The Hollywood Reporter had plenty of reasons to declare Emily Blunt and John Krasinski “Hollywood’s Couple of the Year” in 2018. After all, the duo had experienced some major successes over those 12 months. But, in fact, many of their achievements may not have come about had Blunt not broken a cardinal rule about her career.
London-born Blunt’s big break came in two parts. First, she starred in Gideon’s Daughter, a television series that aired in the U.K. in 2006 and for which she ultimately earned a Golden Globe. And in that same year, she appeared in fashion-centric comedy The Devil Wears Prada in a truly memorable supporting role.
In fact, even alongside acting heavyweights Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway, Blunt had audiences talking about her performance as the scathing fashion editor’s assistant, who is also called Emily. “[Blunt] has many of the movie’s best lines and steals nearly every scene she’s in,” Clifford Pugh wrote in the Houston Chronicle in 2006. And from there, her career only went from strength to strength.
Now, Blunt’s varied Hollywood portfolio includes period dramas, musicals, thrillers, science-fiction flicks and action movies, with the star having shown off her versatility in the process. In 2009’s The Young Victoria, for instance, she plays the long-reigning Queen of the United Kingdom during her earlier years. By contrast, she steps into the shoes of an alcoholic divorcée in 2016’s The Girl on the Train. And both those performances earned the British actress critical acclaim.
In fact, Blunt has picked up a slew of awards honoring her on-screen craftsmanship. As well as her Golden Globe for Gideon’s Daughter, she has earned a Critics’ Choice Award for her role in 2015’s Edge of Tomorrow and a Screen Actors Guild Award for 2018’s A Quiet Place. BAFTA also named her as the British Artist of the Year in 2009.
While Blunt rose to fame, though, her future husband was racking up accomplishments of his own. Krasinski had initially had his interest in acting piqued as a sixth-grader when he played Daddy Warbucks in his school’s production of Annie. Then, in high school, he appeared in a play that had been written by his classmate – and future The Office co-star – B.J. Novak.
But, of course, Krasinski’s big break came in 2005 with NBC sitcom The Office. And the actor apparently did plenty of preparation ahead of his portrayal of paper salesman Jim Halpert. He spoke to real-life employees of paper companies, for instance, and even visited Scranton, Pennsylvania – the city in which the show is set.
And while The Office got off to a slow start – it garnered mixed reviews early on – later seasons caught on with critics and audiences alike. The cast even won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series two years in a row. Perhaps it’s no wonder, then, that Krasinski appears to feel nothing but gratitude for his time on the show.
“We literally owe everything to our fans; our show was going to be canceled the first two years at NBC,” Krasinski revealed on Today in 2016. “And then iTunes came out. And people started buying the show for, like, $1.99. They were buying a show that they could see for free on Thursdays, which I think blew everybody’s brain at the network. That’s the reason we stayed on.”
From there, Krasinski said, The Office “caught fire.” And due to the show’s increasing popularity, fans routinely began recognizing the actor as his character – although he didn’t care at all. “Every time someone comes up to me and says, you know, ‘Is it a bummer that you’ll only be known as Jim?’ I say, ‘First of all, being known as Jim would be the biggest honor for me, period,’” Krasinski explained.
On the back of The Office’s success, Krasinski made the leap to the big screen, too, and he has since gone on to star in, produce, write and direct several movies. Yet even though the actor had branched out from his breakout character, Blunt initially recognized him from The Office. So, how exactly did the Hollywood pair first bump into each other?
Well, in 2008 Blunt went out to dinner with a friend who knows Krasinski. And when Krasinski spotted them and realized that they were dining in the same restaurant, he approached their table. “[Krasinski] did not eat. He just stood there and made me laugh,” Blunt recalled on Late Night with Seth Myers in 2018. “I was sort of aware that he was vaguely recognizable,” she added sarcastically.
Blunt even confirmed to Myers that she had instantly known Krasinski was “The One.” But while it may have been love at first sight, the star couple did face some obstacles when they first started dating. For starters, being successful actors seemingly began to pose somewhat of a challenge.
