Blunt says as a young girl she would often talk in “a lot of funny voices because I could speak more fluently if I didn’t sound like me.” Then, at age 12, a teacher overheard her doing different impressions and suggested she try out for the class play. “He said, ‘I think you are funny, and you should do it. And have you ever thought about doing it in a different voice?’” she tells PEOPLE’s Editor-in-Chief Jess Cagle in the latest episode of The Jess Cagle Interview (streaming now on People TV).
The London-born actress, 35, who is currently staring with Krasinski in the horror thriller he directed, A Quiet Place, in theaters Friday, and said that being part of her school production led to her love of theater.
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And while the acting helped with her stutter, it didn’t get rid of it entirely. “It still comes back and flares if I’m really tired, or when I was pregnant it was really prominent again,” the mom to Hazel, 4, and Violet, 21 months, explains. “It runs in my family. I had an uncle, cousin, grandfather who stuttered. It’s nothing to do with anxiety. It’s just a kind of brain-synapse thing that happens to people who are genetically predisposed to have it. The worst is having it at 12, 13.”
Blunt is now working with an organization called the American Institute of Stuttering to try to help others.
“They’re fantastic and they’ve got this revolutionary way of treating people and giving people the confidence because it’s a real problem for a lot of people,” she says. “It’s not just kids. You have adults into their 40s and 50s who haven’t been able to get the jobs that they deserve because you’re sort of misrepresented by how you speak. It’s nothing to do with an anxiety, or a nervous disposition. It’s nothing like that. It’s just a kind of brain synapse thing that happens to people who are genetically predisposed to have it.”
She continues: “It’s very bullied. And so, this organization is amazing. They offer people a real community.”