Before we dug into our interview, Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor dug into a pre-lunch snack (which you can see a bit of here). Thankfully, it wasn’t salmon, though fish sticks were served for lunch. While the theme worked for promoting the movie, I’m pretty sure Blunt and McGregor preferred the macarons.
While Blunt and McGregor have an easy rapport that makes them seem like the perfect pairing in this interview, the connection is harder to see at the beginning of their new movie, “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.” A story about a fishing expert (McGregor) who finds himself muscled into assisting a wealthy sheik on what seems like a fool’s errand — building a dam and stocking it with fish in Yemen so that the sheik can pursue his beloved sport fishing — it brings together McGregor and Blunt as a very unlikely couple.
Dr. Alfred Jones is an unhappily married man who seems to love his boring, buttoned-up life, while Blunt’s consultant character, Harriet Chetwode-Talbot, is a spitfire who’s fallen in love with a dashing military man sent to serve in Afghanistan. It isn’t an easy or obvious romance, but that’s a large part of what makes this movie work. The resulting sweet-natured romantic comedy somehow manages to avoid the missteps of so many films in the genre.
It also doesn’t hurt that the film is based on a hugely successful book — one that Blunt’s parents loved. Though she notes that it didn’t make the decision for her, it confirmed taking on this weirdly titled indie was the right decision.
It probably wasn’t hard for Blunt to find sparks with McGregor (what woman didn’t swoon over his character in “Moulin Rouge”?) despite the fusty character he played in the film, but I had to ask how working with him compared to another recent romantic lead, Jason Segal, in “Five Year Engagement.” The winner? Well, you can probably guess all on your own.