Emily Blunt is getting blunt about what kinds of scripts she will immediately reject.
Blunt, who stars in and executive produces gritty Prime Video series “The English,” slammed the concept of a “strong female lead” character.
“It’s the worst thing ever when you open a script and read the words ‘strong female lead,'” Blunt told The Telegraph. “That makes me roll my eyes. I’m already out. I’m bored.”
She added, “Those roles are written as incredibly stoic, you spend the whole time acting tough and saying tough things.”
For “The English,” Blunt was immediately hooked on her character Cornelia who is seeking revenge after the death of her son. Cornelia partners with Eli (Chaske Spencer), an indigenous former cavalry scout who is trying to reclaim his land.
“I love a character with a secret,” Blunt continued. “And I loved Cornelia’s buoyancy, her hopefulness, her guilelessness…Cornelia is more surprising than that. She’s innocent without being naive and that makes her a force to be reckoned with. She startles Eli out of his silence and their differences become irrelevant because they need each other to survive. I thought that was very cool.”
IndieWire critic Ben Travers applauded Blunt’s “intimidating talents” in the role of Cornelia, dedicated to delivering “spirited dialogue and mythic personalities” onscreen with the ensemble cast in the Western period piece.
Similar to Blunt’s criticisms on the “strong female lead” label, “She-Hulk” star Tatiana Maslany previously spoke out about the “reductive” approach to categorizing roles based on gender.
“It’s just as much a shaving off of all the nuances, and just as much of a trope,” Maslany said earlier this year to The Guardian. “It’s a box that nobody fits into. Even the phrase is frustrating. It’s as if we’re supposed to be grateful that we get to be that.”
Maslany continued, “What drew me to the role is how human and how unheroic she is, and how little interest she has in pursuing all that. She becomes tokenized for her superhero-ness, but I do think there’s been this paradigm shift. It takes time and it’s about finding new ways to tell stories…I’m really interested in when these [marginalized] voices get to speak without it being like, ‘Oh my God, it’s all women,’ or, ‘Oh my God, this is a story about a queer couple.’ And those stories become as innately expected as they are now special.”