Emily Blunt lives up to her last name on a few things: she hates the word “likable” (it’s her “least favorite word in the industry”) and she’s sick of double standards plaguing Hollywood’s characters. Blunt and Paula Hawkins, author of Girl on the Train, the film in which Blunt plays the main character, open up to The Hollywood Reporter in their most recent cover story.
Blunt detests the the perception of a character being likable because she thinks it puts women in an uncomfortable position. She tells Hollywood Reporter, “With so many movies, women are held to what a man considers a feminine ideal. You have to be pretty. You have to be ‘likable.'” Blunt questions why looks and appearances are required to fit into this “feminine ideal.” She uses Rachel, the character she plays in Girl on the Train, as a prime example: “Rachel isn’t ‘likable.’ What does that mean? To be witty and pretty and hold it together and be there for the guy? And he can just be a total drip?”
Paula Hawkins defends her decision to have Blunt play Rachel, a character with a drinking problem who may or may not have witnessed or committed a crime. Hawkins said, “People say, ‘Oh, she’s way too beautiful to play her.’ But that doesn’t matter. ” In both the book and movie, Hollywood Reporter points out that the three women characters are “strong (each flawed in their own way)” whereas the men in their respective lives “fall on the spectrum from weak to loathsome.” Although the women in Girl on the Train appear stronger than the men, the question of likability still hangs in the balance.
Blunt addresses double standards in the film industry, saying, “There’s so much judgment with women.” This become especially apparent in the character of Rachel, whose vices include alcohol and self-sabotage. Blunt explained, “A woman is a drunk, a whore, whereas the guy’s like a partyer, a player. I’ve been around both women who drink too much and guys who drink too much and it’s just as ugly on the guys. It makes me crazy. I don’t think that women should be seen as any less sexual than a guy.”