Emma Stone Recalls Losing Her Mind on Set, Claims Directors Stole Her Jokes

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Not everything is picture perfect in Hollywood. Case in point: Emma Stone’s experiences with certain directors.

In her cover story for Rolling Stone, the La La Land star recalls having a mental breakdown while filming 2013’s Birdman. According to Stone, she was pushed to her wit’s end when she kept botching a scene that required precise timing by director Alejandro González Iñárritu.

“Alejandro told me, ‘Emma, you have to go faster around the corner or it’s going to ruin the movie!’ And I was like, this is a horror, this is so hard, it’s actually insane,” she remembers. “Later that night, Edward Norton and I were shooting on a rooftop at, like, 2 a.m. We’d done this scene 30 times, and Alejandro wasn’t getting what he wanted. He said, ‘Maybe it’s not going to work.'”

She continues, “I went to my dressing room, pacing, like, I can’t do it. I’m losing my fucking mind. This thing came over me. I’m usually a people-pleaser, but I felt like, fuck it. I don’t even care anymore. So when we went back to do the scene, I was crazy. I spit during a take. And Alejandro goes, ‘Beautiful — there it is!'”

Stone adds, explaining that she’s grateful she was able to access such raw emotions, “I wasn’t trying to make it perfect anymore.”

emma stone rolling stone cover
CREDIT: Mark Seliger for Rolling Stone

Though the actress had a pleasant experience with Iñárritu, she admits that’s not always been the case. Without naming any names, the 28-year-old claims she’s had filmmakers steal her improvised jokes and give them for her male co-stars to use.

“There are times in the past, making a movie, when I’ve been told that I’m hindering the process by bringing up an opinion or an idea,” she says. “I hesitate to make it about being a woman, but there have been times when I’ve improvised, they’ve laughed at my joke and then given it to my male co-star. Given my joke away.”

On the other hand, Stone notes that there have been instances where directors didn’t take her opinions about jokes seriously, forcing her to keep her mouth shut and her opinions to herself. “Or it’s been me saying, ‘I really don’t think this line is gonna work,’ and being told, ‘Just say it, just say it, if it doesn’t work we’ll cut it out’ – and they didn’t cut it out, and it really didn’t work!'” she shares.

While she doesn’t believe that’s how actors should be treated, Stone reveals that she’s not ready to take on a role behind the camera.

“Writing’s interesting, but I’ve never done it in any way,” she says. “And directing, God, that’s a hard job. It’s all the things you don’t think about as an actor. ‘We lost a location.’ ‘That costume is wrong.’ ‘That actor won’t leave their trailer.'”

“Coming out of improv,” she continues, “where everything’s so reliant on the team, it’s still hard for me to be out front – even when it’s a big role. I like being a cog in the machine.”