At a press conference on Tuesday morning at Cannes, where the drug-trade drama "Sicario" will premiere in competition, Emily Blunt talked about a topic that seems to be prevalent at every festival panel this year: sexism in Hollywood. "In this film, you'd been asked early on if you'd write my part for a guy," Blunt said, as she turned to director Denis Villeneuve.
"People were afraid [of the screenplay] because the lead was female," Villeneuve said. "The screenwriter was asked to rewrite it several times." But then Lionsgate came onboard, and allowed for the character to stay a woman.
Blunt plays an FBI agent enlisted on a mission to Mexico with potentially shadier characters played by Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin. There aren't any other women in the unit. "I get asked a lot, 'You play a lot of tough female roles,'" Blunt said. "I don't see them as tough." She added: "I found this character damaged and vulnerable. She's struggling in the role of being a female cop. It's not safe."
John Krasinski and Emily Blunt love each other
Emily Blunt criticizes Cannes for banning flats on the red carpet
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - AUGUST 13: Actors John Krasinski and Emily Blunt attend HFPA Annual Grants Banquet at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on August 13, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 08: Emily Blunt and husband John Krasinski pose at The Opening Night of the MTC production of Sam Shepard's 'Fool For Love' on Broadway at The Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on October 8, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 11: Actors John Krasinski and Emily Blunt attend the 'Sicario' premiere during the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival at Princess of Wales Theatre on September 11, 2015 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 15: Actors John Krasinski (L) and Emily Blunt attend the 20th annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards at the Hollywood Palladium on January 15, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for Pol Roger Champagne and 1928 Prosecco)
John Krasinski, left, and Emily Blunt arrive at the 6th annual Governors Awards at the Hollywood and Highland Center on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Emily Blunt, left, and John Krasinski arrive at the 72nd annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 15: Actor John Krasinski and wife actress Emily Blunt arrive at the 20th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards at Hollywood Palladium on January 15, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 07: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) (L-R) Jon Hamm, Jennifer Westfeldt, John Krasinski and Emily Blunt pose at The Opening Night After Party for ''Elephant Man' on Broadway at Gotham Hall on December 7, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 08: Actor John Krasinski (L) and actress Emily Blunt attend the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences' 2014 Governors Awards at The Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center on November 8, 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
VENICE, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 26: Emily Blunt and John Krasinski are seen on September 26, 2014 in Venice, Italy. George Clooney is set to marry his lawyer fiancee Amal Alamuddin this weekend in Venice where they met. (Photo by Robino Salvatore/GC Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 13: Actors Emily Blunt and John Krasinski arrive at the 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 13, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jeff Vespa/WireImage)
SANTA MONICA, CA - JANUARY 10: Actors Emily Blunt and John Krasinski arrive at the 18th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards at The Barker Hanger on January 10, 2013 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
SANTA MONICA, CA - JANUARY 10: (L-R) Actors Emily Blunt, John Krasinski and Joseph Gordon-Levitt attend the Critics' Choice Movie Awards 2013 with Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte at Barkar Hangar on January 10, 2013 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Tiffany Rose/WireImage)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 06: Actress Emily Blunt (R) and husband actor John Krasinski attend the 'Looper' opening night gala premiere during the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival on September 6, 2012 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by George Pimentel/Getty Images)
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When asked about the lack of female co-stars onscreen, Blunt said with a resigned shrug: "It's something I've become quite used to. It happens quite a lot on films. There aren't a ton of chicks around."
A reporter told Blunt about the report that several women at Cannes were turned away from the red-carpet premiere of "Carol," because the festival mandates a high-heels-only policy when it comes to footwear. "I think everyone should wear flats, to be honest," Blunt said. "We shouldn't wear high heels anymore. That's just my point of view I prefer to wear Converse sneakers. That's very disappointing."
Villenueve jumped in: "As a sign of protest, Benicio, Josh and I will walk the stairs in high heels tonight." The line got a big laugh, and now every photographer on the red carpet will be angling to see if they keep that promise.