Emily Blunt has joked that she plans to stay grounded by always doing her own washing up.
The British actress has found fame in Hollywood in films such as The Devil Wears Prada, The Young Victoria and Salmon Fishing In The Yemen, but is determined to keep her feet firmly on the ground.
“I have great friends,” she said. “And I think you’ll always remain grounded if you wash the dishes every day and buy your own toilet paper.”
Emily will next be seen in comedy The Five-Year Engagement and indie film Your Sister’s Sister, and upcoming projects include the sci-fi war flick All You Need Is Kill alongside Tom Cruise, and futuristic thriller Looper, with Bruce Willis.
With such a busy schedule, she values her down-time with husband John Krasinski, star of the US version of The Office.
“At the moment I get chunks of time off, which we spend together,” she said. “It’s also nice to have a shared understanding of what each other does.”
:: The Five-Year Engagement is in cinemas now. Your Sister’s Sister is released on Friday, June 29.
Emily Blunt was “really star-struck” when she met her favourite rocker.
The actress may be one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, but still feels overwhelmed in front of other famous people. Emily was lost for words when she came into contact with Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler.
“I got really star-struck by the lead singer of Arcade Fire,” she told British magazine Look. “I said, ‘Amazing,’ about 20 times in the space of two minutes and he was like, ‘Calm down, it’s OK.’”
Emily is married to actor John Krasinski. She says settling down with her perfect man has changed her life.
“It’s more fun,” she replied, when quizzed on married life. “I think we have the ultimate bond now and it’s fun as hell. It just gets better and better for me and I think that’s probably finding the right person. I love it.”
Emily was also happy to dish out some advice for brides-to-be. The 29-year-old star believes couples should concentrate on what they want for their big day, rather than listening to loved ones.
“Don’t have too many cooks in the kitchen,” she warned. “It’s your day, so it has to be what you want.”
In 2009, Lynn Shelton shook up the festival circuit with Humpday, an improvised comedy about male friendships and gay panic starring Mark Duplass and Joshua Leonard.
In 2011, Shelton and Duplass launched their new collaboration, Your Sister’s Sister, at the Toronto Film Festival.
A more serious (but still very funny) work about a grieving man (Duplass) spending an awkward weekend with his best friend (Emily Blunt) and her sister (Rosemarie DeWitt), it’s a major step forward for Shelton – and something of a high-wire act for Blunt.
Mark, you’d worked with Lynn before on Humpday and made your own similar films, but Emily, this was the first time you’ve tried anything like this. What was the experience like for you?
Emily Blunt: It was just very different. It wasn’t necessarily an easy adjustment…. I think it does require guts to do a film like this. All of us just had to be kinda gutsy about it.
Mark Duplass: Emily said something after our first big take together: “Wow, that was like jazz.” It’s kinda corny, but it’s very similar to how our process goes. We’re playing an old standard song in a key we all know, but the little pieces, the way we interpret it, happen freely, in the moment, because we’ve all done our homework. Literally within two minutes she was right in there. It was awesome.
So here you are with another little character piece…
Lynn Shelton: There are only certain kinds of stories you can tell in this way. You really can’t do your big period piece or a sci-fi movie. Or if you have a kazillion locations, it’s gonna be hard to do that with no money. But if you’ve got a very small [project] that’s really based on human beings interacting with other human beings, you don’t have to wait for somebody else to give you permission to make it.
Blunt: You know those arcade games where you have the soft toys in the bin? You’re waiting for the claw to come down and summon you, and you’re like, “Is it my turn? [laughs]”
Duplass: [waving arms like a Muppet] “I’m here!”
Blunt: You’re just waiting in this oversized crowd. So I think that’s what was exciting about this. We just got up and we went. And it was such a relief.
Emily Blunt insists she was never a “militant” bride.
The British star married American actor John Krasinski in Lake Como in 2010. Emily hadn’t thought too much about her big day before she met John. When she was planning the nuptials, Emily stayed focused but made sure she didn’t get too obsessed with the details.
“I wasn’t ever that girl that was dreaming about her wedding day,” she told Marie Claire. “I didn’t want it to be a militant, overly thought-out, overly planned affair because I think that’s when you get into trouble. Who knows what’s going to go wrong on the wedding day – the dress could rip, who knows? I was very laid-back about it and decisive.
“I don’t think I was a huge advocate of [marriage] before I met John but I am huge advocate for meeting the right person. They have to be your best friend, your everything really.”
