Emily Blunt's the new Hollywood action star

Emily Blunt's the new Hollywood action star
British actress Emily Blunt

Cannes, France - The new name Hollywood is going to for a female action lead is Emily Blunt - a British actress who in short hops has established herself as a tough-yet-vulnerable heroine able to hold her own against big male stars.

The 32-year-old got the attention of Hollywood with her leading role in Young Victoria, playing the 19th century British queen.

But it was her icy supporting role in 2006's The Devil Wears Prada that got the wider world's attention, shining alongside Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep.

Then last year, audiences saw her as a steely sci-fi warrior in Edge of Tomorrow, teaching Tom Cruise how to fight endless waves of invading aliens.

Her leading turn as an FBI agent learning just how dirtily the US is fighting its war on drugs in Sicario, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on Tuesday, has cemented her appeal as someone who can credibly pull off action and drama at the same time.

Acting rescued Blunt from a pronounced stammer when she was a girl. A school teacher pushed her to drama classes and urged her to try on other accents - a technique that rid her of the speech impediment.

As a teen, she turned her passion for acting into a stage career, then moved into period series for British television.

After her appearance in The Devil Wears Prada, she was picked for numerous US and British movies.

In 2010, she played in The Wolfman opposite Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins. Although the werewolf movie was panned, she was courted for a couple of Marvel superhero movies but turned down the roles because of scheduling conflicts.

Her renewed pairing with Del Toro stood her in good stead in Sicario, in which the Puerto Rican actor also stars.

Looper, a small but much-loved sci-fi movie starring Bruce Willis, was released in 2012, and she segued into the bigger sci-fi blockbuster Edge of Tomorrow with Cruise.

Into the Woods, a musical retelling of several big fairy tales, also starring Streep, followed.

Sicario's undoubted success when it starts opening around the world in September will likely bring in more high-flying movie offers.

"Blunt plays the divorced Kate with a quiet resolution, a solid performance which should help lift the British actress into more serious roles," wrote industry magazine Screen International.

In the meantime, Blunt is completing filming on The Huntsman, a sequel to the 2012 fairy tale drama Snow White and the Huntsman, and voicing an animation called Animal Crackers alongside Sylvester Stallone and Ian McKellen.

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