NEW YORK — Joss Stone had her coming-out party at the tender age of 14, unleashing her massive, soulful voice on British television. It seems only appropriate, then, that she'd kick off her movie career with "Eragon," a fantasy epic adapted from a book written by Christopher Paolini when he was just 15. Cast as the quirky witch Angela (a character based on Paolini's younger sister) opposite newcomer Edward Speleers' Eragon, Stone makes an unusual Yoda to Speleers' Luke, offering valuable advice during his quest to defend his homeland.
In real life, the 19-year-old is similarly wise beyond her years, as she showed when we caught up with her between recording sessions for Introducing Joss Stone, due in March. She told us about her desire to chill with Tom Cruise, her struggles with dyslexia and the spells she'd cast if she had witchy ways.
MTV: I always wonder how a musician gets into acting. Do you put out the word that you want a movie, or do they come to you?
Joss Stone: I know! It is really strange. I was like, "Why do you want me? I'm a singer, for Christ's sake." I don't know why ["Eragon" director Stefen Fangmeier] wanted me, but he did. I'm always getting approached for films — maybe they see me onstage and see the way I get all emotional. But I was like, "Hey, let's do it." I never really take anything seriously until I have to, and acting is fun. I never thought I'd do it, but hey, why not, man?
MTV: Tell us about the first day you walked on set as a big-time actress.
Stone: It was very scary. [Speleers] was really sweet; he's such a nice boy. He's one year younger than me, and I felt like I had to talk his face off to warn him about what was going to happen to him — he's gonna become humongous in five seconds [after this comes out]. I was actually quite sick, and I was so tired when I did it, but that didn't matter because my character is quite weird anyway, so that played into it.
MTV: I know that you're dyslexic — did that make it hard to read your lines?
Stone: Yes, it was really difficult for me to learn the script. I applaud the people who can be leads in a movie. To remember all those lines! Remembering them is one thing, but then performing them and really feeling them, you have to know it like the back of your hand. I can read just fine, but it takes me a little time and sometimes I'll get distracted and read backwards.
MTV: Does the dyslexia ever threaten your musical work?
Stone: With singing, I always forget the lyrics to my songs, even ones that I've written myself. My memory is bad, but it's easier when there is a melody to sing to. I have to have that melody which will remind me, and then I get into it, and then I'm not even thinking about it anymore.
MTV: Do you officially have the acting bug at this point? Can we expect to see you in more movies?
Stone: If one comes to me, and it's meant to be, sure. I just want to have fun. I'm not stressing about it, and I'm not like, "I've got to be an actress!" I want to do many different things, and I never want to limit myself. To me, music and film and paintings and creating anything is art. And if someone wants me to be part of their art, that's nice.
MTV: What kind of movies would you like to do?
Stone: I like weird movies. Have you seen "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" or "Vanilla Sky"? I'd love to be a part of those kinds of movies. Those stories have you thinking, and then the imagery — especially in "Vanilla Sky" — is just beautiful, absolutely stunning. I love these funny chick flicks, too. I'm always up for watching them. But I don't like horror movies. I don't like to watch someone be killed — it just doesn't do it for me. I'll probably never be part of something like that.
MTV: Lots of young actors are dying to work with De Niro or Streep, but are you more eager to work with quirky co-stars?
Stone: I would like to work with Quentin Tarantino, and, if I could, I'd like to work with Vinnie Jones. I love him; he's wicked. I'd also love to work with John Cusack. There's something about him — he seems so intelligent, and I just think he's adorable. And Tom Cruise. I could get along with him. He's funny — I could just chill with him.
MTV: "Eragon" is the first book of the "Inheritance" trilogy, whose second installment was published last year. Will there be additional movies, and would you want to be in them?
Stone: Sure. If they want me, I'm there.
MTV: What does Angela do in the next couple of books?
Stone: I don't know. I didn't read any of the books because I thought it might alter my performance. I'll find out eventually — I don't want to ruin it for myself. I want to be able to go see the movie and be like, "Wicked, man! Wicked!"
MTV: If you were a witch in real life, what spell would you cast?
Stone: How powerful a witch would I be?
MTV: All-powerful, definitely.
Stone: That's a hard question. I would make someone fall in love with me, but that's a bad thing to do because they're not really in love with you, and then you'll be really depressed because you'll know it wasn't for real.
MTV: Very true.
Stone: OK, then I would steal Aretha Franklin's voice! Or if that's too mean, maybe I'd just cast a spell to lure her in to sing on my record.
Check out everything we've got on "Eragon."
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