Into the Woods comes out on Blu-ray and DVD on March 24. Emily Blunt, who starred as The Baker’s Wife, spoke with Entertainment Weekly. Blunt discusses her character and her experience working on Into the Woods.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: One of the things people have loved about Into the Woods is how it rewrites some of the tropes of fairy tales. What do you think draws people to fairy tales, and their rewriting?
EMILY BLUNT: I think you have got this escapism factor, and we tend to romanticize these stories, and they feel nostalgic to people—they remind us of our childhood. But also, a lot of these fairy tales—and especially a musical like Into the Woods, which doesn’t shy away from the darker side of them—I think often you encounter characters who are in a moral dilemma of some description. That’s always interesting for an audience to watch, and to put themselves in their shoes. There’s often lessons to be learned. I think people like to go on a journey and feel that they’ve learned something, and maybe they see themselves in these fairy tale characters.
Speaking of moral predicaments, The Baker’s Wife gets into a big one. I was amazed by how funny Chris Pine was in the movie. What was it like doing that seduction scene?
He’s just impossible to work with and not laugh. He was so willing to look idiotic and utterly arrogant. He was just willing to look foolish, and I think that is what people love about this character. I guess you fall in love with the dumbness of him more than anything. He is that more two-dimensional character—and wants to be that way, and does it willingly. I just think it’s interesting because my character, The Baker’s Wife, lusted after him for years. It’s almost like she’s been reading about him in Us Weekly for years. And suddenly, he’s there, and he wants to make out with her. And she’s in that predicament of being torn and wanting that—finally, all of her dreams have come true—and at the same time, it’s really not what she imagined it to be. She can’t believe what really happened. Then she’s feeling guilty, incredibly guilty, about what she’s done to her husband, and the potential betrayal that went on. That song that she has after that seduction scene is really the inner turmoil of feeling completely excited by what just happened, but guilty about it as well, and trying to work out really what matters in life—which unfortunately comes a little bit too late for her character.
It’s one of my favorite songs.
It’s great. I think a lot of the characters go through that in Into the Woods. The woods represent risk, and they seduce you, and it’s an alternate universe that you can enter into. Yet you come out of it realizing that what you thought you needed was not necessarily what you want.
Having had this experience working with Stephen Sondheim, would you ever like to do a musical again?
I really would. I really would. I’d be daunted again, but the whole experience was really liberating—to learn how to sing properly. I think I would be more drawn to doing Stephen Sondheim again, because he relies less on whether you can hit a high C perfectly and more on the emotional drive of the characters. I think for me, as someone who is not necessarily [the most] confident of singers, that is more appealing than singing arpeggios every day until I get the note right.