“I’ve done films where I’ve been paid considerably less than the men”: Emily Blunt speaks to Stylist

Posted by
Harriet Hall

Emily Blunt has come a long way since her debut role in indie romance, My Summer of Love.

The 33-year-old British actor, who rocketed to international fame following her role as bitchy assistant, Emily, in fashion industry take-down, The Devil Wears Prada, will not be pigeonholed, recently starring alongside Tom Cruise in action thriller, Edge of Tomorrow, and as FBI agent, Kate Mercer, in Mexican cartel film, Sicario.

Her latest film, The Huntsman: Winter’s War, a prequel to 2012’s Snow White and The Huntsman sees Blunt play alongside fellow Hollywood heavyweights, Charlize Theron, Jessica Chastain and Chris Hemsworth.

In a rare turn for Hollywood, the film sees three women take the three empowering central roles, and it passes the Bechdel test with flying colours.

On the day of the film’s release, Blunt speaks to Stylist about nudity in film, sexism in Hollywood and how motherhood has changed her approach to roles.

Emily Blunt as the Ice Queen

Emily Blunt as the Ice Queen in The Huntsman: Winter’s War

Speaking of starring alongside these prominent women, Blunt tells

“It’s such a rare thing to find a film with three female roles in it, let alone three really empowered ones- really layered and different and that was a huge part of it for me of wanting to sign on- just wanting to breathe the same air as those powerhouse women.

“I should say Chris as well, let’s call him a powerhouse woman as well,” she adds.

Could this be the start of a new girl squad?

“Chris can be involved because he’s a bit of a girl. No, he is the ultimate dream man, as we call him.”

Blunt admits that she took real enjoyment from playing in her first villain role, saying that transforming herself into the ruthless Ice Queen was “relatively easy - which is worrying!

“It’s great fun to play the villain,” she continues. “There are these fantastic lines and moments - especially in this heightened reality, there’s something arch about it and exciting.”

Emily Blunt and Charlize Theron in The Huntsman: Winter's War

Emily Blunt and Charlize Theron in The Huntsman: Winter's War

Blunt did admit, however, that since becoming a mother (her and her husband,John Krasinski, are parents to two-year-old Hazel, and are currently expecting their second child), she questions the type of roles she is willing to accept.

“I think you become a bit more practical about it,” she says. “Not only about the timeframe of how long you’ll be working for and how long that means you’d have to juggle being a mother and an actress for, but also really what I’m putting out there into the world has become more important to me. I want to play people that inspire me and that therefore can inspire other people, including my daughter.”

Laughing at how her comments might apply to her latest roles – in The Huntsman and the upcoming Girl on the Train (the film adaptation of Paula Hawkins’ novel of the same name in which Blunt plays the alcoholic, Rachel), Blunt adds:

“She [her daughter] has come to visit me on set…she’s seen me play really inspiring people: just an Ice Queen and then a raging boozer.

“She had no reaction whatsoever to the Ice Queen- it was like how I dressed on a Friday night to her - no reaction to the white skin and white hair- which was quite moving as it’s like she sort of accepts you for who you are as opposed to some superficial façade, and then The Girl on the Train she was a bit put off by my rosacea face

“She was like ‘ooo red’ when she saw my face.”

Emily Blunt and co-star, Chris Hemsworth

Emily Blunt and co-star, Chris Hemsworth

In a recent interview with The Telegraph, Blunt said she didn’t want to do nudity anymore. But she tells Stylist that she would break her rule if the right role came along, saying:

“It’s not something I wouldn’t do. I’ve just done a semi-nude thing in Girl on the Train but I’m not looking for that. I think [nudity] can be really effective if it’s shot correctly, if it’s not gratuitous.”

When asked about the future of women in Hollywood, Blunt says the future looks bright, with a “new wave of fantastic roles for women,” but that perhaps we need to re-frame the way we talk about feminism and film, saying:

“I think sometimes we can put such a finite stamp on it by talking about it excessively and in the wrong context. I think it’s important to keep the conversation going and I think there’s a momentum happening right now.”

The Sicario star does admit that the gender pay gap remains a problem, saying:

“I know I’ve done films where I’ve been paid considerably less less than the men. Now I feel like I’ve been doing this for a long time and I’ve got a responsibility to fight for what my male equivalent would be earning.”

Watch the full interview below. 

The Huntsman: Winter’s War is in UK cinemas now