Emily Blunt and John Krasinski cover the latest Rule Breakers issue of The Hollywood Reporter. The photos are lovely. Although the poses are slightly contrived, they are having fun with it. Plus, they’re a handsome couple and they look so old school Hollywood. The articles claims this is “a rare joint interview,” for the couple. It’s obvious that their awards strategy is to sell their marriage. So for the push, they’re just going all in and doing joint interviews. Hopefully, once the Oscars are handed out, they’ll go back to having separate careers and just being supportive of each other’s projects.
We’ve heard the story of Emily asking to star in A Quiet Place after it had been cast before. But in this interview, they explain why this movie changed their minds about working together, because their marriage wouldn’t overshadow the film itself.
Emily Blunt almost didn’t act in A Quiet Place: Blunt was immersed in preparations for a daunting new acting project, as the magical nanny in Disney’s sequel to one of its most beloved films, Mary Poppins. The couple had two healthy young daughters, a new home in Brooklyn and careers that were thriving — separately.
It seemed like a good idea to leave it that way. So Krasinski, after secretly writing a part for his wife, abandoned his plan to ask her to play it. “I decided the safest thing to do was just have this experience on my own,” says Krasinski of making A Quiet Place. He was afraid Blunt would say no — or, in a possibility that seemed even more mortifying, that she would say yes out of a sense of wifely duty rather than genuine enthusiasm. “I didn’t want this to be the one job that she was like, ‘Listen, I don’t know if I love this, but I love you, so I’ll do it.’ ”
Why Blunt wanted to do A Quiet Place: In A Quiet Place, they play a couple trying to teach their children to thrive in a world inhabited by blind monsters with an acute sense of hearing — an idea that so resonated with them as terrified, exhilarated new parents, they deemed it worth the risk of sharing a project. “I didn’t want it to be like, ‘Oh, how adorable. They’re working together,’ ” Blunt says. “It was the only idea that had come our way that seemed bigger than our marriage. The narrative of our marriage was not going to overwhelm this movie and this amazing opportunity for him as a director, as a filmmaker, as a writer. I knew this was a big swing for him.”
The dichotomy of Blunt working on MPR and Krasniski working on A Quiet Place: “I’d come home and be like, ‘I just danced with 30 lamplighters,’” Blunt begins, in a sing-song voice. ” ‘It was beautiful!’ ” Adds Krasinski, “And I’d be like, ‘I just killed a child on page 10!’”
Blunt on deciding to take on the iconic role of Mary Poppins: As an actor, Blunt relies on instinct, which is how she settled on how to portray Mary Poppins. While heavily pregnant with Violet, “I was waddling around the house trying to figure out how she moved and spoke,” says Blunt, who settled on a version of the character closer to the imperious, slightly vain woman first created by author P. L. Travers. “What’s the point of playing Mary Poppins if you’re just going to try and do an impersonation of Julie Andrews?” It was only after she began to tell people that she had the role that Blunt felt the immenseness of it. “Friends of mine, they almost started to well up talking about her and what the film had meant to them, and that’s when I was like, ‘Oh, f-k. What have I done?’ I had no option but to Zen it out, because I’d taken this on.”
This makes sense to me. When a real-life couple plays an onscreen couple, it can overpower the film. That didn’t happen in A Quiet Place. John has said that he wrote A Quiet Place inspired by his fears as a parent. Of course Emily would understand what this movie meant to him. A lot of factors came together to make it a success for them. And now they’re shopping for awards, which again, I understand. But honestly, my favorite part of the whole interview was the part about Emily dancing with lamplighters while Kransinski was killing people in his script. It sounds like a conversation The Mister and I would have (who was dancing and who was killing off changes daily for us).
I also like the last bit about Emily understanding the responsibility of playing Mary Poppins. The movie is currently at 78% on Rotten Tomatoes. Most of the critique seems to be that the character is played closer to the book rather than affable like the movie. Emily is getting good notes on her performance, but people aren’t ready to give up Julie Andrews. I get that, but I am still excited for this movie.
Photo credit: Andrew Hetherington/THR