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From ‘The Menu’ to ‘Babylon’: Roles Emma Stone Turned Down

It would have been a different Margot. Curiously, both films have something in common: their female lead roles were originally supposed to be played by Emma Stone. The Oscar-winning actor has been attached to numerous projects throughout her celebrated career, and she’s passed on the opportunity of playing some memorable roles. Whether because of scheduling conflicts or other behind-the-scenes reasons, Stone ultimately walked away from these movies, opening the door for other talented actors.

Margot – ‘The Menu’ (2022)
Mark Mylod’s horror comedy The Menu follows Margot, a young woman who accompanies her partner to an exclusive restaurant on a secluded island. However, upon arrival, she realizes something odd is happening in the kitchen led by perfectionist celebrity chef Julian Slowik.

In early 2019, Alexander Payne became attached to direct The Menu. In April, Emma Stone and Ralph Fiennes were announced as the film’s stars. However, the film lingered for years, and Stone left to pursue other projects. In 2021, Anya Taylor-Joy replaced her, although Fiennes remained with the project. The Menu received acclaim from critics, who considered it among the best horror comedies in recent years, and Taylor-Joy earned a Golden Globe nomination for her work.

Nellie LaRoy – ‘Babylon’ (2022)
Stone collaborated with Damian Chazelle in 2016’s La La Land, winning an Oscar for her portrayal of struggling actor Mia Dolan. The two were set to reunite in Chazelle’s Babylon, with reports in 2019 claiming Stone would star opposite Brad Pitt. Ultimately, Stone left the film due to scheduling conflicts, with Margot Robbie replacing her.

Babylon premiered in late 2022, receiving mixed reviews from critics. Robbie’s performance earned critical acclaim, securing her a Golden Globe nomination and throwing her name into the Best Actress race. However, the film underperformed commercially, becoming one of 2022’s biggest box-office disappointments.

Barbara Minerva/Cheetah – ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ (2020)
2017’s Wonder Woman was a massive critical and commercial success. Director Patty Jenkins and star Gal Gadot earned a lot of goodwill and received more freedom to develop the sequel, initially set to premiere in 2019. Deadline senior film reporter Justin Kroll reported on February 2018 that Jenkins and the studio originally offered the role of Cheetah to Stone, who passed.

Jenkins then chose Kristen Wiig, who ultimately played Cheetah in the film, to a divided critical and fan reception. Wonder Woman 1984 also received mixed reviews, with many criticizing Jenkins’ creative choices. Apparently, there won’t be a third film in the series, so it’s safe to say Stone dodged a bullet with this one.

Meg March – ‘Little Women’ (2019)
Greta Gerwig chose Little Women as the follow-up to her Oscar-nominated work in 2017’s Lady Bird. Frequent collaborator Saoirse Ronan was announced as being in talks for the project in mid-2018 alongside Emma Stone. However, she ultimately dropped out of the film because of scheduling conflicts with promoting The Favourite, allowing Emma Watson to take over the role. Little Women received near-universal acclaim, with critics praising it for successfully adapting its period setting for modern audiences. Watson earned positive reviews for her work, while Ronan and co-star Florence Pugh received Oscar nominations for their performances.


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