There was a chance we wouldn’t see Emily Blunt as a kickass FBI agent.
And what a shame that would have been, because the actress is incredible as Kate Macer, a federal agent thrown into the escalating drug war at the Mexican border, in Sicario, which recently premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.
“It was never going to be rewritten,” she clarified to ET, before explaining, “But a financier approached Taylor Sheridan, the writer, and said, ‘If you make her a dude, we will up your budget.’” She smiled flatly, “The sad state of affairs of this business.”
Still, Blunt remains optimistic about Hollywood’s treatment of women. “I think the landscape is taking a shift,” she explained. “The tides are turning in a very positive way for women. It’s not such an anomaly to see women in these kinds of roles anymore, and I think audiences are embracing it.”
“I can’t imagine what the dynamic would have been if this character had been a guy,” she added. “I think it just would have been guys being tough and shooting guns.”
Blunt shot Sicario shortly after giving birth to her and John Krasinski’s first child, Hazel, which she said “felt challenging” at the time. “I really had to explore a character that was so dissimilar to myself and so dissimilar to the moment I was having in my life, becoming a new mother,” she recalled.
“I would be going home to a perfect, pink baby, and going on set to these guys.” She pointed the film’s poster, featuring her costars, Benecio Del Toro and Josh Brolin, before laughing, “Who don’t look like babies. They act like babies, but don’t look like babies.”
Meanwhile, Brolin tells us that he couldn’t imagine anyone but Blunt in the role. “I know her and I’m like, ‘Oh yeah, why would you hire anybody else?’” he said. “Because she’s the one with the balls...She’s a tough cookie, man.’”
As for Krasinski, who was in attendance at the TIFF screening, Blunt says he “loved” seeing his wife kick some ass. “I got a lot of like, leg hits during it,” she told us, mimicking Krasinski excitedly slapping her leg during the screening. “I think that’s a good thing. A leg hit is like, ‘Oh my god.’”
Just don’t ask Blunt about the rumblings coming out of Toronto that her performance could earn the actress her first Oscar nomination. “I take it all with a pinch of salt,” she said of awards season buzz. “I’m just glad people like me in the film.”
Sicario is in select theaters Friday and everywhere Sept. 25.