Woody Allen says he knew early on he would try to get Emma Stone to play one of the female leads in Irrational Man, but the Oscar-winning filmmaker insists Parker Posey's and Joaquin Phoenix's appearances in his new comedy were the direct results of conversations with his talented casting director.
The film is about how the arrival of Abe, a brilliant, but depressed, philosophy professor, causes a stir on a college campus, with both married teacher Rita and beautiful student Jill attempting to coax him out of his malaise. After Abe and Jill overhear a woman complain about an unfavorable, child-custody arrangement she expects from a judge who is friendly with her ex-husband, Abe decides to kill the judge to give the stranger a fair chance. Planning the man's murder gives Abe a new lease on life, leaving Rita and Jill to wonder why he suddenly has a sunnier outlook.
"Well, I didn't start with anyone in mind, but very quickly in there, when I was on page 15 or 20, I thought: 'Oh God, who's going to play this but Emma Stone? Who's lovely and beautiful, projects intelligence, gets away with a college age... even though she's a little older than college-age?'" Allen recalled at a recent New York press conference where he was seated beside Posey. "You know, [Stone's] perfect, absolutely perfect. And I was fortunate that I had just had a wonderful experience with her on a movie, you know. She was available and very interested in doing it."
Allen and Stone previously collaborated on 2014's Magic in the Moonlight.
"I love her, yeah. She's great," Allen gushed. "Emma's going to be a huge, huge star. She's got everything. She's beautiful, she's bright, she can sing and she can dance. She's sexy. She can act dramatically. She's funny, and she's got that quality that -- just the quality that June Allyson had, where everybody just loves her. Whenever I say, 'Oh, Emma Stone is in the movie,' [people respond,] 'Oh, I love Emma Stone!' You know, and I know why. She's just adorable."