In film history, certain moments stand out, and one such moment took place at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. It was a time when Hollywood actress Emily Blunt, known for her remarkable performances, used her platform to address a topic that was causing ripples across the entertainment industry.
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Emily Blunt’s battle for female-led roles
The spotlight at Cannes was firmly fixed on the drug trade drama Sicario, set to premiere in competition. Emily Blunt, the film’s leading lady, seized the moment to speak out about the challenges she faced during its development. She turned to director Denis Villeneuve and recalled, “In this film, you’d been asked early on if you’d write my part for a guy.”
Denis Villeneuve chimed in, shedding light on the resistance they encountered due to gender bias. “People were afraid of the screenplay because the lead was female,” he explained. “The screenwriter was asked to rewrite it several times.” Thankfully, Lionsgate eventually came on board and allowed the character to remain a woman.
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Emily breaking stereotypes with grit
In Sicario, Emily Blunt portrays an FBI agent embarking on a perilous mission to Mexico, alongside enigmatic characters portrayed by Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin. Notably, she is the sole female member of the unit. Blunt discussed her portrayal, stating, “I get asked a lot, ‘You play a lot of tough female roles.’ I don’t see them as tough.” She continued, “I found this character damaged and vulnerable. She’s struggling in the role of being a female cop. It’s not safe.”
Cannes’ controversial footwear policy
Amidst the discussion of gender inequality in Hollywood, a reporter brought up a recent incident at Cannes. Several women were reportedly turned away from the red-carpet premiere of Carol due to the festival’s stringent high-heels-only policy. Blunt didn’t hold back her opinion, asserting, “I think everyone should wear flats, to be honest. We shouldn’t wear high heels anymore. That’s just my point of view. I prefer to wear Converse sneakers. That’s very disappointing.”
Director Denis Villeneuve injected a note of humor into the conversation. “As a sign of protest, Benicio, Josh, and I will walk the stairs in high heels tonight,” he declared. The witty remark elicited a hearty laugh from the audience, leaving everyone curious to see if they would indeed follow through with this humorous promise.
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