Emily did a new Q&A with Deadline on her film The Girl on the Train.
Emily Blunt practices what she preaches. As cinema is under increasing pressure to acknowledge and deliver work that appeals to more than white teenage males, so Blunt is using the profile she’s developed through roles like The Devil Wears Prada, The Young Victoria and Sicario to bring to the screen fully-rounded female characters. They’re present in everything she’s done lately, whether that’s Rian Johnson’s Looper, the Tom Cruise actioner Edge of Tomorrow, or Universal’s fairy tale The Huntsman: Winter’s War. The Girl on the Train, based on the publishing phenomenon of the same name, is the latest, demanding that Blunt lay bare the flaws of a deeply troubled and unreliable narrator.
Did you follow the book phenomenon with The Girl on the Train when it was first published?
I hadn’t read it, but I saw everyone reading it. I suppose I was being a bit contrary; I didn’t want to read the book that everyone was reading. Then, [producer] Marc Platt called me and said, “You probably should read it, because we’re really interested in you for it.” It’s easy to see why it became such a hit; that tantalizing idea of the danger being so close to home for people, and the underbelly of domestic life. These characters—these women—are flawed, and they are relatable. Finally there are women you can identify with to varying degrees. And how cool to have your protagonist be a black-out drunk?
Is there a thin line between getting that right and becoming some awful caricature of a drunken person?
Well, I was nervous, and I think there are pitfalls; that sort of drunken uncle act, and lurching about all over the place. I didn’t want it to be comical in any way; it has to be upsetting and embarrassing to be around her, and she has to appear dangerous in some capacity. When you’re around a true alcoholic, it’s ugly. It stops being funny.
I did have to do a huge amount of research and I found the most helpful thing was to watch documentaries about alcoholism. Louis Theroux did one recently, and there was a bit where this guy turns to him and goes, “Do you hate me, Louis?” I got goose bumps. Just the idea that you loathe yourself and you think others must loathe you too, and how lonely that must be.
But you also have to remember that this is a thriller and not just a portrait of alcoholism. You want to misdirect with it. The ambiguity of it is interesting to play with.
You mentioned the complexity of the women in this movie. Why do we still have to make a point of that? Shouldn’t we be there by now, across the board?
It is such a rarity, and you do still hear, batted around a lot about women, that they be likeable and approachable, because that equals bankable. I feel this movie is women’s right to be bad. It was so liberating and exciting to be able to dive headfirst into the reality, which is that women are flawed. We mess up every day, just like men. We can be aggressive and unfaithful and cruel, and it’s OK to present that to an audience.
It must still come down to the fact that most screenwriters are men.
That’s my feeling, and I think because this book was written by a woman, and adapted by a woman, there is just a different sensibility. I think it’s important we all talk about that, and how we can inject this industry with more respect for well-rounded characters for women. It really does start on the page, because inevitably a male screenwriter will have a different sensibility. I often find myself saying to male screenwriters, when I’m developing a script with them, “Just write me as you would write a guy and I’ll do the girl stuff.”
It’s crazy that you have to say that.
But it’s the easiest shorthand to getting to where I want to be. This change is very slow, but I do feel it’s moving. I feel like we’ve got a new wave coming in. And it’s not quite a tsunami, but it’s happening. I feel it starting to churn. I have faith.
I truly believe we’re so inundated and anesthetized by comic book movies and big blockbusters. They’re designed just to assault your senses and be entertaining. And they’re entertaining for sure. I like popcorn as much as I like steak, but I feel like people are yearning for a connection; to feel something. You just want people to walk out of the cinema and talk about what they’ve just seen. Not, “Where do you want to go for dinner?”
You’ve done popcorn films, but they’re films like Edge of Tomorrow, which is much more complex and cerebral than most aspire to.
I really love doing popcorn movies. I think that film in particular might be the movie I’m most proud of, actually. It was such an impossible feat. The mileage Doug Liman got out of the repeating day was insane. It was human, and funny, and not at all earnest. The stunts were in service to the story, and the story was rock solid. That’s why Tom [Cruise] is really smart. He makes sure his films are injected with a deeper meaning. We’re all so proud of how it turned out.
You’re next doing Mary Poppins. Isn’t that a little intimidating?
