'The Girl On The Train' Star Emily Blunt Says Playing An Alcoholic Was Freeing

There are still a few days before The Girl on the Train hits theaters and the hype surrounding the film is building up expectations, but Emily Blunt, who stars as Rachel, that girl mentioned in the title, says she has been well prepared for the film's critics. Even before Blunt was cast in The Girl on the Train, the actress recalls seeing the Paula Hawkins novel, upon which the film is based, in the hands of readers wherever she went. Emily also recalls people comparing The Girl on the Train to Rear Window and Gone Girl.

Emily Blunt Was Driven To Make Rachel "Frightening" And "Unsettling"

Ms. Blunt told New York Daily News that she knew her performance as the film's lead would be placed under a microscope. Emily had to do her best in delivering her best performance as The Girl on the Train, while also accepting some fans just might not be happy, no matter how well she played Rachel. In playing Rachel, Blunt was determined to come to the role of the alcoholic lead character without letting her scenes become comical or satirical in the slightest sense, which she recognized is a very common error.

"I think there are pitfalls with it; that you can appear comical, lurching around like a drunk uncle," explained Ms. Blunt. "I think she needed to be frightening. It's a very real disease and its claws are in her."

Emily didn't come to her role in The Girl on the Train without doing her fair share of research. She spoke to friends and relatives about their experiences with alcoholism, as well as diving into documentaries and nonfiction books on the subject, hoping to give herself a thorough understanding of the illness from every perspective. In the end, The Girl on the Train actress came to see the devastating effects alcoholism has on the alcoholic, as well as everyone with whom she, or he, comes into contact.

"I think a drunk is uncomfortable to be around, a drunk is unsettling to be around," Blunt said. "Nobody wants to breathe the same air as a drunk."

The Girl On The Train's Rachel Shares Something In Common With Emily

As The Girl on the Train opens and introduces Blunt's character, The Huffington Post points to the scene in which Rachel is sketching an image of a shoe. The scene has had early audiences wondering if it's meant as a nod to an earlier Blunt hit, The Devil Wears Prada. In revealing that the scene comes directly from Hawkins' book and is not a reference to Emily's past film, the actress reveals that the sketch is the result of Rachel's overactive imagination.

Emily confesses that having an overactive imagination is one thing she shares with The Girl on the Train character. A fondness for people watching is something else Blunt has in common with the character.

"I have an overactive imagination," says Emily. "I do like to look at people and wonder about their lives. That was a side of Rachel that looked familiar to me — that voyeuristic side."

For Ms. Blunt, part of playing an alcoholic meant shedding her natural beauty and appearing to have severely weathered skin, sorely chapped lips, and a more disheveled appearance. There are close-ups in The Girl on the Train in which Blunt is seen with white spittle clinging to her lips and eyes that are red and slightly swollen. Emily says looking so unattractive for her role as Rachel was a freeing experience.

"It was utterly liberating," says Blunt. "Very often in films, the thing that will make you feel self-conscious as a woman is sometimes, if we're supposed to be playing a tough cop or something like that, yet you are still supposed to look pretty."

For The Girl on the Train, beauty was the last thing director Tate Taylor wanted from Emily.

"It's something quite freeing when you're supposed to look like a wreck, when that overhead green lighting on the train is supposed to look awful on you," Ms. Blunt said.

The Girl on the Train hits theaters on October 7.

[Featured Image by Universal Pictures]