No one could deny Emily Blunt has had a pretty good year, what with a starring role in The Girl on The Train, hosting SNL, and being cast as Mary Poppins in Disney’s upcoming sequel to the classic 1964 film.
There’s one sequel, however, in which she won’t be appearing. Earlier this year it became clear her character would not return in the sequel to Sicario, the drug war thriller that became a surprise festival hit last year and was named one of the best films of 2015.
Screenwriter Taylor Sheridan recently told The Wrap: “That was my decision, and at some point I’m going to have to talk to her about it.”
Ouch. What made that decision all the more surprising was that she was undoubtedly the movie’s lead, playing Kate Macer, a principled FBI agent tasked with taking down a Mexican drug cartel, where normally we’d expect a testosterone-fueled action hero.
Emily’s co-stars Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin both have roles in the upcoming sequel Soldado, as they return to Mexico to ignite a war between two cartels smuggling more than just drugs across the border.
The new film will apparently focus on del Toro’s character Alejandro Gillick, and feature Show Me a Hero‘s Catherine Keener as the boss of Brolin’s character, a CIA agent called Matt Graver.
Sheridan explained why Blunt’s character was left out: “Her arc was complete… I couldn’t figure out a way to write a character that would do her talent justice.”
Warning: Spoilers below if you haven’t seen the first film.
“Look what she went through. It was a difficult role. Here I write this lead character and then I use her as a surrogate for the audience. I make her completely passive against her own will so the audience feels the same impotence that a lot of law enforcement officers feel, I drag her through hell, and betray her in the end. It was an arduous journey for the character, and for Emily. That character had arc.”
Also not returning for the sequel is Denis Villeneuve, the director who’s since gone on to make the critically acclaimed Arrival and is now working on the long-awaited Blade Runner sequel. Replacing him will be Stefano Sollima, the director responsible for Gomorrah and cult Italian drama Romanzo Criminale.
Sheridan went on: “What do you do next? She moves to some little town and becomes a sheriff and then gets kidnapped and then we have Taken? I had to tell the story that was true to this role, and I didn’t feel like I could create something with that character that would further that world that would do Emily’s character justice.”
He did, however, leave some room for hope that Emily might return in some form or another: “That said, there could be room for [her character] somewhere else down the road.”
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