Ask most movie fans to name Emily Blunt’s breakout role, and they’ll point to her turn as a delightfully bitchy assistant to Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep) in The Devil Wears Prada. But the actress first caught Hollywood’s attention in 2005’s My Summer of Love, a touching, startling indie drama about two young girls who form an intense bond over a summer in the English countryside. The film grossed just $1 million in U.S. theaters, making it a perfect choice for EW’s list of The 50 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a roundup of our favorite unsung films from the past 20 years. (For the full list, grab a copy of this week’s issue.) And we aren’t the only ones who My Summer of Love deserves a bigger audience. “I’m always happy when people want to bring the crowds to see this movie. It’s sort of an undiscovered gem,” Blunt tells EW. “We’re all really proud of it.” Here’s what the actress had to say about the film that put her on the path to stardom.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What do you remember most about making My Summer of Love?
EMILY BLUNT: Terror. [Laughs] It was all improvised and it was my first feature film. Every day, we weren’t sure what scene we would shoot. It felt like I was playing cat and mouse with this movie, like it was a game. I think it created really original, real moments because we were so often caught off guard. [Director Pawel Pasilkowski] very much wanted it to look very beautiful and sensuous, so we would sometimes wait three hours for the magic hour and shoot when the light was beautiful. It’s the most unconventional way of shooting.
I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to do it. Because I think [Pasilkowski]’s whole deal is, “Let’s discover your whole bag of tricks,” and I was concerned that my bag of tricks would be too shallow, that I wouldn’t be able to give him what he needed. You didn’t have much to draw from, in that you didn’t have a script. You didn’t know what was happening when. Before that, I had done TV shows, and I would practice lines. I remember sitting in my childhood bedroom, [back when] I still lived with my parents, just practicing lines over and over again. And Pawel taught me a great deal. I think I learned more from him than anyone I’ve ever worked with, which is just have a bit of courage. And that ambiguity is actually really interesting. And that there are so many different ways to interpret a moment or a scene, and you should just have some courage and some guts.
No. I mean, it’s kind of a drag when you know that your boobs are now all over the Internet. But I felt in really safe hands with Pawel Pawlikowski, who I do believe is one of the greatest filmmakers. I knew that the nudity wouldn’t be gratuitous. I knew the emotionality wouldn’t be theatrical. It was very daring. It was a very daring film. We all just had to dive in head first. And it was made clear before we started the film that it was going to be about a relationship between two girls, that it was going to require a lot of ourselves.
Probably at the premiere. I’m not very good at watching my own films. But my husband [John Krasinski] wants to see it again. When we met, he thought the first thing he had seen me in was The Devil Wears Prada. But then he remembered that he had seen this, and he said, “That was you, wasn’t it? I loved that movie!”
Yeah, mainly actors. I get a lot of people asking me about it and saying, “Oh my God, I just saw it!” I think people had heard about it for years and hadn’t quite gotten around to it. It is the kind of movie — just because it’s small — people are like, “Oh, I’ll see it someday.”
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