Emily Blunt Talks Into The Woods, The Devil Wears Prada 2 & More
The star reveals singing LOLs, reuniting with Meryl Streep, Ghostbusters 3 and more...
Emily Blunt is one of Hollywood's hottest actresses. Not only is she able to star in mega-blockbusters (Edge of Tomorrow), super-cool sci-fi (Looper), chick-flick awesomeness (The Devil Wears Prada) and lo-fi mumblecore greats (My Sister's Sister).
In her latest role, she sings and whirls her way through a Disney movie adaptation of a classic Broadway musical, Into the Woods. We sat down with the star to discuss singing fears, how well she thinks co-star James Corden will do in the States, a The Devil Wears Prada sequel and whether she'd be up for a role in Ghostbusters 3...
How did you come to the story - were you familiar with the Broadway production?
I was completely fresh and new to it. I didn't know the musical well, but I loved it. I read the script and then I listened to the songs, and then I watched a little bit of Joanna Gleeson doing it on stage - which was a mistake because she was brilliant and then I got intimidated and didn't want to audition, and then I did audition and luckily Rob (Marshall) gave it to me, because it was such a great part and such a joyful time for everyone on it. The songs are not the kind of songs that you can ease yourself back in a chair and listen to. They arrest you, they're very dynamic, and they make you sit up and want to follow these characters. The songs are very much extensions of the characters.
You hadn't done much singing before on-screen… was that terrifying?
I'd sung a bit in school, but I was always terrified of singing in front of people and never found it a really comfortable fit for me. I had a lot of singing lessons for this, which helped me enormously. It was emboldening to work with Rob, who has this ability to make you feel like you can do anything and try anything and risk anything. Stephen Sondheim's music is complex, so you have to be able to carry a tune to say the least, but emotionally it requires all of you, and it was reassuring to know that that was really the main drive. When Stephen came to the pre-records he said "I don't care about it sounding pretty, just make it real and conversational and make me want to listen to you." So I think he does write for actors.
Now you've got your singing wings, would you ever be up for a side career as a singer? James Corden rapped for us…
I don't think so *chuckles* I've always wanted someone to do a rap but in a posh British accent and see if that takes off. I'll see if my album would drop and hit big.
Wtih any adaptation, you're inevitably going to get die-hard fans concerned about any changes that are made. What would you say to appease their fears?
Well, we've been very uncompromising with the film. We've maintained the darkness and the underlying metaphors - this is not Disneyfied, I don't think. The heart of it, the joy, the darkness, the humour… it's all there. All of the themes are running through it beautifully.
I was told that the opening weekend - apparently - had more people seeing it than the two Broadway musical runs before it. Combined. So in that way, such an important and great musical is instantly being brought to a wider audience, and Stephen must be really happy with it.
It was your first reunion with Meryl Streep since The Devil Wears Prada - what was that like?
She was very protective of me. I was pregnant during the shoot, so she was making sure I was having toilet breaks, and snacks, and a chair *laughs*. She's been great to me over the years, and a friend, and the kind of person you want to steal from - acting wise - and the kind of person you want to have a drink with off-stage. She always tortures me in every film we star in *laughs*.
You obviously have a lot of scenes with James Corden - he's really starting to really take off in America, what with the hosting gig on The Late, Late Show...
He'll be amazing over there. He's so funny and so great with people. He's going to offer a different take on Late Night, and make it cool and young and fresh. James is so brilliant off-the-cuff, I hope he rips up the note cards and does his own thing because he's brilliant in that way. He'll certainly bring an irreverence and a rudeness that he's funny with *chuckles*.
You haven't done any sequels to any of your movies. If you had to pick one to do a sequel to, what would it be?
At one point, I thought 'ooh, would I do an Edge of Tomorrow sequel?'. But I don't think I could do the training again! *groans* It was so hard and months of end of living like an athlete. I think The Devil Wears Prada would be really fun - but everyone would have to do it, otherwise I wouldn't want to do it.
We did this rather cool video recently where everyone we interviewed we asked about Ghostbusters 3. It has an all-female cast - would you be interested in
Ooh, I want to work with Kristen Wiig. She's be cool to bust some ghosts with wouldn't she?
So in theory you'd be up for it?
Yeah, but the last time I said 'in theory' it's gone all over the internet and then apparently I'm doing it *laughs* So yeah, if I got to bust some ghosts with Kristen Wiig then yeah, who knows?
Into the Woods is in UK cinemas now.