Emma will be appearing on Late Night with Seth Meyers tonight (May 12) on NBC, check local listings for times! Check out two interviews below Emma did to promote Palo Alto …
The teens are lost, the adults are wrecks, and everyone is grasping for some meaning in Gia Coppola’s feature debut Palo Alto, based on James Franco’s 2010 collection of interconnected short stories of upper middle class teenage angst.
Emma Roberts stars as the heartbreaking April, a quiet teen who catches the leering gaze of her adult soccer coach, played with unsettling charisma by Franco. As April navigates the increasingly inappropriate attention and escalating physicality of her relationship with Mr. B, her classmates drift in and out of trouble, parties, and desperation in Coppola’s dreamy portrait of this grim, privileged suburb.
EW got a chance to speak to Roberts and Coppola about the film, Franco material, and how they reimagined some of the more intense scenes for the big screen. Check it out after the jump. (There are some slight spoilers.)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Hi, thanks for taking a few minutes to talk to us.
GIA COPPOLA: Emma, hi! I didn’t realize you were on this call too.
EMMA ROBERTS: Oh, hey!
Can we talk about your character April?
EMMA: I found her really interesting just because she’s so opposite me. She’s much more of an observer and a listener. She’s not the social girl in high school. I was definitely the social girl.
GIA: I always loved the story “April in Three Parts” because it was always very romantic and sweet that these two kids liked each other but are just being pulled in opposite directions. What was so interesting about James’ writing is that he was really able to tap into a young girl’s emotions so well.
EMMA: He really did!
GIA: He articulated how I felt when I was that age and all those insecurities. It was pretty much all there. Obviously I was working with short stories, so at times I kind of used my own experiences, but I think she’s a combination of all of our experiences. Of course Emma made her come to life.
EMMA: That’s what made it so fun. It was a nice collaboration of what me, James, Gia, and all the other actors felt and experienced when we were younger.
Emma was spotted out and about in LA on May 4th and 5th. Check out the candids below! Also Elle Canada twitter will be doing a live chat with Emma on Thursday (May 8th), details below! Emma will be making an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live tomorrow (May 6th)!
Did you follow along with our first ever live cover shoot with Emma Roberts? Millions of fans did! (Have you seen the covers yet? We love them.) Well, now we’re giving you another chance to connect with our fave young Hollywood star. We’re hosting a live interview with Roberts on Twitter this Thursday, May 8, at 2 p.m. EST. It’s going to be amazing!
Here’s how it works: Tweet your questions to @ElleCanada using the hashtag #ELLECanadaEmma, then follow our feed on Thursday at 2 p.m. as Emma answers your qs. We’ll be talking about fashion, her new movie Palo Alto, fame… and anything else you want to ask her.
Click through to find out what our awesome contest prizes are…
Contest! We’re giving away five InfinitiPRO by Conair Curl Secrets—an amazing styling tool that creates long-lasting curls in just a few minutes (approx value: $90)—for the best tweets! The winners will be chosen at the end of the 30-min chat.
Adapted from James Franco’s book of stories by the same name, this month’s Palo Alto is a portrait of suburban teen malaise. First-time director Gia Coppola and leading lady Emma Roberts tell us what it was like to revisit those angsty days.
Marie Claire: Gia, can you start by telling me how this film came to be, and how Emma got involved?
Gia Coppola: I met James, and he had his book of stories, and was looking for someone else to direct it. When I showed him my photography, I guess he thought I was the right fit. I’ve never really directed anything, only short films with my friends, but he believed in me. The casting: Emma just kind of kept popping into my life.
Emma Roberts: We just kept running into each other non-stop.
GC: I always say something was cosmically pushing us together. She was coming up in conversation, and she loved the book and the script, so it was really a good fit.
MC: Emma, had you read the book already when you heard it was being made into a movie?
ER: I bought it at Book Soup in L.A. the day it came out. I’m a big James Franco [fan] and I love to read. When I heard that they were making it into a movie, and that he was also going to be part of it, and Gia was, I thought that was interesting. I thought it was a really special, cool project.
MC: Emma, you play April, a high school senior who is simultaneously infatuated with her soccer coach (James Framco) and her classmate (Jack Kilmer). Were there elements of that character that you both related to?
