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I Guess I Can't Argue With That

Emily Blunt Thinks Women’s Roles In Superhero Films Are Fairly Terrible

Emily Blunt, actress in The Devil Wears Prada, The Young Victoria, and The Jane Austen Book Club, has been up for some major roles in blockbuster superhero films over the last few years. Yet she hasn’t taken a single one and with good reason: She thinks the women in superhero films get the short end of the stick. Thank you, Ms. Blunt. 

The actress recently did an interview with New York Magazine’s Vulture in which the topic of her near-misses with superheroes was brought up. Blunt was Marvel’s first choice to play Black Widow in Iron Man 2 and was also up for Peggy Carter in Captain America: The First Avenger, yet she turned both down. Why exactly?

“Usually the female parts in a superhero film feel thankless,” she told them. “She’s the pill girlfriend while the guys are whizzing around saving the world.”

She continued, “I didn’t do the other ones because the part wasn’t very good or the timing wasn’t right, but I’m open to any kind of genre if the part is great and fun and different and a challenge in some way. I would love to do a comic-book movie or a science-fiction film that would scare the bejesus out of me.”

Very, very interesting. It’s nice to see a lead actress come out and say what we’ve all been thinking for years. But it seems as though Blunt really wants a role that will put her in the center of the action.

“Maybe I need to be James Bond,” she said. “I just did Looper, because it’s so original and breathtakingly cool. The time-travel aspect is just a backdrop to visit this heightened world, where you’re atoning for something and attempting to be more than you’ve been.”

So maybe she’s just waiting for a superhero film where a popular woman character is in the starring role instead of being relegated to the sidelines. Nothing wrong with that. We know Black Widow eventually went to Scarlett Johansson and Peggy Carter was played by Hayley Atwell, but we’ve yet to see Marvel start production on a film for a major superheroine in their recent line-up of releases.

Blunt is currently starring in Salmon Fishing in the Yemen with Ewan McGregor and will be in the upcoming, The Five-Year Engagement with Jason Segel.

(via Blastr)

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  • Elizabeth-Amber Delaney

    I think Angelina Jolie and Milla Jovovich have done well for themselves in the hero/action roles they’ve landed. Ultraviolet was considered a flop but as a woman, I enjoyed the heck out of it. There just aren’t enough movies that have roles equating to more than “put on this tight outfit” like poor Susan Storm in the F4 movies. She’s the most powerful of them and was just awful.

  • Mac Beauvais

    While I’m a fan of the Peggy Carter character in Cap, I completely understand where Blunt is coming from. Kudos to her for sticking to her guns in that genre.

  • John Wao

    I was hoping she would play the Black Widow. No offense against Johansson but I think Blunt would have been better. I just saw the Adjustment Bureau with Blunt, she’s a pretty good dancer as well.

  • Terence Ng

    Agreed. Susan Storm was wasted in those films. I also agree about Milla Jovovich. She’s the Queen of Action Movies for a reason. I always have a blast watching the lastest Resident Evil film, because she kicks so much ass, even if the films themselves are mediocre. 

  • Robin Burks

    I think she would have been a much better Black Widow than ScarJo (who I just don’t feel can actually act). However, I understand what she’s saying here. 

  • Willow Polson

    I think Johannson was a terrible casting choice for Black Widow. I think one of the underlying problems is that there aren’t that many classic female superheroes who have enough of their own backstory to be able to do a movie just about them. Captain America and Iron Man and Thor were almost just precursors for the Avengers movies. Most women are in assemblages like Avengers or X-Men or are wives/girlfriends/cousins to more popular heroes like Hulk or Superman. About the only one I can think of that would work as a stand-alone film would be Wonder Woman, and somehow that keeps getting completely botched. They’ll probably just do a JLA movie and stick her in the back like these things usually go. Could it be, oh, I don’t know… that most of the writers and producers in Hollywood are men, and don’t know how to write a decent WW movie? Herein lies the other major problem with all this. “Let’s write a movie with a kickass female hero who saves the world with love… and make her practically naked and vulnerable, so that a man has to save her, and in the end, they screw!” (I’ve just described The Fifth Element.) Sigh.

  • Bianca

    Strangely, I dont think that was true for either of those roles she turned down…..Did she read the scripts, or just pass based on the genre?

  • Teresa Jusino

    I think it’s interesting that she’ll pass on a superhero movie for these reasons, but she won’t pass on The Devil Wears Prada, which I happened to enjoy, but also reduced the female characters to stereotypes. Even the lead ones. 

    To me, it sounds as though Blunt isn’t crazy about genre film, but would do one if she got cast in the lead, which is valid, but has nothing to do with “women’s roles in superhero movies.”

  • lotus.jenb

    Action movies starring women are still considered too risky, sadly. They point to examples like Aeon Flux, Elektra and Ultraviolet and hold them up as proof that women can’t carry an action movie. They don’t consider that the fact that those movies just weren’t very good. The gender of the lead is never in question when a male action star doesn’t do well. They either pin it on the individual actor or just shrug off the movie as a fluke and try again. It’s the same issue with casting a lead who isn’t white. They consider it too risky and don’t want to do it. That’s why so many roles can go to Will Smith because he’s considered a “safe” choice. It’s absolutely insane and so many good stories with good actors don’t get made because of these ridiculous ideas. And the success of Angelina Jolie or Milla Jovovich or even Jennifer Garner on tv with Alias never seem to get the message across that it can work. :(

  • Frodo Baggins

    How blunt.