When Shelley, a Playboy bunny, gets kicked out of the mansion for being too old — she’s 27 — she seeks refuge in a dying sorority of socially awkward girls. Emma Stone (Jules in Superbad) plays Natalie, the president of the Zeta Alpha Zeta sorority in The House Bunny. Stone’s co-stars include Anna Faris as Shelley, Colin Hanks and American Idol runner-up Katharine McPhee. Stone recently took part in a phone conference with college journalists.
Talk a little bit about your character from the movie.
I play Natalie, the president of Zeta, the sorority, and she’s a little bit of — I wouldn’t say a nerd — but she’s a smart girl who focuses on her studies and nothing else, and when Shelley enters her life, she realizes there is more to life than just work.
What attracted you to this story and to this role?
Originally, I went in to read Ashley, who is the president of our rival sorority, and she’s a little more high-strung and more about her enemies instead of her friends. So I went in with that mentality, and then they had me read Natalie, and everything kind of changed. Peeking into the script, I liked where these characters were coming from. They’re trying to improve themselves, not just for boys or popularity, but because they want to take control of their life. I thought it was very true to the years you are in college — trying to grow into the person you’ll become — and a lot of the characters go through the same thing, so it was cool and interesting.
Were you in a sorority?
I’m only 19, so I should actually be a freshman in college right now. My mom was president of Delta Gamma at Miami of Ohio, so she was in a sorority, so I had that springboard to go off of — hearing about her sorority experience. I never actually got to draw from my own.
What else did you do to get into that sorority girl mindset?
The Zetas in this movie, there are only seven of them, and they’re about to lose their charter, so they’re not in the typical sorority situation. It was easier not being the president of a big successful sorority on campus. It’s a very movie version of sorority and fraternity life, so it’s kind of a different thing.
Can you tell us how it was playing a more socially inept girl?
I got into comedy through improv and sketch comedy. So where in other roles I’ve been sort of the straight man, it was nice to be able to do that improv and sketch comedy on film and really create Natalie and that whole arch. I really enjoyed playing a character outside of the box and hope to continue to do so.
How were Katharine McPhee and Anna Faris to work with?
Amazing. Katharine had never been in a movie before, but you wouldn’t have guessed it. Maybe it was that Idol experience or something, but she did a great job. She was professional and funny and really did a fantastic job. Anna is one of my heroes. She was before, but now more than ever. She’s so incredible to work with. She’s so free and funny. She’s like a new Goldie Hawn.
How did the massive success of Superbad change things for you? Were your friends fans of the movie?
Unless they were lying, they seemed to like it alright. The success hasn’t really changed my life personally, but obviously professionally, it was a really wonderful gift. I’m just so proud of that movie. I think everyone who worked on it was. It’s just wonderful, and I’m so humbled to see it become successful. It’s just been a really cool experience to watch.