The M Interview: Emily Blunt's real life fairy tale
Emily Blunt, who plays princess Freya in The Huntsman: Winter's War, is living a dream - a successful career, blissful marriage and growing family
Emily Blunt is glowing.
Pregnant with her second child, she walks into the London Hotel in New York City where we talk about her new movie, The Huntsman: Winter's War. She is wearing a fitted Peter Pilotto black and white dress that shows off her baby bump.
She does not know the sex of the baby and won't say how far along she is "because then you will know when (it's) coming, but I have got some way to go, I will say that".
The 33-year-old English actress's work schedule will slow down after the promotion of Huntsman, but she was in her first trimester when shooting thriller The Girl On The Train last November.
"That was hard... I am not a puker, thank God, to put it really elegantly. I was just really tired. But now it's easy."
In Huntsman, a follow-up to 2012's Snow White And The Huntsman, which starred Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron, Blunt is the addition to the fairy tale franchise as Freya, sister to Theron's evil Queen Ravenna.
Her heart frozen to love, Freya unleashes an icy power with which she rules a Northern land, raising an army of children to be Huntsmen and forbidding them love.
The sisters vie for domination and Freya's elite Huntsman Eric (Hemsworth) stands between them as he fights for Freya's soul and the woman who has captured his heart, fellow warrior Sara (Jessica Chastain).
The movie opens in Singapore today.
Blunt knew to expect references to the 2013 animated Disney monster hit Frozen and its popular protagonist, ice queen Elsa, "when the white wig went on".
She jokes: "And it's obviously disappointing that I didn't get to sing in this film.
"I think the children will be really concerned as to why Elsa is so mean now (here).
"Charlize's (four-year-old) son thought I was Elsa. He saw me in my white wig and the make-up, but when he saw me in my sweatpants (the next) morning, he was traumatised, like, 'where is your dress?'"
Not that the role brought out the princess in Blunt, who says, laughing: "I was not a very girly girl growing up.
"I would have tantrums at the thought of wearing pink as a kid, so I was never a princess-y type of girl. I am still not, really."
But she must have enjoyed wearing the gorgeous costumes that contributed to the visual beauty of the film, in particular a wondrous silver cloak.
"It was made of braided silver leather. And when you see four fully grown men wrestling it onto the set, you get an idea of how it weighed.
"I remember when I first put it on, I said to the (Academy Award-winning) costume designer Colleen Atwood, 'wow, this is heavy'.
"She goes 'I know, but it looks great'.
"And it's kind of like she was saying 'it's about as heavy as my sack of Oscars, so wear it'!''
She adds: "We would rehearse in the morning in our sweats and Ugg boots and it just didn't feel right. You had to put the dress on, you had to put the cloak on."
It didn't help that the set was hot as the air conditioners were turned off during takes because of their hum.
"We were absolutely boiling. So between takes, Charlize and I would stand sweating in front of the fans going, 'get the AC on!'
"I had this white make-up on, so I really had to be careful not to get overheated. Charlize and Chris would make me laugh and the make-up would run because I am a sweater when I laugh and I cry. My nose runs and I am sort of one of those ugly laughers, so my make-up artist would just be there with a fan."
BONDING: Actors Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth and Emily Blunt attend the premiere of The Huntsman: Winter's War at the Regency Village Theatre in Los Angeles. PHOTO: AFP
Blunt and South African actress Theron, 40, bonded at once.
When the latter was in town last week to promote Huntsman, she declared with a laugh to The New Paper in a separate interview: "If Emily wasn't married, I'd have married her instantly... I love her so much. We had instant chemistry from the first moment we got together."
Blunt repays the compliment, gushing: "I was so intimidated to work with her because she is such a powerhouse. And I really fell in love with that dirty sense of humour and we just gossiped on set the entire time.
"When she comes to work, she is not one of these tortured actors. She comes in and punches it and nails it. She has done the work, she has done all the research and then it just allows her to have so much room to enjoy herself.
"She and I really decided to just approach this in a very similar way and I just loved her, I loved breathing the same air as her every day."
HAPPY TOGETHER: Emily Blunt, with husband John Krasinski, at a show at The Public Theater in New York last month. PHOTO: AFP
In some ways, Blunt is living a fairy tale of her own, with her successful career, blissful marriage (she married US actor John Krasinski in 2010) and growing family (they have a two-year-old daughter together).
"I met my husband and I think that changed everything," she says.
"I think people mistake this idea that the business and the job is the fairy tale... That's true to a certain extent, that is the fun part of it.
"But I feel that my family life is the real thing, something that brings me great joy.
"I get to have this extraordinary job that is sort of incomparable to other jobs in many ways and you get to explore the human condition in all of its depth and meet amazing people. And then I have this life where I am most at ease and most comfortable among the people that I love most in the world."
The M Match-Up: Freya vs Ravenna
Queens. Sorceresses. Babes. Mood swing sufferers. Power-mad sisters Freya (Emily Blunt) and Ravenna (Charlize Theron) of "The Huntsman: Winter's War" have a lot in common, but who is fairest of them all?
Blunt keeps climbing the ladder without ever quite reaching the top. She's been in cool movies like Looper, Edge Of Tomorrow and Sicario, but never had that one big hit. That could change when she stars as Mary Poppins in the upcoming reboot.
Theron is on the A-plus list. Just last year, she starred in the all-conquering Mad Max: Fury Road, stealing the film from Max (Tom Hardy) himself. She's an Oscar winner and a Sean Penn dater. She's the face of Dior, and frankly she's just TOO PRETTY (according to herself).
ROUND ONE: RAVENNA.
Theron can't be beat.
In a film without much focus, Freya is both the protagonist and antagonist. We sympathise with her after her baby is killed and she creates her ice kingdom. Then we pull away when she goes after the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) and his pals. Basically, she's kinda like Elsa from Frozen.
Perhaps the best thing in the original 2012 movie Snow White And The Huntsman, Ravenna is out of the picture for much of this prequel/sequel, spending a lot of time dead. Early in the story, she shows us her softer side with Freya, but later she's back to her old self. Small but fun role.
ROUND TWO: FREYA
She has the bigger part and some cool powers.
Freya is your basic Ice Queen. She wears silver and white, with lots of little icicle embellishments. She's more modest than her sister, tending to cover her arms and shoulders. She also has a thing for bird-themed masks.
Black and gold are her colours, and she indulges in intricately-designed gowns topped off with ostentatious crowns. She loves showing off her shoulders and chest, and her favourite theme is raven feathers.
ROUND THREE: IT'S A DRAW
How to choose between such natty gals?
THE WINNER: IT'S A DRAW
We're not playing favourites with these fab sister divas.
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the most wicked of them all?
White Witch (Tilda Swinton)
The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe (2005)
Mirror Queen (Monica Bellucci)
The Brothers Grimm (2005)
Lamia (Michelle Pfeiffer)
Stepmother (Cate Blanchett)
The Queen (Julia Roberts)
Mirror Mirror (2012)
Witch (Meryl Streep)
Into The Woods (2014)
Maleficent (Angelina Jolie)