Practically Perfect In Everyway

Emily Blunt

While she made an impact in The Devil Wears Prada and wowed critics in the unflinching crime thriller Sicario, 2018 looks sets to be the year that cinema goers take British actress, Emily Blunt, to their hearts once and for all, as she steps into the iconic role of Mary Poppins.

In fact, Emily underestimated her voice and her movie career could have gone in a totally different direction. In an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald she revealed that aged 18 she signed a recording deal, saying: “I got terrified and pulled out, because I felt they were wanting me to be like Britney Spears and I was like, ‘I can’t dance, and I don’t sing like Britney Spears.’ I just felt it was snowballing too fast and it wasn’t ultimately what I wanted to do.”

It didn’t take too long for Emily to find her true passion though. In the same year (2001) she was cast opposite none other than Dame Judi Dench in a play called The Royal Family. Various theatre and TV roles followed including an appearance in Foyle’s War and Poirot.

From this launch pad, Blunt was able to take on Hollywood. Arguably, her mainstream breakthrough role was as waspish first assistant, Emily Charlton in the brilliantly biting, The Devil Wears Prada, with Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway, a role that earned her a Golden Globe nomination. While this role brought Emily to the attention of regular movie goers, it is her earlier film, My Summer of Love (2004) that she credits as her ‘big break’.

The role, made famous by the incomparable Dame Julie Andrews in 1964, is certainly a massive one to fill. Though it seems Emily has Dame Julie’s stamp of approval. Speaking on The Today Show in the U.S. Dame Julie said: “This Mary Poppins is going to star Emily Blunt, and I’m a huge fan.”

Released in 2018, audiences will see the all-singing, all-dancing super nanny revisit her young charges, Jane and Michael Banks, some 25 years after we left them in the original Mary Poppins.

Once again helping them rediscover their joy, early released stills suggest that this rebooted Mary will still don her famous hat and of course that magical carpetbag.

Mary Poppins Returns won’t be the first-time audiences have seen Emily belt out a song on screen. In 2014, she starred in the movie adaptation of the Steven Sondheim musical, Into The Woods alongside Anna Kendrick and James Corden. Requiring her to sing, Emily took voice lessons to ensure she would be pitch perfect for movie goers.

Speaking to MTV in 2015 on the role Emily said:

“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.”

Emily Blunt

Speaking of the BAFTA award-winning movie, which explores themes of class and sexuality, Emily told BuzzFeed News:

“That was not only my first film, but the process was so different than anything I’d experienced before, which was theatre or television, where you’re given your script and you show up and you hit your mark and you say your lines.”

“It was demanding and exhilarating, and I learned more on that film and from Pawel Pawlikowski {director} about acting than I’ve learned from anybody else. He taught me so much about ambiguity and nuance and the power of suggestion and being courageous and having responsibility as an actor for creating your character. Just to sum it up in two words: It was terrifying and thrilling.”

With her star continuing to rise, in 2009 Emily took on the lead role in The Young Victoria, a film in which she is in virtually every scene. With so much responsibility resting on then 26-year-old Blunt’s shoulders (echoing the responsibility of the young queen she played), it would have been easy for the pressure to get to her:

“You are relentless for 12 weeks,” Blunt told BuzzFeed News, “You feel the weight. You’re in every frame of the movie and you need to really be careful.”

The movie charmed audiences and critics alike with TIME magazine’s Mary F Pols stating: “Emily Blunt is utterly charming in this dramatization of the young Victoria’s ascension to the throne and her courtship with Prince Albert.”

It also established Emily as an actress able to take on a wide range of roles and what has followed since has been a series of interesting movie choices that have seen her demonstrate her versatility.

One such role was 2016’s hotly anticipated mystery, The Girl on the Train. Adapted from the bestselling novel of the same name by Paula Hawkins, The Girl on the Train charts the story of Rachel (Blunt), as she struggles with divorce and a descent into the grip of alcoholism.

Emily Blunt

With the story of a missing woman unfolding through the eyes of the often drunk/hungover Rachel, audiences are hooked on who did what and to whom.

Along with heavyweight roles, Emily’s filmography includes family movies too, such as Gulliver’s Travels, Gnomeo & Juliet, The Muppets, and the recent released My Little Pony: The Movie, which perhaps reflecting her role as mum to two young daughters with husband, American actor, John Krasinski.

Extremely protective of her privacy, Emily has always aimed to keep her family out of the spotlight and her private life exactly that:

“You have to have a dual existence…You have the acting side of it and the business life.... and then you have your private life and your downtime…you have to make that ‘divide’…and make it clear to you.” She told Hello magazine.

Not that Emily hasn’t been tabloid fodder in the past. Her relationship with Canadian crooner, Michael Bublé, to whom she was engaged, ended in 2008 amid much interest. While avoiding unwanted media attention is important to Emily, in an interview with InStyle, she explained another reason for wanting to maintain a distance between her work and her home life:

“You’ve got to draw the line somewhere. My job is to persuade people that I’m somebody else and allow them to go on that journey with me. If you share too much about yourself, people’s interest becomes about you as opposed to the roles you have played.”

And with Mary Poppins Returns likely to be loved by movie goers of all ages, a whole new generation look set to be enchanted by the practically perfect Emily.

Emily Blunt