The hardest thing about doing interviews at Comic-Con is that -- more often than not -- you haven't seen the movie the interviewee is discussing. Such was the case when I sat down to talk with Emily Blunt, star of the upcoming science-fiction film "Looper," a time-travel extravaganza starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis as the same person.
Thankfully, Blunt was well aware of this bit of awkwardness, too. As you'll see below, this led to a very casual and conversational encounter. Hey, when you're at Comic-Con with Emily Blunt, maybe it's just best to talk about Comic-Con with Emily Blunt? Which we do. As well as how "The Devil Wears Prada" affected her career, why it's bad to label oneself in Hollywood, and why "The Five Year Engagement" didn't click with audiences.
Are you enjoying Comic-Con?
I just got here! My Comic-Con experience has been freezing rooms, like this one.
Are you going to put on a disguise and go on the floor?
I hope to. Joe [Gordon-Levitt] wants to do it. For some reason, he wants a donkey mask. Why a donkey? Why would you not pick something awesome?
A donkey mask is kind of awesome.
Who would dream that up? He is a true nerd. He's a true nerd if he's dreaming that up.
Anyone can be Batman, not many people are wearing a donkey mask.
That's true. Do you think there's a kind of hierarchy of nerds here at Comic-Con? Like if you come as Batman, people will think you're lame? You need to be more inventive.
Yes. I've seen many Batmans, but a guy dressed up in Coors Light bottles and boxes was getting a lot of attention.
Really? I've seen a lot of Darth Vaders as well. I think that's classic.
I think if people see something they haven't seen before ...
They get kind of geek ... I saw a Wonder Woman who looked kind of fabulous in the Wonder Woman outfit, yet she was also wearing a feathered fedora. Almost Charles Dickens-esque. I was like, uh, I don't know.
But I think that's what people like.
Yeah, she definitely did a little twist on it. It was like Oliver Twist Wonder Woman.
Well, if Levitt wants the donkey mask, what do you want?
God, not a donkey mask. I don't know -- what would I go as? I don't know. I don't know enough about superheroes.
You could be a Muppet? You were in that movie.
Maybe I could be a Muppet. Maybe I could be Miss Piggy?
I don't know how you would do that, Miss Piggy is very short and you are not.
I need like a big furry outfit. Like a Muppet outfit.
Last night I saw a guy running a rickshaw dressed as Kermit.
An actual Kermit the Frog?
Well, someone dressed up as him. A full-sized human being.
That's kind of amazing. Do you have a costume with you?
So you don't dress up?
If you went to a fancy dress party ... do you call them that here? Or do you call them costume parties?
Fancy dress party?
Yeah. [Laughs] Fancy dress party is what we call a costume party.
If someone said to me that I have to come to a "fancy dress party," I would show up in a tuxedo.
Everyone laughs at me when I say that. "Fancy dress," you mean fancy like "posh"? I'm like, "No, like in a costume." Then they're like, "You're weird." The other day we went in our pool and I was like, "Don't forget to bring your swimming costume." They were like, "Swimming costume?" I was like, "Swimsuit" -- whatever you guys call them.
You're at Comic-Con because you're in a sci-fi movie, "Looper." I don't think of Emily Blunt and sci-fi.
I know! Right? But that's what's good about it.
Do you like being in a sci-fi movie?
Well, I do. I've never been a huge sci-fi watcher or a superhero nerd. But, yet, for some reason, when I read these scripts -- "The Adjustment Bureau" and this one -- there's something about them. That fantasy world and that complexity and that high concept is really exciting for me. And I think the character is really interesting -- I got a lot to play with. So, yeah, maybe sometimes it is boring to watch real life all of the time and you want to find something that makes your brain expand.
You mentioned "The Adjustment Bureau." For some reason it didn't click with a lot of people.
Why didn't that happen?
Well, I don't really know. Because you don't really know why people will like something. I think people really like the love story in "The Adjustment Bureau." I'm happy about that -- people responded to that relationship. That's all I have power over, I'm not in charge of the high-concept stuff -- the aesthetic stuff. But I think that what George Nofi was going for was a little more timeless and simple. I think what Rian [Johnson, director of "Looper"] is really smart about is creating a world that makes your brain melt a little bit. It's scary how accessible this world is. Because I think when people watch "Looper," the world is a very heightened but very familiar version of this revolution that we are going through now -- the technology in the future and all of that stuff.
