How Emily Blunt and John Krasinski Became Hollywood’s Couple of the Year
Filed in Emily Gallery Update: Interviews John Krasinski News & Updates Photoshoots

How Emily Blunt and John Krasinski Became Hollywood’s Couple of the Year

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER – One of the defining moments in Emily Blunt and John Krasinski’s marriage happened unexpectedly during a cross-country flight in early 2017. Krasinski was on his way to meet with executives at Paramount about a script he had co-written and hoped to direct and star in — the high-concept thriller A Quiet Place. Blunt was immersed in preparations for a daunting new acting project, as the magical nanny in Disney’s sequel to one of its most beloved films, Mary Poppins. The couple had two healthy young daughters, a new home in Brooklyn and careers that were thriving — separately.

It seemed like a good idea to leave it that way. So Krasinski, after secretly writing a part for his wife, abandoned his plan to ask her to play it. “I decided the safest thing to do was just have this experience on my own,” says Krasinski of making A Quiet Place. He was afraid Blunt would say no — or, in a possibility that seemed even more mortifying, that she would say yes out of a sense of wifely duty rather than genuine enthusiasm. “I didn’t want this to be the one job that she was like, ‘Listen, I don’t know if I love this, but I love you, so I’ll do it.’ ”

Months earlier, Blunt had recommended a friend to play the part before Krasinski could even ask. “I was about to go into this enormous project,” Blunt says of Mary Poppins Returns. “I was like, ‘I can’t even.’ ” So when she finally read her husband’s script on the plane that day, Blunt’s reaction stunned them both. “I went sort of gray,” she says. “I couldn’t imagine the thought of letting someone else play the part.” Tentatively, she asked Krasinski if she could take the role, that of a pregnant mother raising her family in total silence through the apocalypse. “It was like she was proposing to me,” he says. “It was one of the greatest moments in my career. I screamed out, ‘Yes!’ I’m surprised we didn’t emergency land in San Antonio.”

It’s a Sunday afternoon in November as Blunt, 35, and Krasinski, 39, are recounting this story, a rare day of calm for a couple in the midst of a breakthrough year for both of them professionally. Besides A Quiet Place, which brought him newfound critical and commercial stature as a filmmaker, Krasinski also became an action hero on Amazon’s Jack Ryan series; and Blunt is now playing the title role in what is shaping up to be the biggest movie of the holiday season. Over eight years of marriage, the two have purposely avoided doing interviews together in order to keep their careers distinct. But today, Blunt and Krasinski have ducked out of the house to the office of his production company, an airy old building in lower Manhattan, curled up together on a velvet sofa, and begin to open up. Back home, a brisket Blunt made is roasting in the oven and their daughters, Hazel, 4, and Violet, 2, are napping, watched over by family visiting from out of town.

Blunt and Krasinski are matched in warmth and wit, and they unspool stories about their lives together at a screwball comedy pace, like the one about the discordant phase of their marriage when Krasinski was writing his horror script and Blunt was rehearsing for her Disney movie. “I’d come home and be like, ‘I just danced with 30 lamplighters,’ ” Blunt begins, in a sing-song voice. ” ‘It was beautiful!’ ” Adds Krasinski, “And I’d be like, ‘I just killed a child on page 10!’ ” Krasinski, who is from an upper-middle-class Boston family, clearly believes he has married up and enjoys sharing the detail that London-born Blunt had never seen his signature role in the American version of The Office when they met — but was a fan of the British version. Blunt responds to her husband’s self-deprecation by being a tender cheerleader for him and his career. She has called his agent to offer advice — unbeknownst to Krasinski — and pulled her husband out of an eight-hour writing haze to remind him to eat.

In A Quiet Place, they play a couple trying to teach their children to thrive in a world inhabited by blind monsters with an acute sense of hearing — an idea that so resonated with them as terrified, exhilarated new parents, they deemed it worth the risk of sharing a project. “I didn’t want it to be like, ‘Oh, how adorable. They’re working together,’ ” Blunt says. “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.”

