Director Will Gluck talks about working with rising star Emma Stone on Screen Gem’s high school rom com Easy A, which premieres in Toronto.

Rising star Emma Stone (Superbad, Zombieland, 2011’s The Help) channels Hester Prynne in Easy A, Screen Gems’ high school rom-com that echoes The Scarlet Letter. Stone is Olive, a good girl who tries to play the rumour mill to her advantage and learns valuable lessons in the process. The film will premiere in Toronto before Screen Gems releases in the US on September 17. Jeremy Kay speaks to director Will Gluck.

 How did you get involved on Easy A?

I didn’t want to do another high school movie, but Clint Culpepper [Screen Gems president] gave me the script and I thought it was pretty good and I wanted to direct it. I took a stab at it and we started casting and I met Emma Stone, who blew me away and we started to make the movie.

What are Stone’s qualities?

She has this incredible ability to show four or five different emotions in one sentence. That’s very much what a 17-year-old high school girl does. She’s an incredible actress. A lot of people came in to audition and I told them all to go home and go on their webcam and perform any scene from the movie and email it to me. Four four hours later she emailed a confessional scene and it blew me away. I walked over to the studio and told them I’d found the girl.

Olive acts innocently at the outset but it lands her in a lot of touble. Were you concerned she would come across as a fool who deserved what she got?

A lot of kids and people do stupid things and it seems stupid but until you go through it yourself you don’t really understand. Olive’s a smart girl with smart parents who let her make mistakes.

The use of Olive’s webcam seems appropriate for our times. Were you eager to use a lot of it?

Originally there was more of it in the script. I put in a lot of voiceover. After we finished shooting Emma did a lot of voiceover. [In the end] there’s not that much talking into a webcam in the movie, although it seems like a cool way to communicate in a film today.

You assembled a great cast. Did you have time to rehearse?

With Patricia Clarkson, Stanley Tucci, Thomas Hayden Church and some of the younger actors we put together an incredible cast and I must say the studio has been very, very supportive. We rehearsed for a while and I kept rewriting the script whenever new actors came on board. We rehearsed for about four weeks before the shoot, which took place in Ojai, California, for about seven weeks.

When did you hear you were going to Toronto?

I’d heard whispers that we might be going and I didn’t believe it. We got the call about a month ago and it’s pretty amazing. The movie opens in the US on September 17 and the premiere in Toronto is on September 11.