On February 23, 1983, something magical happened. The world was gifted actress Emily Blunt.
All right, so the intro may have been a bit dramatic, Blunt is not an otherworldly gift, just an incredibly talented and versatile performer. Blunt is rumored for even bigger Hollywood roles in the near future, such as Marvel's Captain Marvel and in the title lead role in the upcoming Mary Poppins reboot. So, let's take a look at her career and how she became the actress she is today.
2006: 'The Devil Wears Prada'
In 2006, she took a supporting role in the movie The Devil Wears Prada alongside Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep. In it she played the supremely aggressive personal assistant of Meryl Streep's Miranda Priestly. The Devil Wears Prada is one of my favorite romantic comedies. Hathaway provides some laughs but the true comic relief in the film is Blunt.
As the highlight of the movie, she doesn't get as much screen time as I wanted, but she makes the most of every opportunity. So much so that she was rewarded with a Golden Globe nomination.
2007: 'Charlie Wilson's War'
In 2007's Charlie Wilson's War, she shows up for one scene, gets naked with Tom Hanks and then falls asleep on his couch. Why am I writing about such an insignificant part? Because it was weird.
2008: 'Sunshine Cleaning'
In 2008, she starred alongside Amy Adams in the movie Sunshine Cleaning, where she played the screwed up sister who's gone through some childhood trauma, is confused about her sexuality and purpose in life and acts out as a result. She and Adams start a crime scene cleaning business together in an attempt to break into an evidently lucrative business. It's a dark comedy starring Blunt, Adams, and Alan Arkin. Blunt knows when to use her levity, and when to give a deeper performance – a master of dark comedy and bringing deft comedic timing into dramatic roles.
2009: 'The Young Victoria'
In 2009's The Young Victoria, Blunt gave the performance of her career (up until that point) as an adolescent and newly crowned Queen Victoria. She was absolutely breathtaking, once again perfectly juggling levity and the mannerisms of a child, with the observant and responsible nature of an "old soul." I cried at the end, bawled actually, because of how convincing the connection was to Prince Albert (Rupert Friend). Blunt's performance is dynamic, impassioned, and believable. See this movie.
2010: 'The Wolfman,' 'Wild Target' & 'Gulliver's Travels'
In 2010, she got to have a little fun making The Wolfman, a remake of the 1941 classic starring Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins. If you're a fan of monster-lore and the supernatural, this movie is for you. However, I do wish that they'd spent more time and energy developing the relationship between Del Toro and Blunt.
That same year (2010) she starred in the action comedy Wild Target and was forced to appear in Gulliver's Travels due to a contract stipulation pertaining to The Devil Wears Prada. She has since been relatively outspoken about her general dislike of the film.
2011: 'The Adjustment Bureau'
Blunt starred in five films in 2011 and was nominated for performer of the year. The Adjustment Bureau is a sci-fi romance about a politician and a dancer who love each other but are not fated to be together due to the paths that a mysterious governing force has laid out for their lives. Blunt and Damon's on-screen chemistry was electric. It's a very well made movie with an interesting story and great performances. Blunt uses her witty and biting sense of humor to not only make Damon fall in love with her, but the audience as well.
That year, she also starred in Salmon Fishing in the Yemen with Ewan McGregor, Your Sister's Sister with Rosemarie DeWitt and Mark Duplass, and The Muppets as Ms. Piggy's receptionist – an ode to her role in The Devil Wears Prada.
2012: 'The Five Year Engagement'
Blunt was in three movies in 2012. One of them, The Five Year Engagement, is a romantic comedy with Jason Segel about a couple who put off their marriage for five years (hence the name). It brings both laughs and heart, and Emily succeeds in bringing enough variety for both herself and Segel.
The second hit movie for Blunt in 2012 was the time travel thriller Looper, with Joseph Gordon Levitt and Bruce Willis as an older Joseph Gordon-Levitt who travels back in time. Blunt plays a mysterious woman that lives on a farm with her son and is extremely weary of trespassers.
Also in 2012 she played a con artist and Colin Firth's love interest in Arthur Newman. Her only credit in 2013 was Studio Ghibli's animated feature, The Wind Rises.
2014: 'Edge of Tomorrow'
2014 started off with my favorite of her roles, Rita, a.k.a. The Full Metal Bitch, in Edge of Tomorrow. It has a Groundhog Day-like premise but is set in the future amidst an alien colonization attempt. Blunt's Rita is the military's poster girl – a super soldier, an alien killing machine. Rita helps the initially naive Tom Cruise use his ability to restart the day to their advantage.
Edge of Tomorrow is one of the best action films ever made. It's smart, original, well put together, the special effects are great, and both Emily Blunt and Cruise brought their A-game.
2012: 'Into the Woods'
Later that year, she did the film adaption of the popular Stephen Sondheim musical Into The Woods, which is a darker retelling of classic fairy tales. I'm a sucker for musicals, so I absolutely loved it. Blunt was laugh out loud funny and incredibly endearing (I would have preferred that she get the Oscar nod instead of Streep, but Meryl was obviously a safer bet).
In 2015 she headed up the slow-burn thriller
, as the sympathetic Agent Kate Macer. Read my review of Sicario for a full plot and character rundown.
2016: 'The Huntsman'
In 2016, she'll be in the Snow White and the Huntsman prequel, The Huntsman Winter's War. Charlize Theron will reprise her role as Queen Ravenna, as will Chris Hemsworth for The Huntsman. New and exciting additions to the cast include Jessica Chastain as Hemsworth's partner in crime, Sara, and Blunt as Queen Freya. It should be excellent. My three favorite people all in one (epic) movie.
Blunt will also be taking on the film adaption of Paula Hawkins's best selling novel Girl on the Train as the main character, Rachel, and is already garnering Oscar buzz for the role. Blunt will also join her husband, John Krasinski, in an animated movie called Animal Crackers.
2017 and Beyond
As stated before, it has been rumored that Emily Blunt has been eyed for the role of Captain Marvel in the MCU. Needless to say, she would be a fantastic addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. She has also been rumored to be the new Mary Poppins in Disney's upcoming revival of the character. The fact that she has been rumored for these two very different roles and fans have stated that they would be more than happy to see her play these characters says a lot for her achievements as an actress over the past ten years.
We're living in a very special time for performers. Like I said in Jessica Chastain's career review, she's the new Cate Blanchett. Emily doesn't fit into any mold, though, she defies genres. Emily Blunt is Jodie Foster's grittiness, Uma Thurman's combat ability, and Sandra Bullock's comedic timing, all wrapped up in a pretty package.
- 2006 (lead) (winner)
- 2006 (supporting) (nominee)
- 2010 (lead) (nominee)
- 2013 (supporting) (nominee)
- 2014 (supporting) (nominee)
EDA Female Focus Award: Kick-ass Female Action Star (winner)