Their creative partnership helped deliver a winning movie: A Quiet Place collected $341 million at the worldwide box office and is in serious conversation for Oscar recognition. Krasinski’s rise as a filmmaker comes as Blunt’s star as an actress is ascending, too. When Mary Poppins Returns opens Dec. 18 on the steam of her charismatic lead performance and Disney’s marketing muscle, she’ll enter a new realm of fame, the kind where strolling their Brooklyn neighborhood, occasionally recognized but rarely disturbed, will likely get harder. In December, she collected Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for A Quiet Place (supporting) and Mary Poppins (lead) as well as a Golden Globe nom and two Critics’ Choice noms for Poppins.

Professionally, Blunt and Krasinski have risen on roughly similar timelines from their breakout roles, he as deadpan everyman Jim Halpert on The Office, she as Meryl Streep’s wicked, scene-stealing assistant in The Devil Wears Prada. They agree on only some details of their origin story as a couple, like that they were introduced by a mutual friend at a restaurant in 2008 while Krasinski was dining with Justin Theroux. As for who asked whom out, “Probably me, I think,” Blunt says. At this, Krasinski pivots from his wife to me, affecting the look of Jim deadpanning to the camera in the offices of Dunder Mifflin after someone has said something stupid. “Yeah, right,” he counters. She insists: “I think it was me.” “No,” he fires back. “It was me asking for a while and you took some time, and then we finally had a date.” Their first evening together involved pizza and his apartment in West Hollywood, and, based on the amount of time Krasinski is taking to answer this question, something else that he isn’t sure if he’s allowed to share. During his long pause, Blunt pulls a strand of her blond hair off Krasinski’s sweater, calls him “Kras,” and declares, “It’s so precious, I don’t want to talk about it. Is that all right?”

As working parents, they rely on a magical nanny of their own (theirs is Irish) and various strategies for maintaining sanity, including some that they readily acknowledge are the good fortune of being extremely well-paid people in a gig-based business. “I have a minimum of a five-month rule between projects, other than A Quiet Place,” she says. “I broke the rule for him and him alone.” Working in the same industry brings other perks, like a shared understanding of how all-consuming Hollywood careers can be, particularly during production. “There’s a large fraction of stress that is taken out by someone who’s so supportive,” Krasinski says. “Meaning, ‘You are directing this movie, so when you reach for your phone, I know you’re not trying to isolate me as your wife. You actually have something to do.’ I don’t have any of that pressure of, 15 percent of my day is explaining to my wife that I have a job to do.” Blunt is nodding. “We’ve always allowed and rejoiced in each other having a very full life outside of the other one,” she says.

As Blunt’s Mary Poppins director Rob Marshall explains it, “Neither of them has a jealous bone in their body. People think marriage is looking deep into each other’s eyes. No, it’s looking out and seeing the same life. Emily and John see the same life.” Marshall calls them “old souls,” and other stars, like Matt Damon, Jimmy Kimmel and Chris Pratt, who befriended them when he made The Five-Year Engagement with Blunt, have invited them into their inner circles (they’ve vacationed with Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Aniston and Kimmel). “They are a down-to-earth couple, both really fun and funny,” Pratt says. “They’re caring and kind. They’re always doing bits and making themselves and other people laugh.”

As an actor, Blunt relies on instinct, which is how she settled on how to portray Mary Poppins. While heavily pregnant with Violet, “I was waddling around the house trying to figure out how she moved and spoke,” says Blunt, who settled on a version of the character closer to the imperious, slightly vain woman first created by author P. L. Travers. “What’s the point of playing Mary Poppins if you’re just going to try and do an impersonation of Julie Andrews?” It was only after she began to tell people that she had the role that Blunt felt the immenseness of it. “Friends of mine, they almost started to well up talking about her and what the film had meant to them, and that’s when I was like, ‘Oh, fuck. What have I done?’ I had no option but to Zen it out, because I’d taken this on.” Blunt has steadily worked toward this high-stakes role, in parts as disparate as a futuristic military mascot nicknamed “Full Metal Bitch” in Edge of Tomorrow, the warm-hearted, Stephen Sondheim-singing Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods and the broken-hearted alcoholic hot mess in The Girl on the Train. “She’s ready for it,” Marshall says, of Blunt’s Poppins pressure. “It’s happening at age 35, not age 25. This is her time. She knows how to protect herself and when to step away.”

