It was not until her breakthrough performance as the condescending and sarcastic Emily Charlton in the 2006 film, The Devil Wear Prada that Emily Blunt’s career took off. She is now benefiting from higher profile leads, such as Queen Victoria in her most recent film, The Young Victoria. I spoke to Blunt on the phone from Los Angeles the day after The Golden Globe Awards, where she was nominated for Best Actress for that performance.
The 26 year-old English actress spoke briefly about how she first became aware of The Young Victoria, “I heard about it from my agent actually, who had managed to get hold of a script quite early on. So I think it was still being developed at that point. They were looking to attach someone. So I think I went in as a real early bird and thank god, because I am sure there were thousands of people behind me wanting to go for the same part because this was a such a great role. So I was really thrilled to get in there early.”Reading the script was an eye-opening experience for Blunt, “I didn’t actually know that much about Queen Victoria so when I read the script not only it sounded so informative, but it really surprised me, because I only had the image of her as the old lady in black and not this young girl who was really a rebel for her time.”
On working with director Jean-Marc Vallée, “I’d watched his film C.R.A.Z.Y about two weeks before I started filming and felt infinitely reassured. It was such a brilliant film.” Blunt added, “He was really open to any ideas that we had and I think he has a very strong esthetic as to how he wanted to direct the film and what he wanted the look of the film to be like. But I think he was very open to making it real and really wanting us to play with the scenes. He was always very interested in the chemistry between the characters rather than how pretty the shot was.”
About working with her co-star Rupert Friend who plays Prince Albert, “I was very very lucky to have had Rupert to play with there because I think without him the film wouldn’t have worked really.” Blunt continues, “It was really effortless working with him and we have really similar work ethics. It was really a lot of fun.”
Blunt admits she was intimidated by the role, “I did find it daunting. I get a bit daunted every time I take on a new project but particularly when there is such a wealth of knowledge out there about the person. And I think everyone had a chance to gather their own opinion of what they think Queen Victoria is like but to do your own personal take on it is always a little more risky than if you created something out of your imagination.”
The film has an accessibility to it with characters which feel contemporary which is rare for a period drama. It was part of the appeal of the film for Blunt as well, “That was actually a choice that everyone made when it came to performance as well. I think that you can play a line a certain way to make it sound arch and regal. You can play in a way that people can identify with. And so all of us tried hard to fight against the period world in order to make it a human story rather that’s about the monarchy.”
There was a time when Blunt was not sure if she wanted to become an actress. It wasn’t until she did a school play at 17 which later transferred to The Edinburgh Theatre Festival when, “I think that I really enjoyed it and I enjoyed the atmosphere.” Blunt added, “So I think that’s when I got a taste of what fun it could be more than anything.”
Source: Awards Daily