With two big-screen comedies debuting in theaters this week, actress Emma Stone would be in the enviable position to succeed Lindsay Lohan as Hollywood’s go-to 20-something redhead, if not for one nagging detail.
Those cascading chestnut-colored locks? Not really red.
“Judd made me a redhead,” the slender Scottsdale native confesses, calling out Judd Apatow, the comedy impresario who produced her breakout feature, “Superbad.”
“I was a brunette during casting. Then Judd walked in, said 'Make it red,’ and walked out. So he made me this way.”
The hue of her hair isn’t the only legacy Stone inherited from “Superbad,” in which she played the apple of Jonah Hill’s virginal, high-school-loser eye.
To wit: The former Xavier College Preparatory standout is now her generation’s pre-eminent “attainable hottie” — i.e. the kind of approachable knockout, like Cameron Diaz and Diane Keaton before her, whom filmmakers can credibly match with aesthetically challenged leading men.
In “The Rocker” — one of her two movies opening this week — she plays the bassist in an up-and-coming teen rock band who strikes up a romance with the outfit’s bashful, plumpish keyboardist (Josh Gad).
In the second movie, “The House Bunny,” she plays a brainy sorority president who recruits Anna Faris’ defrocked Playboy bunny to help the sorority save its charter.
Both roles also allow Stone to explore her first and greatest love: comedy. She speaks admiringly of the improvisational talents of “Superbad” co-stars Hill and Michael Cera and fondly recalls her childhood comedy performances with Valley Youth Theatre in Phoenix.
“I was 11 years old and getting improv experience with the comedy troupe,” says Stone, who scored her first professional gig at 15 in the short-lived VH1 cable series “The New Partridge Family.” “Without that training and the technique that goes with it, there’s no way I would have gotten 'Superbad.’ ”
Relaxed and convivial in her suite at the Ritz-Carlton in Phoenix, Stone seems a bit smarter and a bit more sharp-witted than your typical 19-year-old starlet. She cracks a joke about French existentialism. She talks about her burgeoning fondness for gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson and Dave Eggers. When she describes “The House Bunny” as a “good female empowerment movie,” she does so with the right hint of irony.
After her current flurry of activity, Stone will lend her brassy, tomboyish mien to the Matthew McConaughey/Jennifer Garner comedy “The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past,” playing a slinky specter who forces McConaughey to reflect on his checkered love life. Will she play the role redheaded?
Probably, but don’t get used to the sight.
“Someday, I wanna get back to my roots,” she insists. “So to speak.”