'Five-Year Engagement': 7 Things You Didn't Know About Jason Segel and Emily Blunt
The stars of Universal's romantic comedy spoke to THR about writer's block, talking to strangers and if they plan to have kids of their own someday.
The Five-Year Engagement stars Jason Segel and Emily Blunt as a so-in-love couple who get engaged, and then everything goes oh-so-wrong. After Blunt’s character, Violet, gets a job offer in Michigan, she moves there with her aspiring-chef fiance, Tom (Segel), which delays (and delays and delays) their wedding.
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Segel, who co-wrote the script with writing partner Nicholas Stoller (who also directed the comedy), has known Blunt for some time. “We are really good friends, and she’s also the most capable actress I’ve been around,” he told The Hollywood Reporter at the junket for the film. So what better way to get to know these two comedy talents than in a paired interview? Segel and Blunt revealed several interesting things about themselves and each other while discussing their upcoming romantic comedy, which opens in theaters April 27.
1. Segel and Stoller Wrote the Part of Violet for Blunt
Segel told THR that the part of Violet was written specifically with Blunt in mind. Segel and Blunt have been friends for years, and he says Blunt “can do anything.” “She can be funny, she can be dramatic, and all that’s going to be required if I think this movie is what it’s going to be,” he said. “It’s very hard to find someone that you feel can believably pull it off as a couple onscreen, because it needs to feel like they are best friends.”
2. Blunt Helped Create Her Character
Segel and Stoller revealed that they had Blunt give input on how her Violet would act. “My favorite processes on films are when it’s really collaborative,” she said. “What these guys did is every new actor that signed on, they would do a complete rewrite just with that character in mind, and that’s why all the characters feel kind of juicy and rich.” For example, at one point in the comedy, Segel’s character is really depressed, and his personal hygiene and appearance are suffering. Blunt suggested that Violet should “sweep everything under the carpet” and just pretend everything is fine. “It’s a very British thing,” she said.
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3. Segel Doesn’t Suffer From Writer's Block
Segel told reporters that he has such a busy schedule with starring on How I Met Your Mother and also several films per year that he has to squeeze his writing into any space he can. That also means he doesn’t have time to get stuck on a first draft. “I do not reread what I’m writing on a first draft," he said. "I think it’s much easier to rewrite something than it is to write it. I think the most daunting moment is 120 blank pages to fill.
“It’s why there’s a million half-finished screenplays,” Segel added. “Everyone has a screenplay, and they all have the first 50 pages. Because that’s when it gets hard. That’s when you’ve done the beginning and then you have to get into the meat of the script.”
4. Blunt Remembers Breaking the News of Princess Diana’s Death to Her Parents
In an early scene in the film, Emily Blunt’s character dresses as Princess Diana for a “design your own superhero party.” Blunt, who is British, told reporters that the whole experience was “quite surreal.” She also revealed that she was the one who told her parents about Diana’s death in 1997. “I played the cello as a kid, so I was always up before everyone practicing like a complete nerd,” she said. “I turned on the TV and it was just everywhere. So I went down and woke my mom up and my dad, and I just said, ‘Princess Diana’s dead.’
“My mom started crying, and my dad was sort of keeled over the bed,” Blunt added. “She was so emblematic of our country, so it was so awful.”
5. Segel Talks to Strangers
Blunt told reporters that Segel is very social, and that he’s “very romantic.” She added that Segel “quite enjoys going out just by himself and sitting in a bar and meeting people.”
Segel agreed that he likes to meet strangers. “I think it’s fun,” he said. “And I also like listening way more than talking when you’re talking to strangers. Because you know what I realized? I know the information I’m about to say, so I’m not going to learn anything by talking.”
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6. Segel and Blunt Both Want Kids of Their Own
Blunt, who has been married to The Office actor John Krasinski for nearly two years, told reporters that she plans on having children someday but not really someday soon. “I’m from a big family. I would like to have children; I don’t quite know when, though,” she said. “It’s just that I’m quite enjoying the selfish spontaneity of life right now, which I think all changes when you have children.”
Segel, who is not married but has been recently linked to actress Michelle Williams (they attended Five-Year Engagement’s afterparty at the Tribeca Film Festival together), said he also would like to have children someday. “You don’t write The Muppets for no reason,” he joked. “There’s absolutely no rush for me, but yes, I love kids; I love being around them.”
7. Blunt Says She Isn’t as Busy as It May Seem; Shot Her Part in Looper in Just Three Weeks
Both Segel and Blunt are getting plenty of time on the big screen lately. Along with Five-Year Engagement, Segel had The Muppets (which he also co-wrote with Stoller) open in November, Jeff, Who Lives at Home bowed in March, and the Judd Apatow comedy This Is 40 arrives in December. Blunt starred in Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Your Sister’s Sister and the upcoming sci-fi thriller Looper, along with Five-Year Engagement. However, Blunt told reporters that she isn’t “flat-out busy all the time.”
“I didn’t shoot them in order. I didn’t intend for them all to come out in one year, but that is just how it happens,” she said. “It’s funny because it sounds like I’m very busy. But, for example, Looper I shot in three weeks, which is nothing. And Sister’s Sister I shot in 12 days.”
She added that she loves time off. “I am very lazy in my time off. I like to stare into space and read and just hang out with my friends,” she said. “So I don’t tend to go job to job. I always make sure there’s a big gap in between.”
The Five-Year Engagement opens April 27.
E-mail: Rebecca.Ford@thr.com; Twitter: @Beccamford