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Michael Moore talks politics, Emily Blunt dishes on film industry at Hamptons film festival

Actress Emily Blunt speaks with Jenelle Riley, deputy

Actress Emily Blunt speaks with Jenelle Riley, deputy awards and features editor at Variety, during "A Conversation With..." part of the Hamptons International Film Festival, at Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015. Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Michael Moore and Emily Blunt sat for two very different interviews yesterday afternoon at the 23rd Hamptons International Film Festival.

The outspokenly liberal filmmaker and the British-American actress appeared at Sag Harbor's Bay Street Theater as part of the festival's "A Conversation With..." series.

Where Moore spoke passionately about politics, Blunt -- a newly-minted American citizen -- mostly avoided the topic in the wake of criticism over her recent comments about Republicans. Where Moore said he hired bodyguards to protect him from attackers -- he said two men accosted him in East Hampton the previous night -- Blunt fielded a question from a Chinese woman who ran a website devoted to her. And where Blunt discussed her grueling fitness regimes, Moore joked about his weight.

"In the last year-and-a-half, my father died and I got divorced," Moore said, adding later: "But I've made two very good friends... Ben and Jerry."

Moore's new film, "Where to Invade Next," posits that various European countries have better socio-economic policies than America's. Talking with Marshall Fine, chair of the New York Film Critics Circle, Moore cited free universities as one example.

"We went for free or nearly free," Moore, 61, said of his generation. "And then we made our kids pay tens of thousands of dollars in loans, and got them into this debtors' prison. They should be more mad at us than they are."

Moore spoke out about the campaigns of Donald Trump ("he's a performance artist"), Bernie Sanders ("a bit of a crank") and Hillary Clinton ("they're running it like they did in '08."). He also held forth on the main difference between the two parties.

Republicans "have the courage of their convictions," Moore said. "I admire them so much for that." Democrats, on the other hand, "are so loosey-goosey we can't even find our car keys."

Blunt, speaking with Jenelle Riley of Variety, covered nearly the whole of her career, from her teenage years as a budding stage actress to her breakout role in "The Devil Wears Prada" and her new film, "Sicario," in which she plays an FBI agent.

"It can be such a meat market," she said of her early years auditioning. "You can be sitting in a room with girls who look very similar to you, about 20 of them, and it's like you mean nothing."

Since then, Blunt, 32, has appeared in "The Young Victoria," "The Adjustment Bureau," "Edge of Tomorrow" and other films.

"I do feel incredibly proud to be part of this new wave of emboldened female characters who are proving to make money at the box-office," she said. Blunt told her Chinese fan, an aspiring filmmaker, to be creative. "I encourage guts in women," she said, "and don't conform to something that you've already seen."

The Hamptons International Film Festival closes tomorrow with a screening of Steven Spielberg's "Bridge of Spies."


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