No stranger to the prestigious Cannes Film Festival is SK-II Global Ambassador and leading lady Cate Blanchett who returned to Cannes with a nomination for her latest film “Carol”.
Currently tipped as one of the favorites of the festival, Cate Blanchett graced the red carpet for the “Carol” premiere in positively radiant skin, and highlighted by a stunning Giles Deacon gown.
As she prepared for the film premier with her favorite skincare products – beginning with the SK-II Facial Treatment Mask, followed by the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, the LXP series, and finally a spritz of the new SK-II Mid-Day Miracle Essence over the final makeup look – the multiple Academy Award- winning actress shared her experience being at Cannes.
“There are turning point moments in one’s career and life, and certainly walking up the Croisette and climbing those steps is a mystical and out of body experience. It is here that not only one’s work, but also one’s physical appearance that will engender the most intense scrutiny. You’ve not only put yourself out there with your work, and then again on a red carpet which is like no other red carpet.
It takes an incredible amount of courage to feel relaxed in that environment, so anything one can do to make themselves feel at ease and confident helps – be with people that you care about, wear a dress that makes you feel fabulous, and make sure you feel as comfortable in your own skin as possible.” – Cate Blanchett
Cate Blanchett & Haruka Ayase Together at Cannes
Also in Cannes for the film festival was SK-II Global Ambassador and Japanese actress – Haruka Ayase, whose film “Umimachi Diary” was a festival nominee.
As it was Haruka Ayase’s first time at the glamorous film festival she shared, “As a first-timer at Cannes, I feel as though this is one of the defining moments of my life. So far, it has been truly an eye- opening experience, and this has truly inspired me to change my destiny by pushing myself to achieve even more.”
Although nervous about her first Cannes red carpet, Haruka Ayase shared that her confidence was boosted with the use of her favorite SK-II regimen, which included the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, SK-II Facial Treatment Mask, and SK-II STEMPOWER Essence and STEMPOWER Cream.
As the climax of their journey in Cannes, the two SK-II Global Ambassadors, Cate and Ayase, came together for a short tete-a-tete, where Cate offered the younger actress words of advice on surviving Cannes, beauty tips to looking good the entire day, and shared her own #changedestiny moment from a previous festival.
“Going to a festival like Cannes is a real destiny changer. I had a similar moment that I think Haruka Ayase is about to experience. I was very green, and had never been to a film festival, when I went to Venice Film Festival with Elizabeth. I remember being so scared as I was told just before I went in that sometimes people boo. I knew that either way something was going to be different for me in the morning – and it was true, it was quite extraordinary.” – Cate Blanchett
“It was highly motivating and exciting that I had the chance to meet Cate. She is a great actress, and also such a great person full of positive enero,’ and power. As someone who has been to Cannes before, she shared a few words of wisdom about the festival. I am truly grateful that we were able to share time together at Cannes.” – Haruka Ayase
For more than 30 years, SK-II has touched the lives of millions of women around the world by helping them to “Change Destiny” through the miracle of crystal clear skin and life. The fascinating story behind SK-II began at a sake brewery in Japan, where scientists noticed the elderly workers had wrinkled faces, but extraordinarily soft and youthful-looking hands. These hands were in constant contact with the sake fermentation process. It took years of research for scientists to isolate the miracle ingredient Pitera, a naturally-derived liquid from the yeast fermentation process. Since then, SK-II with Pitera has become a special secret shared by celebrities such as Cate Blanchett, and Rebecca Lim around the world, transforming skin along the five dimensions of texture, radiance, firmness, spot control and wrinkle resilience critical to crystal clarity. A leading skincare brand in 13 markets, SK-II continues to deliver the transformative power of crystal clear skin and life through well-loved products including the Facial Treatment Essence, ST EMPOWER, and Cellumination Aura Essence. For the latest news and in-depth information about SK-II, please visit http://www.sk-ii.com.
