How Emily Blunt Is Picking Up the Torch From Meryl Streep

From roles in The Devil Wears Prada to starring together in Mary Poppins Returns she is following in her footsteps

By Cydney Contreras Dec 20, 2018 12:00 PMTags
Emily Blunt, Meryl StreepKevin Mazur/Getty Images for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Emily Blunt has come a long way from playing assistant to Meryl Streep

The Mary Poppins Returns actress never anticipated acting alongside her "inspiration," when she first started out in her career in her home country of Britain. However, four years after making her onstage debut in West End plays like The Royal Family, Emily found herself in presence of the critically-acclaimed actress on the set of The Devil Wears Prada in 2005. Understandably, the young actress was starstruck.

Then, she was entirely flabbergasted when Meryl complimented her on her role of Emily in The Devil Wears Prada, soon after they wrapped filming. "She burst out of her trailer and the wig was off—she was just Meryl—and she was in a puffy jacket, and she was like, 'You were so great'," Blunt recalled in an interview for Today. "And I just started to like weep."

And over the years, Meryl has continued to be a close confidante, friend and source of inspiration for Blunt in more ways than one. In a recent interview, the Brit told Entertainment Weekly, "[Meryl] has, from the moment I met her, really been such a pinnacle for me to look up to."

Mary Poppins Returns Character Posters

The mutual respect they formed for one another as actors and friends continues to be a point of pride for Emily. She gushed to EW, "She's a friend. And she's really been there with me from the beginning. That's quite moving to me in some ways, that I've sort of grown up with Meryl being there."

And Emily truly proved the depth of her talent to Meryl when she transformed from the snobby, high-brow character of Emily in Prada to become the sweet Baker's Wife in Into the Woods, which Streep played The Witch in. 

Perhaps this ability to change roles, seemingly at the snap of a finger, was inspired by Meryl's countless roles over the decades. In the same interview with EW, Blunt revealed she is "inspired" by her friend's "defiance [to] keep taking big swings and not conform and not get pigeonholed and not just be one thing or represent just one way of acting."

Watch: Emily Blunt Explains Why She Loves Playing Mary Poppins

This persistence to be a versatile actor worthy of being compared to the It's Complicated star is evident in Emily's impressive resumé. From musicals to horror movies, period pieces to action-packed thrillers, the Quiet Place star has done it all. But, she continues to prove herself to the Sophie's Choice actress, even though she long ago earned Meryl's approval. 

If anything, her acting in Mary Poppins simply reinforced Meryl's beliefs. 

Because Streep seems to believe that Emily has always had the talents of a star worthy of role like Mary Poppins. She told EW, "I think Emily's completely the same person that she was when I met her."

"In The Devil Wears Prada, she was some preposterously young age — I think she was 21? Ridiculous! — but she was completely the person that she is today," Meryl insisted. "She was already a pretty fully-fledged grown up, or did a good impersonation of one."

20th Century Fox

She dares to even say that it isn't the strong work ethic or determination that make her a good actress, but Blunt's personality. Streep explained, "Because she's so smart, her wit informs everything she does. Even her tenderness is inflected with her smarts and her sense of humor and her, oh God, she just has a little curl of irony about her."

"You know, they wrote [Mary Poppins Returns] for her. The songs were written for her, it's absolutely in her wheelhouse, and it's so specific that I don't know who else could have done it the way she does it. She's just crackerjack smart and beautiful and she has the thing that you can't teach in the drama school, and that's charm. She has it. She's just charm," Meryl concluded. 

And funnily enough, people say the same things about Meryl.