Thursday, October 1, 2009

Emily Blunt talks The Adjustment Bureau and The Young Victoria

The Adjustment Bureau which co-stars Matt Damon is loosely based on Philip K. Dick's science fiction short story, Adjustment Team. The film is written and directed by George Nolfi who also wrote The Bourne Ultimatum and Ocean's Twelve. Damon plays David Norris, a congressman who falls fo a ballet dancer named Elise Sellas (Blunt). Their affair is affected by mysterious forces keeping the lovers apart. Emily Blunt talked to MTV during a break from shooting in New York City:

"It's like a modern love story, but it's got an ominous sci-fi backdrop to it...It's going to be exciting and disconcerting and strange, which is what I like about [Dick's] work. It's very cool and clever. It's got a really tight script."

"The term soulmates is used so casually, but in this case, in this film, it is true," Blunt explained. "They are sort of destined to be together and they fight fate to be together."

"Matt's thrilled because this time it's me who's been thrust into the month of training, because I play a dancer in it, which is kind of arduous training seeing as I've never bloody danced before. And Matt is actually thrilled that for the first time it's me who has to do that kind of thing and he's got off scot free."

"I really would love to do a movie where I kick ass!" she laughed. "I'm not doing any wire work or anything [in 'Adjustment Bureau'], so I'm bitterly disappointed!"

Blunt also discussed her role as Queen Victoria. She pointed out what we've known for years. All British actresses have to do a period piece:
"You have to don the bonnet at some point, otherwise you're simply not a British actress," she declared to MTV News.

Across the pond, Victoria as a historical figure is known as something of a downer. After all, she spent a decade in self-imposed exile, mourning the death of her hubby Albert. "That was my impression of her – that she was repressed and in mourning and never smiled and waddled around with that dour-faced expression and a hanky on her head," laughed Blunt.

"I loved that no one had seen that side to her – that young, passionate, fiery side," Blunt explained. "I was very surprised by the love story, which really did happen. When I read her diaries, I realized this wasn't just Hollywood sensationalizing this woman's life. It really was a meeting of souls when she met Albert."

...the actress approached Victoria as a woman first and a monarch second. She hopes viewers will do the same. "There are not that many people who know what's it like to be a queen, but I think everyone knows about falling in love for the first time," she said. "Everyone knows about a dysfunctional family. It's a really intimate portrait of her private life and what's it like for a girl who has a job and she feels in way over her head."

The Young Victoria focuses on Victoria's years as a princess, her romance with Albert, and her struggle with royal life after becoming queen at 18. The film though, is more love story than royal thriller. It breezes along from Victoria's pampered beginning to a happily-ever-after ending.

It's a fluffy costume drama, but some of the performances are quite good, including the one from Rupert Friend, whose Prince Albert is the real star of the whole show. Blunt carries the film quite well with a lot of grace and innocence. It difficult to make an audience feel sorry for a princess who has everything, but Blunt pulls it off. It's in her eyes, I think. Mark Strong, who plays the villain, is great as well, but he hovers in the background for too long to be a real threat to anybody.

I suppose it makes more historical sense for the film to be lighter fare - by the time Victoria became queen, monarchs had almost no political power. When the film treads into dark territory, most of that scene is pure fantasy that never took place.

The Young Victoria opens in limited release in the US on December 18 and goes wide a week later.

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