Oscar winning actress Cate Blanchett will appear as the star attraction at a major fundraising event for the opposition’s most senior woman in Federal Parliament – Tanya Plibersek.
Blanchett is billed to appear at the Margaret Whitlam dinner in Sydney on June 19th. The online promotional material for the fundraiser highlights Blanchett’s climate change activism.
“As an actor, story teller, climate change activist and leading voice for women in public life, Cate Blanchett brings a unique and interesting experience to our event,” the website says.
“As co-artistic director of Sydney Theatre Company, Cate not only helped shape the artistic vision of the company but took on a responsibility for the company to address their impact on the climate.”
A new interview from the Singapore Fashion Week!
Amidst the flurry of Singapore Fashion Week, the two women talk beauty, motherhood, and equality
When Buro 24/7’s petite but powerful founder meets one of the greatest actresses and beauties of her generation, what else could transpire but a meeting of minds? Blanchett was here to grace Singapore Fashion Week as an SK-II ambassador and jetted in and out within 24 hours to head to Cannes where her film, the Todd Haynes-directed Carol, reigned as one of the hottest tickets. Here, two of the most intriguing and admired women in the world, share a chat about beauty secrets, motherhood, and fighting for gender equality.
Miroslava Duma: We’ll start off with beauty questions. How do you maintain your beautiful skin despite the constant travelling and extreme climate changes?
Cate Blanchett: Everyone’s suffering from extreme climate change. You don’t have to be in the plane…I think it’s air-conditioning or artificial environments that we all find ourselves in. I come from Australia where the the sun is really harsh. I basically stay out of the sun and try to drink a lot of water. I used to decant the Facial Treatment Essence (FTE) and spray it maybe three to four times a day within air-conditioned environments or while I’m on set, both over makeup and also under makeup. But now SK-II has helped me as they’ve brought out this product called the Mid-Day Miracle Essence, so you simply spray it on. Because the skin is the largest organ in the body, you’ve got to drink water…you’ve got to feed your skin.
MD: Do you drink a lot of water? Does it help? For me I get a bit bloated when I drink too much water.
CB: Yes I do, but you can drink too much water. You’ve got to find a happy medium. With this product you also can spray it on top of makeup. Because often people will spend all this money on skincare and then they’ll put makeup on top of it and it sort of ruins the effect. I use SK-II Foundation which has pitera in it, so you’re actually moisturising your skin with a liquid foundation and then I spray the FTE on top. It seals it in.
MD: What are some of the best beauty secrets you’ve picked up?
CB: I think I’ve gotten better at putting makeup on by working with great makeup artists. It’s finding the right shade of concealer or makeup, but in the end it’s all about diet and skincare. So I’m more obsessed with skincare than I am with makeup because I find that if I use good skincare — which I have been using for a long time — you don’t really have to use as much foundation.
MD: I wanted to ask you about kids because I know you have four. I just recently had a second baby, a girl four months ago.
CB: Oh…did you? Congratulations.
MD: I was in Australia recently and honestly felt that they [Australians] were the best people in the world, and it was the best country in the world. You know I often associate people with animals. We visited the zoo and when I saw the kangaroos — maybe because I travel so much and try to do everything all at once — I thought it would be nice to be a kangaroo in my next life so I can carry my kids with me.
CB: Until they’re ready to come out and go with you? But you carry them here(points to heart) and you carry them here (points to her head).
MD: But as a very successful person and mother of four, how do you manage?
CB: It’s all about partnership. I’m lucky that my life partner is also my work partner and we work together and raise children together. We tag team. I think it’s harder for women when they don’t have supportive partners. And still women get asked how we find that balance, men don’t get asked that question. Child rearing is still seen to be solely a female activity. And I love it. You know it changed my outlook and it changed my life. I didn’t grow up as a girl with big dreams to have babies, but when I did it made me more aware about the roles I choose to play.
MD: It’s important for a great woman to have a great man behind them to help them develop. Like in the case of Margaret Thatcher.
