Interview: Emily Blunt
Five-Year Engagement - trailer
The trailer for Five-Year Engagement.
''Someone's just handed me a Gummi Bear, so I'm quite happy.''
Media and film industry pundits in Emily Blunt's homeland have tipped the young London actress to be the next Brit to ascend to Hollywood A-list status, but on a spring Saturday night in Los Angeles, Blunt is busy conducting interviews across the Pacific and making do with a late dinner of unglamorous lollies.
In 2003, barely out of her teens, Blunt made her reputation in a succession of high-rating British TV crime shows, historical dramas and literary adaptations.
Nine hectic years later, Blunt has 20 feature films to her credit, including international blockbusters such as The Devil Wears Prada, Charlie Wilson's War and Salmon Fishing in Yemen. She's also received that most coveted of thespian roles, guest voice on The Simpsons.
Blunt chats happily about The Five-Year Engagement, the new screwball romantic comedy she stars in opposite Jason Segel. The pair play Violet and Tom, an ideal couple struggling for years to find the right time, place and, crucially, an appropriately kick-ass party theme for their wedding. Violet's career in psychology sidelines Tom's aspirations to be a San Francisco celebrity chefs - bedlam and hilarity ensue.
Blunt is justifiably proud of the creative team behind the film, instrumental in reviving the rom-com in the past decade. Producer Judd Apatow helmed Knocked Up and The 40 Year Old Virgin. Additionally he wrote or produced a slew of comedy hits including Bridesmaids, Pineapple Express and Superbad. Before The Five-Year Engagement, director Nicholas Stoller gave us Get Him to the Greek and - with co-writer and leading man Jason Segel - the farcical break-up flick Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
''What Judd Apatow does - and more particularly what Nick and Jason write - is speak to the everyman,'' Blunt says. ''They create characters that are flawed, not physically perfect or perfectly behaved … I think there's an eccentricity to their stuff that feels like real life. What people laugh at and relate to is the awkwardness and ridiculousness they recognise from their own lives.''
Blunt and Segel share an on-screen bond that reinforces their believability as lovers weathering a fraught trip to the altar through career hiccups, family fatalities, catastrophic affairs and Tom's obsession with deer-hunting and taxidermy.
Their chemistry is most evident during intimate moments. Violet, thrilled at finally being proposed to, mimes sex with her fiance. The scene is comically absurd as the sex, apparently, involves escaping from a glass box, climbing a ledge and walking awkwardly into the wind.
Blunt admits her task was made easier being surrounded by a supporting cast of outstanding screen comics. Alison Brie (Community), Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation), Mindy Kaling (The Office US) and Chris Parnell (30 Rock) also star. Rhys Ifans is delightfully batty as Violet's psychology professor.
''It did feel like an ensemble movie,'' Blunt says. ''Rhys Ifans brings this fantastic oddity to whatever he does. And there was a bunch of improvisation. I think that's where these golden, spontaneously funny moments happen. Nothing was too outrageous or taboo.
''And I'm willing to try anything. I enjoy that 'bag of tricks' aspect of this job. You keep discovering, you keep delving into the bag and finding new things that you didn't know you could do. That's the joy of it, and I intend to take full advantage of it.''
The Five-Year Engagement opens on May 3.