Emily Blunt: Every day someone tells me they love 'Edge of Tomorrow'
Ladies and gentlemen, Emily Blunt can sing. Like almost of all of her co-stars in Rob Marshall's "Into The Woods," she proves that not only does she have a lovely singing voice, but that she can pull off Sondheim as well.
The film hits theaters on Christmas Day and will wrap up another whirlwind year for Blunt. She gave birth to her first daughter in February, promoted the critically acclaimed "Edge of Tomorrow" for most of May and June (her first major action role), filmed the new Denis Villeneuve drama "Sicario" alongside Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin immediately afterward and is now in the middle of a long publicly (and awards) tour for "Woods."
Blunt plays the role of The Baker's Wife in Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Tony Award-winning musical and, along with the Baker (played by James Corden), her character helps connect the different Grimm Fairy Tales that form the film's storyline. This means the Brit has major musical numbers with co-stars Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick and Chris Pine as well as her own solo number. It's not really the leading role it was classified as on stage, but it's expected success will only add to Blunt's increasingly impressive resume.
The "Looper" star took some time to chat about "Into the Woods" and the belated love for "Edge of Tomorrow" during an interview this past weekend.
[Warning: Some slight spoilers ahead.]
HitFix: How did you become involved in the production? Were you looking to make a musical?
Emily Blunt: Rob auditioned technically everybody, even Meryl Streep. [Laughs.] Not really. It was always hers, but everybody else who was kind of interested in it had to come in and sing. I was probably the most reluctant party to go in and sing and my agent told me I had to and that it would be fine. Because I found it frightening singing in front of people and he’s like a musical magician God, so that was daunting. But I went in and he just said, "Listen, sometimes music is emotionally complex and I want actors. I want actors who can make sense of it and delve in and discover it." And he wanted people with humor and with humanity. So he said, "Stop worrying about making it sound prestigious. Just go for it." And I did it and he gave it to me, thank God. Because it was such an exhilarating, beautiful experience.
Do you remember the song that you sang for the audition?
Oh yeah. I did "Moments in the Woods," the one she sings after she has the fling with Prince Charming. And it’s probably the hardest song she has, you know? It’s a song that’s very complex. She had a pretty exciting time with the Prince and she was dreadful about it and then she's trying to rally herself to go back to normality with the Baker. And yet it was so amazing with the Prince so she’s sort of going back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, and ultimately she arrives at the realization that she has been foolish and that she has had this treasured thing all along with her Baker. And of course, for her, tragically, it sort of comes too late and she’s a character that ends up "popping her clogs" as we say in England.
Yeah. She has a fall. She has a little bit of a fall.
A gigantic tumble.
I’ve done a bunch of phone interviews with the cast today and Tracey Ullman was talking about all the rehearsals before filming began. Knowing Rob wanted the emotion to come through, what were the discussions about regarding the film's sometimes humorous tone? How did you guys know when to pull it back?
Well, he was such a wonderful conductor for us, Rob. He really was very delicate and careful in making sure we’d lost the sense of kind of the proscenium arch that you have in a theatrical production of this. He wanted it to feel intimate and dynamic. And so although some of these characters are larger than life and what they go through is very comedic at times and other-worldly and magical, he wanted to always make sure that there was great humanity there. So often, you throw a bunch of stuff against the wall and see what would stick. And that’s why the five weeks of rehearsals were so valuable, because we could mess up in there. We could go huge and then pull it back. And you could discover everything about this character. So you never get rehearsals on films anymore, ever. And you realize if you did they’d probably save a lot of money.
I apologize. I should have asked this earlier but had you had any musical theater training? Had you done musicals in the past, even as a kid?
No. I mean I played Adelaide in "Guys and Dolls" in school but I don’t think I was particularly great. I had fun doing it and I hadn’t had any singing lessons really. So when I auditioned I went and had a couple of singing lessons with this amazing teacher called Eric Vetro who I think also worked with Chris Pine. And Eric’s worked with everybody from Katie Perry to Whitney. I mean you name it, he’s worked with them. And so it was great working with him and he emboldened me and taught me a lot. But other than that, no, I hadn’t had any previous experience singing on film or on stage.