Although many fans already caught her in theaters earlier this year playing “Full Metal Bitch” Rita Vrataski opposite Tom Cruise in Doug Liman’s Edge of Tomorrow, Emily Blunt is back on the big screen this Friday as part of Walt Disney Pictures’ massive fairy tale ensemble Into the Woods.
In the film, an adaptation of the hit Broadway musical, Blunt plays “The Baker’s Wife”, appropriately married to James Corden’s “The Baker.” In the below interview, ComingSoon.net speaks with Blunt about her musical turn, her successful run of recent sci-fi features (adding The Adjustment Bureau and Looper alongside Edge of Tomorrow) and her thoughts on the fan casting that thinks she’d make a great Captain Marvel. What’s more, the Gnomeo & Juliet star confirms she’ll back returning for the sequel, Gnomeo & Juliet: Sherlock Gnomes.
Check it all out below!
ComingSoon.net: Where did “Into the Woods” begin for you?
Emily Blunt: I got told I should come and audition, which filled me with dread, because singing in front of people is sort of challenging. I think for most people, really. I don’t think I’m alone in that. And it was for Rob Marshall, who’s a musical god! I loved Rob. I had met him personally and really loved him a lot. And the part was so genius. I went in and sang “Moments in the Woods” and I was beet red with nerves. He was really nice about it and he gave it to me.
CS: Is it strange to play a character who doesn’t even really have a name?
Blunt: I called her Marjory. James (Corden) and I decided that we were Jeff and Marjory.
CS: Did you really flesh out their back story — how detailed does that get?
Blunt: I’m joking with you. It was as detailed as I usually do it. I did a lot of thinking and a lot of delving. It’s kind of a hard thing to talk about, the process and how you get there. It just kind of sounds a bit stupid. (laughs) I always try to make a life for a person. Who were they before this moment that you meet them? What were they like? What do they feel like in your skin? All of that stuff. I think that it is important to build a history for them so that they feel alive and complex and relatable. It was wonderful getting to play with James [Corden], because we actually have known each other for years. We have quite a shorthand and he’s so talented comedically that he’s just great fun to spar with in these scenes. I knew we’d have the right kind of energy for this couple that has become a bit stagnant and are probably rather sick of each other. Then again, they also love each other and that big number we have, the duet, is about the love between these two people who have been together for so long. They’ve sort of lost their way and you see them fall in love again. It was really magic.
CS: Is there an equivalent to the sort of stereotypical comic book nerd for Broadway show? Is there a diehard fan base paying attention to the smallest details?
Blunt: Yes, although I didn’t think about it when I was playing the part. I think I was just blissfully unaware. I wasn’t aware of the ardent passion people have for this musical. In England, it’s not really known very well. I know that, in America, everyone does it at their high school or their college. It’s kind of an infamous one. When I was auditioning, I actually thought, “I don’t even know this musical. I should go online and watch the original version.” I saw Joanna Gleeson being incredible and was immediately like, “I will not be watching any more of this.” I didn’t want to imitate what she did. I wanted to do my own thing. I know there will be some Broadway fans who come in a little bit curmudgeonly about it, but I hope they understand that it’s a very different medium. We did have to cut stuff. It didn’t work as a three-hour production. I hope that they’ll see that we maintained the depth and the emotion of it and also the humor. You get to see what all these characters go through, emotionally. You get to hear every single word. There are some rapid songs that go on in this. You get to see Stephen Sondheim up close and personal at his best in this film.
CS: You have an amazingly colorful list of credits with quite a few bigger than life films. Is there something you can put your finger on that drives your selection of projects?
Blunt: I don’t know if I can say what it is because, really, I don’t know what it is. It has to be something that takes me by surprise. I want to ask the question, “Oh my God, how am I going to do this?” I’ll sort of know 20 pages in if it’s interesting.
CS: Among those, you’ve done several very well-regarded science fiction projects. Is that a genre that you seek out?
Blunt: No, I don’t necessarily go after them, to be honest. (laughing) I don’t really like sci-fi movies and I’ve somehow ended up in three of them that people really love. I think the reason people really love them is because of the humanity in them. They’re not just high concept. They’re profound and they’re cool and they’re funny. “Edge of Tomorrow” is not a movie about people in metal suits clanging into one another. It’s ultimately this fantastic story. It’s a two-hander about a guy who’s in way over his head — a coward — who is given the chance to save the world. There’s real character work Tom Cruise did in that. I guess what I love about the sci-fi world in many ways is the heightened reality. It’s so interesting to see where characters act within that, but you’ve got to have real characters from the get-go. You can’t have a heightened reality and a heightened character, you know?
CS: Is there a dream role for you?
Blunt: Not really. Or I guess I don’t know what it is. I’ve been lucky to have had a few dream roles. The Baker’s Wife really was that. So was Rita Vrataski in “Edge of Tomorrow.” I’ve had a number of them and I never saw any of them coming. I like going through life like that.
CS: The Baker’s Wife is a very grounded character and she, go course, has a great encounter with Chris Pine in a thoroughly larger-than-life role.
Blunt: Rob Marshall and I talked about it and we decided that she’s this midwestern housewife who has never left her little town and reads US Weekly every week. Suddenly there’s George Clooney right in front of her saying, “Do you want to make out?” What would she do? How would she respond? What do we believe? I just think she’s obsessed with the Prince. She just thinks he’s God’s gift to women. She can’t believe she’s meeting him and then he does meet with him and he wants to make out with her. What happens? Does that fluster you? Does that excite you? Does it do both? We sort of went with that. It was so much fun to work with Chris Pine, who just reveled in playing this superficial, douchey, egotistical guy. I had a really hard time not laughing playing scenes with him.
CS: Do you know what’s next for you?
Blunt: I’ll probably do something in the spring, but I don’t know entirely what it is yet.
CS: Are you back for the Gnomeo and Juliet sequel?
Blunt: I am! I heard that is going to be up and running soon.
CS: Your name seems to also be the fan favorite for playing Captain Marvel. Is that something you’d even be interested in?
Blunt: I do hear this, but only from you guys! I haven’t been given an official offer, but it’s still very flattering. I don’t even know what it is.
CS: You need to read more comic books!
Blunt: I know! I just don’t have the time. But I’ll be interested if it happens. But nothing, nothing, has been offered to me. I have not received a phone call.
CS: Do you find you have an increasing amount of freedom when it comes to choosing projects?
Blunt: Sure, but the good ones you still have to fight for. You do have to read sometimes and audition, just like everybody. I think it’s getting better, but there’s also a lack of really great female parts. You’ve got to do some delving and, when you find the really good ones, a lot of people want to play them.
Into the Woods hits theaters on December 25.