The first Queen Elizabeth has been the It Girl of the British monarchy in recent times in Hollywood. Queen Victoria now gets royal treatment with a fresh film biography starring Emily Blunt as the empire’s longest-reigning ruler in her early years.
“The Young Victoria” is good, old-fashioned period drama — not terribly lively, not terribly insightful, but rich in pageantry and fine moments of drama, the whole show hinging on a beguiling performance from Blunt.
We’ve see Blunt as a very modern (and often very funny) woman in “Sunshine Cleaning,” her scene-stealing turn in “The Devil Wears Prada” and other films.
She’s just as engaging as queen bee of the corset crowd, bringing endearing zest, impetuousness and imprudence to this woman who eventually would grow into a symbol of sober, imperious widowhood for much of her time on the throne.
Working from a crisp, straightforward screenplay by Julian Fellowes (“Gosford Park”), director Jean-Marc Vallee introduces Victoria at age 17, shortly before the death of her uncle, King William, (Jim Broadbent, pricelessly raving against the schemers jockeying for power in the coming succession of his niece).
Chief among the palace plotters are Victoria’s insufferable mother (Miranda Richardson) and her opportunistic counsel, Conroy (Mark Strong), who’s angling to be named regent while the heir-apparent grows into the job of queen.
As Victoria ascends to power, Blunt captures a nice balance of ambivalence and backbone, a teen raised in wallflower isolation taking her first lessons in absolute power — and recognizing that she’s got a knack for it.
These machinations are paralleled by ploys from afar as Victoria’s uncle, King Leopold of Belgium (Thomas Kretschmann), grooms his nephew and her cousin, Albert (Rupert Friend), to woo the future monarch.
If this were a fictional romance, Albert would be the unctuous pretender, a politically expedient candidate that the lady rejects in favor of true love with some dark horse suitor. Read more…
Emily Blunt gets terrified every time she steps on the red carpet because she’s so worried about making a fashion faux pas.
Emily Blunt gets terrified every time she steps on the red carpet. The ‘Young Victoria’ actress admits she’s getting worried about the impending awards season as it means being judged for what she’s wearing and doesn’t want to make a fashion faux pas.
She said: ‘I always get that panic when I step out of the car that everyone is going to hate it. I’ve had zippers that have broken too.
Once when I was about to go on ‘The Ellen Degeneres Show‘, my sister looked at the back of my legs and went ‘Ohmygod!’ I had a huge ladder up the back of my leg and the women on the show had to run around like chickens without their heads on to find me some new stockings.’
Emily recently revealed her body was left numb from filming ‘The Young Victoria‘. The actress – who plays the former British monarch Queen Victoria in the period film – said the corsets she wore were so restrictive she couldn’t feel her body during shooting. She said: ‘I learned how to survive when they lace you tight. It takes getting used to.
You must inhale so your rib cage expands. This way, after you’re all done up you can have room to breathe. ‘After a day’s shooting, I’d instantly put on sweat pants. I needed something comfy. I needed to feel my inner organs working again!’
The Young Victoria star Emily Blunt has suggested that the monarch she plays in the movie “loved sex”.
The British actress, who secured a Golden Globe nomination for her performance in the period drama, told Time Out that Queen Victoria made “highly sexed” diary entries.
She said: “I’ve done some Q&As where people have said, ‘Well, the reason that Victoria had so many children was because typhoid was very prevalent in that time’, and I’m like, ‘Or, she loved sex! Either one!’”
Blunt added that that she was surprised when first approached to play the longest-serving British monarch.
“I was like, ‘Really, guys? Really? Overweight old lady’,” she commented. “Nothing screams ‘Emily Blunt’ like Queen Victoria! But I started reading about her when she was younger, and it was sort of the polar opposite. She was so vivacious and had such a zealous approach to life. She was kind of rebellious.”
Emily Blunt lived in Vancouver for several years before moving away in 2008, but because those years were spent with her ex, CanCon crooner and die-hard Canucks fan Michael Bublé, she’s not keen to share any Vancouver memories.
In an interview with theGeorgia Straight in a downtown hotel room during the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival, the 26-year-old British actor—best known for her role inThe Devil Wears Prada—explains, “I think when you move on from a chapter of your life, you just move on to the next one, so I’ve never been one to reminisce that much.”
In The Young Victoria, which opens Friday (December 18) in Vancouver, Blunt plays the title character in a story that begins just before Victoria became a teen queen at age 18. The film, a mix of love story, political intrigue, and family drama, was scripted by Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park) and produced by the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson. It seems like the perfect BBC–sponsored costume drama—but the director was Quebec’s Jean-Marc Vallée, making for a totally out-of-left-field follow-up to his smash hit C.R.A.Z.Y.