You are on quite a run lately. Are you conscious of that? Is there a moment when you think, This is working out?
[Pauses] To be honest, I try not to think about that much. I find the job really precarious, you know? And I'm in love with it. I'm very lucky to be doing it. But, yet, I don't know if you can ever bank on your position. It's a very fickle business in many ways. So, all I want to do is keep playing great roles in great movies -- whether they be made for $80,000 or $80 million. I don't care. I just want to do good work. I think as soon as you state your position in this industry, you're sort of stating your future as well. It's dangerous, because you never f-cking know. You know?
I don't want to call "Looper" a "good career move," because I have no idea what I'm talking about. But it does seem different for you, in a good way.
No, this is really different. I mean, this is a real departure for me, and the part is very different from anything I've done. I mean, she's a total tough cookie and she's kind of a badass. And I had an American accent, she's from the Midwest, she lives on a farm, she's tan, she's blonde, she's all of those things.
Right. It opens you up to a new audience.
Yeah. And I think it wasn't necessarily that I was looking for any kind of action movie or anything. I truly was so taken by the script and by the part. I don't really make any decisions based on some kind of strategy, because any time I've done that in the past, it has not worked out.
What's an example of a strategic movie?
I cannot say. [Laughs] I cannot say, it would be so mean. But I've done it once, and I don't think it's a good idea. You know?
Things never goes the way you think they're going to go.
And audiences are unpredictable and you see these little movies hit out of nowhere, and you're like, where does that come from? Oh my God -- you never know what's going to hit and what people are going to respond to.
When you were in "The Devil Wears Prada," that character is still so popular. A few years later, you're parodying that character in "The Muppets." When you were playing it, did you have any inkling that would happen?
Oh, God, no. I mean, I remember on the day, we were like, "Oh, this is funny." On that day, we would be laughing, rolling around laughing on that movie, because the themes were so much fun to play and the characters were so ludicrous. But no one expected it to hit like that. I think it was made for $35 million and it made something like $350 million or something insane like that. And no one expected that, ever.
When I saw "The Muppets," and you appear as your "Prada" character, the audience loved it.
[Laughs] Yeah, that character changed everything for me. That movie changed everything for me. I remember it being like night and day, between the day when that movie hadn't come out and the day when the movie had come out -- my life turned 180 degrees overnight. And I think, really, the main thing that I benefited from being in a character role in a big comedy that everyone loved was that it opened up many doors to me into those kind of genres. Whereas before, I think if you were British and you've done period dramas, you kind of were straight to a pigeonhole to donning a bonnet, and that's about it. And I think that playing those broader characters, which is what I prefer ‑‑ I don't necessarily like doing the leading lady roles. I like great characters. I think it opened up those doors to me in a huge way. The diversity I had coming my way after that -- I mean, they cast me in "Sunshine Cleaning" like that after seeing the movie. I would never have got a look in at that role beforehand. American pothead junkie, you know what I mean?
With "The Five-Year Engagement," it seemed like everything was in place, and then it didn't work out at the box office.
I don't know, dude. Honestly ‑‑
I was at that Tribeca party. And everyone --
Went nuts for it. I know. It's so weird because ... the movie was too long. It was way too long.
Granted. OK. It was a little, yeah. But all Judd Apatow productions are kind of long.
Yeah. And I don't know. I honestly don't know. I think Nick Stoller [the director] was really, really surprised that the movie didn't make more. The only thing I feel about romantic comedies is that they're everywhere now. They're in commercials, they're on TV shows, they're in every movie, and so you're not necessarily going to compel people to pay the money to get off the couch and go into the theater and see another romantic comedy. And I think maybe that's what draws people back from doing it. I mean, who knows? I think the other thing is that we had three other romance movies coming out that weekend. You know, things like that just ‑‑ and the audience gets split, you know? There's so many reasons to think about, but at the end of the day, who knows? And at the end of the day, you've got to relinquish all of that.
Well, I'm looking forward to seeing "Looper."
I hope you like it. It's my favorite thing I've done.
I love time-travel movies.
Oh my God, dude. It's the coolest movie I've ever been a part of, truly.
They should just put that on the poster, but it might be weird to have someone in the movie delivering the quote. That might be a conflict of interest.
"Coolest movie I've ever been a part of." [Laughs] Exactly.
Mike Ryan is senior entertainment writer for The Huffington Post. You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter.
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