Those who came out to San Rafael for the closing night of the Mill Valley Film Festival on Sunday got a double shot of celebrity: Emily Blunt, the evening's leading lady, and her fiance, John Krasinski of The Office fame. Moments before the screening of Blunt's new film, The Young Victoria, due out just before Christmas, the doting duo pulled up to the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center for the show.
Blunt, a vision in pink Moschino, stopped briefly to talk to us about her role as a teenage Queen Victoria.
"I really knew virtually nothing about her," she confessed. "I just had the image that most people do of this old lady, who's sour-faced and unhappy. I knew nothing about the love and the passion that she had in her younger years. It was really enlightening to read about her.
"To play someone emblematic of my country was a big honor, and to use my own accent for once was much easier," added Blunt, who has had her share of American roles in the past few years (Sunshine Cleaning, Charlie Wilson's War and The Jane Austen Book Club, among them).
After the screening, Blunt took the stage, her engagement ring sparkling brightly under the spotlight, and fielded questions from the audience. She chatted enthusiastically about the costumes--"How should I put this…I enjoyed looking at them! Let’s just say it’s best to eat a light lunch. The undergarments were just out of control!"--and how she managed to get into the mind of such a complex character.
"The thing that helped me the most was reading her diary—she was very expressive. I started to hear her voice. Sometimes it was too revealing...she went into great detail, especially on her wedding night! Her daughter edited [her diaries] so it just said 'dot dot dot' for that entry!
"I think a lot of Victoria died with Albert, and she never recovered. The day he died, she said, 'now who will call me Victoria? I have no one to call me Victoria.'”
After her queenly duties came to a halt and she surrendered her crown, Blunt boarded the Hornblower in Sausalito for an after-party cruise with Krasinski and other film festival goers and sailed off into the night, taking a moment to step out on the deck with her husband-to-be and admire a majestic Golden Gate Bridge shimmering under the moonlight.