ER: I remember when you’re a teenager and you’re right in the thick of it. Like, what does it all mean? Everything is the end of the world. It’s just a crazy time; once you get out of it you’re like, there’s something nice about that time.
Emma Roberts is hunched over her coral iPhone, which looks like it has been run over by a monster truck and is being held together with tape. She’s tweeting with fans. Questions from around the world are shooting over like flares. “Do you like pickles?” asks a follower, which makes the 23-year-old actress laugh before she scrolls past. (She later pulls out her dog-eared copy of Ask the Dust to check the title before answering a very excited British girl’s query of what she’s reading.)
We are in Los Angeles and have spent the day shooting ELLE Canada’s first live cover. The excitement that comes with doing something experimental is still crackling in the air. It’s fitting that we’re forging into the digital future with Roberts—niece of Julia—because she might just be the ultimate embodiment of modern Hollywood: She’s outspoken, fiercely stylish, glued to her social media, friends with fellow former child star Miley Cyrus and, above all, surprisingly talented.
Born in New York to notoriously stormy actor Eric Roberts and his then girlfriend Kelly Cunningham, Roberts cut her acting teeth on projects like Nickelodeon’s Unfabulous in 2004 and Nancy Drew before branching out to flicks like We’re the Millers and American Horror Story (AHS). In fact, she has done a lot of growing up over the past few years. She fell for AHS co-star Evan Peters and then, last year in Montreal, had a fight with him that led to the actress being arrested on suspicion of assault. (She was released without charge the next day.) When asked about the incident, she merely shakes her head, unwilling, or unable, to talk about it.
Roberts’ rocky entry into adulthood makes her performance in Palo Alto especially moving. In the film, based on James Franco’s book of the same title, the actress plays a teen who is confused about what she wants and what it means to grow up. Her character, April, is caught up in an affair with her much older soccer coach, played by Franco. “You’re young,” he says to her in the film. “You don’t know why you do things.”
Photoshoots >> 2014 >> Max Abadian
We’re almost halfway through the year, but Emma Roberts has already owned it. Her stint as Madison Montgomery in American Horror Story: Coven spawned a meme for the ages and fans will be happy to know she’s returning next season for Freak Show. But, before all that, she’s in Palo Alto, Gia Coppola’s film adaptation of James Franco’s book. Roberts plays April, a well-rounded high school student dealing with all the things a teenager of the Internet Age deals with (partying, love, and, you know, this little thing known as life after high school.)
Lucky for Roberts, she’s found her footing at a young age. No one knows what the future holds, but she radiates so much confidence, it’s clear she’s not worried. She’s got an authentic air of joy about her and that smile sure is enviable. Ahead, Roberts on her love of TV, selfies with James Franco, and ignoring bad advice.
Let’s start with Palo Alto: What about April intrigued you? Why sign on to this story?
“I read the book and was a big fan. At the time I read it, I was 17, [and] it felt very original — like something I hadn’t read in a long time. It was really capturing youth in a way that I felt was really honest, instead of using the formula that books about teenagers use. I really liked that; I liked that the script stayed really true to the book. But, it also had this real Gia flavor to it. It was going to be something that would be creatively so fun to be a part of. I really wanted to work with James on something, so that was really cool too.”
How did April challenge you?
“Well, I’m so not like her at all, and I wasn’t when I was younger, so it was really interesting to play a character who was so opposite of me. I’m really outgoing and loud and she is really soft-spoken — and, a lot of the time, doesn’t even respond to people in the movie. So, when we were doing a lot of ad-libbing scenes, I would have to remind myself that I wasn’t myself and to not laugh like the loudest person in the room, and to not comment on something. Instead, I would sit and observe. It was cool to play more of a looker than a talker.”
The introvert versus the extrovert? That’s great. The ad-libbing was so seamless! What scenes?
“Most of it was ad-libbing! In every scene, in pretty much every take, things were different. The script was the bones of it, then once they cast everybody and saw our interactions, they encouraged us to ad-lib. Gia would have me do something and not tell Jack so we would get a reaction out of him. We wouldn’t know and it would make the scene have a whole other layer to it, which is cool.”