As Emily Blunt prepares for the release of “A Quiet Place II” (in theaters March 20), she opens up to Marie Claire about life in Brooklyn, Hollywood, and the profound impact her speech impediment – a stutter – has had on her life.
Inside, she discusses the misnomers people make about stutterers, how acting in grade school helped her overcome her stutter, why all of those experiences have made her more empathetic as an adult and parent.
A special component to this Marie Claire cover story is that Emily was photographed by three young female photographers – Genesis Gil (age 21), Lucci Mia (age 19), Denise Hewitt (age 17) – from Red Hook Labs. Red Hook Labs is a public-benefit studio located in Red Hook, Brooklyn which establishes arts education in public schools and community centers, provides accelerated skills training, and connects teens and young adults to internships and job opportunities.
On A Quiet Place II (in theaters March 20): “What I love is, it has deeper themes of how far you’d go to protect your family, that idea of releasing your children out into the big bad to protect them and what all parents feel.”
On the misnomers of stuttering: “The [lack of] information out there, or the way people misconstrue what it is, is the main issue. Because stutters don’t feel misunderstood. It’s not psychological. It’s not that you’re nervous, it’s not that you’re insecure, it’s not that you can’t read, it’s not that you don’t know what you want to say. It’s neurological, it’s genetic, it’s biological. It’s not your fault.”
On how acting in grade school helped Blunt with her stutter: “When I was 12, my class teacher was this really cool guy called Mr. McHale. He asked me if I wanted to do a class play, and I said no. And he said, ‘I think you can do it. I’ve heard you doing silly voices and mimicking people. So if you did it in a silly voice, would you consider doing it? Why don’t you do it in an accent?’ And that was very liberating for me as a kid. Suddenly, I had fluency.”
On how overcoming her stutter has made Blunt and her children more empathetic people: “I encourage empathy in my kids and embracing differences and not being scared of them, or teasing people for them, you know? Making mistakes or feeling like you have something that causes you to make mistakes, is a good thing. It’s how you learn and it’s how you grow. When you go through something like that, you establish a real sense of kindness. And you’ve got to be kind to yourself and you’re going to be kind to other people.”
On her new secret talent: “I just started learning the ukulele. I don’t know if I’m talented at it, but I’m keeping it secret until I become talented at it. But I’m really loving it.”
[Photo Credit: Red Hook Labs/Marie Claire Magazine]