Since the mid-1990s, setting classic literature in contemporary high school has produced some hits (“Clueless,” “Ten Things I Hate About You”) and some misses (“Cruel Intentions,” “She’s the Man”). “Easy A,” a re-mastering of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 19th-century tale of adultery and pious prudence, “The Scarlet Letter,” fits quite nicely with the first group.
Up-and-comer Emma Stone stars as Olive Penderghast, a high schooler who takes a page from her assigned reading material and uses Hawthorne’s lessons to grease the school’s rumor mill, upping her social and financial standing. Stone says she was attracted by the way the script addressed topics that anyone who’s been to high school could relate to without pandering.
“The subject of gossip, judging a book by its cover without knowing the full story, extremism, technology and the way information travels, the speed of everything,” she explains. “Like when Olive says something and it goes all the way around and gets back to her and it’s been 30 seconds. What’s messed up is that’s actually the way things happen.”
As far as any similarities to Lindsay Lohan (the red hair, the throaty rasp, the high school movie), Stone refuses to comment, instead offering a wry, knowing grin. She is, however, quick to bat away any indication that she’s arrived in Hollywood.
“A week later they say, ‘And this girl is the new “it” girl.’ I just hope I get to keep working steadily because it’s been nice to call this my only job,” she says. “My ultimate goal is to not have to go work somewhere else. I’m so lucky and happy to be here today. It’s amazing now and I’m just trying to appreciate it.”