Krasinski’s acting career since The Office has attempted to leverage his mix of smarts and relatability in roles like the hipster dad in Away We Go, or aimed at action heroics, as when playing a former Navy SEAL in Michael Bay’s largely overlooked Benghazi movie, 13 Hours. He’s never broken out as a leading man on the level of his buddies Damon and Pratt and — as with many actors who emerge playing hit TV characters — never had a role that eclipsed the one that made him famous. Still, he recently learned to put his own spin on another memorable character, in his case, Tom Clancy’s CIA analyst Jack Ryan, who has been played by Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck, Alec Baldwin and Chris Pine in films and whom Krasinski portrays in an Amazon series that just finished shooting its second season. The couple try to trade off who is working when, so the family can be together, but it doesn’t always happen.

During the first season of Jack Ryan, which shot in Montreal, Krasinski flew weekly to London, where Blunt was shooting Mary Poppins and staying with their children. “When I got there, I was so destroyed from time zones and not sleeping and all that and was so excited to see my kids, it didn’t matter I had no sleep,” Krasinski says. “On top of it, there was nothing from Emily but love and support.” She adds, “I just felt so bad for him that he was the one having to be away. Because I’m usually the one being like, ‘You need to be with me.’ ”

On A Quiet Place, which cost $17 million to make, Krasinski was working in new terrain in both scale and genre. His previous films as a director have been the much smaller 2016 family drama The Hollars and the 2009 David Foster Wallace adaptation Brief Interviews With Hideous Men, neither of which grossed more than a hair over $1 million nor established him with film critics. Smart but “straight out of the old-school Sundance manual,” as THR critic David Rooney wrote of The Hollars. A Quiet Place producers Andrew Form and Brad Fuller had sent Krasinski a spec script with the original idea by Bryan Woods and Scott Beck in hopes that he would play the father role, nothing more. It was on a Skype call with the producers that Krasinski expressed his grander ambitions. “I’m sure that he could see the fear in our eyes when he came back and said, ‘I’ll play the dad, but I also want to write and direct,’ ” says Fuller. “When someone says that, you think, ‘Oh boy, this is going to be a problem, because he doesn’t do all of that stuff.’ ”

Krasinski won them over with the detail and energy of his pitch, and ultimately with an unorthodox, nearly dialogue-free, 67-page script. In an industry that runs on pre-existing intellectual properties, it was a wholly original idea and a family drama Trojan-Horsed into a horror movie. It’s notable that in a film with blind, shrieking monsters, most of the memorable scenes involve plain old human beings. In one, Blunt and Krasinski, as husband and wife Evelyn and Lee, dance to Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon” with a shared pair of earbuds, wordlessly communicating a wistfulness for a time before their trauma. In another, shot in one take, Blunt portrays Evelyn giving birth alone in a bathtub, trying not to make a sound before unleashing an unholy howl. “It was the most intense and intimate we were on the shoot,” Blunt says. “Truly the air changed in the room,” Krasinski adds. “What do you say after someone gives a performance like that? I said, ‘That’s lunch.’ She goes from the depths of that hell to, ‘Yeah, what is for lunch? Is it fajitas?’”

The couple discovered some professional differences in style on set, as in a moment when Krasinski pitched Blunt a new idea for the ending that (spoiler alert) called for her to cock a gun at a monster, rather than leave her daughter, a deaf girl played by Millicent Simmonds, to vanquish it alone. “I discovered I have a very impassive face when somebody is pitching me an idea,” Blunt says. “I basically just stare and nod as I take it in, and he’s like, ‘She hates it.’ ” In the moment, she sort of did hate it, but Krasinski won her over, and that’s the crowd-pleasing ending in the film.

When making career decisions, Krasinski is ruminative — so much so that Blunt called her husband’s agent to warn him about that trait as Krasinski was weighing his post-A Quiet Place options. He has signed on to write A Quiet Place 2, but not yet to direct it. Of the sequel, due in 2020, Krasinski hints that the family he built the story around in the original will be less central this time. (Neither Blunt nor Krasinski will reveal whether her character returns.) “A lot of times a sequel is either a hero returning or a villain returning,” he says. “In our circumstance, the thing that the audience loved most was the world. That’s the cool thing that you could explore on and on.” As a filmmaker, Krasinski clearly values Blunt as a sounding board. “I could hear from every single studio head that that is the best idea they’ve ever heard, and until I hear it from her, I won’t do it,” he says. As an actress, Blunt admits, “I don’t care what anyone thinks.”

