Emily Blunt: “It’s about people and how they are affected by the crisis”
Emily Blunt and her husband, John Krasinski, devised a rigorous self-care regime when the pair were making A Quiet Place, 2017’s harrowing self-isolation horror hit. “I always say that Macallan 12 sponsored A Quiet Place,” says Blunt. “John and I would just go home and drink a lot of whisky every night. And that sort of continued on A Quiet Place 2.”
You, too, might need a tumbler of scotch while watching the film. Blunt describes it as a “runaway train that grips you by the neck”, which is half-right. It also takes that neck and lays it on the tracks before running over it repeatedly. “I realised what an investment people had in this family from the first film,” says Blunt. “Everyone asked: ‘What happens next?’”
Now the answer is on the way. As if the audience had gone out for a two-year loo break, the new movie picks up at the very moment the first one ended — with Blunt’s wounded matriarch, Evelyn Abbott, and her three surviving children in the basement of their farm after fending off an alien attack. Try to imagine giving birth in such a nightmare landscape and you have the plot of A Quiet Place. Take the newborn out into the world, to face fresh dangers, and you have A Quiet Place Part 2.
“At its core, it’s about motherhood, it’s about parenthood, it’s about how far you’d go to protect your children,” Blunt says. “It turns out you’d go a really long way.”
Scotch is not being served in the New York hotel suite where we meet. Instead, there’s abstemious pots of earl grey and three sorry biscuits. Blunt contemplates a trio of jugs with a mix of curiosity and suspicion. “So many different milks here,” she says. “I think that’s the one I want. This is real milk, not fake,” she says approvingly, offering it over. “The idea of oat milk probably makes you feel a bit sick.”
Blunt has a ready – and pleasing – facility to make you feel noticed. It’s easy to see why she was such tip-top casting for Mary Poppins, though her daughters, Hazel, five, and Violet, three, prefer the 1964 original. “They’ve seen mine once and that seemed to be enough for them,” says Blunt. “Whereas Julie Andrews has been watched on a loop.” Her acting self confuses them, she says. Her first priority coming back from work is to remove her makeup so they recognise her.
Mary Poppins and A Quiet Place were released in 2018. In the former, she glides down into a picturesque London on the end of a parrot-handled brolly. In the latter, she gives birth alone, bloodied and terrorised, in a hell-blasted landscape. Both are about the promise parents make to their children to keep them safe; but in A Quiet Place, and its sequel, we see what happens when that promise can’t be kept.