Emily Blunt has been now been nominated for a best actress Golden Globe for her portrayal of Queen Victoria in Young Victoria, the story of the young queen and her love for Prince Albert.
Blunt spoke to Reuters about playing the monarch, her fondness for Matt Damon and her upcoming movie, Wolfman.
Q: How challenging was it to play an historical figure and not some invented character?
A: “She’s emblematic of England, so there’s that pressure because you want to do her justice. But at the same time you want to try to capture someone who is a human being and not just regarded as an archly played monarch. I wanted to people to see the humanity.”
Q: How did you go about achieving that?
A: “I read a lot about her – diaries, letters – and I learned how expressive she was. After a while, you can hear that person’s voice. The monarchy can be rather otherworldly to people, and there’s a need to cover and protect them. But I think there’s also a need to pull back the curtains so you can identify with them on a human level.”
Q: Does the monarchy intrigue you, because outside Britain, it seems that the Royal family is all the British read about?
A: “I’ve never had the fascination. People feel we have this fascination with them growing up. It’s not true. I wonder if it’s sort of a complacency, in that you are from that country.”
Q: Did you relate to her?
A: “I know what it’s like to be in love. I know what it’s like to feel like you’re in a job where you’re way in over your head sometimes. I don’t know what it’s like to be Queen of England, of course.”
Q: What job did you feel way in over your head?
A: “Every single project I start on. And then everything that comes with that territory like the public invasion. It’s so weird. But I hope it remains weird to me because if I get used to the hype, the frenzy, people forming opinions and then blogging about them…
Q: Most people still identify you with The Devil Wears Prada. Do you feel that is the film that put you on the map?
A: “Yes. Here in the (United) States. It’s funny because everybody thinks I had this sort of meteoric rise after Prada but I’d been working for about four or five years before I even did Prada. It felt like a really gradual growth to me.”
Q: It, of course, was a comedy, and Young Victoria is a drama. Do you have a preference, comedy or drama?
A: “I don’t. I’ve done a lot of comedy. Right now I’m finishing a drama, which is really fun and it’s contemporary, The Adjustment Bureau, based on a Phillip K Dick story. It’s with Matt Damon.”
Q: What’s he like?
A: “He’s just made for it, Matt. He’s made for this job. He’s the coolest guy. His family’s wonderful. He is easy peasy to get along with, he really is.”
Q: Wolfman is your next movie. It comes out in February. It seems like it has ‘blockbuster’ written all over it.
A: “I feel that Wolfman will be a big movie. The caliber of people in it is wonderful. To work with Anthony Hopkins and Benicio del Toro – that was really extraordinary. I could see why I wanted to do it in the first place, with those two guys. Hopefully the movie will make a big splash and I won’t think I’ve sold out. It’s got class to it.”