CB: But that’s the thing about equality, you want to work alongside people. So no one’s behind me…I work alongside people. Hopefully one day we will get there. It’s 2015 and we’re still talking about inequality.
MD: Do you identify as a feminist?
CB: Yeah. Unfortunately we’re in 2015 and women still do not receive equal pay for equal work. I don’t quite know why. Domestic violence is on the increase. There are 27 countries around the world where women can’t confer their nationality upon their children. That’s why I think it’s important for women to identify as being a feminist because I think we’ve lost a lot of ground.
MD: What is a feminist to you today?
CB: I think it has to do with choice. I think it has to do with equality. There was a point that feminism was a dirty word, because it was somehow considered to be threatening or denigrating to men. But equality benefits everybody and to me that’s what it’s all about.
MD: Today it’s equality, exactly. Do you ever still feel vulnerable in front of the camera or in front of a big audience?
CB: I always try to look out, rather than think about it if I’m feeling nervous. It’s an exciting tightrope walk being on stage. But yes, it always feels like the first day of school. I think how am I going to do this? I don’t know the process and I don’t know where to start. But then you do it with other people so it takes some of the pressure off.
MD: You support charities like Solar Aid. How do you choose the causes you support?
CB: There’s a whole suite of individuals who need support. Something that affects us all is global poverty — it’s the issue of refugees which is a global problem. The issue of 10 million stateless people around the world. It’s an economic problem as well as a social problem and a moral issue. Since I’ve become a parent, I’ve felt it’s even more important and the lack of political will is very frustrating. Poverty is an essential problem that everybody faces.
MD: It’s amazing what you’re doing.
CB: I don’t think it’s amazing… there are a lot of people doing a lot more than what I’m doing.
MD: Well that’s my opinion! Especially because you have this power of influence. A lot of young women look up to you and you’re setting an example. So they don’t just want to look beautiful, they want to do good things. And I think that’s what you represent.
CB: Women are complex, evolved, diverse human beings. And there’s many women trying to progress things forward in their small sphere, so if I’m doing something small that’s great. There’s a lot of women doing things… you included, it’s fantastic!
MD: Thank you. My last question is, if you had a choice, would you rather be a woman or a man?
CB: I’m a middle-class white girl who has grown up in relative privilege, so I’ve had the option to not think about my gender. But there’s millions of women the world over who bemoan the fact that they’re women every day. They can’t get educated, they can’t get a job or can’t vote or they’re sexually enslaved or they can’t even ride a bicycle. And it’s not just in the Middle East, I think it’s also in developed countries where it’s difficult for a woman to re-enter the workforce. It behooves men for women to be equal. It’s an economic advantage for everyone. I love being female, but I have the privilege to say that.
MD: We’re very lucky. Thank you very much Cate.
via Buro 24/7
Cate Blanchett was on the cover of Mindfood Magazine on April. Now you can read the interview online!
Her feet firmly on the ground, Cate Blanchett chats to us about playing the villain, embarrassing her children and why she doesn’t have any mirrors in her house.
She’s been a monarch, an ethereal elf, won an Oscar for her portrayal of a society lady’s dramatic fall from grace and now Cate Blanchett is beguiling as Cinderella’s cruel stepmother. With a strong interest in environmental issues, women’s rights and the arts, the luminous Blanchett is also now a mother of four, thanks to her and her husband’s recent adoption of a baby girl.
Her name evokes the ultimate in elegance and sophistication, and she’s a woman so impeccably put together that she seems almost preternatural. As always in life, the truth may be somewhat different, hearing Blanchett’s recollection of a recent family trip to LA that saw her navigating the city’s perilous freeways with three boisterous young sons in tow.
“Apparently I’m in the zone where I’m now deeply embarrassing,” she laughs. “Everything I do is deeply embarrassing. We were in the middle of a four-lane freeway and we were all singing to a song on the radio. My son had his head in his hands saying, ‘Can you stop, Mum, someone might hear you!’ And I said, ‘What? We’re in the middle of a freeway.’ The things that come out of the mouths of babes. Hilarious.”
