In Hollywood, hot young starlets are a dime a dozen. Notwithstanding the superficial appeal of their physical attributes, actresses often pour themselves into any movie for the exposure, inevitably rendering themselves irrelevant because they failed to find the right film to showcase their real talents.
Since her breakthrough role in "Superbad," Emma Stone has shrewdly distinguished herself as first among equals by choosing challenging films that took advantage of her charm and versatility. And while her star is still ascending via roles in terrific films like "Easy A," "Zombieland" and "The Help," not to mention potential blockbusters like "The Amazing Spider-Man" and "Gangster Squad," it remains fascinating to see who might next follow in her footsteps, distinguishing themselves from a deluge of beautiful faces to become something truly special.
With the release of "21 Jump Street" this week, it seems like moviegoers may have found an heir apparent: Brie Larson.
Larson's been a working actress for almost 14 years, but at 22 seems poised to take the throne not only as an in-demand actress, but an actress who can deliver performances worthy of that demand. All of which is why we mined for similarities between the two actresses careers to come up with a list of reasons Brie Larson may just be the next Emma Stone.
Both actresses are attractive without being conventionally pretty.
Mind you, neither of these women are mutants -- far from it, in fact. But Stone's pixie-ish prettiness is matched by Larson's girl-next-door luminousness, whether she's glossed-up or dressed down; and both share in common a physicality that's neither pneumatic nor emaciated -- in the parlance of the Three Bears, a look that's "just right." Larson convincingly embodies the image of a rock star in "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" just as she does a teenage lesbian in "Rampart," without requiring a phalanx of makeup people to enhance or downplay her natural beauty.
Larson's first decade in Hollywood helped her ease into more important roles.
Although it took Brie eight years to Stone's three before she found something remotely substantial on-screen, those years of television and bit-part work seem to have helped Larson develop a naturalness in front of the camera that she's carried into her higher-profile films. Consequently, she more than holds her own against actors and actresses with more experience than she -- say, Woody Harrelson in "Rampart" -- and manages to be fully effective within the world of whatever film she's working on.
She's got that "guys love her, and so do girls" quality.
Looking at Stone in "Superbad" and "Zombieland" alone, you might think that she invented that kind of charm, but Larson is pretty without being intimidating -- for either gender -- and exudes a sort of relatable humanness that would make her your best friend or the perfect girlfriend. In "21 Jump Street," this quality is put to incredible use as she wins the heart of Jonah Hill's character, and they share a chaste but palpable romance that's built on chemistry and communication rather than dream-girl sexuality. The two of them really seem to connect, sharing a sense of humor but also a sensitivity and intelligence that's well-rounded, particularly in comparison to the Megan Foxes of the industry, who certainly fulfill dream-girl quotients but don't easily find acceptance among both men and women.
She's got real talent and versatility.
Larson's breakthrough performance was in "Scott Pilgrim," where she lurks over the film as a dreaded ex-girlfriend and in just a handful of scenes manages to communicate why she's both incredibly influential in Scott's life and incredibly misunderstood. There's a complexity to the character which she translates to the screen in a way that's undeniable. In "Rampart," she plays a completely different role, of an embittered daughter to a neglectful police officer, and she finds not only the hard-earned unhappiness but also the vulnerability and desperation underneath that. And then in "21 Jump Street," she's more or less the girl next door, but she's a self-aware, empowered and smart teenager who succumbs to romantic impulses even as she is buttressed by cyncicism.
Her best work is still ahead of her.
As evidenced above, Larson offers a lot to movies as an actress, proving that she can give each one what it needs without sacrificing her identity. Stone's performance in just the advance clips from "Spider-Man" is more complicated and multi-dimensional than her previous work, even within the context of a huge blockbuster action movie. While Larson doesn't have anything big lined up on the immediate horizon, there seems to be no limit to what she can accomplish, especially since each performance she gives is more nuanced, unique and interesting than the last.