By Jeanne Wolf | February 1, 2010 | People
Where do you go after surrounding yourself with awards buzz for a bravura performance as the Queen of England in The Young Victoria? Emily Blunt jumped right into the much-anticipated horror thriller The Wolfman, playing the damsel in distress.
“If I just pigeonholed myself into doing one kind of style or one kind of character, I would bore the crap out of myself,” she explains about what might seem her offbeat choice. “The biggest pressure you feel is pleasing all the fanboys who love the story of the Wolfman and can’t wait to see the movie. I met a lot of them when I went to Comic-Con and they are really superenthusiastic, to say the least.”
Blunt readily admits that facing up to a hairy creature with big teeth was a new challenge. “You have to react in a believable way to something that’s so supernatural,” she says. “I’ve never come across a wolfman. But I didn’t need much help because Benicio Del Toro, who plays him, looked absolutely fucking terrifying. That helped transport me because it really makes your skin crawl.”
Then she adds with a giggle, “I got chased by the Wolfman and ran for my life. I hate being chased, number one. When I was a kid, my mom would chase me up the stairs for a joke and I would cry. So I was living my childhood nightmare in this movie. It was not fun, especially when you’re fleeing in a corset and high heels.” In fact, fear is not an emotion that comes easily to Blunt, especially in her career. “Making movies is a fear-led industry where everyone’s like, If we don’t do this we’re going to miss out on this and then we’re fucked,” she says. “I really want to fight against that. It has just never been important to me to make a big splash. If I’m in a movie, I don’t care whether it’s two scenes or the whole deal. The fame thing seems to be the whole deal in Hollywood and the reason why people take these huge movies to maintain it. I keep hearing, ‘You have staying power.’ I believe that comes from doing good work.
“In this town, particularly at parties, everybody’s so busy being seen that you don’t actually see anyone,” she adds. “Being an actor can enrich your life in so many ways, but it can limit you as well if you become insulated and try to live in that bubble of celebrity.”
Now, Blunt is on to a new challenge, playing a ballerina in The Adjustment Bureau opposite Matt Damon. “Learning to dance was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do,” she says. “I couldn’t believe how emotional I got when I finally finished all the dancing scenes. But I learned something: It’s good to put yourself in situations that are frightening to you.”
Martin Scorsese Reunites With Leo
In case you’re counting, it’s the fourth time around for superstar Leonardo DiCaprio and legendary director Martin Scorsese (after Gangs of New York, The Aviator and The Departed). The pair is teaming up again for the creepy thriller Shutter Island, based on the novel by Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone).
“I like working with Leo,” Scorsese says. “We have similar sensibilities. I’m 30 years older than him, but we see the world the same way. On the set we can just look at each other after a take and know whether it was right or not.”
The twisted tale of a US marshal investigating the disappearance of a mental patient from a highsecurity facility goes to some very unsettling and dark places. Scorsese reveals that the film took a toll on both him and DiCaprio. “I got through it and I’ll probably make another movie,” he says with a wry grin. “But I’ve felt that way about every picture in the past 20 years. Each time the experience has been traumatic. Casino was very tough, and so was Gangs of New York. The Departed was miserable. And doing Shutter Island put me on a very trying emotional and psychological journey, not to mention the physical hell that we went through.”
That physical hell put city boy Scorsese in a forest recreating a hurricane as DiCaprio flees for his life. “I was surrounded by trees, wind and rain,” he says. “That wasn’t fun for an urban person.”
But the director admits that it was tougher on DiCaprio: “Leo really gets into a character, unraveling all of these layers, and in this particular case, the story just lent itself to that,” he says. “Ultimately, when Shutter Island was finished, he was very surprised at how much he had to give emotionally and how far he had to travel psychologically.”
Scorsese shrugs when reminded that the explicit violence in many of his own films has shocked audiences. “I can’t defend it,” he says. “I approach it the way I remember experiencing it in movies growing up. I was very affected by it—even more than the physical violence, the emotional violence around me in my neighborhood. It’s part of what I am, who I am, and somehow it channels itself into my films. I see it sometimes almost as absurd.”
Then he adds, “If you’re doing what you were born to do, then you’re doing what God has told you to do. It’s what you’ve been made for. No matter how much I might complain, I have to realize making movies is what I was made for. I have no choice but to do the best job I can.”
PHOTOGRAPHS BY ANDREAS BRANCH/PATRICKMCMULLAN.COM