On the weekend A Quiet Place opened to an astounding $50 million domestic box office in April, setting a record for an original horror film, Krasinski says he was glad he no longer lives in Los Angeles, where theatrical grosses are regular dinner party conversation. Instead, he got feedback from a garbage collector who drove by as the couple were walking Hazel to school Monday morning. “The guy was riding on the truck, jumped off the truck, grabbed a bag, and as the truck was pulling away threw the bag on and he was like, ‘Saw it on Sunday. Scared the shit out of me,’ and drove away,” Krasinski says.

In the immediate aftermath, as Krasinski was feeling pressure to pick his next job, he traveled to Hawaii, where Blunt was shooting her next film, Disney’s Jungle Cruise, with Dwayne Johnson, their daughters in tow. She encouraged him to wait. “The business is like, ‘You have this moment, so capitalize,’ And you’re like, ‘Right. That makes sense,’ ” he says. “What she reminded me of is that the only reason why A Quiet Place is any good is because it came from every fiber of your being. So don’t let them convince you to go do the next movie.”

Check the photos in our gallery:

Gallery Links:
Photoshoots & Portraits > 2018 > The Hollywood Reporter

– Magazines & Scans > 2018 > The Hollywood Reporter

Emily Blunt on motherhood, magic and taking on Mary Poppins for Harper’s Bazaar UK
Filed in Articles Emily Gallery Update: Hazel Interviews John Krasinski Mary Poppins Returns Movies News & Updates Photoshoots Violet

Emily Blunt on motherhood, magic and taking on Mary Poppins for Harper’s Bazaar UK

Despite her childhood stutter and shyness, Emily Blunt has shone throughout her career with a series of show-stopping performances. Now she’s reaching her highest heights, taking on the iconic role of Mary Poppins in the sequel to Disney’s classic. The actress speaks to Lydia Slater about motherhood, marriage and the magic of soaring through London skies.

Emily Blunt gazes quizzically at the camera. Perching jauntily on the brim of her black hat, George the robin does exactly the same, apparently unfazed by the flashes and clicks. “Sit! Good lad!” coaxes his handler.

Bazaar cover shoots are always exquisite, but this one seems particularly magical, inspired as it is by the world of Mary Poppins in honour of Blunt’s latest starring role. The weather has been horrible for the past few days, but now the sky is a limpid blue. Assistants on ladders throw artificial blossom that falls like pink snow, a carousel has been temporarily set up in the garden, and we have been joined by a pack of a dozen dogs, ranging from a tiny chihuahua called Manuel to a colossal Great Dane named Parker. To add to the fairy-tale surrealism, just across the street from our location, hundreds more dogs are gathering with their owners for an anti-Brexit ‘Wooferendum’ march, a scene of cheerful chaos itself worthy of Cherry Tree Lane, the setting for the original Mary Poppins stories.

But there is no doubt that George is the star of the show. “Oh my God, the robin!Blunt cries. “I want one! Every girl needs one!

Mary Poppins, of course, has one. In the original film, starring Julie Andrews, the magic nanny makes a confidant of an oversize (American) robin, to which she sings ‘A Spoonful of Sugar’. For Mary Poppins Returns, this robin has been stuffed and added to her hat, a neat device that instantly prepares you for a less saccharine interpretation of the childhood classic. “It’s a dark time, the Thirties, isn’t it?” says Blunt.

A few days after the shoot, she and I meet at the Olympic, a former recording studio turned café and private members’ club in west London, near where her parents are based and where she was brought up. Blunt, who is slender, and blonder than I am expecting, has a face that radiates amusement and intelligence as well as the rose-petal beauty of a Fragonard painting.

She is now dressed in a Dior Tarot sweater, grass-green trousers adorned with large pearls, scarlet Louboutin shoes and a Dior patchwork handbag, an ensemble that strikes me as faintly Poppins-esque in its colourful quirkiness. “Why not, right? I like mixing patterns and styles,” she says.

