time be playing Billie Jean, with Steve [Carell] playing Bobby Riggs. Obviously the way this has all panned out has been fascinating and horrifying, and it still feels like we’re in a bad dream, but those parallels make sense to me—the equal-pay issue makes a lot of sense to me. At our best right right now we’re making 80 cents to the dollar…. It’s a difficult system because it depends on the kinds of films you’re a part of, the size of your role, how much the movies make at the box office. And so much of that changes your pay throughout your career, so I go more to the blanket issue that women, in general, are making four fifths at best.

Billie Jean, intersectional feminist, correcting Emma: “White women [make 80 cents to the dollar]. If you’re African American or Hispanic it goes down, and then Asian Americans make 90 cents to the dollar.

Emma on how male costars have taken pay cuts: “In my career so far, I’ve needed my male co-stars to take a pay cut so that I may have parity with them. And that’s something they do for me because they feel it’s what’s right and fair. That’s something that’s also not discussed, necessarily—that our getting equal pay is going to require people to selflessly say, “That’s what’s fair.” If my male co-star, who has a higher quote than me but believes we are equal, takes a pay cut so that I can match him, that changes my quote in the future and changes my life. And this is Billie Jean’s feminism, and I love it—she is equality, man: equality, equality, equality….It’s not about, “Women are this and men are that.” It is, “We are all the same, we are all equal, we all deserve the same respect and the same rights.” And that’s really what I’ve been so grateful for with male co-stars—when I’ve been in a similar-size role in films, and it’s been multiple people who have been really incredible and said, “That’s what I want to do. That’s what’s fair and what’s right.”

[From Out]

As I said, the whole piece is worth a read. Billie Jean throws some shade on Roger Federer, talks extensively about what it was like to build the infrastructure of the WTA, talks about how much she loves Andy Murray’s feminism and more. Emma comes across well, for the most part. You can tell how much she loves and respects Billie and how she really wanted to get everything right. As many have already pointed out: why did Hollywood give Emma the Oscar for La La Land when they could have waited to give her the Oscar for this??

Photos courtesy of Out Magazine.

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34 Responses to “Emma Stone on the dumpster fire of 2017: ‘It still feels like we’re in a bad dream’”

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  1. Carol says:

    this is turning out to be a pretty good year for movies that empower women: Wonder Woman, Atomic Blonde, and not this movie.

  2. Radley says:

    This looks like it’ll be good. I like Emma and Billie Jean so win-win.

    Also it’s a good time to reflect on how far we’ve come and yet how far we still have to go. White men still have a stranglehold on power and it’s at all of our expenses. Look at The Blob we have in the White House. White male privilege needs to be checked.

  3. Miss S says:

    “why did Hollywood give Emma the Oscar for La La Land when they could have waited to give her the Oscar for this??”

    This reminds me of a quote I read somewhere: “how can you defend yourself from a compliment?” She did her job, hype was created and she got an award for something that even Emma didn’t seem to agree with. It feels really bittersweet.

    • rachel says:

      Yes. I think the whole La la land team didn’t realized how obsessed everyone in Hollywood was going to be. If her speech when she won is any indication, she probably though someone with more experience like Isabelle Huppert was going to win.

      • Miss S says:

        Yeah, and even if she didn’t think someone else was going to win it felt she actually wished that. That must be a really uncomfortable place to be, feeling like some kind of fraud and have the professional obligation to go on with it.

      • Renee says:

        oh please, if Emma didn’t want to win, she wouldn’t have campaigned like crazy. She was everywhere, more than any actress last awards season. I have a hard time believing she didn’t really want to win

      • Miss S says:

        @Renne, that’s not how it works. It’s very difficult for an actor to refuse to campaign because it’s not just abt the actor, it’s the film he or she is carrying. Some may have the sort of personality where they find the space to say no, but mostly in my understanding, the campaign is perceived as part of their jobs.

    • Char says:

      The thing is that Emma won’t probably won for this movie even if she’s giving THE performance and it’s better than the others nominees because they gave it to her for a movie that, let’s be honest, sucks.

      • Dee Kay says:

        So true. I will see the Billie Jean movie, and until then, I have no idea if it’s good or not. And yet, I know two things for sure today: it will be better than LaLa Land, and Emma Stone will be better in it than she was in LaLa Land.

      • mar_time says:

        But LALALand was a terrific movie, very much in the spirit of the musicals of yester-year… while I think Ryan was better of the two, and more deserving of an award, Emma was wonderful. I cried watching her sing “Audition” …it’s not something she’ll look back on with embarrassment, not at all. And who’s to say she won’t get one for this one if she’s deserving? Isn’t our goal to get/do better year after year? She’ll go on to win more, I’m sure of it

    • Nicole says:

      It is bittersweet mostly because getting a win in the wrong year for a bad movie is never good. Its not the same as missing the win for a good movie and getting it for an equally good movie. TBH i would rather have no oscar than one for a movie that a lot of people didn’t think was great let alone oscar worthy

      • Carol says:

        The movie has a 92% positive rating from rotten tomatoes, including an 82% positive audience reaction. I think it is more beloved that you might wish and can’t simply be dismissed as bad. I for one have no problem with her winning the Oscar. If you really study the Oscar’s history, many times the actor wins the award for the film after their previous nomination, which for Emma was Birdman.

