Emma Stone Has Been Robbed of Her Jokes — ‘They’ve Laughed At My Joke and Then Given It to My Male Co-Star’

Emma Stone is notoriously amiable both on and offscreen. But in a 2017 interview with Rolling Stone, the actor got serious about the ways in which women have been exploited and dismissed in Hollywood. She had similar things to say in an interview with Out Magazine

Stone says her comedy has been pilfered and given away

Emma Stone & Ryan Gosling
Actors Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling write into the cement at their Hand and Foot print ceremony in Hollywood. | FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

In 2017, Stone sat down with Rolling Stone and discussed La La Land, her childhood health problems, and how her comedic genius has been ripped off in the past. As a matter of fact, she said, even sharing an idea wasn’t always received well. 

“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,” Stone told Rolling Stone. 

As upsetting as that is, she was still hesitant to point to issues of gender. “I hesitate to make it about being a woman,” she continued. “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. 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!’”  

That in itself is distressing to hear; it’s apparent to anybody familiar with Stone’s work (that’s everyone, really) that she is a comedic savant. Quick, hilarious, and grounded in girl-next-door accessibility. Rolling Stone reported that Stone had more to say off-the-record. 

She says women in Hollywood are also robbed of equal pay 

2017 also brought HBO’s Battle of the Sexes, the story of how Tennis great Billie Jean King took on the openly misogynistic Bobby Riggs in 1973. Riggs was a retired player 26 years older than King and still cocksure about beating any woman who challenged him to a match. “Women belong in the bedroom and kitchen, in that order,” Riggs infamously stated. It happened in 1973, but Stone, who played King, still sees relevance. 

The parallels in this movie are pretty fascinating,” she told Out Magazine in July of 2017. “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 now we’re making 80 cents to the dollar.” 

The gender pay gap continues today in Hollywood, with Stone noting that many factors combine to make it a chronic problem and a “blanket issue.” 

“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,” she told Out. “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.”

Stone won an Oscar for La La Land 

Bille Jean King & Emma Stone
Emma Stone and Billie Jean King attend the European Premiere of “Battle of the Sexes” during BFI London Film Festival in 2017. | Samir Hussein/WireImage

She may have lost some of her own jokes, but later in 2017, Stone took home the ultimate honor, an Academy Award for a lead role, for her performance in La La Land. Up against powerhouse nominees Natalie Portman and Meryl Streep, Stone prevailed. And in another victory, Forbes named her the highest-paid woman actor in 2017. Still, underscoring the importance of her statements about equal pay, her $26 million was just a fraction of what Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson earned the year previous–$64.5 million.

It’s an ongoing battle. But doubtlessly, Stone will continue to claim victories. 

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