British actress Emily Blunt has revealed that she ran a real-life dating agency as part of research for her role in upcoming romantic comedy, The Five-Year Engagement.
Blunt, who stars opposite Jason Segel in the much-vaunted new feature from the producers of 2011 smash Bridesmaids, told Movie-Rumors that she started the company before even being cast in the part of Violet Barnes, a role she said she had ‘coveted’ from the moment the project was first mooted. So serious was she about getting the casting nod that she invested more than $3 million in setting up Silver Screen Partner Harmony, which projected both a high-volume online presence, and a discreet, ‘high-class’, face-to-face service for the great and good of Hollywood.
“I really felt the role needed that little bit of extra romantic edge because storytellers live or die on authenticity”, said the 29-year-old Blunt. “I needed to eat, sleep, and breathe that fundamental human experience of finding true love in the least expected and yet most dramatically obvious place, having given up on the prospect of ever finding that one special person, after the one you thought was ‘the one’ actually turns out not to be ‘the one’ and the one you never thought could be ‘the one’ actually turns out to be ‘the one’, but it took a dating service to make you understand that simple fact.”
“That is something everyone knows, everyone experiences, everyone recognises. It is the common human denominator.”
Within three months of startup, Silver Screen Partner Harmony had a customer database of 36 million Americans, had projected annual turnover of more than $1.2 billion, and was rumoured to employ rom-com dons Matthew McConnaughey and Jennifer Lopez in senior management positions. Blunt was even forced to turn down a starring appearance on the cover of Forbes so as not to blow the lid on the still-unannounced Engagement project.
“Man, I would have loved to have done that”, recalled Blunt. “We were making millions, we were expanding into new markets in the UK, Japan and Singapore, we were just days away from listing on the Dow. Everything seemed perfect, but then the business of our dreams turned out to have betrayed us, to have deceived us and we could only find solace in the unconditional love of our long-standing, faithful, previously essentially unsexed best friend, who happens to be a member of the opposite sex, but who pulls through for us at just the right moment, demonstrating plainly that they are, in fact, ‘the one’. They were there under our noses all the time.”
Executives at Silver Screen remember it differently, however. “She just didn’t turn up to work one day and never came back”, said one former board member, speaking on condition of anonymity. “We later found out that that was the first day of filming on this new movie. We were leaderless, rudderless from that moment onwards. No one knew what to do. Christina Applegate tried a kind of boardroom coup to save us, but she was too tied up negotiating the Anchorman sequel, and the whole thing just sort of ran out of steam. Eventually even Sandra Bullock just started playing Minesweeper on her office PC rather than working.
“It was awful, just awful”, they added.
Silver Screen Partner Harmony last month filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in a federal court in Denver, citing debts of almost $65 million.