Emily Blunt isn’t exactly known for her vocals. The 31-year-old British-born actress has bagged starring roles in big films like The Devil Wears Prada, The Young Victoria, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen and recent blockbuster Edge of Tomorrow. But until we watched the new big screen adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods we had no idea she could hold a note.
Take it from us: she most definitely can. Not that Blunt’s all-singing role as the Baker’s Wife, opposite James Corden’s Baker, was one that came easily to her.
“I’ve always found it very nerve-wracking to sing in front people,” she said at today’s press conference in Central London, calling it a “knee-knocking experience.”
Blunt’s reservations about hitting those high notes weren’t enough to hold her back from auditioning, though. “In this case it was really hard to say no because I wanted to work with Meryl again and I loved Rob – we’d met but never worked together – and the part was so extraordinary.
“It was a very hard thing to resist, so I had lots of singing lessons!” said Blunt.
However, the star, who now lives in America, wasn’t that familiar with Sondheim’s hit before the casting call.
“I’m embarrassed to say that I have not seen the show,” said Blunt. “I don’t think it’s done as much in the UK. At every American school or college it seems to be performed a lot.
“I was surprised that my husband [actor John Krasinski], who does not like musicals, knew of Into the Woods and even sang ‘Into the Woods’ when I was going to my audition. So I think this is evidence that this means a lot, to Americans especially.”
In another recent interview, Blunt criticised schools who only put on performances of the first act of Into the Woods, avoiding the musical’s conclusion which sees the fairytale characters headed for less-than-happy endings: “it’s just sad that we’re choosing to coddle our children that way.
“Nobody goes through life unscathed. If you want to fairytale the s*** out of everything, you’re doing everyone a disservice.”
Into the Woods is in UK cinemas on 9th January