Krasinski and Blunt’s respective stardom was so much of an issue, in fact, that the pair refused to discuss their fame with each other at the beginning of their relationship. That being said, Krasinski revealed in a 2018 interview with Playboy that he had once tried to broach the subject when he and Blunt were getting to know each other. “I remember she’d done this Vanity Fair cover with Amy Adams, Jessica Biel and a couple of other people – ‘Young, Up-and-coming, Hot Hollywood’ or whatever,” he explained. “That issue was in my living room when we first started dating.”
“I was definitely aware of [Blunt’s fame] – probably in a way that could have been extremely unhealthy if it wasn’t for how insanely down-to-earth she was,” Krasinski continued. He added, “I remember being at my house and saying to her, ‘So I just want to have this really honest conversation. I think you’re one of the best act–’ I didn’t even get out ‘actress.’ [Blunt] went, ‘No, no, no, no!’ very loud.”
“We didn’t have that conversation again for a really long time, and it saved our relationship,” Krasinski added. “We got to have a very removed existence because we just looked at it as though we were two people who had fallen in love, rather than two Hollywood celebrities who’d met each other.”
And that formula seemingly worked for the couple, who got engaged in August 2009 after less than a year dating. Krasinski told Access Hollywood a month later that the proposal had been emotional for everyone involved – even bystanders. “[Blunt] did cry after I cried, and we cried, and then everyone around us was crying,” he revealed.
Then in July 2010 Krasinski and Blunt said “I do” in the picturesque city of Como, Italy. And four years later, their family grew by one with the birth of their daughter, Hazel, on February 16, 2014. Their second child, a girl named Violet, joined the Krasinski-Blunt clan in June 2016.
And, of course, Krasinski and Blunt’s professional lives have continued to thrive. They marked so many successes in 2018, in fact, that The Hollywood Reporter named them “Hollywood’s Couple of the Year.” And it’s an accolade that represents all of their hard work – both separately and together.
What’s more, in recognition of the honor – as well as all of their accomplishments – Blunt and Krasinski gave an interview together to The Hollywood Reporter. And the event was quite the rarity for the pair, who are so dedicated to keeping their respective careers separate that they deliberately try to avoid joint interviews. Regardless, there was no denying that the couple had had an exemplary year.
For one thing, Krasinski had impressed critics with his effort as the eponymous character in the Amazon series Jack Ryan. The role earned him a Screen Actors’ Guild Award nomination for Male Actor in a Drama Series, in fact. And Blunt, too, garnered plenty of praise – not to mention award nods – for her part in Mary Poppins Returns.
However, that list of accomplishments doesn’t even mention A Quiet Place. Krasinski wrote, directed, produced and starred in the 2018 apocalyptic thriller, which is set in a world haunted by a terrifying breed of monsters. And as Krasinski penned the screenplay, he had had one actress in mind for the leading lady: his wife.
Yet Krasinski failed to ask Blunt if she’d like to be in A Quiet Place. After all, he knew that Blunt was somewhat busy when he was planning to meet studio executives to discuss his screenplay. At that time, she had begun preparing for her role in Mary Poppins Returns.
Furthermore, the idea of asking Blunt to be a part of his project was nerve-wracking for Krasinski. His wife could have turned down his proposal, for one; or, even worse, she could have said yes because she felt obligated to. “I didn’t want this to be the one job that she was like, ‘Listen, I don’t know if I love this. But I love you, so I’ll do it,’” he admitted to The Hollywood Reporter.
Plus, Blunt had already given Krasinski the name of a friend who she believed could fill the role well. She told The Hollywood Reporter, too, that she had indeed been inundated with responsibilities regarding her involvement in Mary Poppins Returns. “I was about to go into this enormous project. I was like, ‘I can’t even,’” she said.
However, everything changed on the day that Krasinski was flying to meet with the executives interested in his script. Blunt was on board the plane as well and had spent the flight reading her husband’s script. And when she had finished, her reaction was totally unexpected. “I went sort of gray,” Blunt admitted.
