By Oliver Gettell
September 28, 2015 at 12:00 PM EDT
  • Movie

In the new narco-thriller Sicario, Emily Blunt delves into the shadowy world of the war on drugs. The British actress and recently naturalized U.S. citizen plays Kate Macer, a dogged FBI agent who finds herself on unsteady ground after joining a black-ops team that operates with impunity on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.

During the recent Toronto International Film Festival, Blunt spoke to EW about what drew her to the character and how she prepared for the role with the help of real law enforcement officers.

“The thing that most interested me in playing [Kate] was to see somebody with a really superior moral compass, to see those ideals systematically broken down throughout the course of three days, which is a limited period for your whole life to be shifted,” Blunt said. “And I think it’s unusual, it’s somewhat of an anomaly, to have the female protagonist be this sort of action-esque character, and for female cops to be represented in a realistic way on film.”

To gear up for Sicario, Blunt met with several female FBI agents. “Speaking to these women was really insightful because they were very honest with me,” she said, “from what affects their sleep, how the job affects their family, their relationships, their children, their friendships. That was the more internal sort of insight I had into the character.”

For more from Blunt, watch the clip above. Sicario is in theaters now.

  • Movie
  • R
  • 120 minutes
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