Blanchett is a far cry from any sort of embarrassment this afternoon, in a Jonathan Saunders black-and-blue dress, with flawless hair and make-up. It’s the day before she will announce the life-altering news that she and husband Andrew Upton’s brood of three sons, Dashiell, 13, Roman, 10, and Ignatius, six, has been joined by adopted baby girl Edith. I ask if she ever feels outnumbered in a house full of testosterone, but ever the pro she replies coyly, “We have a dog called Carol”.
The new mum’s latest role is as the evil stepmother in Cinderella (2015); Blanchett delighted in the opportunity to play the villain. “Oh, I relished it,” she swoons. “It was delicious.” She stars opposite Lily James (Lady Rose in Downton Abbey) in the live action movie directed by Kenneth Branagh.
Cruel to be kind
A contradiction of sorts, Blanchett’s physical allure has an ethereal quality (who else could have played the elf Galadriel in The Lord of the Rings trilogy so authentically?). Yet away from the cameras, she has a rather brusque, straightforward demeanour utterly rooted in the real world. She scoffs at the notion that some parents fear reading fairytales to their children due to their often-dark content.
“I think it’s incredibly important to read fairytales to children. I think children are interested in testing the boundaries; it’s like if you put too much hand sanitiser on your child they don’t build a resistance to bacteria in the world. It’s the same for their emotional life. Fairytales have been around for centuries, told across cultures because they teach not only a moral lesson but also gently introduce the dangers of the world and offer the child, before they go to sleep, a chance to dream and navigate through that.”
Watching Blanchett’s performance as this iconic baddie, it seems that she does wicked very well indeed. “I’ll take that as a compliment,” she smiles.
“I think there’s meanness in us all. I think that’s why we love watching others vicariously doing mean things. It draws back to the parts of ourselves that we don’t want to reveal but in the intimacy of the screen, we can say, ‘Oh, I felt that,’ or, ‘I would like to do that’. And it’s about teasing that out of people and giving them a catharsis.”
Of course, there are endless examples of cruelty, particularly nowadays with social media. “I don’t think people set out to destroy other people but they do inadvertently. I think the cruelty we inflict upon people is often unintentional and we don’t realise that we’re doing it.”
Woman of substance
Blanchett comes across as, to use a very tired Hollywood cliché, “blessed”. Even before movie stardom and a successful personal life, Blanchett was a good student and attended Methodist Ladies’ College before going on to the University of Melbourne and then the National Institute of Dramatic Art.
Given that her formative years were spent in a single-sex school, Blanchett has obviously witnessed the gamut of female relationships.
“I found that I took schoolyard girl-girl cruelty more personally than any sticks and stones that were thrown by a boy. I felt that I could bat that right back. But female cruelty is much more invisible and subtle and difficult to pinpoint.”
A serious expression appears on her face. “When I find people acting unjustly towards other people it really gets my goat.” It seems there are a few things that get her goat.
“Women who endure terrible abuses,” she says without hesitation. She told Sky News in 2013 that she was concerned about “a wave of conservatism sweeping the globe,” in regards to women’s roles in society.
Blanchett isn’t one to shy away from political debate. “When I was in high school studying 400-year wars that were waged during the Middle Ages or during the Greek period, and people were sailing off to Troy, I would think, ‘How did that happen? How can they fight wars for 400 years?’”
Well, we are there. We are in the middle of one and at some point the retaliation has to stop, the invasions have to stop, the baiting, both economic and political. But a lot of it is to do with our energy resources.” She takes a sip of water. “We pretend it’s about religion, but it’s not really.”
A keen environmentalist, Blanchett has been an ambassador for the Australian Conservation Foundation since 2007 and has learned that volunteering for a cause can sometimes bring unwanted attention. In 2011, for example, she was criticised and branded “Carbon Cate” for taking part in a TV campaign promoting the benefits of a carbon tax. “The gift of being an actor is that you have to develop a pretty thick skin,” she says.