It wouldn’t be surprising if a little Poppins has rubbed off, for Blunt immersed herself in the world of PL Travers’ bossy heroine, basing her interpretation solely on the books. “Even though I’d seen the film as a child, I decided not to watch it when prepping,” she says. “She was so clear to me from reading that I decided not to be intimidated by the iconic Julie Andrews in the iconic role, and just approached it as I would any other part.

“Because I couldn’t speak fluently as a child, I watched and I’d wonder about people”

Blunt plays Poppins as satisfyingly vain, capricious, enigmatic and occasionally alarming, with a fruitily refined accent that periodically slips into broad Cockney. “She thinks she’s better than everyone – which she is… I think the pace at which she speaks and the way in which she speaks is a way to hold people at arm’s length and not over-sentimentalise moments.


Her other source of inspiration for the role was Rosalind Russell’s fast-talking journalist in the 1940 screwball comedy His Girl Friday. “She’s like a tornado. I went, ‘That’s it!That’s the pace!‘”

The Mary Poppins sequel is set in the mid-1930s, during the Great Depression. Michael Banks, now grown-up and recently bereaved, is struggling to cope with financial travails and three children. Enter Mary Poppins at the end of a kite, descending through the grey clouds that cover London like a pall. “I was about 50 feet in the air, hanging from a crane, having to look effortless…” says Blunt, appearing a little queasy at the memory.

“But then one of the camera guys came up to me and said [she slides into Estuary], “It was really emotional, seein’ ’er come back.”’ Sitting in the darkened auditorium, I had felt the same thrill of childish hope watching the navy-coated silhouette with its primly turned-out feet descend: would she be in time to bang a few politicians’ heads together and send them to bed until they’d agreed to behave sensibly? Even if not, the film itself is an antidote to current national gloom, as Mary once again catapults the Banks family out of their dismal reality into a world of glorious Technicolor.

There are dancing lamplighters, cartoon elephants, upside-down houses and even Dick Van Dyke, playing the bank owner Mr Dawes Jr, and performing a creditable tap dance on top of a desk. “Yes, he’s 92 years old, but the eyes, and the smile, are seared into your memory,” says Blunt.

“It was terribly moving having him there. Obviously he’d be exhausted by the end of the day, but between takes, he’d put his hand on my arm and sing, “It’s a jolly holiday with Mary”.”

I wonder if Blunt had a Mary Poppins in her own life? She was born into that sort of upper-middle-class English milieu where nannies are commonplace: her grandfather was a major-general, her father is a QC and her uncle is the Eurosceptic MP Crispin Blunt. But she says her maternal grandmother came closest. “She was so magical! She’d make up wonderful stories, and she was a beautiful artist – we have her water-colours and pastels and acrylics all over my mum’s house and all over my apartment. She could whip up something fanciful and fab from a few things in the fridge – she was such a presence in all of our lives.

Blunt was the second of four siblings; she’s especially close to her elder sister Felicity, a literary agent married to Stanley Tucci (Blunt’s co-star in The Devil Wears Prada). “There’s only 17 months between us, so we really grew up together, we have a secret language.” Her brother Sebastian, an actor, and Susannah, now a vet, were born several years later.

She was a quiet, bookish child with a stutter. “Because I couldn’t speak fluently, I watched and listened. I’d be on the Tube, and I’d wonder about people and invent back stories for everyone. There’s always been a natural desire to walk in the shoes of others.” Moreover, only when she was playing a part did she find herself able to speak freely. “It started quite young, because it was the only tool I had to speak properly,” she reflects. “I was that kid, upstairs in my room, trying out stuff in the mirror. But I’d never tell anyone about it. It was always very private.

Consequently, it never occurred to her to dream of being a professional actress; instead, she wanted to read languages at university with the aim of becoming an interpreter. But while studying for her A levels at her co-ed boarding-school, Hurtwood House, she was picked for a school production that then went to the Edinburgh Festival.

One of her fellow actors was a supply teacher, Adrian Rawlins (who played Harry Potter’s father in the films). “It was a rock opera called Bliss and it was incredibly intense,” says Blunt. “There was this horrifying scene where I had to do a makeshift abortion with a coat hanger, while singing a ballad.” She bursts into an infectious guffaw. “Maybe 30 people saw it in the entire run!