“Jean-Marc created an atmospheric set that was really transporting,” Blunt says. “Just the way he had the set: he’d have music playing, but modern music… I think he wanted this to be a relatable film, and I think often period films can distance people, as they’re quite stuffy. So he was wonderful in that way.”
Blunt says the spark for the film came from Ferguson. “I think she had very much been within that world, so [she] understood it and understood the pressures of it—feeling like an outsider. I think she very much had a certain sympathy with [Prince] Albert, or empathy with Albert and what Albert went through by not being entitled. He was never allowed to be king and was constantly being usurped by his wife. But I think she [Ferguson] was really excited to have the idea and then hand it over to us.”
For Blunt, the excitement came from having the chance to play a character who not only ruled but defined her country. “I really was intrigued by seeing this side of Victoria which I’d never heard about, and I’d had no knowledge of. I was expecting the younger version to be similar to the older, which was sour-faced and po. But when I started reading about her, I was surprised by the joie de vivre that she had and the rebellious quality of her, and that she was strong and vivacious and loved to dance and party, loved to laugh and to eat. Obviously, I was really surprised, and hoped I could surprise other people.” Read more…
The British actress’ royal turn as ‘The Young Victoria’ leaves her marveling at the power of love.
The diamond ring on Emily Blunt’s finger is so blinding, it appears she might have ransacked the Crown Jewels during her recent stint playing the teenage queen of England in her new movie “The Young Victoria.”
Wearing a skin-tight, black Roland Mouret mini-dress, long hair loose around her shoulders, Blunt, 26, described by her colleagues as “warm, friendly, funny and down-to-earth” enters the lounge of the Four Seasons Hotel looking cool and glamorous, more ’60s Mod than 19th century empress. It turns out her ring doesn’t come from the royal stash in the Tower of London, but courtesy of boyfriend John Krasinski (NBC’s “The Office”), who just asked her to marry him.
“What really resonated with me was how wonderful that commitment that they had to each other was, and how important that is,” the newly engaged Blunt says of Victoria and Albert, the famous royal couple who married in 1840 and loved each other ferociously. When Albert died suddenly at age 42, broken-hearted Victoria put on black to mourn him, never took it off and went on to become England’s longest-serving monarch at 63 years and seven months. “People quit on jobs. They quit on marriages. They quit on school. There’s an immediacy of this day and age that doesn’t lend itself to being committed to anything.” Read more…
Yesterday, Emily Blunt was nominated for a Golden Globe award. On Friday, The Young Victoria, the movie for which Blunt received her third nod, arrives in theaters. In the film, a biopic about the early days of Queen Victoria’s 60-plus year reign, the 26-year-old actress plays the young monarch, with all the corsets, crowns, court intrigue and ladies-in-waiting that entails. Focused on the years surrounding Victoria’s coronation, the movie chronicles the headstrong royal’s early missteps and her love affair with future husband Albert (played by a dashing, German-accented Rupert Friend). Lest this sound like the stuff of melodramatic costume dramas, you should know that Queen Victoria was famously randy, producing nine children in 21 years of marriage, and not given to sentimentality. (“An ugly baby is a very nasty object — and the prettiest is frightful when undressed,” she once wrote.)
Blunt, until now best known for her gleefully wicked turn as a snotty assistant in The Devil Wears Prada, has a busy year ahead of her: a frontrunner for an Oscar nod, she’ll be walking red carpets (with her fiancé, The Office’s John Krasinski) through March. In February, she’ll do her part to make werewolves happen, co-starring with Benicio Del Toro in gothic horror film The Wolfman. Last week we sat down with Blunt, who was sporting leather pants while curled up on a hotel room couch, to talk about The Young Victoria, dive bars and Rastafarian hats.
Do you think there are parallels between being the Queen, a person who is always being watched, and being famous now? I think it does correlate. Queen Victoria was a celebrity of that time. We’re unfortunate that we have the internet now. You say one thing and its completely taken out of context and blown across a thousand blogs. It’s weird. I think its more suffocating now simply because of the media influence. But in her day, she was ridiculed. People would stand on pedestals and bray to the world about how bad they thought she was doing as a queen. She was caricatured in a drawing in the newspaper and she had to see that. The awareness of knowing that you’ve made a dumb move like she did – trying to overturn the government which was a rather stubborn, teenage thing she did—and the whole country turned against her, she must have felt the heat of that. She must have felt that. Read more…
Emily Blunt quickly made a name for herself with a breakthrough supporting role inThe Devil Wears Prada (2006). Since then, she’s appeared in numerous films, including The Jane Austen Book Club (2007), Charlie Wilson’s War (2007), andSunshine Cleaning (2008), garnering plenty of fans and critical attention. Now she takes on her largest role yet as the titular queen in The Young Victoria.
