‘The English’: Emily Blunt & Chaske Spencer Tease Onscreen Chemistry
The drama is a Western by means of the genre, but it’s also a story about identity, survival, revenge, and even romance as two unlikely individuals come together to make an epic journey across a sprawling landscape. When Lady Cornelia Locke (Blunt) arrives out west, she’s greeted with the kind of hostility that one might expect from a brutal and often lawless area of the country.
But, Cornelia has a goal in mind, and she’s not letting the fear of being killed keep her from it. Even with this fearlessness though, she’s ill-equipped to survive on her own, and when she crosses paths with a Pawnee ex-cavalry scout, Eli Whipp (Spencer), they strike up a connection that carries them in the same direction on initially separate journeys.
Reluctant to help guide her on her journey, Eli, denies Cornelia at first, but it’s a bond over tragedies that seems to tie them in an inextricable way. In other words, the chemistry between these characters has to jump from the screen, and thankfully, two compelling performances manage just that.
“Oh, he’s effortless to build chemistry with,” Blunt admits to TV Insider about her costar. “He’s such an extraordinary man and he’s such an extraordinary actor. I feel like we approach the scenes very similarly. He’s a very tender-hearted person,” Blunt continues. “And we needed that for Eli.”
“You’ve got this character who is lethal and could kill you in an instant without much feeling, but there’s pain, there’s a heaviness there,” she adds. “There’s emotionality that she sort of unlocks. And it was wonderful seeing him find those moments where she cracks through the armor.”
While Cornelia may be breaking through Eli’s armor, Blunt remarks, “I loved how withheld he was. It was so easy being in scenes with him.” The feeling is quite mutual as Spencer says, “I really adore her. She’s talented. She’s just very supportive.”
The experience of creating these charismatic moments between Cornelia and Eli was something Spencer equally enjoyed as much as his costar. “She’s just fun and easy to work with,” the actor muses.
Their onscreen dynamic and chemistry was palpable from the time Spencer was cast, according to series creator, writer, and director, Hugo Blick. “It was written for Emily,” the showrunner reveals of Blunt’s role, but when it came to Eli, that was another story. “When [Chaske] came in… it was like the lights all came. That character just became him, in that moment, and he never let go of it.”
“And I can’t remember giving him a piece of direction in the whole piece,” Blick commends of Spencer’s performance. “All I had to do was put the camera in the right place and stay out of the way.” See where the unique dynamic between Cornelia and Eli takes Blunt and Spencer onscreen by checking out The English on Prime Video.
The English, Streaming now, Prime Video