Emily Blunt Criticizes Cannes For Banning Flats on the Red Carpet

Emily Blunt Cannes
Clemens Bilan/Getty

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.”

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.

Later that evening, she walked the red carpet in tall metallic stiletto sandals, but changed to flats for the “Sicario” afterparty.

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  1. GKN says:

    Forcing women to wear high heels has never been a policy, as the festival director made clear in the “After More Outcry…” article above. But it is true that goons… uh, er, bouncers, whatever they’re called, seem to make up their own rules from time to time and have to be called back to order. A bit like cops in America.)

  2. Jane says:

    My daughter and I were just talking about this. I said to her “If I was a big named actress and was going, you know what I would wear!” My daughter said “You would go bare foot!” YES I WOULD!!! Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE high heels! I miss them…I can’t wear them anymore cause of a bad back, so how would that work?

  3. nance18 says:

    ridiculous…. I wouldn’t go even if I liked high heels….who would want to be in a group like that!!

  4. Candice says:

    To the French, women are just eye candy and a sex doll.

    • Coach L. says:

      BUT…aren’t they really Liberal and Compassionate over there? You can do whatever you want?


      • GKN says:

        I’ve spent half my life in the States and half in France, and believe me “Coach”, you can do what you want more easily in France. (Plus have free health care and free college.)

        I’ve also been to Cannes a half dozen times and was never turned away from a premiere for wearing flats. Is this a new policy or is the reporter’s inflating? or does it only concerns ‘stars’? But if so, frankly,
        how many actresses do you see at the Oscars in flats? There is no ‘dress code’ there? Your bigotry is showing people.

  5. tw says:

    france is such a messed up place. so long the revolution … smh

  6. Sheila says:

    Why would they force women to wear high heels? What a strange rule!

    • Rudie says:

      It’s my understanding that the rule is their to try and preserve some of the prestige of the event and capture some of that old Hollywood glamour. I believe it’s only enforced for night screenings and it’s the same set of rules that state black tie for the men. It’s why you see even the press in their best suits and dickie bows. I’m not saying it’s right but the dress code is relatively well known and enforced It’s just the press have only now tried to make an issue of it.

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