Emily Blunt on Action Movie Roles: “I think it’s important to show different layers. Nobody is just tough, nobody is just vulnerable”
Though she reportedly missed the opportunity to play Black Widow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Emily Blunt does not shy away from getting tough in her acting choices, like in the new cop thriller Sicario. Speaking with NPR, Blunt touches upon why she has gotten into roles with an action bent and why she thinks there aren’t more action movies with female leads.
Blunt has no interest in playing an invincible superwoman or a damsel in distress. She explains, “I think it’s important to show different layers. Nobody is just tough, nobody is just vulnerable. And so you try and peel back the layers, try and make it interesting, but also play the reality: Which is that really even though she’s highly skilled at running a kidnap response team, she’s limited to that. She’s never really done any investigative work. And she also is pulled into a world that is completely alien to her that she disagrees with, that she resents and tries to rage against.”
Though Blunt has proven she can hold her own in action-orientated roles in Sicario and Edge of Tomorrow, she points to Hollywood’s numbercrunchers to explain why there are so few female-driven action movies. She says, “I think that what happens often in Hollywood, in the business, is that they crunch numbers on a film that has previously brought in a lot of money. And so you’ve got art versus commerce here. And usually a film is geared toward the opening weekend and it’s decided whether it’s a good or bad film based on its opening weekend — which I think is also a terrible thing. … A film, when it’s being made, is usually geared towards teenage boys as they are the ones who seem to be going out and — according to the numbers — buying tickets. But as my mother would say: Well, I’m not a teenage boy and I don’t want to see a film about robots and aliens. So I think there’s a huge majority of people who are not in that age group or that gender group. … I just believe that we’ve got to keep writing fantastic roles for women and keep forwarding this fight because I think the tides are turning.”