San Francisco Bay Guardian: How do you approach a role when you’re playing a historical figure?
Emily Blunt: Well, you want to do it justice, and factually of course, you want to remain as close to what you’ve researched. In a way there’s a challenge because it’s your take on her as well. And it’s not that I wanted to make her contemporary, but I wanted to have a fresher look on that period, so that I presented her as the girl rather than as the queen. Because I think that’s more relatable, and I think that people can understand being young and being in love and feeling overwhelmed, rather than a rather stiff portrayal of a monarch. Not many people can relate to that. What I loved about the script is that it allowed us so much room to explore the private side of her. The public side was such a performance, in a way. And that’s what I loved — I found it revealing and intimate, and I liked that.
SFBG: How familiar were you with Queen Victoria’s life before you took on the role?
EB: Like, really unfamiliar. I mean, I knew about her as being old and grizzled and sour-faced and repressed, and so I think it was exciting and enlightening for me to read the script. Because I knew nothing about when she was young and the vibrancy that she had and the strength of character. She was a rebel, really, for that time, very forward-thinking, a modern thinker. And passionate — loved intensely, hated intensely. So I think she sort of appeared to be a shell of a woman after Albert died, so I’m excited for people to see her. Read more…
The Young Victoria is a drama that chronicles Queen Victoria’s ascension to the throne, focusing on the early turbulent years of her reign, and her legendary romance and marriage to Prince Albert.
In 1837, at the age of 17, Victoria (Emily Blunt) was the object of a royal power struggle. With her uncle, King William (Jim Broadbent) dying and Victoria in line for the throne, everyone is vying to win her favor. Coached to win her hand, Victoria’s handsome cousin, Albert (Rupert Friend), is invited to visit by her mother, The Duchess of Kent (Miranda Richardson), and the two quickly become friends.
Once King William dies and Victoria is crowned Queen of England, she embraces Lord Melbourne (Paul Bettany), the charming Prime Minister, as her sole advisor. Prince Albert returns to London to witness the coronation and, after their friendship deepens even further, Victoria invites him to marry her, and continued to rule with him until the end of his life.
At the film’s press day, actress Emily Blunt, who plays the title role, talked about what drew her to such an iconic British figure, as well as gave hints to what audiences can expect from her upcoming big-budget releases The Wolfman and Gulliver’s Travels.
Q: How did you first hear about The Young Victoria?
Emily: My agent sent me the script and I really fell in love with her and the script. I thought it was really rare, in that it wasn’t too arch and stiff. It seemed to be a very intimate portrait of a girl, rather than a queen. She was a girl who was under duress and huge pressure, and she was in love, so there was so much to play with and I knew it was such a rare find. I had to be quite pushy about getting them to cast me.
Q: Playing such an iconic character and being British yourself, does that add more pressure to your work?
Emily: Yes, because you want to do her justice, since she’s very much emblematic of our country, and everything that her and Albert did together, what they achieved and how much they did for education, social reform, architecture, the arts, the sciences and all of it. They did so much for the country. So, it’s important to try to show her in the best light you can, but also to create a real person and try not to approach her as the Queen.
I don’t know what it’s like to be the Queen of England. Hardly anyone does. But, at the end of the day, there’s a human side to everyone. She was a young girl who was in love for the first time, in a job where she felt completely intimidated and over her head, and a lot of people can relate to that. A lot of people remember what it’s like to be in love for the first time, and some people have come from a dysfunctional family. I feel like this film is actually about a dysfunctional family, at the end of the day. Read more…
I have added screen captures & videos Emily Blunt in a roundtable discussion with actresses Mo’Nique, Patricia Clarkson, Vera Farmiga & Robin Wright debate whether the film business has improved for women, and how female talent can enact change.
Emily Blunt is nominated for Golden Globes 2010 Best Performance By An Actress In A Motion Picture – Drama. Congrats Emily!
Best Performance By An Actress In A Motion Picture – Drama a. EMILY BLUNT THE YOUNG VICTORIA
b. SANDRA BULLOCK THE BLIND SIDE
c. HELEN MIRREN THE LAST STATION
d. CAREY MULLIGAN AN EDUCATION
e. GABOUREY SIDIBE PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL
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