Emily Blunt is one of the best actresses in Hollywood today. From comedies such as The Devil Wears Prada and The Five-Year Engagement to action or drama-oriented affairs like Edge of Tomorrow: Live Die Repeat, Sicario, or A Quiet Place, Blunt is a versatile performer who has proved her talents time and time again. At this point in Emily Blunt’s career, the actress gets many scripts handed to her. Still, if she immediately sees the term “strong female lead,” then she’s immediately turned off by the project, “It’s the worst thing ever when you open a script and read the words strong female lead,” Blunt told The Telegraph. “That makes me roll my eyes. I’m already out. I’m bored.”
The term ‘strong female lead’ has been nothing new, with memorable names such as Sarah Connor (The Terminator), Beatrix Kiddo (Kill Bill), or Ripley (Alien) consisting being mentioned when fans talk about strong female characters; however, the definition of a strong female lead has certainly changed within the last couple of years. The characters mentioned above had an incredible depth to them that showcased their humanity to full effect. They weren’t billed as invincible badass with brutal one-liners and stoic expressions; on the other hand, many films that feature a strong female lead have gone this route and have made some of the most dimension and bland characters appear in television and film. For example, men in actions film were portrayed in that manner in the 70s and 80s until Die Hard came along, which showcased an everyday man who wasn’t a jacked-up monster trying to get the love of his wife back.
Female characters have suffered because of this notion of portraying only strong women without any flaws. Vulnerability generally attracts Blunt, as it’s an opportunity to expand her acting range, and those types of characters are more compelling onscreen, “I love a character with a secret,” Blunt stated when discussing her new series, The English. “And I loved Cornelia’s buoyancy, her hopefulness, her guilelessness…Cornelia is more surprising than that. She’s innocent without being naive, making her a force to be reckoned with. She startles Eli out of his silence, and their differences become irrelevant because they need each other to survive. I thought that was very cool.”
It would’ve been great to get the names of the films Blunt immediately turned her nose down on. It’s been noted by the actress herself that she was initially offered Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. Black Widow, and Peggy Carter for Iron Man 2 and Captain America: The First Avengers. Blunt stated that it all came down to scheduling issues and sounded excited to play either role. Black Widow and Peggy Carter have excellent depth beyond their ass-kicking nature, so the point in bringing up those films is thatrhaps Blunt was offered other superhero pics that she hasn’t taldiscussedaptain Marvel, maybe?
Nevertheless, the term ‘strong female lead’ feels more like a political agenda than actually crafting a character who happens to be strong. There’s nothing wrong with having a strong female lead, but as previously mentioned, there need to be more layers beyond the outer surface. Hopefully, future films will learn from past features with strong female leads and craft compelling characters that will be remembered decades later
As for Blunt, she’s currently promoting her Amazon mini-series, which is about a scorned mother seeking revenge on the man responsible for the murder of her son. The six-episode saga also features Chaske Spencer, Stephen Ra, and Ciaran Hinds.
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