Who knew sitting on a train was so exciting?
Not this guy. I’ve sat on a lot of trains before, and the most exciting thing is when the person sitting next to you leaves and you can put your bag on their seat. It’s thrilling.
But that has nothing on what happens to Emily Blunt’s character, Rachel, in “The Girl on the Train.” In the movie, based on the best-selling novel, Rachel’s usual train ride somehow gets her entangled in a possible murder, and thanks to her (spoiler) alcoholism, you don’t know who to believe.
The movie is full of mysteries, and, after seeing it, we have some unanswered questions of our own, such as, “Was there a ‘Devil Wears Prada’ reference?” or, the most puzzling mystery, “How does Rachel get the same seat on the train every day?”
Thankfully, The Huffington Post recently chatted with Blunt, and the actress cleared a few things up.
At one point on the train, Rachel is drawing a women’s shoe, which kind of looked like the “Devil Wears Prada” shoe. What’s the reason behind it?
Originally in the book, she was drawing a shoe, and there’s this voiceover that I don’t think made it into the film talking about how she had a very overactive imagination. She sees this discarded shoe and she can only imagine, “Where’s the other shoe and what happened with it? Where’s the foot that was put into it?” It was not a little nod at “Devil Wears Prada.” [Laughs]
There have been a lot of “Devil Wears Prada 2” rumors. What are your thoughts on a possible sequel?
I think if everybody did it, we would entertain it. I think the story would have to be really good and really worth it because I sometimes feel that if you do a sequel that’s not as effective as the first, it almost dilutes the first, which would be so bad.
Rachel draws on the train and somehow gets entangled in possible murders. What do you do to pass the time while traveling?
I have an overactive imagination. 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.
What was your biggest challenge with this movie?
It was such an alien skin to wear for a while. I’ve never played somebody as tortured as this. What a challenge to play somebody in the grips of an addiction but also somebody who’s afraid of themselves, and you’ve got the heightened environment with a potential murder. That combination is like a real character piece with the combination of a thriller, so it’s really unusual. It is a rarity in Hollywood to have a mainstream film with such a flawed character, especially the female character.
The film is getting a lot of comparisons to “Gone Girl.” What do you think about those?
I understand why those comparisons occur because you have the unreliable narrator and you’ve got a thriller set in a domestic environment, so I understand, but I do feel that the main protagonists are very different. You’ve got one who’s a sociopathic lunatic — Amy in “Gone Girl” — and then you’ve got Rachel, who’s a tortured alcoholic, who’s a victim until she’s not.
There’s a scene where Rachel is yelling at a mirror, and it’s scary. How did you prep for that?
Well, that was one of those scenes that stuck out in the script. I’m sure a lot of people were nervous about it because it’s a big moment, and it’s sort of the pinnacle of her rage and pinnacle of her drinking problem [that are] evident in that scene. For me, when you’re doing a high-octane emotional scene, I can’t plan them out, so I don’t rehearse them. I don’t quite know what’s going to happen, and I can only describe it as you sort of go somewhere else. I said to [director Tate Taylor], “Is it OK if I don’t walk it through? I don’t quite know what I’m going to do,” and he said, “Great.” We just rolled, and we did three takes of it. And it was just wonderful and spontaneous. Yeah, it was a very intense scene to shoot.
OK, biggest question: How does Rachel get the same seat on the train every day?
She doesn’t! [Laughs] Well, listen, maybe she actually does get the seat most of the time because she wants to get the perfect box to see her favorite house, but I think maybe you’re led to believe she’s really living out in the sticks, so by the time she gets on the train, it’s not very busy. Maybe she’s at the end of the line, sort of an empty deal at that point.
Aw, don’t cry, Rachel. Your seat on the train is amazing.
“The Girl on the Train” pulls into theaters Oct. 7.
This interview has been edited and condensed.