Actress and new mother Emily Blunt believes children are too coddled by today’s whitewashed entertainment. Emily says darker stories of the past, including such Walt Disney hits as Dumbo and Bambi, were more challenging to young minds. Blunt believes that such classic films better prepared children for the realism of life. Ms. Blunt acknowledges that children are more perceptive than adults realize.
“Bambi loses his mother, Dumbo is wrenched away from his mother, who is chained up and tormented and bullied. It used to be darker and more challenging… Nobody goes through life unscathed. If you want to fairy tale the sh** out of everything, you’re doing everyone a disservice.”
Emily has a child of her own, so she feels her views will help her own child. Ms. Blunt was pregnant with her first child while filming Into the Woods. James Corden, playing the role of the Baker and Emily’s husband, often had to block the view of Blunt’s torso with his arm during later months of filming, when Emily began to show. Ms. Blunt gave birth to a daughter, Hazel, two months after filming on Into the Woods finished. Hazel stayed at home with her father in Los Angeles, while Emily traveled to New York to promote Into the Woods.
As reported by the Telegraph, Ms. Blunt most recently starred in the film adaptation of Into the Woods, which does not coddle its viewers, but instead delivers a darker version of several favorite classics. The plot focuses on a baker and his wife (played by Blunt), who are charged with gathering items from classic fairytale characters in order to reverse a curse placed on their family. Meryl Streep plays the witch directing this couple on their journey, leading them through the ark, perilous lives of well-known fairy tale creatures. Emily was dismayed to learn from fellow actor Chris Pine that many schools in America only perform the first act of the Into the Woods play in order to maintain the happily-ever-after ending so common in today’s children’s entertainment.
Perhaps Ms. Blunt’s uncommon view of children’s stories comes from the influences of her own family: her father is a defense attorney. Ms. Blunt told the Guardian that she would often learn about her father’s cases firsthand, by attending trials in which the elder Blunt participated. She remarked that she learned early that, much like the Disney-fied versions of fairy tales, her own father often pretended that his clients weren’t guilty.
“[He would pretend] That these men didn’t do what they did! Usually, they did. I’ve been there when the verdict comes in, and it is so dramatic and intense. An atmosphere you could cut with a knife.”
Ms. Blunt also remarked that as he grew older, her father limited his exposure and that of his family’s to the darker aspects of criminal defense.
“He hasn’t defended any child molesters in a long time – early on in his career, he had to do that. But he hasn’t done anything related to young girls, because he has three daughters. He doesn’t like working with rapists. So he prefers, if you can you use that word, murder, drugs and fraud.”
For those who share Emily’s preference for the darker side of children’s stories, Into the Woods, also starring Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick, James Corden and Chris Pine, will premiere in theaters on January 9.
And speaking of fairy tales, Emily Blunt may also be appearing in Frozen 2.