By the time I got home from the Sicario premiere at MoMA this week, the film's star Emily Blunt was trading puke takes with Stephen Colbert on his Late Night Show. The vomiting is not as random as you'd think: the new movie directed by Denis Villeneuve has such grim imagery, the characters, FBI agents raiding a house in the Arizona desert double over in wet heaves in the dry courtyard. That's just the beginning; when we first see Emily Blunt's Kate, she's almost too pretty and too vulnerable to do this job. "This took off layers of skin," Blunt said at The Modern after party, in her poised British.
Ah yes, her movie American accent is so perfect you forget she's British, and with new American citizenship no less. As to her costars, "Josh Brolin and Benicio del Toro, are powerhouses," she says, but they are babies too. Now she's eager to get home to her 20-month-old daughter, and she and husband Jon Krakowski take off. Next up for her: The Girl on the Train. No one is wasting time getting this best seller onto film. "I'm a drunk," she says gleefully of her role as Rachel.
Speaking of accents, Hilary Swank talks French with Denis Villeneuve. And on the astonishing brutality of this film, the documentary filmmakers D. A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus mention Cartel Land, Matthew Heinemann's nonfiction film on the same subject as Sicario, only true.
Josh Brolin prepared for his role in Sicario researching, travelling to Mexico for The Cartel, Brian Grazer's ill-fated film, cancelled just as it was going into production in 2010. When Sicario script came along he was going to turn it down --he had just finished filming Everest, to open this week as well, and wanted to take a break--but then Benicio who he has known since they were 19 called, and he just couldn't say no.
Benicio del Toro, an old school gentleman, stands up to say hello. While this is not unusual in the real world, after seeing him in Sicario--the title means assassin or hitman-- you are not sure if he will shoot first, talk after. It's not personal, as one drug lord says in the film; "it is to me," his character called Medellin replies before taking revenge for horrors committed by the cartel. In the film's cruel ethos, this is a land of wolves.
A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.