Having two critically received films at the Sundance Film Festival is a handful for most actors, but having less than 48 hours in town to promote them would make most downright punchy. Luckily, Emily Blunt has enough Brit wit to handle such a situation with aplomb. As she plops down onto a sofa to discuss her new flick, “Sunshine Cleaning,” Blunt, 24, reveals the same ironic edge as her character, Nora (the pothead sister to costar with Amy Adams’ go-getter Rose).
“When other people are onscreen, I’m like, ‘Yeah, yeah, bulls–t, bulls–t, bulls–t….Oh, there’s me!'” deadpans Blunt. “I howl with laughter at myself.” In all honesty, the actress says hearing the audience laugh at her comedic scenes “makes me well up. It’s this weird, embarrassed thing. It’s so frightening to do.”
This story first appeared in the January 24, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Blunt says she took on the film, which centers around two down-on-their-luck sisters who start a business cleaning up crime and suicide scenes, because Adams was already attached. Also, “the lure of playing a pothead is attractive,” she says.
But it was booze, not drugs, that Blunt indulged in during the wrap party of the film, which was shot quickly and on a low budget. Held at a cowboy bar in Albuquerque, N.M., the bash “had a salsa band and we danced and I did Jägermeister shots, which I hate,” Blunt recalls. “That’s how drunk I was — that I actually did Jäger shots. I regretted it the next day because we had to do a night shoot and I looked vile and felt really ill.”
Today, however, she looks the part of a Sundance pro in a cream Juicy Couture sweater coat over a striped T-shirt, jeans and tall black boots. “I also got kitted out in some really ugly hats, so I’m fine,” she said, referring to the single-digit temps in the mountains of Park City, Utah.
Despite all the film premieres, swag suites and parties, Blunt says the thing she would have liked to do most in Sundance would have been a toboggan ride. Unfortunately, time does not allow, as she is also here to promote the Tom Hanks-produced “The Great Buck Howard,” costarring the actor’s son, Colin, and John Malkovich as an over-the-hill magician.
“I play a neurotic p.r. person who is loathing working with John Malkovich’s character,” says Blunt of her brief but hilarious turn. “Bring in the Brits to play nerds and Nazis. We do it really well.”