Actor in Focus: Emily Blunt

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From musicals such as Into the Woods (2014) and crime thrillers such as Sicario (2015), Emily Blunt is without a doubt one of the most versatile actresses of her generation. With a resume sporting a diverse set of films, it’s no surprise she was chosen to star as the titular character in Mary Poppins Returns this December. But before she lands on the streets of London with a parasol and a spoonful of sugar, we’ll be taking a quick look at Blunt’s acting career from past to present.

At a young age, Blunt had a stutter which eventually led her to stop speaking at the age of 12. She overcame her stutter when a teacher suggested she use a Northern Accent in a school play where specialists failed. Following this, she would later study two years of drama studies at Hurtwood House where in 2000, she where she was chosen to perform at the Edinburgh Festival. In 2001, she in Sir Peter Hall’s production on the play The Royal Family opposite Judi Dench.

In her theatrical debut as Tasmin in My Summer of Love (2004), she received acclaim which led to her first British Independent Film Awards nomination and shared the Evening Standard British Film Award for Most Promising Newcomer with her co-star Natalie Press. In 2007, she would receive two Golden Globe Awards nominations, winning one for Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries or Television Film as Natalie for Gideon’s Daughter (2006). Her second nomination was for her role as the catty and overworked Emily in The Devil Wears Prada (2006). Although she did not win, it would arguably be the role that would serve as her breakout performance.

Blunt continued to work in other films such as The Jane Austen Book Club (2007) and Sunshine Cleaning (2008). In one of her most iconic roles, she starred as the eponymous character in The Young Victoria (2009). As Queen Victoria, she provided the charm and the commanding screen presence that was required for such a role. As a result, she would receive a slew of acting nominations, winning the Vancouver Film Critics Circle Awards for Best Actress in 2010 which helped cement Blunt as a leading actress.

In the past few years, Blunt has experimented with different genres with positive results. She has also proven she can kick butt as the no-nonsense Rita in the criminally underrated Edge of Tomorrow (2014). She provided a wilful grit in her action sequences that audiences had yet to see or expect from Blunt, allowing her to stand alongside veteran action star Tom Cruise with ease. Alongside beating up aliens, she showed off her singing abilities in the ensemble piece Into the Woods. Her most recent appearance was in the delightfully intense A Quiet Place (2018) where she delivered a carefully restrained performance, once again showcasing her intensive acting capabilities. Alongside her upcoming role in Mary Poppins Returns, she is also set to star in Disney’s adventure film Jungle Cruise alongside Dwayne Johnson and Jack Whitehall in 2020.

Taking the reins from Julie Andrews, Blunt certainly has a challenge ahead of her. Although she does not sound like Julie Andrews, it’s safe to say she will deliver a solid performance as Mary Poppins. The role itself will really allow Blunt to showcase her talents as a musical performer even further than what she showed in Into the Woods. This marks a very exciting time for Blunt’s fans but also for those who are not too familiar with her as an actress. Maybe this is the performance where Emily Blunt will finally receive her first Oscar nomination – and if time really wants to repeats itself, win – like her predecessor. Regardless of where her version of Mary Poppins lands in the eyes of moviegoers, Blunt is sure to deliver a treat during the festive season.

Mary Poppins Returns (2018), directed by Rob Marshall, is due to be released on 21st December by Walt Disney Pictures.

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A third year English Student. You can often find me sleeping/studying in the library.

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