Fortunately, one of those 30 was Rawlins’ agent, who immediately signed up Blunt too. “I didn’t have a desire to pursue acting and I wouldn’t have, if I hadn’t fallen into it,” she admits. “Crazy, isn’t it? But that’s probably why I ended up booking jobs, because I didn’t have any nerves. It was very charmed – rather embarrassingly, in fact.

And so it has continued. Blunt’s first professional stage performance, opposite Judi Dench in Peter Hall’s production of The Royal Family, won her a Best Newcomer award, while her film career seems to have been a continuous string of highlights, from her debut in Pawel Pawlikowski’s poignant coming-of-age romance My Summer of Love, which was swiftly followed by a show-stealing turn as a fashion-obsessed personal assistant in The Devil Wears Prada, to acclaimed roles in period drama, science fiction and most recently, the stylish horror film A Quiet Place.

Perhaps it is precisely because her success seems to have come so naturally that she manages to carry it off with élan. She herself credits Dench for setting her the perfect example of good leading-lady behaviour. “She taught me everything about how to be gracious and graceful and not take it seriously; she showed me how I wanted to be for the rest of my career. It just takes one person to toxify everything, and those are the movies you can’t wait to see the back of.Blunt is delightful, un-starry company – today feels like having lunch with a friend – and she seems to have made allies of most of the Hollywood A list.

It’s very rare I meet someone I can’t get along with. I’ve been warned about working with certain people, and then I have a great time with them. I like the different, weird, idiosyncratic personalities that you meet – you get a fresh injection of new people all the time.

All the same, she manages to stay below the radar, no small achievement especially given that in the US (where she now lives) her spouse is as famous as she.

“I rediscovered how much I adore London, the general irreverence and authenticity”

She first met John Krasinski, the actor, director and screenwriter, in 2008, and they married two years later, in an intimate ceremony held in their mutual chum George Clooney’s villa on Lake Como. “John’s known George for a long time, they did Leatherheads together, but I can’t believe he offered us his house, actually. I’m still rather shocked about it. We thought he was joking the first couple of times he said it.


They have two daughters, Hazel, who is four, and two-year-old Violet, whose births have prompted a move from LA to Brooklyn, which felt closer to Blunt’s own London upbringing. “There’s a multicultural, villagey feel, we don’t have a car, we walk everywhere and people are cool, they leave us alone.

She revels in the ordinariness of domestic life, using her slow cooker and doing the school run. “We are both massively hands-on, and we love it,” she says of parenthood. “I’m so lucky with John. But I was colossally unprepared for how life-changing it is. Like all mothers, I think, “What was I doing with my day before I had children?” It’s so full-on and they need you so much; I do find myself in a perpetual state of distraction.”

For her, A Quiet Place, in which she and her husband starred together (Krasinski also directed) is less a horror film than a homage to parental love, and the sacrifices we are prepared to make for our children. The world has been invaded by spidery aliens that hunt by sound. Total silence is the only way to avoid being eaten – as one of their offspring finds out the hard way.

It’s probably the most painful role I’ve played – the most personal, the hardest to shake off, because it was so close to home.” The couple have a rule that they won’t spend more than a fortnight away from their children; which in practice often means the two girls accompany their parents on set.

Today, the whole family is in London because Krasinski is filming the TV drama Jack Ryan here; and they all spent almost a year living in Richmond for Mary Poppins Returns.

I rediscovered how much I adore it,” she says of her native city. “I love the attitude here, the general irreverence and authenticity. I love being back and seeing my friends and going to all the familiar places. When you grow up, it sometimes feels that version of yourself is slipping through your fingers. To rediscover something is really special.

It’s a sentiment that’s sure to be echoed by any fan of the original film who goes to see this sequel, me included. For Emily Blunt’s Poppins is practically perfect in every way; just the tonic to lift our spirits, despite the bluster, Brexit and bad weather.

Mary Poppins Returns’ is released in cinemas on 21 December. The January issue of Harper’s Bazaar is on newsstands from 4 December.

Check the photos in our gallery:

Gallery Links:
–  Magazines & Scans > 2018 > Harper’s Bazaar UK
–  Photoshoots & Portraits > 2018 > Harper’s Bazaar UK