Emily Blunt is a woman transformed. The 31-year-old English actress is best known for films such as The Devil Wears Prada (2006) and The Young Victoria (2009), though now, she is a full-on cinematic warrior woman as well. In her latest movie, Edge Of Tomorrow, she knocks seven bells out of action star Tom Cruise.
"To be able to beat the cr** out of Tom Cruise, that's pretty cool," she says, beaming, when we meet in a London hotel. The movie casts Cruise as a military publicist, a man more accustomed to talking than fighting, who is thrust into frontline combat duties after he offends a high-ranking general.
These duties involve a D-Day-style assault on alien forces which have conquered Europe. Blunt stars as a veteran special forces warrior known affectionately among the menfolk as "Full Metal Bitch".
"It was a really long and tough shoot and sometimes the way Tom and I got through it was just to tease each other."
How so, I wonder?
"I would tell Tom he was being a wuss and he would tell me I was a sissy, that type of thing."
Starring as warriors in a sci-fi action picture, both actors were required to wear metal ExoSuits which took 30 minutes to put on and weighed more than 45kg each.
"Tom and I would try to push each other over in the suits," says Blunt with a laugh, "and it would take three people to get us back up again. We were really mature, as you can tell. In fact, at one point, we all panicked that I might break Tom's arm."
Playing opposite an icon such as Cruise, she says, was unexpected. Back in 2005, when she was just starting out, Blunt went on record saying she would rather remain in low-paying theatre roles than to play a "spear-carrier in a Tom Cruise movie".
In Edge Of Tomorrow, Cruise is more the spearcarrier, playing second fiddle to Blunt's bad-ass soldier, Rita Vrataski, in the tough-nut stakes.