Nominee Q&A

Oscars: Why Emma Stone Gained 15 Pounds After 'La La Land'

Courtesy of Lionsgate
Emma Stone in 'La La Land'

The nominee also talks to THR about singing, dancing and "the single greatest moment" of her life.

She has won the Golden Globe Award. She has won the Screen Actors Guild Award. She swept the festivals. And now, the 28-year-old redhead generally is considered to be the frontrunner for this year's best actress Oscar. The Arizona-born Emma Stone, who, along with Ryan Gosling, sings and dances across a dreamy Los Angeles landscape in Damien Chazelle's La La Land (itself the frontrunner for best picture), sat down with THR for a chat about acting, her tennis diet and what it's like to play Roseanne Roseannadanna.

In La La Land, you play a struggling young actress in Hollywood who makes it big. In other words … yourself?

Sure, but in the sense that you find pieces of yourself that relate to your character. You may substitute one person for another, or one experience for another. But you're still building a character. I mean, I didn't work in a coffee shop or give up a dream of going to college — but that's because I was a semi-delusional 15-year-old [when I started acting]. But I did live with two actresses for three years, two of my best friends.

What was the hardest scene to shoot in La La Land?

The audition scene. You know what Damien wrote in the script? The only thing it said in the stage directions for the song in the audition room was, "Mia sings, she is astonishing." That was the only stage direction. I read it and I was like, "Damien, that's a lot to live up to, adjective-wise."

You're playing Billie Jean King in your next film. You had to bulk up for that, right?

I gained 15 pounds of muscle. Lots of protein shakes and heavy lifting.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

The single greatest moment of my life was being asked to host Saturday Night Live for the first time. Nothing can touch hosting SNL. You have no idea. When my publicist called me to let me know, I cried so much that people around me thought something horrible had just happened. I watched SNL constantly. I mean, Gilda Radner has been my idol. Lorne Michaels let me do Roseanne Roseannadanna on the 40th anniversary special because he knew how I feel about the history of the show. 

This story first appeared in a February standalone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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