'Gangster Squad': Emma Stone on Playing a Woman Who Wants 'To Be a Star at Any Cost'

Emma Stone

Emma Stone steps out to the premiere of her new film Gangster Squad without boyfriend Andrew Garfield. The couple are set to reprise their roles as Gwen Stacy and Peter Parker in the sequel to The Amazing Spider-Man

The actress talks to THR about portraying a femme fatale who is involved with a terrifying mob king, played by Sean Penn.

In Gangster Squad, Emma Stone plays Grace Faraday, a young woman who moves to Los Angeles with dreams of becoming a Hollywood star.

While Stone -- who moved to Los Angeles at the age of 15 to pursue acting -- and her 1940s character might have had similar ambitions at one time, that’s as far as the comparison goes.

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In the film, which opens in theaters on Jan. 11, Grace is dating mob king Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn), but becomes interested in Sgt. Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling), a member of a group of LAPD officers called the Gangster Squad who are trying to rid Los Angeles of Cohen and his gang of bad men.

The project sees Stone reunited with the director of Zombieland, Ruben Fleischer, and her Crazy Stupid Love co-star Gosling.

"For me, I want to always work with Emma," Fleischer tells THR. "She’s the greatest, so I was just so psyched to be able to have a role for her in the film."

When it came to researching the role of the ‘40s aspiring starlet -- who is a fictional character unlike many of the other characters in the film -- Stone says she watched films from the 1940s.

“She wanted to be an actress,” Stone tells THR at the Hollywood premiere for the film. “So I figured she looked up to people like Lauren Bacall and Vivien Leigh and all of that.”

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Wearing a striking red, strapless Lanvin dress with jewel accents on the red carpet, Stone channeled old Hollywood glamor before the premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on Monday, Jan. 7.

Stone adds that she had to learn to understand why Grace was making the choices she did.

Stone says it was about "understanding what would drive someone to want to be known or to be a star at any cost, to the point that you would get involved with someone so dangerous and put your life on the line for it."

"So, getting into that mentality is not that fun," the actress adds.

Gangster Squad opens in theaters on Jan. 11.