I’m aware she’s so iconic and emblematic of people’s childhood nostalgia. I’m just trying to allow all of that to be white noise and to do my version of her. I’ve been reading the books a lot, and that’s given me a different angle on it in some way. We start rehearsals this month.
Here is a video of Emily talking about her new role in The Girl on the Train with InStyle.
Perhaps what makes Emily Blunt so mesmerizing as the alcoholic lead in the film adaptation of the best-selling novel, The Girl on the Train, is that the character couldn’t be further from her real-life disposition. Each day on set, the 33-year-old actress transformed from a beloved, quick-witted new mom to an isolated, blackout drunk—and managed to do it so believably that the film’s cinematographer calls her an Oscar contender.
“This was a very challenging role in more ways than one, very far removed from who I am as a person, and so I needed to understand that mindset and the addictive mentality and what it is to suffer with this illness,” InStyle’s November 2016 cover star says in the video above.
“It’s something that I just don’t understand, I’ve never experienced. And so I spoke to people, I read books, and I watched Intervention on a loop, which was really eye opening,” Blunt says. The transformation wasn’t all mental: The mom-of-two spent many hours in the makeup chair to achieve the look of a spiraling alcoholic loosing her grip on reality.
“They gave me sort of a rosacea effect. This was all makeup, a lot of really attractive sort of grey bags and brown lines, just bringing out my own natural lines,” she says. “I wore a full bloodshot contact lens and I had different stages of drunkenness. So some were pinker and some were really red, and they had a yellow one for the hangover. All day I’d have this lovely guy Zach putting drops in my eyes because I was just in agony with these things.” Beauty is pain has never been taken quite so literally.
Blunt walked a fine line between acting unlikeable and untrustworthy, and still playing the audience’s most reliable eyes and ears. “There’s nothing really likeable about her and the way she lives her life, so I saw that as a challenge, you know, that I had to really still pull the audience in,” she told InStyle. “It was an eye-opener, I think, to wear that skin for a while.”
It wasn’t easy transforming Emily Blunt into a bloated alcoholic for her starring role in the highly anticipated thriller The Girl on the Train. First, there were the cheek plumpers. “The prosthetic people created these molds that clipped onto my teeth to make my face seem puffy,” says Blunt, who, along with her makeup artist, Kyra Panchenko, studied mug shots of drunk drivers to get the look just right. “When we were filming, we were very specific about where she was during the day: how drunk she was, whether or not she was hungover,” says Blunt. “Kyra is so talented. She used gray eye shadow under my eyes to bring out the circles and a little brush to paint spider veins all over my face.” And perhaps the strangest act of makeup subterfuge? A series of bloodshot contact lenses that were switched based on her level of intoxication (pink for tipsy, red for drunk, yellow for hungover). “She’s beautiful, so it was quite hard to make her look horrible,” says Tate Taylor, who directed the film. “I kept saying to the crew, ‘All right, can we get them back in here and make her look a little more drunk and ugly?’ ”
At first, Blunt admits, it was challenging to wrap her mind around the character, a depressed alcoholic who is obsessed with her ex-husband and his new wife (not to mention a random couple who lives a few doors down from them). “The way I live my life is just so dissimilar,” says the actress, who was pregnant with her second daughter, Violet, during filming. To prep for the role, she watched episodes of the documentary series Intervention. “I needed to understand what addiction does to you physically and mentally and how it affects your self-esteem. This woman I play onscreen is so damaged, so broken down, that people don’t even want to breathe the same air as her.”
The exact opposite could be said for Blunt. When we meet for lunch at a cozy local restaurant near the new Brooklyn home she shares with her husband, actor John Krasinski (The Office), and daughters Hazel, 2, and Violet, 5 months, she radiates a kind of low-key, self-deprecating charisma that is hard to resist. Glowing with the flush of new motherhood and fresh off a round of publicity and photo shoots tied to The Girl on the Train, she breezes into the restaurant like some sort of Hollywood unicorn: an actress who is utterly enchanting yet completely unaffected. “I’m still breast-feeding, so I am hungry all the time,” she tells me as she scans the menu. Dressed in cream culottes and a transparent black blouse from Maison Scotch, she looks like a slightly grown-up and more sophisticated version of her famous Devil Wears Prada character. Imagine Emily as an upgraded Miranda Priestly, editor-in-chief of Runway, all clean lines and sumptuous fabrics. “I love a high-waist slouchy trouser,” she says, casually regarding her outfit. “I’m off jeans at the moment.” As she speaks, she runs her hands over a gold Jennifer Fisher necklace that dangles from her neck. “I have a J and an E, and I’m going to get the girls’ names engraved on this,” she says, pointing to a blank gold bar. She and Krasinski chose the names Hazel and Violet because they liked their “antique” British vibe. “They sound like two little old ladies,” says Blunt with a laugh. “They should be playing bridge or something.”
