Emily Blunt knew as soon as she read the script for her new series “The English” that she would star in it, but she also realized she had to have more of a role in the western than just in front of the camera.
Blunt is also executive producer of the new drama, which she debuted at MIPCOM on Sunday night with its creator, Hugo Blick, co-star Chaske Spencer and producer Greg Brenman.
“I opened the script and couldn’t stop. It was breathtaking and arresting, and strikingly beautiful, so I knew I was in it immediately. When it came to being part of it in its entirety, it just made sense for this project,” Blunt said during a Q&A after the first episode aired. “I loved standing side by side with Hugo and Greg along the way, and I think I’ve probably been around the block enough to not just be interested in the acting part, I’m interested in all of this. ”
Blunt stars as Cornelia Locke, an Englishwoman who travels to America in the late 1800s to exact revenge on her late son. Spencer plays a Pawnee scout who saves her from danger. Blunt describes it as “a breathtaking hunting thriller with the tenderest love story at its heart”.
Although the plot takes its characters across the American West, it was actually filmed in Madrid.
“He provided everything we needed, and we thought the money would be better spent on being honest with you, filming in Spain and not going all the way to North America,” Brenman said.
Blick noted that while shooting an American Western in Europe may seem antithetical, Europeans have long had a connection to the genre.
“A lot of the filmmakers of Hollywood’s golden age of Westerns in the 1950s were actually European practitioners,” said Blick, who wrote and directed the drama.
To ensure the authenticity of his Native story, Blick said he consulted with the social justice organization Ilumintative, as well as representatives of the Pawnee and Cheyenne tribes.
“The journey that I sought out and conjured up here on screen was as horrific to the Indigenous experience of Western expansionism as this story tells,” he said. “It was very revealing and very important for us as filmmakers to use the western genre…to explore some pretty hidden stories.”
The series is set to debut on Prime Video on November 11.