  4. MellyMel says:

    That’s a very simple, but strikingly beautiful cover photo.

  5. Hikaru says:

    “But I do know what it’s like to struggle and to be afraid and to be a public person, and to feel like you can’t share all of yourself, and to be afraid of saying the wrong thing… ”

    Being an actress with a chronic case of foot-in-mouth is not exactly comparable to being a closeted lesbian tho?

    Like, I appreciate the sentiment, but straight actors should really stop pushing this ~I know how you feel, gay people~ every time they play a gay character because – no, actually, you don’t. And there is nothing wrong with that.

    • Miss S says:

      She didn’t say she knew how it felt to be a closeted gay, she explained how she found something in her own experience as a public person that she used to get closer to the character so she could play it as honestly and truthfully as possible. This is something actors do all the time considering they are who they are and can’t really live the lives of the ones they are playing.

      I guess it’s because of comments like yours that twist what someone says in good faith that makes so many public figures uncomfortable about “saying the wrong thing” and uneasy about sharing anything. It’s really unnecessary and a bit mean imo.

      • mean lesbian Hikaru says:

        There is absolutely nothing honest or truthful in saying that a straight public persona experience can bring a straight person closer to the lesbian experience.

        A simple “I feel responsibility in representing this woman respectfully” would have been perfectly sufficient and appropriate without engaging into “mah poor me in public, mah craft” dishonest ego wank.

      • Miss S says:

        I’m just going to say again that her comparison was not about knowing what the character’s lesbian experience was, but knowing how it feels to be a public figure that can’t be totally honest about herself and carrying that with her.

        So just go on and twist my words again please.

  6. Ayra. says:

    It’s not the worst interview she’s given. I like the simplicity of the cover too.

  7. QueenB says:

    Good for Billie Jean for correcting her. An asian american like Emma makes 90 cents to the dollar.

  8. zeynep says:

    Andrea Riseborough looks so striking on that front cover. She’s always flying just under the radar – I wish she was better known, although I suppose she is an expert chameleon. If you can find it, try to watch last years (BBC, I think?) version of The Witness For The Prosecution. She was absolutely haunting in that.

    • Sophia's Side eye says:

      I’ve never seen Andrea before, she is so striking and beautiful. Thanks for the recommendation!

    • manta says:

      She’s brilliant isn’t she? And chameleon is spot on. it took me a few minutes to realize that it was her next to Amy Adams in Nocturnal Animals.
      I loved her in the B movie Welcome to the Punch (Mark Strong+James Mac Avoy=win).
      She even made me watch a Tom Cruis movie (Oblivion).

  9. Ashley says:

    I like that Billie corrected Emma in regards to women of color. Which also shows how important intersectional feminism is. I think of all the white feminist in Hollywood only a few, (Lorde,Chastain and now Billie Jean King), have ever even mentioned that or woman of color when speaking about feminism.

    • Miss S says:

      I have seen the study I believe she was thinking about that reported that value and I guess one of the problems is data is very often given without reporting differences between women of colour and white women, just the average among women.

  10. Donald sucks balls! says:

    Why can she not win the Oscar two years in a row? If she was male, would this even be discussed?

    • Renee says:

      Uh, first of all, if she was a male, she never would’ve won so easily at 28 years old. The Oscars love their young, pretty, ingenues (ex: Portman, Larson, Lawrence, etc…) and are very quick to reward them for their first good movie. They would never let any men win at that age. Let alone twice. I mean, Adrien Brody (at age 29) has been the only lead actor in history to win under the age of 30. For the men (unless you give an undeniable performance) they almost always have to be older and have a larger body of work and gain the Academy’s respect over time. Just ask Leo. The Oscars is the only rare case of reverse sexism.

      • Ana says:

        Yes, this is definitely true! Oscars love actresses in the 25-30 range, and men rarely have a shot before they are 40 and have a good resume. I think Leo’s case though is because he’s too dull to play the popularity contest the Academy demands, which is why it took him so long.

      • Renee says:

        Oh Leo can play the game, but in the earlier years, he was viewed as a hot young stud, and the old guys in the Academy do NOT like to reward hot young studs. They may give you a nomination, but it’s unlikely you’ll win

      • Donald sucks balls! says:

        The Oscars have to reward young women, because women disappear from films after they turn 30!

  11. perplexed says:

    I thought the last answer was the most interesting. I’ve never heard an actress, not even Jennifer Lawrence, discuss how others will have to take a pay-cut to get the salaries to match. That never even occurred to me. I just assumed they’d raise the actress’s salary to match the guy’s because the profits from movies are so large. But instead the producers go the other way and cut down the guy’s salary to make the woman’s salary even with the guy’s, even though these movies make bajillion of dollars. How fascinating, and kind of weird.

    • Renee says:

      I called BS on that. And if it’s true, Emma & the male actors are stupid. That’s not feminism. That’s not equality. That’s stupidity. It doesn’t solve anything.