Eight weeks postpartum, Blunt is still adjusting to the reality of having a newborn again. “After we got home from the hospital, I didn’t shower for a week, and then John and I were like, ‘Let’s go out for dinner.’ I could last only about an hour because my boobs were exploding. When the milk first comes in, it’s like a tsunami. But we went, just to prove to ourselves that we could feel normal for a second.” Transitioning from one to two kids hasn’t been easy. “It’s a zoo!” Blunt says. “When there was just one kid, somebody would get to sit down. Now nobody gets a break. But John is the most unbelievable daddy. He prioritizes Hazel so she doesn’t miss me too much because I’ve been so consumed with the baby.” Hazel is slowly getting used to having a little sis. “There have been no physical attacks or suffocations,” Blunt says dryly. “She fluctuates between complete disinterest and moments of sheer passion.”
I love this interview with E!Online where Emily talks about working with Judi Dench!
It’s been 15 years since Emily Blunt made her professional acting debut opposite Judi Dench in the West End in the play The Royal Family.
Yes, her first role was alongside Judi Dench!
“Judi Dench was incredible and kind to me and I knew nothing,” Blunt told me while promoting The Girl on the Train (in theaters tomorrow). “I was so green. I was 18. And I remember meeting her for the first time and we were doing a poster shoot for the play and they were doing hair and makeup, which was like something I had never ever experienced before, and I was sitting there in the mirror and then I just heard that voice, that very iconic voice and I couldn’t stand, my legs just went weak.”
Emily and Paula Hawkins are on the cover of the new issue of The Hollywood Reporter.
“There’s just so much judgment with women,” says star Blunt as she takes on a tough and not at all likable (“my least bloody favorite word in the industry”) character in Universal’s film adaptation of a blockbuster novel that highlights the darker urges of suburbia — but please, says author Paula Hawkins, stop comparing it to ‘Gone Girl.’
“I stink terribly of onions,” is the first thing Emily Blunt says, right before she leans in for the customary Hollywood air-kiss greeting on a warm September morning. “I’ve just been cooking at home.”
We’re meeting in a tiny 10-seater coffee shop in Brooklyn, and Blunt — wearing a breezy cornflower linen dress, her hair tied in a bobbing blond ponytail — looks very much like she just stepped out of a country kitchen. “My baby pulled away from me while nursing because of the smell. ‘Ick,’ ” she jokes, referring to 12-week-old daughter Violet, who’s waiting for her at the nearby townhouse Blunt has been sharing with husband John Krasinski for slightly less than a year — long enough for their 2-year-old, Hazel, to begin stretching her vowels. “She’s sounding a bit American from what I see. ‘Can I have some wah-ta?’ ” the London-born actress re-enacts, her Queen’s English shifting to a nasally New York accent. “I was like, ‘Wodder?’ And she went, ‘No, it’s wah-ta.’ I was like, ‘Oh, for God’s sake!’ ”
It’s immediately obvious why Blunt, 33, was chosen for one of the three female leads in The Girl on the Train, Universal’s much-anticipated R-rated adaptation of Paula Hawkins’ best-selling thriller. She’s perfect for Anna, the beautiful, happily married mother living a life of upscale bliss whose typical worry is whether her baby’s pureed fruit is organic.
Except, of course, that’s not the part Blunt will be playing in Girl on the Train, which opens Oct. 7. Instead, she’s starring as Anna’s nemesis, Rachel, a 32-year-old blackout drunk and sometime stalker who may (or may not) have witnessed (or committed) a crime while inebriated. It is by far the darkest, roughest role the British actress and soon-to-be Mary Poppins (she is about to uproot the entire family to London for eight months to start shooting the Disney musical) has yet attempted. Which, naturally, is what drew her to it.