The 29-year-old star was also quizzed on how having a husband has changed her life. Emily is adamant that women can have both a career and a happy marriage.
“Absolutely not, I think you have to have it all,” she replied, when asked if women have to choose between work and marriage. “And this is not an age where women should be waiting at home for husband and making sure the meal is on the table by seven. This is the era of equality and women flourishing and doing really well. I think you can do everything, it is possible.”
Emily Blunt is describing her OCD with a humorous wryness. “It’s very weird. It’s only happened in this past year. I’ve started getting very superstitious and fixating on things. I used to do it as a kid. I’d get these obsessive moments where I’d be in the car with my dad or something, and every time we went past a lamp-post I’d go like this…” She pauses to make six clucking noises with her tongue, flipping her head with each one to acknowledge the lamp-posts she’s mentally passing. “And my dad would be like: ‘What are you doing?’ And I’d go, ‘Sorry, I can’t…” she clucks, “…stop.”
She rolls her eyes and laughs drily. “It’s becoming an issue. I’m in the middle of the street and my dog is peeing on a tree and I’m touching it.”
Why does she think it’s happening? “I don’t know. I don’t know. I think I’m just worrying lately about my friends and family. I’m lying awake, and getting older and realising how precious everything is; losing that slightly cavalier quality you have as a teenager when you say and do silly things.”
She cringes when I quote from a 2003 newspaper article earmarking her – then a teenager – as an up-and-coming British actor to watch. “Oh-my-God, stop it! I sound like a dick!” We are sitting in the bar in Claridge’s in London – me on a sofa, Blunt on a seat opposite. She sits motionless for much of the time, only fiddling with a large topaz cocktail ring on her right hand (the left sports the biggest engagement rock I’ve ever seen). This is interesting, because her face is, by contrast, so animated. She is immensely self-deprecating. When I begin to quote, she blushes. Why is she squirming? “It’s just… I remember saying a lot of stupid things back then. I was a kid! What did I know, at that point? It was all so new and scary.” Read more…
Manhattan’s iconic mainstay, The Plaza Hotel, sets the scene for a dramatic entrance by actress Emily Blunt. She descends the stairs of the Royal Terrace Suite into a room with ample gilding and baroque furniture more suited to Marie Antoinette than Eloise. Donning a flowy Valentino dress in tangerine chiffon and flashing equally striking eyelashes, which accentuate an already transfixing gaze, Blunt’s certainly dressed for the surroundings. Having wrapped the day’s shoot, she plops herself on a nearby couch, and by way of introduction, says, “I can’t wait to take these lashes off.”
It’s an accurate first impression of the 29-year-old English actress: poised, glamorous and utterly disarming. When she returns a few minutes later, having changed into what she says is her standard uniform of a slouchy cotton top and pencil-leg black jeans, I mention how naturally she seems to inhabit high-fashion magazine spreads. That comment is met with a burst of laughter. “Really?!… I dress like that all the time,” Blunt jokes.
The self-deprecation may be charming, but Yves Saint Laurent didn’t hire Blunt to be the face of its Opium fragrance campaign—smoldering a leopard into submission for the television spot—due to her humility. It’s more likely that they recognize the A-list presence Blunt has become in Hollywood after career-changing roles in The Devil Wears Prada and The Young Victoria. In the last few months she’s appeared in another screen adaptation (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen with Ewan McGregor), a Judd Apatow-produced comedy opposite Jason Segel (The Five-Year Engagement), and this month, a hilariously poignant indie, Your Sister’s Sister. You’re about to see a lot more of Emily Blunt—and she hopes you’re OK with that.
With a defense lawyer for a father and a mother who was a former actor, Blunt’s childhood in the London suburb of Roehampton was spent indulging in an early flair for the dramatic. “I loved the make-believe aspect of life,” remarks Blunt. “I was that really annoying friend you didn’t want to stay over because I’d be waking you up at 5 in the morning to pretend that the room was on fire.” The Blunt household was a raucous but supportive environment as she remembers it, and she remains close with her older sister Felicity (a literary agent in New York), younger brother Sebastian (a budding actor) and another sister, Susannah (a vet in training). Despite the theatrics, Blunt’s introduction to the stage wasn’t a foregone conclusion; in fact, it was a terrifying prospect for a chronic stutterer.
