Emily Blunt and Haley Bennett discuss the inherent darkness of The Girl on the Train
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With the adaptation of Paula Hawkins’ bestseller The Girl on the Train doing mega-business at the box-office, we heard what the director and stars had to say about their work on the adaptation.
Okay, let’s be honest, you probably know by now that we didn’t exactly 100% ‘like’ Tate Taylor’s hotly-anticipated thriller in the end. There’s an awful lot wrong with it which we won’t go into here (check out the full review for more on that) but one thing that all critics (us included) couldn’t help but praise was the commitment of the cast.
From Hollywood’s new favourite first-lady Emily Blunt, to brooding superstar-in-waiting Luke Evans, it’s a pretty hefty roll call that rounds out with Alison Janney, Haley Bennett and Justin Theroux.
At a recent London press conference, Evans, Blunt and Bennett were joined by director Taylor and original author Hawkins where they all praised the new adaptation, its American setting that frequents “personal spaces” rather than grounded cities, and Taylor’s decision to “lean into the darkness” and “lean into the sexuality” of the novel very closely.
Blunt was the most lively of the team, talking very openly about how unusual she found it that a film of this level had not only a female lead, but one who was so inherently “toxic”, something she really wanted to preserve. As hopeless drunkard Rachel, Blunt talked about how her mission was to not necessarily make the role “likeable” but instead, simply “credible”. It’s a pretty safe assumption that someone as on-edge and messed-up as Rachel could ever really be ‘likeable’ anyway, but Blunt’s approach to the character is definitely interesting food for thought.
After all, it was a role she certainly sympathised with, much like Evans with his confused husband Scott, a man with very much “everything against him”. The partner of missing woman Megan, Evans’ Scott is easily one of the film’s most underused elements, and based on his attitude to filming, really enveloping himself in the “darkness” of the role, it’s a character who would’ve certainly benefitted from added screen time.
Most candidly of all though, was Haley Bennett’s reaction to the introduction of her character Megan as “complicated”. “Really? Is that what you’d call it, complicated?” she joked, clearly referencing the fact that her time on-screen is almost exclusively made up of a montage of sex scenes and the occasional scantily-clad argument.
She eventually pushed through the laughter though, considering it a “dream role” for the “real issues” her character suffered from, something which Taylor definitely echoed, talking about The Girl on the Train as a movie set entirely “in people’s heads”, explaining his excessive use of close-ups. To Taylor this came from a desire to make the film “dark and moody and unsettling”, which definitely paid off, but not necessarily in the ways he was hoping for.
Ultimately it’s clear that although the finished film didn’t quite live up to the hype, its cast certainly still gave it everything they had.
The Girl on the Train is out in the UK now.
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