“With so many movies, women are held to what a man considers a feminine ideal,” says Blunt, sipping a soy cappuccino. “You have to be pretty. You have to be ‘likable,’ which is my least favorite bloody word in the industry. Rachel isn’t ‘likable.’ What does that mean? To be witty and pretty and hold it together and be there for the guy? And he can just be a total drip?” That Blunt herself seems extremely likable as she says all this only underscores her point.
“People say, ‘Oh, she’s way too beautiful to play her,’ ” says Hawkins of the actress who’ll be portraying her literary creation. “But that doesn’t matter. The thing about Rachel is her self-loathing, about what she feels about herself, and Emily really brought that out in the way she carries herself. All that damage is visible.”
The Girl on the Train was last year’s single-biggest literary phenomenon. It sold nearly 6 million copies in the U.S. alone and more than 15 million worldwide. It spent 88 consecutive weeks on The New York Times best-seller list — debuting at No. 1 in all formats, from hardcover to e-book to movie tie-in paperback — and has been published in 50 countries in more than 40 languages.
While on the press rounds for her latest film, The Girl on the Train, Emily Blunt spoke to us about taking on the iconic role of Mary Poppins in Disney’s forthcoming sequel to the classic 1964 film.
She spoke of the pressure of taking on the role, how the character and the film are ’emblematic of people’s childhoods’, and how she hopes to find her version of the character during the rehearsal stage, which begins in November.
She also reveals that she’s closer to the books, and so we may end up seeing a different take on the much loved Nanny when Rob Marshall’s film is released.
Stefan Pape is the man asking the questions, here’s the video.
Emily shares with Entertainment Tonight why John is the perfect man for her.
Emily Blunt is opening up about why her husband of six years, John Krasinski, is the “perfect man.”
“He is my perfect man, you know, he is funny and warm and bright and confident and a sort of emboldening person to be around,” the actress gushed to ET while promoting her new film, The Girl on the Train.
“I think it depends on your idea of perfection,” the mom of two added, when asked if she believes there’s such a thing as the perfect couple. “It shouldn’t be an ethereal thing that you can’t reach. I think that everyone’s version of perfect is different.”
Adding to Krasinski’s perfection, Blunt praised his parenting skills to their two daughters, 2-year-old Hazel and 3-month-old Violet.
The doting dad is “so much more adventurous,” than Blunt, she admitted.
“[He will] throw Hazel on the back of a bike and take off somewhere and go on some crazy adventure. He is so hands-on and so committed.”
With the 33-year-old actress currently promoting The Girl on the Train, the couple are juggling work commitments with family life, with Blunt saying she aims to not be away for more than two days.
Luckily, when the gorgeous actress is traveling, her eldest daughter steps into big sis mode!
“She loves [being a big sister]” said Blunt. “She is so sweet with her.”
When the family do get quality time at home, Blunt enjoys cooking and is looking forward to her girls being old enough to enjoy her “dream” weekend meal tradition.
“Right now I have a 2-year-old, who is a little bit of a fussy eater, so it’s not like I can cook the same thing for her that we would eat. But my plan is to do [what we did] growing up, which was that every Sunday we would do a Sunday roast – cook it all day, then eat it around 4pm or 5pm. It was such a tradition that we all looked forward to.”
To watch the video of her interview go here.
A great article from Time!
The actor plays a voyeur in The Girl on the Train, but she discourages viewers from projecting their own fantasies onto her life
Emily Blunt has come a long way from her star-making turn as a Louboutin-loving fashionista in 2006’s The Devil Wears Prada. To play the lead role in The Girl on the Train, out Oct. 7, she had to deglamorize like never before. “Talk about no makeup,” she says over salmon teriyaki and iced green tea at a Brooklyn sushi joint on a late-summer evening. “We added makeup to make me look even more like I had no makeup.” Each day she was decorated with prosthetic under-eye bags, varicose veins and rosacea, along with a changing array of contact lenses meant to evoke various stages of inebriation: pinkish for buzzed, bloodshot for hammered, tinged with yellow for brutally hung over.
Yet for all the attention on the minutiae of her appearance, the key to playing such a truly damaged character—a divorced, infertile alcoholic obsessed with the perfect-looking lives of a couple she whizzes past on her daily commute—lay far beneath the bleary-eyed surface. To bring Rachel Watson to life, Blunt, 33, had to learn how to identify with the humiliation and isolation familiar to many addicts. She disappeared so thoroughly into the character that even her husband, actor and director John Krasinski, says he didn’t recognize her onscreen. “For the first time ever,” he says, “I forgot it was my wife.”
