'Salmon Fishing in the Yemen' Star Emily Blunt Talks Chemistry, Career and Coupledom
The British actress chats with THR about being selective in the roles she chooses and what it would take for her to star in a film with husband John Krasinski.
“I don't think they have chemistry,” says Emily Blunt in a strikingly perfect imitation of an American accent.
The British actress, who stars in the romantic comedy Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, is describing what she fears moviegoers might say if she and husband actor John Krasinski were to act as romantic interests in a film together.
“That's the last thing I want. That would just really piss me off,” she says, switching back to her native, crisp British accent.
VIDEOS: THR's Sundance Film Festival Lounge at Village at the Lift
That’s why Blunt tells The Hollywood Reporter that while she’s not opposed to working with Krasinski on a movie someday, she would rather do something similar to what Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas did in Traffic. “They just were a part of the same experience, which I think would be really fun for us, to feel a part of the same journey, but not necessarily having to do romantic scenes," she says.
Blunt, 29, emphasizes that the project would have to be right for them, which is a motto that the actress has followed her entire career. With charisma, natural comedic talent and all the qualities needed for a leading lady, Blunt has been a highly sought-after actress in Hollywood ever since she played Meryl Streep’s haughty senior assistant in The Devil Wears Prada.
However, Blunt, 29, is swimming against the tide, staying very selective with the parts she’ll take on. In an interview with THR, she admits that she hasn’t been working since November because she’s just waiting for the next role that’s right for her.
“I'm very careful about the choices I make because I think as an actor you want to put your heart and soul into it, and you simply can't if you don't believe in it,” Blunt tells THR.
Blunt has turned down at least two high-profile roles in the past: Black Widow in Iron Man 2, which went to Scarlett Johansson, and Peggy Carter in Captain America, which was eventually played by Hayley Atwell.
She says now that she’s been in this business for more than a decade, “it's all about taking more risks and playing people that are a stretch and a challenge.” She adds that she’d love to work with directors David Fincher and Steven Soderbergh someday.
Blunt stars in Salmon Fishing in the Yemen as Harriet, an executive who attempts to bring salmon fishing to the Yemen with the help of a fisheries expert (Ewan McGregor). Although the plot could seem outlandish, Blunt says she knew from the very beginning that this was a role she wanted to take on.
FILM REVIEW: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
“I think that's what I loved about the film -- that it was endlessly surprising and by the time I had finished reading it for the first time it was an incredibly easy 'yes' because I felt that I had gone on a rather extraordinary journey with all of these characters,” she says.
Blunt, who had never worked with McGregor until this film, said they became fast friends.
“It was just wonderful to walk through the door and be met with Ewan, who I had an incredibly accelerated friendship with, and I felt I had known him a long time,” she says.
In the CBS Films project, directed by Lasse Hallström, Blunt’s character is also dealing with separation from her boyfriend, who is part of the military in the Middle East, and may have gone missing. Harriet spends a significant part of the film dealing with this trauma while trying to work with McGregor’s pessimistic character on what seems like a ludicrous project.
“We both enjoyed keeping things quite spontaneous, don't over-rehearse, don't over think things, because then you can find some really great moments in the scene that feel more alive I guess,” she says of working with McGregor on the film, which was shot in England, Scotland and Morocco.
VIDEO: 'Salmon Fishing in the Yemen' Trailer: Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt Connect
The British beauty has three films coming out in the next few months: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Five Year Engagement and Your Sister’s Sister.
Five Year Engagement, due out in April, sees Blunt and Jason Segel starring as an engaged couple who struggle to make it down the aisle, stretching out their engagement into half a decade. The romantic comedy is helmed by Nicholas Stoller, who also co-wrote the script with Segel.
“I think however ludicrous the situations are, that these two people are put into, I don't think Nick Stoller ever sacrificed the reality and the heart of that relationship for a stupid crass joke,” Blunt says.
When asked what makes a romantic comedy work, Blunt cites writing and chemistry. “I think you need to be in the fight with the two characters,” she says. “You need to have an audience feel like there's something personal and unique about that relationship that they haven't seen before.”
STORY: Universal's 'The Five-Year Engagement' to Open Tribeca Film Festival
As for her own relationships, Blunt and husband Krasinski have been married since July 2010. The couple doesn’t talk much about their personal lives to the press, and Blunt says they try to have a very full life outside of the entertainment industry.
“I think we try as much as we can to do normal things, because that's actually what makes us happy,” says Blunt. “I don't want to go to event after event, I don't really enjoy getting glammed up for that crap night after night. I don't want to go to the opening of an envelope just to be seen, you know, it's just gross.”
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen opens in theaters on March 9.