“I couldn’t imagine the thought of letting someone else play the part,” the actress added. So, after reading the role that her husband had secretly created for her, she asked him if she could have it. And the heightened emotions during that conversation reminded Krasinski of another significant milestone in his life.
“It was like she was proposing to me,” Krasinski recalled. “It was one of the greatest moments in my career. I screamed out, ‘Yes!’” The tag-team project did have high stakes for the couple though, especially considering the movie’s content. “I didn’t want it to be like, ‘Oh, how adorable. They’re working together,” Blunt said.
But Blunt also knew that A Quiet Place was more than just a husband-and-wife project. “It was the only idea that had come our way that seemed bigger than our marriage,” she explained. “The narrative of our marriage was not going to overwhelm this movie and this amazing opportunity for him as a director, as a filmmaker [and] as a writer.”
Yet there was still one final hurdle for the couple to overcome. That’s because Blunt has a specific guideline that helps her decide which roles to accept and which to pass up. “I have a minimum of a five-month rule between projects,” she revealed to The Hollywood Reporter. And this decree could have posed a problem. You see, Mary Poppins Returns filmed between February and July 2017; A Quiet Place, meanwhile, was set to shoot from May to November that same year, and so there would be some overlap.
However, Blunt was willing to compromise just once to be a part of A Quiet Place – although working with her husband was the only incentive that could have convinced her to do so. “I broke the rule for him and him alone,” she admitted to The Hollywood Reporter. And Krasinski said that he felt relieved to have his wife by his side – in more ways than one.
“There’s a large fraction of stress that is taken out by someone who’s so supportive,” Krasinski explained. “Meaning, ‘You are directing this movie, so when you reach for your phone, I know you’re not trying to isolate me as your wife. You actually have something to do.’”
“I don’t have any of that pressure of 15 percent of my day [being dedicated to] explaining to my wife that I have a job to do,” Krasinski went on. And that’s exactly why, he believes, their marriage works. Blunt agrees. “We’ve always allowed and rejoiced in each other having a very full life outside of the other one,” she added.
Still, Blunt and Krasinski did find that they had different working styles once they got started. For instance, although he had already written an end to A Quiet Place, he nevertheless came up with an alternative idea during filming. But when he shared the option with his wife, he didn’t get the reception he expected.
“I discovered I have a very impassive face when somebody is pitching me an idea. I basically just stare and nod as I take it in, and he’s like, ‘She hates it,’” Blunt described. Yet while Blunt admitted to disliking the new plan at first, Krasinski went with it regardless – and audiences ultimately lauded the movie’s switched-up ending.
In fact, A Quiet Place was a huge success both commercially and critically. For starters, it raked in more than $340 million from both the domestic and international box offices; Blunt also earned a Screen Actors’ Guild Award nomination for her supporting role. And Krasinski himself was praised for his skilled performances both in front of and behind the camera.
For example, Nick Allen, a writer for RogerEbert.com, hailed A Quiet Place as “Krasinski’s breakthrough as a triple-threat entertainer.” He added, “By no accident, [Krasinski has] tackled the horror genre while relying on the unique strength that can be seen throughout his acting work.”
But, of course, Blunt and Krasinski have both kept busy since shooting the acclaimed horror flick. Blunt, for her part, signed on to star in Disney’s Jungle Cruise, which filmed on location in Hawaii and wrapped in September 2018. Krasinski, on the other hand, has agreed to write a follow-up to A Quiet Place.
And while Krasinski toyed with what the next installment of his horror film would look like, he knew where to turn for the best advice. “I could hear from every single studio head that that is the best idea they’ve ever heard,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “[But] until I hear it from [Blunt], I won’t do it.”
Still, according to Blunt’s Mary Poppins Returns director, Rob Marshall, that’s just the kind of pair they are. “People think marriage is looking deep into each other’s eyes. No, it’s looking out and seeing the same life. Emily and John see the same life,” Marshall said to The Hollywood Reporter. And sometimes, it seems, building a life together requires the Hollywood power couple to break the rules.