Our eternal favorite and star of films like The Devil Wears Prada, Into the Woods and Mary Poppins Returns, Emily Blunt, is having quite the year. Not only did she revive aforementioned iconic nanny Mary Poppins, which earned her a Golden Globe nomination this award season, but her performance in A Quiet Place (which was written and directed by her husband, John Krasinski) earned her the outstanding performance by a female actor in a supporting role award at the 2019 Screen Actors Guild Awards.
The actor, wife and mother may seem like she’s living a charmed life, but charming audiences did not come easily for her. As Blunt celebrates her 36th birthday on Feb. 23, we’re celebrating her by sharing her most inspiring quotes on everything from fame to marriage to overcoming a stutter she had as a child.
On stuttering as a child
“A stutter can be like a straitjacket. I struggled with vowels, so ‘Emily’ was like the depths of hell for me.” — Emily Blunt, NPR, 2014
Blunt suffered from a debilitating stutter that caused her lose her confidence and worry something was very wrong with her. She says her stuttering started around 7 years old and peaked when she was 13. She says she was so mortified to speak she barely spoke at all.
On finding her voice
“I’m someone who never thought I would end up in a career where I had to speak fluently. And here I am.” — Emily Blunt, NPR, 2014
A grade school teacher suggested Blunt try out for the school play because he observed that whenever she did voices and impressions with her schoolmates, the stutter disappeared.
Using a Northern-England accent, she was able to perform the entire play without stuttering. As happy as she was to find a simple way to overcome her problem, she thinks it was her mother who was most relieved.
On committing to marriage
“People quit on jobs. They quit on marriages. They quit on school. There’s an immediacy of this day and age that doesn’t lend itself to being committed to anything.” — Emily Blunt, Los Angeles Times, 2009
Blunt and Krasinski have been married for nine years, have two small daughters and are still going strong.
Why she won’t reduce her marriage to a “sound bite”
“This is what I find difficult about talking about my marriage: It’s hard to sum up something that’s so vital and means everything to you in a sound bite. Do you know what I mean? All I can say is that it’s an effing blast. It’s just great, and I’m so happy,” — Emily Blunt, Modern Luxury, 2012
It seems that developing a bit of a buffer zone around her marriage has helped it thrive.
On working with her husband in A Quiet Place
“I didn’t want it to be like, ‘Oh, how adorable. They’re working together…’ It was the only idea that had come our way that seemed bigger than our marriage. The narrative of our marriage was not going to overwhelm this movie and this amazing opportunity for him as a director, as a filmmaker, as a writer. I knew this was a big swing for him,” — Emily Blunt, The Hollywood Reporter, 2018
Both Blunt and Krasinski agreed early on in their marriage that they would keep their work lives separate. But that changed when Blunt read Krasinski’s script for A Quiet Place. She just couldn’t bear seeing the role go to another actor.
On creating her own version of Mary Poppins in Mary Poppins Returns
“I knew I had my work cut out for me just because of how extraordinary the original was and how beautiful Julie [Andrews, who played Mary Poppins] was in the original. But I knew that if I was going to take a big swing and carve out new space for myself, if I do it under Rob’s [Marshall, the director] guidance, I’d be all right,” — Emily Blunt, Associated Press, 2018
In addition to changing her voice and mannerisms to play the beloved nanny, Blunt also used the books by P. L. Travers as inspiration for her character.
“You’ve got to draw the line somewhere. My job is to persuade people that I’m somebody else and allow them to go on that journey with me. If you share too much about yourself, people’s interest becomes about you as opposed to the roles you have played,” — Emily Blunt, InStyle, 2016
Perhaps because she’s British or perhaps because she just wants to protect her family, Blunt tries to keep her private life as private as a big movie star can. We can’t blame her.
Why she doesn’t do social media
“To be honest, I’m crap at all of it. I can barely keep up with email and texts, let alone send out a public account of what I’m doing all day,” — Emily Blunt, InStyle, 2016
Other than a private Instagram account she shares with a small circle of family and friends, she prefers to avoid social media all together.
Blunt’s next film will be Disney’s Jungle Cruise, also starring Dwayne Johnson. Look for it in 2020.