Tall, radiant, and sensual, British ingenue Emily Blunt caught the attention of the public and press when she starred (at age 20) opposite Natalie Press in Pawel Pawlikowski’s gentle, finely told lesbian romance My Summer of Love (2004). In the eyes of many Americans, Blunt (who counted this as her first cinematic credit) seemed to arrive at the top instantaneously. In truth, Blunt — a London native — had established herself on British television (largely in BBC productions) several years prior.
Summer, however, represented the actress’ big global break. She plays a sexually experienced and playfully manipulative teen who seduces the younger and more impressionable Press into an impassioned love affair, while the latter’s brother (Paddy Considine) becomes a born-again evangelical Christian and carries his faith to torturous, alienating extremes. The work garnered enthusiastic notices and performed well on the international festival circuit; it thus marked a fortuitous and brazenly intelligent cinematic bow for a young actress. Newsweek’s David Ansen was not alone when he tagged Blunt (along with her co-star, Press) as a “major discovery.” Variety’s Derek Elley observed, “Blunt’s perf as the mysterious, mixed-up Tamsin grows, adding a sense of menace which coincides with…Considine’s loony Phil.”
After a supporting role in the U.S. miniseries Empire (about the Roman Empire), Blunt landed her second major break — and culled even broader exposure — with a supporting role in David Frankel’s bittersweet drama The Devil Wears Prada. As Emily, the obnoxious (yet soft-hearted) assistant to fashion mogul Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), Blunt delivered a colorful and impressive performance. As a result, she received a 2007 Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Although she lost out to Jennifer Hudson at that ceremony, Blunt won the award for Best Supporting Actress in a Television Series, Mini-Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television for her work opposite Bill Nighy in Gideon’s Daughter.
Blunt followed Prada up with planned supporting roles in such features as The Snow Goose (2006), The Girl in the Park (2007), Wind Chill (2007), The Great Buck Howard (2007), and The Jane Austen Book Club (2007).