High praise as that may be, Blunt will need to impress legions of tougher critics: the millions of readers who buoyed the movie’s inspiration, Paula Hawkins’ 2015 novel of the same name, to the No. 1 spot on the New York Times best-seller list for 13 weeks straight. While the book is the kind of impossible-to-put-down Hitchcockian psychodrama that begs for a film adaptation, its success creates a daunting bar for the movie to clear. “That’s what I found so appealing,” says Blunt. “It’s less about the thriller of whodunit. It’s the idea of your blackout drunk protagonist making sure she didn’t do it.”
The novel weaves together the perspectives of three interconnected women. There’s Rachel, who rides the commuter train from suburban Westchester into New York City. (The movie transplants the story from the book’s London setting to the U.S., though Blunt keeps her accent in tribute to Hawkins’ story.) Then there’s Megan (Haley Bennett), whose house Rachel’s train passes each day and who, Rachel imagines, has a perfect marriage. And finally there’s Anna (Rebecca Ferguson), the real estate agent whom Rachel’s husband (Justin Theroux) left her for. When Megan goes missing, Rachel believes she can help solve the mystery— though she can’t be sure that she didn’t, during a blackout, have something to do with Megan’s disappearance.
The challenge for director Tate Taylor, whose credits include the 2011 civil rights-era drama The Help and the 2014 James Brown biopic Get On Up, was to produce an unflinching portrait of addiction without skimping on the pleasures of a thriller. “I was really protective of the addict and her emotions,” he says. “I’ve been touched by it—everybody has at some point. I didn’t want to make a film where it was not treated properly.”
Since breaking out stateside in Prada, the London-born Blunt has shown uncommon range as an FBI agent (Sicario), a singing baker’s wife (Into the Woods) and a bona fide action hero (Edge of Tomorrow). She knew how easily portraiture could slide into caricature. “I was nervous to do that drunk-uncle act,” she says. To avoid the pitfalls (and pratfalls) of exaggeration, she immersed herself in literature on substance abuse, talked to recovering alcoholics and watched lots of the A&E reality series Intervention.
“You see the humiliation of being an addict and what it does to your family,” Blunt says of the show’s depiction of chemical dependency. “And physically, I needed to see how alcoholics move when they’re really wasted.” Those movements had to be calibrated for every scene, so Taylor and Blunt created a system of levels to indicate drunkenness that could work as cues—“kind of like the Homeland Security color codes,” jokes Taylor.
The Hollywood Reporter shared some of Emily’s discussion from the premiere last night about how women need to be nicer to each other.
“In the domestic world is where I think women can be quite cruel about each other, more so than any other environment,” Blunt told THR.
Emily Blunt, Luke Evans, Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Bennett and director Tate Taylor arrived at the world premiere of The Girl on the Train on Tuesday night, where they walked on faux train tracks in lieu of a red carpet in London’s Odeon Leicester Square.
The Universal thriller stars Blunt as a troubled woman (an alcoholic whose husband left her for his mistress) who becomes fascinated by a seemingly perfect couple whose home she passes while riding the train. But after she thinks she witnesses a murder, she begins to realize that she may have been involved in the crime.
As the novel and film touch on aspects of motherhood, Blunt — donning a bejeweled, floral Alexander McQueen gown — ironically shot the adaptation of the Paula Hawkins bestseller while still pregnant with her second child.
“I think women will really relate to it and see aspects of themselves, or themselves fully, in any one of these characters,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “There is a huge societal pressure on women when it comes to motherhood, and these ‘mommy cults’ that go on. It makes women feel that they have to be a bit defensive about the choices they make — whether they want to be a mother or whether they don’t, whether they want to breastfeed or whether they don’t. I could go on and on.
“In the domestic world is where I think women can be quite cruel about each other, more so than any other environment,” she continued. “This film captures that.”
Blunt herself is admittedly a fan of some true crime entries — “I loved The Jinx, and my father defends criminals for a living so it’s definitely dinner-table conversation for us!” — but still needed to unwind after a long day of shooting the dark domestic thriller.
“I found a way to detach from the day — I had a long car ride home and would try to meditate on the way,” she said of the December shoot in New York. Luke Evans agreed: “I had to go back to Manhattan — but no train for me!”
The Girl on the Train hits theaters Oct. 7.