Emily's the reel deal
YOU have to love Emily Blunt. Not just because she's damned talented and strikingly attractive. No, the main reason you've got to love Emily Blunt is that she doesn't behave like someone who's damned talented and strikingly attractive.
"It's so easy to lose touch with who you are in this business," the 29-year-old London-born actress says. "You start believing the hype, or you look at those photo-shopped images and think, hey, that's me! The idea that you're something special, once success kicks in, is so easy to get wrapped up in, and as much as you should be confident, and you should be proud of your work, you should never, ever lose sight of the fact that you're just so, so lucky to have any kind of success in this business.
"More importantly, it could be all over tomorrow. So, you know, don't let that whole pride-comes-before-a-fall thing trip you up."
There's little chance of that with Emily Olivia Leah Blunt, an actress who, despite landing firmly on the world stage as the sour-pussed secretary Emily in 2006's The Devil Wears Prada, has stuck firmly to only making movies that she actually cares about. Even when it comes to the big-budget stuff.
"I don't really see any difference," she offers. "Other than, you know, the obvious ones, such as scale, and maybe the size of your trailer. But you're still trying to create this real person, in this make-believe world. And you've got to believe in it for that world to be true for everyone watching. So, whether you're just a lowly secretary trying to climb the ladder or the future Queen of England, you're still just a girl who's getting through life and dealing with her own particular little victories and defeats.
"The main thing I look for is I just want to be surprised. I don't want to feel I know everything about a character right from the start. If I'm not sparked, if I'm not curious, I'm guessing the viewer wouldn't feel it either."
That's still no excuse for taking part in 2010's abysmal Gulliver's Travels update. To be fair, Blunt has delivered some wonderful films over the last few years, including underrated gems such as Dan In Real Life, Sunshine Cleaning and the upcoming no-budget, three-hander Your Sister's Sister (out here June 29th), along with some celebrated gems, such as The Adjustment Bureau and The Young Victoria. Oh, and some other duds too, such as Wild Target, The Wolfman and The Great Buck Howard.
Which makes Emily Blunt's batting average about two out of three. Which isn't bad.
"It's impossible to know which films are going to land and which ones won't," says Blunt of her varied critical and commercial success. "It's a little easier to hedge your bets when it comes to making a film that you hope will be good, as you can tell when the script and the cast and the director are all very capable of delivering something special. But the commercial side of this gig, that's a little tougher. You can only hope that a film that works will find an audience. Especially those small curious ones, such as Your Sister's Sister. There are no vampires, no battles to the death, no eye-popping 3D - just an intimate, smart, funny, moving drama about two sisters and the guy who gets caught up in the middle. How do you sell that to a mass audience?
"It's the same with Salmon Fishing In The Yemen ... "
Indeed. Based on the 2006 prize-winning novel by Paul Torday, and with a screenplay by Simon Beaufoy (The Full Monty, Slumdog Millionaire), Salmon Fishing In The Yemen tells the story of a British government expert in fisheries who reluctantly attempts to fulfill the wishes of a wealthy Yemeni sheikh to introduce salmon fishing to his desert country - the British prime minister's press secretary seeing the project as the perfect goodwill story of Anglo-Arab relations. Acting on behalf of the sheikh is consultant Harriet (Blunt), who soon finds herself attracted to the fisheries expert. As luck would have it, he's estranged from his career-minded wife. And her boyfriend is missing in action in the war.
Garnering good reviews and not-all-that-bad US box-office, Salmon Fishing In The Yemen is one of those intriguing little films that doesn't quite deliver on its promise. Mainly because Ewan McGregor - the Troy McClure of our age - is in the lead role. The man with the Jim Fixed It For Me smile has buried many an intriguing film.
"Right from the title, I was drawn to this," says Blunt of the film. " It's not just a love story with some fish in the background ... "
True. Also coming our way from Ms Blunt this year is The Five-Year Engagement (out June 22nd), a romantic comedy alongside her Gulliver co-star Jason Segel, plus the Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis time-warp thriller Looper (out Sept 28th), and the Colin Firth-led Arthur Newman, Golf Pro. Having married fellow actor John Krasinski in July 2010 (at George Clooney's Italian estate, no less), Blunt found herself playing cupid for her only sister, Felicity, after her introduction to her Prada co-star Stanley Tucci led to an engagement last July.
Salmon Fishing In The Yemen hits screens April 20