In her varied roles, Emily Blunt is often a strong presence, intriguing for her complex emotions and intelligence – sometimes not quite expressed, but showing in her eyes.
With her movie The Adjustment Bureau so much about fate, it is interesting to read some of her perspectives on what she was like earlier in her life, and what led her into acting.
“My head was occupied all the time. I was confused about what I wanted to do or who I was; I didn’t really feel I had an identity growing up.” [imdb.com]
That is something I can really relate to – and many other talented actors have expressed similar ideas.
This topic of self concept for artists is very interesting – and I have posted many quotes related to it on my various sites, such as this:
Jennifer Jason Leigh has claimed, “As a person, I don’t really register that much. Director Robert Altman says that as a person I disappear in a way.”
[From my article Identity and Creating.]
Emily Blunt also talks about expression on camera:
“I learned very early on to reel everything in. Sometimes you just shouldn’t do anything because the camera sees everything – like the smallest flick of your eye and it catches it and it reads as something.
“The performances I enjoy are the ones that are hard to read or ambiguous or left-of-centre because it makes you look closer and that’s what humans are like – quite mysterious creatures, hard to pinpoint.”
She also noted, “I have sly eyes. When I was in school they always said, ‘Emily can never be elected Head Girl because you never know what she’s thinking.” [imdb.com]
Fate in our lives
In an interview about The Adjustment Bureau, Blunt (and co-star Matt Damon) were asked about any experiences of fate in their own lives.
Blunt commented: “Do you mean like has anything happened to us that seemed very fatalistic? I have one story, which is pretty cool that I remember. I didn’t get into this very amazing school that my sister went to. And I wanted to be just like my sister.
“It’s this school called Westminster in London, which is fiercely competitive. And she gets in because she’s a brainiac. And I don’t because I’m obviously not.
“And so I basically remember at sixteen just being devastated and my life was over. And this is so sad. And I felt so inferior that I hadn’t gotten in. so I went to my second choice school, which had a good drama department. Previously hadn’t considered acting.
“But I did a play through my school that went to the Edinburgh festival. I got an agent. He’s still my agent…And if I’d gone to Westminster I wouldn’t be doing this job. Guaranteed. So I think, like, that was weird. And at the time it seems devastating and so sad but really it was, obviously, meant to happen.”
[From Interview: Talking ‘The Adjustment Bureau’ With Matt Damon & Emily Blunt, By El Mayimbe, LatinoReview March 04, 2011.]
Acting lessons helped her overcome stammering.
“I couldn’t even talk,” Blunt said. “It was over the course of four years and it gradually just went away.
“My parents found it really hard because I was a smart kid and I had a lot to say, I just couldn’t say it.
“I still suffer with it sometimes, when I’m tired or stressed..”
[From my post Stammering as an opportunity – which mentions other actors who suffered from stuttering, including James Earl Jones; Bruce Willis; Jimmy Stewart; Harvey Keitel; Julia Roberts; Marilyn Monroe and Nicole Kidman.
In another interview article, Blunt admits, “It would just haunt me. I never thought I’d be able to sit and talk to someone like I’m talking to you right now.”
The article says, “Then a teacher suggested acting lessons, and by age 18, Blunt was starring opposite Judi Dench in Peter Hall’s London production of The Royal Family. (When she pretended to be someone else, Blunt says, “something lifted in me.”)
“Today, at 24, she’s one of those poised, silver-tongued Englishwomen who seems at ease in almost any situation, whether it’s playing the catty assistant of Meryl Streep’s Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada or lobbying for a chance to star as the young Queen Victoria in a new film produced by Martin Scorsese.”
[Putting It Bluntly, by Miranda Priestly, W magazine.]
Photo at bottom: The Wolfman.
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Also see multiple articles on Self concept / self esteem.