Los Angeles – If there was anyone perfect for the role of the iconic Mary Poppins, it would be Emily Blunt.
The 35-year-old actress-singer embodies not only the magical charm of her legendary character but is also a very good singer. In fact, it was just recently that her husband-actor John Krasinski (“A Quiet Place”) discovered that his lovely wife could sing!
She confessed, “I was always quite embarrassed singing in front of people and it was so personal. I just much prefer singing alone in the car or the shower or by myself from the house. It was never a public thing. I was never that person at a party who would want to sing in front of people. Even in Karaoke, I need a lot of Tequila to do it. So he was very surprised on ‘Into the Woods’ when he saw me sing!”
In a separate interview, John revealed to us that he was in tears and very moved when he first saw Emily sing.
Married since 2010, the charming and down-to-earth couple have two daughters — Hazel, 4, and Violet, 2.
Portraying the famous nanny in the Rob Marshall-helmed musical fantasy, “Mary Poppins Returns,” Emily explained why the film was magical 50 years ago and is still today.
“This is sort of escapism and spectacle and hopeful joy that a movie like this brings. Certainly, movie musicals are seen as being very nostalgic and maybe at a time gone by. But yet I remember when Rob Marshall did ‘Chicago,’ people were like well that will never work. Then it won Best Picture or something and you realize the need for people to escape into something that is a heightened world and fantastical and exciting. The songs that you know and the sense of nostalgia is important. Certainly in the fragility of the times that people find themselves in and for many this can be a very disconcerting time. So we must never see the idea of hope and joy as being trivial words or trivial life choices,” she explained.
So how different is her Mary Poppins from Julie Andrews’?
“I definitely found that in the books, she was quite different from what I remembered. Julie is so beautiful in the original and her natural sunniness shines through with that. She is probably more tender in ‘The Sound of Music’ than she is in ‘Mary Poppins’ for sure. But in the book, she’s completely bizarre, unknowable, eccentric, very rude, funny, vain, and very stylish. So how do you play somebody who is completely in command of the environment that she is in and yet pretends not to be?
“She is grounded and yet airborne and magical and practical. She never reveals her inner workings to anybody. She was just terribly exciting to play, that duality of the character and the things that I certainly wanted to bring to her. Rob Marshall and I collaborated on where those cracks of humanity were in this super human? Where do we see the private moments or the tender moments? They should be so subtle and so fleeting. You have got to see that enigmatic master plan. You have got to know there’s a plan afoot. Those were really exciting to find those moments. I also said to Rob, I want it to be that she is so stern, so austere and so she holds everyone at arm’s length. But yet these adventures, she should be like an adrenaline junkie and she can’t wait to go on these adventures. So it just was wonderful fun playing her and trying to figure her out.”
For someone who struggled from stuttering from age seven to 14, Emily has indeed gone a long way. She revealed how she was bullied during those early years and how acting and singing helped her get rid of her stuttering.
“Kids didn’t understand why I couldn’t speak properly,” she narrated. “Stuttering is almost something that people still poke fun at. It is a disability and you can’t tease it because people sound funny and they look funny when they stutter. I looked funny and sounded funny and kids were like why can’t you say it, just say it! Even a teacher of mine was like, spit it out! That is a problem. That it’s a very misinformed issue that a lot of people, a lot of adults are still going through. There are many adults out there who have never been given the right treatment and they find it impossible to get the kind of job that they deserve that they are highly qualified for and they can’t represent who they are in these meetings because they are hindered by their speech impediment.
“It’s just been a really interesting experience for me working with the stuttering organizations that I have worked with. But my advice to kids is, honestly, my daughter said it best, she was at this summer camp and a kid was mean to her and I said so what are you going to say to that girl tomorrow if she says something mean? And she goes, I am going to say, I am going to go find a kind kid. And I went there you go, that is the perfect thing to say. There’s always kind kids around you and there’s always people around you who are happy to talk to you and are there for you and don’t feel alone. Everybody gets bullied. Everybody goes through it and everybody has something. I promise you there’s light on the other side and this is what I say to all of those kids. It will pass and you will grow from it and you will learn from it. To be different and to be an individual is the most important thing in the world.”
As a mother, she admitted she doesn’t want her kids to be bullied. “But I know that that’s part of life, that teasing will happen,” she pointed out. “If it gets to the point where bullying is happening and it becomes really cruel, that will be agonizing for me. But my child, my older one is at a school where kindness is paramount and at our household, kindness is paramount. I want my kids to grow up with a great sense of justice and what is right and great empathy. They are very empathetic children.”
This Christmas, Emily shared that they will dress the tree. “We all do the tree,” she said. “I feel like we always get a tree that’s too big. We definitely decorate the house. I am a massive fairy light fan. I would like to be in a room with fairy lights all the time and gifts, not too many, sort of overwhelming for kids when there are too many. And we will be in New York this year.”
As for cooking, she shared, “Christmas for me, as in food wise, we have minced pies in England. But my most favorite recipe and I just made it the other day is beef brisket. It might have been the best thing I have ever made. It was so good. It was like a slow braised beef brisket in onions and wine and all of the rest. It was so good. I would say that was the best thing that I have ever made.”
Her favorite tradition which she introduced into her household as a mom? Marmite, she said. It is a British food spread made from yeast extract, a by-product of beer brewing, which has a distinctive, powerful flavor and is extremely salty.
She told us, “I was very excited to bring Marmite into our house. Don’t say ugh. I loved Marmite and I ate it twice a day, every day growing up and it’s awesome. My older one has rejected it and the younger one is still involved in Marmite, so I am really going to have hope for Violet when it comes to Marmite.”