Emily Blunt and Alison Brie Talk Relationships, Wedding Gowns, and Doughnuts
Today marks the end of a long trip down the aisle with the release of “The Five-Year Engagement.” Starring Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, it follows the journey to the altar for Tom and Violet. After putting a ring on it, they move from San Francisco to Ann Arbor, Michigan for Violet to pursue her career. Between adjusting to a new home, and changing, dynamics, there’s still a wedding to plan! We recently attended a reception for the hilarious rom-com where we got to chat with Blunt and co-star Alison Brie about bridal gowns, relationships, and love song choices.
Your characters face really relatable relationship scenarios, so what would your advice be to those who are in those situations in real life?
Emily Blunt: Life is complicated and it’s shape shifting all of the time, and you have to be willing to roll with the punches. The main thing is something that I found hard to learn, as a British person, is communication. It’s just a word we’re all terrified of.
Alison Brie: Americans have trouble with it too!
EB: Maybe not as much. In a relationship, you really have to talk to each other and you have to be forever generous. I think the best relationships that I’ve seen of my friends and hopefully I’m in is that you don’t clip each other’s wings, you have to really empower the other one to be everything they can be. I do feel the relationships where one person is stifled by other’s success it’s either because they’re allowing it to be that or they’re sort of martyring themselves in some way, and I think that’s usually an unhealthy thing. I think equality and a sense of self-fulfillment is really important even if it means you have to spend some time apart and you make sacrifices in other ways. I think that both people have to have some kind of purpose, some kind of identity because you just don’t want to end up defining yourself by an association with someone.
AB: Absolutely! I think also it is about sort of how you handle each thing that comes your way in life. I think when we’re talking about the two different characters and how they work. You look at Tom and Violet and how they want to get in front of everything and predict it, but you can’t; you’re never going to be able to. So it really is about having this united front. When you look at Susie and Alex, anything that happens they always make the best of it as a unit, and it does go back to that communication and being a team. They’re not the best example on how to be in life, but just in this one particular way I feel like they do it okay.
The funny thing that I loved was that he let himself go – he’s getting fat and has the facial hair, and you break down because of the doughnuts. Is the theory real?
EB: You know it is an actual theory. Nick Stoller directed it and wrote it with Jason Segel and got that theory from a social psychology course that they carried out. And actually a lot of people like stale doughnuts; I quite like stale doughnuts because they’re really crunchy and nice.
He really let himself go at that point, how would you handle that situation?
EB: Wouldn’t you want to leave? Because that’s what Jason said to me when we were doing it. I just said, “God, it’s just the saddest sight seeing you in that grubby bunny costume, eating old doughnuts with milk down your face.” And he said, “Yeah, wouldn’t you want to leave Tom?” And I was like, “I think I would actually. Yeah.” It’s a really fine thread that Nick and Jason worked on to really try and make the audience understand every character’s predicament so that you really understand their position they’re in. When they moved to Michigan, you see that it means the world to Violet. He told her he would be happy, and she believed him and when he gets there and he doesn’t find work, you feel bad for him but you understand why she’s going to be like, “Ok, but – we said we could do it, and I have this career.“
What were each of your favorite fashion moments in the movie?
AB: I feel like we both had a bit of fun with the clothes. When I first came in, and we were first doing the hair and makeup test I told them, “She’s kind of out there, so you can do the makeup kind of funky.” And everyone was super timid, and they were like, “We don’t know.” And then I came in my first costume, and they were like “Oh! That’s what you mean!” I think my favorite outfit was from the scene where I tell you I’m pregnant the first time, and I’m in those red tights and then a striped dress. Those bright red tights and a little hat and a little jacket –it was always just a lot of accessories but those bright leggings. I feel like every outfit I was in we’d have some crazy tights happening.
EB: I had so many favorite fashion moments. I mean Leesa [Evans, Costume Designer] and I were talking, and I think Leesa was really wanted to create something very singular for Violet, like she likes vintage shops, and she goes to thrift stores, and she probably doesn’t have that much money. So everything was sort of a one-of-a-kind piece that she either got from – and some of it from a nice designer, and other stuff were tiny little pieces she found in a thrift store that she would tailor and alter. So it was really fun putting together all of those looks, and I particularly liked the stuff that I wore to the University because it was so cute and different and a bit quirky like Violet was trying to make a good impression and what dress the way she thought a social psychologist should look like.
AB: I also really loved – did you sense that I got excited about this – your bridesmaid’s dress at my wedding which we then reused as my bridesmaid’s dress in your wedding, which was this inspired moment during our fittings that we just found that dress. Who made the dress?
EB: My wedding dress was also an amazing moment; I loved it! It was also Valentino from a few seasons ago. It was really beautiful.
AB: We loved that bridesmaids dress so much, and they had me try it on in my fitting. They weren’t planning on having me wear it; you just had me try it on to see it looked like for you to wear to my wedding so they could take a photo. And I was like “Do I really not get to wear it? Like we have to have her shorten it and wear it.” It worked its way in there again.
It was really fun to see you guys on a college campus, was it fun to film on the University of Michigan campus?
EB: It was really fun to film in the actual rooms and walk the corridors, and there were actual students around. It was great, but it was more of a nightmare for someone like Jason because college town is like his demographic. So everywhere he walked, someone would be like, “Drop your pants.” He got annihilated out there, but I think he secretly loved it actually.
AB: And Ann Arbor is such a fun town too, and everyone was so nice there.
EB: We went to all of the funny student bars at night. There was this place called Old Town where we did karaoke. Alison and I did karaoke a little voulez vous coucher avec moi ce soir and also “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” which was not my finest moment, but it was fun.
Since you guys do a lot of singing in the movie, what’s the go-to song you would declare your love to your significant other?
EB: That is so hard! Have you ever had a song?
AB: You don’t have a song? I think every boyfriend of mine have had a song.
EB: I have several, but they’re so personal though I don’t know what to say. And they’re all ones where people would think, “Why?” But we have a few.
AB: Yeah, we do, too.
EB: What would our song be?
AB: Well, “Total Eclipse of the Heart” was the one we sang together.
EB: It really was a lovely moment, holding your hand and belting it out tunelessly.