Emily Blunt opens up about the most ‘captivating’ part of starring in The English

Virgin Radio

2 Nov 2022, 14:11

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Emily Blunt as Lady Cornelia Locke in The English

Credit: BBC

Emily Blunt plays a gunslinging mother on a mission in gritty period drama The English.

The A Quiet Place star plays Lady Cornelia Locke in the western, which takes place in America in the 1890s, where the aristocrat journeys across the lawless landscape in the US. 

She’s joined by Pawnee ex-cavalry scout Eli Whipp, played by Chaske Spencer, and the two join forces to make the perilous journey together. 

The western elements in The English, mixed in with a love story, was what first caught Emily’s attention. 

The actress told virginradio.co.uk and other press why she jumped at the chance to portray Cornelia, and how it felt taking on her first western role.

“I was completely captivated by it,” she explained “I knew after the first couple of pages, I was doing it. I love a character with a secret. I love a character where there's a mystery. And she just felt so surprising for me.

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“She shows up in this brutal masculine dust bath of a world and seems completely ill prepared for the journey ahead. I just had so many questions like why is she still so hopeful? What's this courage within her? What's going on? Why is she there? Who's the guy she's after? What happened to her son? 

“There's just so many incredible questions that hit you, and you need to keep reading to find out. And I was really stunned by the tone of it, because it had that starkness and that spareness of a Western and it's a world that I really have never done before and wanted to do.”

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For writer and director Hugo Blick, Emily was the first and only choice to take on Cornelia’s challenging and emotional journey. 

He added: “I sent it to Emily, without hesitation. That was the first person that I wrote the kind of pilot to see if I had the rhythm of the project to go all the way through. So it probably did, have a strong heartbeat and I sent it straight to Emily, with no other person involved."

Emily and Chaske star alongside Rafe Spall, Toby Jones and Ciaran Hinds, all of whom come across the duo as they make the dangerous journey across Wyoming. 

The official BBC synopsis says: It is [in Wyoming], after an investigation by the local sheriff Robert Marshall (Stephen Rea) and young widow Martha Myers (Valerie Pachner) into a series of bizarre and macabre unsolved murders, that the full extent of [Cornelia and Eli's] intertwined history will be truly understood, and they will come face to face with the future they must live.”

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The English will premiere on 10th November on BBC Two, with all episodes available immediately on BBC iPlayer from the same date.

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