‘We didn’t want people to be rolling their eyes at the opulence of the costumes,’ ‘Young Victoria’ star says of modern spin on lead role.
Born in London, Emily Blunt was discovered by an agent at 16, overcame a stuttering problem to make her stage debut at 20, won a Golden Globe at 24 and has had high-profile relationships with Michael Bublé and current fiancé John Krasinski. Also born in London, Queen Victoria ascended to the throne at 18, overcame multiple attempts to take her birthright away, reigned over England for 63 years and married her husband and soul mate at 21.
Despite nearly 100 years of separation, there are some links between the 19th-century monarch and the 21st-century Hollywood star. So when Emily Blunt set out to make her new film “The Young Victoria,” she was determined to give the character a modern-day interpretation. And based on the Golden Globe nomination she received earlier this week, Blunt is clearly doing something right.
“[Stuffy period films] are not up your street, I get it,” Blunt recently explained. “That’s not what we were trying to make. We didn’t want people to be rolling their eyes at the opulence of the costumes, [which] swallows up any sort of accessibility. We didn’t want that, and I certainly did not want that for her.”
“I tried to approach it as the girl rather than the queen,” she said of her portrayal of the historical figure as a fun-loving teen who is legitimately scared of the people (including her own mother) planning to usurp her power. “Reading so much about her, you really see the human side of that person who’s just a girl completely in love, and in a job where she feels overwhelmed.
“That’s how I approached it,” continued the actress, who broke out in the U.S. when “The Devil Wears Prada” made her a household name. “Hopefully you can identify with [my Victoria], and it has a contemporary flair to it.”As you can see in this scene, which has her proposing to Andrew (played by Rupert Friend), Victoria was ahead of her time and determined to do things her own way. The flick, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, similarly breaks boundaries with slick editing, a fast-paced script and plenty of drama.
“Can you imagine at 18, having to share a room with your mom?” Blunt marveled at some of the amazing things we learn about the teenage queen, who was so coddled that she wasn’t even allowed to walk down a flight of stairs without someone holding her hand for safety. “I mean, there’s nothing worse. I think she was remarkable to have that steely resilience to overcome that, and not become such a screw-up from all of that.”
Produced by real-life Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson and Martin Scorsese, the film provides something for history buffs, movie lovers and teenagers to enjoy, which is no easy feat. And if she does win that Golden Globe and builds a career as long and memorable as that of the Queen, Blunt joked that she might be willing to return and star in “The Old Victoria.” But not for a really, really long time.
“I’d like for you to give me, like, 20-odd years before I’m ready to be seen having nine children,” she said of Victoria , who lived to be 81 years old. “I’m going to just hold off on that for now.”