Is Emily Blunt the hardest working woman in showbusiness?

In the last nine years the 29-year-old has appeared in nineteen films including The Young Victoria - on BBC2 tonight at 9:00pm


How well do you know your Michael Bublé? The beloved Canadian entertainer’s Grammy-nominated single ‘Everything’ was in our Top 40 in 2007, but it was Top 10 in his homeland. Anyway, it went like this: “You’re a carousel, you’re a wishing well, and you light me up, when you ring my bell.” The inspiration for the song? Emily Blunt, his girlfriend at the time.


Not bad to have a hit song written about you when you’re only 24. But then Blunt has been seen in 19 films in the nine years she’s been on our screens, most recently in feel-good British comedy Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. Still only 29, she must be used to reading her own story and letting out a little whimper of disbelief.

Within two weeks, she’ll have notched up two more: the latest joke-fest from producer Judd Apatow, The Five-Year Engagement (in cinemas from Friday 22 June), and the Sundance-stamped indie Your Sister’s Sister (29 June). This will bring her total for 2012 up to four, having earlier appeared in a cameo in The Muppets (currently showing on Sky Box Office and FilmFlex). What is an already impressive tally goes up to five in September with Looper, a sci-fi hitman thriller where she stars alongside Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis. Is Emily Blunt the hardest working woman in showbusiness?

In the early part of this century, the Roehampton-born Blunt was a new arrival on the acting scene. Privately educated, daughter of top QC Oliver Blunt and niece of Sandhurst-educated Surrey MP Crispin Blunt, the young Emily may have skipped the struggle part of the tortured artist’s ideal biography, but her BBC accent and finishing-school deportment proved useful for getting parts as posh girls and royals.

She burnished her nascent CV with some character-building stage work (winning an Evening Standard newcomer award for The Royal Family), and parts in Poirot and Foyles War on ITV.

Her breakthrough came in Pawel Pawlikowski’s memorable, hard-centred same-sex romance My Summer of Love (2004), in which she played the boarding-school girl attracted to Natalie Press’s working-class opposite. Within a couple of years she’d cracked Hollywood, in style, playing a haughty British assistant at a Vogue-like clobber magazine in The Devil Wears Prada. The part enabled her to steal scenes from the likes of Stanley Tucci and Meryl Streep, and she was Golden Globe and Bafta-nominated for it. She’d arrived. (In The Muppets she appeared briefly as Miss Piggy’s obstructive receptionist, a sly nod to Prada.)

Blunt’s next award nominations shower came for 2008’s The Young Victoria. (It goes without saying that she’d made six other films in-between, including the oft-overlooked Sunshine Cleaning, a decent US indie in which she played American and matched Amy Adams for lovable kookiness.)

As Princess Victoria in Jean-Marc Vallée’s historical drama, Blunt clearly enjoyed teasing out the mischief and rebellious streak in the future monarch, kicking against palace protocol and proposing marriage to Prince Albert (Rupert Friend). Another Globe nomination; another disappointment on the night. But never mind she had already compensated with a win as best supporting actress in a miniseries/TV movie for Stephen Poliakoff’s New Labour-themed fable Gideon’s Daughter, playing the daughter of spin doctor Bill Nighy.

By now very much the leading lady, Blunt continued to prove a match for formidable leading men, acting opposite Benicio Del Toro in The Wolfman, Jack Black in Gulliver’s Travels, Matt Damon in The Adjustment Bureau and voicing the part of Juliet opposite James McAvoy in British computer animation Gnomeo & Juliet. 

Sometimes she’s English, sometimes not. As well as the quality, you can certainly feel the width; from big-budget, madcap 3D comedy to earnest, soul-searching Sundance romance, Blunt seems to have the waterfront covered.

Though something of a natural beauty, she’s spoken out against airbrushing (“I hate it when your legs are three times the length they actually are”), prefers “jeans and flip-flops”, told LA Times magazine that she’s determined not to give the paparazzi what they want, and cites Cate Blanchett as her role model for her lack of vanity (“not a shred of self-consciousness”). This all bodes well.

As for being Michael Bublé’s muse, she’s moved on from that, marrying actor John Krasinski from The American Office in 2010, recently reporting that, two years on, it’s still “an effing blast”. Oh, the wedding took place at Lake Como, Italy, on George Clooney’s estate. Cue another whimper of disbelief.


The Young Victoria is on BBC2 Tonight at 9:00pm