Emily Blunt has gone from corset queen to action star.
The British actress who earned rave reviews as Queen Victoria in the 2009 costume drama "The Young Victoria" co-stars as a shotgun-toting, ax-wielding farmwoman in the sci-fi tale "Looper," which opened the Toronto International Film Festival on Thursday.
Opening theatrically Sept. 28, "Looper" stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a hit man assigned to kill victims the mob sends back from the 30 years ahead in time — including his own future self (Bruce Willis). Blunt plays a fiercely protective single mother whose son holds the key to the future.
Next month, she begins shooting the futuristic action saga "All You Need Is Kill," starring Tom Cruise as a soldier in a war against aliens who finds himself caught in a time loop, living his last day over and over.
"It's sort of 'Groundhog Day' set in the future, with the world being taken over by these very frightening mimics, which are these alien-type creatures," Blunt said. "I play the toughest soldier alive, so get ready."
The 29-year-old Blunt had her breakout Hollywood role in 2006's "The Devil Wears Prada" and has had a busy year with starring roles in "The Five-Year Engagement," ''Your Sister's Sister" and "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen."
Blunt stars alongside Colin Firth in a second Toronto festival film, the road-trip tale "Arthur Newman," about a man who fakes his own death, assumes a phony identity, then finds himself on a bizarre cross-country spree with a troubled woman he saves from an overdose of pills.
Blunt has been pumping herself up for the action of "All You Need Is Kill" with two-a-day workouts five days a week.
While Blunt was in training, Cruise's personal life came under scrutiny again as his marriage to Katie Holmes ended, with reporters resurrecting tales of his bizarre behavior during their courtship, when he was publicly preaching his Scientology beliefs and jumping up and down on Oprah Winfrey's couch to proclaim his love for Holmes.
Blunt has been unfazed by the publicity over Cruise, saying he keeps his focus squarely on his work.
"Tom has always been nothing but professional and sweet and open and a lot of fun for me to be around," Blunt said. "He's a doll."