Blunt says her parents tried everything to alleviate the stuttering that tormented her from ages 7 to 13, but it was a sympathetic teacher at the Ibstock Place School who suggested she try using a character’s accented speech to overcome her own difficulties. “It was quite miraculous how effective that was, and I spoke fairly fluently for the first time in a while,” says Blunt. Since then, she’s never once stuttered onstage (although it can come back during times of stress) and she now advocates for others via The American Institute for Stuttering.
“I really fell into the business, which is a story actors hate, because they’re like, ‘F—k you! I’ve been struggling for years!’” says Blunt with another laugh. An appearance at the annual Edinburgh International Festival during high school led to a role in the West End production of The Royal Family at London’s iconic Theatre Royal Haymarket in 2001, where a green, 18-year-old Blunt says she was hit with a revelatory “lightning bolt” about her destiny. She recalls that her co-star, none other than Dame Judi Dench, advised her, “Listen, darling, you’re going to be great. And if anyone gives you any trouble, you come straight to me.”
Blunt segued into TV and film roles, which were often the period dramas seemingly required of up-and-coming English actresses. (“Everyone has to learn to ride sidesaddle and wear a gusset,” she jokes.) Across the pond, Blunt was still a relative unknown until 2006, when The Devil Wears Prada opened stateside. Next she tackled romantic comedies, biographies, and even The Simpsons, but it was 2009’s The Young Victoria that firmly established Blunt’s rising star—by putting her back in a corset. The actress played Queen Victoria as she ascended to the throne with depth and purpose in what otherwise might have been just another airless period piece. “I was so taken by the spirit and the passion of this girl. So strong at such a young age,” she remembers. “I went in there and said, ‘You have to let me do it!’”
Married to actor John Krasinski of The Office since 2010, Blunt visibly squirms in her chair when asked about life at home. She remarks, “This is what I find difficult about talking about my marriage: It’s hard to sum up something that’s so vital and means everything to you in a sound bite. Do you know what I mean? All I can say is that it’s an effing blast. It’s just great, and I’m so happy.” Blunt emphasizes that she and Krasinski lead a normal life—as normal as it can be living in the Hollywood Hills next to late-night host Jimmy Kimmel, who, she says, they’re “really lucky” to have around, especially for his enviously well-equipped kitchen and pizza-making skills.
She also says that a family is on the horizon, one of these days. “We want to have children; I just don’t know when yet. I’m just not sure about the timing of all of that,” says Blunt. “We’re both from big families so I think it’s something we want.” There’s certainly enough work to keep her busy in the interim. When Blunt returns to indie cinema with Your Sister’s Sister, opposite Mark Duplass (The League) and Rosemarie DeWitt (Mad Men, United States of Tara), she plays Iris, the concerned friend and secret admirer of Duplass’ grieving Jack. Blunt’s character sends him to recover at her family’s cabin near Seattle, but the gesture is complicated by the unexpected presence of Iris’ sister Hannah (DeWitt), who arrives with her own agenda.
Duplass, who brought the idea for the film to director Lynn Shelton, says that casting Blunt was a “pipe dream.” “I thought it was so cool that she said ‘yes,’” he says. Shot over the course of 10 days on an island off Washington state, with mostly improvised dialogue, Duplass says he was struck by Blunt’s ability to “create chemistry with almost anyone… She has a way of within five minutes feeling like your best friend.” Shelton, who says she was a “huge admirer [of Blunt] to the point of being slightly obsessed with her,” observed that her performance “never, ever feels cookie-cutter… nobody else could ever do it the way she does it. I love watching her on-screen.”
In September, Blunt will appear in Looper, a crime thriller set against the backdrop of time travel in a not-so-distant future. Blunt describes the project (also starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis) as the “coolest movie,” partially because it demanded that she learn to chop wood in her backyard (“I find it quite relaxing,” she notes). With a celluloid omnipresence approaching Ryan Gosling-type levels, Blunt hopes all these appearances aren’t perceived as too much of a good thing, or as she puts it, “people [will be] like, ‘Oh, her again.’” Inconceivable as a Blunt backlash may be, she does have a plan B if the accolades turn to pitchforks: She’ll become a chef. “Yeah, I’d really like to do it,” she proclaims, citing Mario Batali and Ina Garten as Food Network favorites. “I love to cook. It really is the most peaceful, happy experience for me.” But with her talent and roster of upcoming projects, time for toques will have to wait.