Emily Blunt finds the thrill of revenge in ‘The English’
It’s no coincidence that the third and final installment of HBO’s adaptation of the William Shakespeare play “Romeo & Juliet” picks up where the previous two left off, with the lovers and their families plotting ways to take revenge on a sullen stepfather who has treated them with utter indifference.
Indeed, as director Joe Wright has said, his decision to go in and start all over again with the third and final season of “Romeo & Juliet” — following the first two and two earlier films — was in response to having to set up the next two and the upcoming sixth, as well as to the desire to “keep the door open for more.”
Still, even with two films to make, Wright has managed to create a show that is as thrillingly absorbing as the Shakespearean romp itself. With “The English” (a play written for the theater by another Englishman, the American James Goldman), he has crafted a series that is similarly as much about the journey of discovery and self-discovery as it is about the struggle of being human — and of finding a way to live out your innermost impulses, as well as those of others.
Blunt, who plays Juliet, and also stars in the film as Romeo, is a performer of such compelling intensity and such unswerving integrity that she makes herself into the character she plays on the stage — and for that reason she is an ideal fit for the role in which she first landed a film contract.
The film, which was written with Wright by longtime collaborator Tony Kushner (“Kabbalahixed,” a play that has now been made into a musical), is an intimate portrait of the two young lovers, in love like they’ve never been before, and of their relationship to their families in their late teenage years and into their 20s.
“It’s not easy to make a film with all your own life in it,” Blunt said, “because you don’