Speaking of skin, hers has always garnered high praise. She glances at a poster featuring her luminous complexion and famed bone structure at its best advantage.
“It’s a team effort. For better or worse, I have one of those faces that can look incredibly plain, or, with the right lighting and make-up, okay,” understates the face of luxe skincare line, SK-II.
Interestingly, Blanchett has few opportunities to look at her face when she’s at home, except when she least wants to. “We actually don’t have any mirrors in our house, except in our shower, which is very confronting because it’s mirrored from all angles. So, I have very short showers – not only for environmental reasons.”
So, what does she do when she needs to check her outfit before leaving the house?
“I step into the shower.”
Blanchett and Upton, a playwright and screenwriter, met in 1996 and married the following year. The family made their home in Brighton, England, for nearly a decade before relocating to Sydney in 2006. What is her home like? She pauses.
“I respond to visuals and so any time we had a little bit of extra money tucked away, we would collect paintings, sculptures. I love living with those things,” she says. “My taste is very eclectic.”
Upton has held the artistic directorship of the Sydney Theatre Company since 2008 (including five years as co-artistic director with Blanchett), but as his term comes to an end later this year, the family has decided to seize the opportunity for change and move to the United States.
Blanchett is fairly certain that allowing her children to live in other cultures can only be a positive learning curve. “I don’t know what a normal childhood is. I think childhood is a deeply abnormal thing,” she says.
Although they enjoy the typical family beach holiday, as evidenced by paparazzi shots taken of the family in Vanuatu last year, they also appear to enjoy gatherings with extended family.
“We had a wonderful huge sprawling family Christmas full of memories that will stay with me for a very long time – for all of us, I think.” Were they perhaps sunning themselves on a tropical island paradise? “No. We were in Europe. We went to
many places and we took our boys to Auschwitz.
It was extraordinary.”
Like most mothers, her children are never far from her mind. It must be challenging for one whose life is so privileged to raise children in a manner in which they will become productive, sensitive adults.
“I realise when I go to other children’s houses that mine don’t really have that many toys. We offered to buy our eldest son a Kindle for Christmas because his backpack was so heavy with books. He said, ‘No. I like the smell of print. I want to hold it’.”
She smiles proudly. “And then I thought, ‘Well, okay. We’ve done something right’.”
Happily ever after
In this technology-driven age, when our devices and social media profiles can be so personalised, the thought of sharing an email address can seem quite confronting. Yet this is exactly what Cate Blanchett credits as her secret to a successful relationship.
Blanchett says the arrangement with her husband, writer and director Andrew Upton, works for them because “he hates emails” and is more than happy to leave all matters of correspondence up to her. The actor says this allows her to run the household like a “well-oiled machine”.
“We work together and it’s a way of synchronising our lives. I can see what he’s up to – it’s not that I don’t trust him,’’ she says.
The actor says of her husband, “[I was] incredibly fortunate to have met the intelligent, generous, risk-taking, stimulating man to whom I am married.
“He’s really amazing. I don’t think it’s more difficult for actors to have a good marriage than anyone.
“I think, in the end, a really important component of any relationship is honesty, and it also comes down to luck,” she adds.
Cate attended today the Premiere, Photocall and Press Conference for her upcoming movie “Carol” at the 68th Cannes Film Festival. The movie has been getting great reviews along with the words “Oscar Buzz”. The movie has been set for a limited release in December 18th for the US. More premiere dates have yet to be set. Here are the first photos from the Cannes:
Good morning! Carol was screened yesterday for the press at the 68th Cannes Film Festival and the first (very good) reviews are online. Enjoy!
Good evening! On May 14th, 2015 Cate Blanchett attented the Singapore Fashion Week as SK-II Global Ambassador. From the videos online we know she attented the SK-II #changedestiny Hangout and two different press sections, where she talked about her career, her daugther Edith and the movie Carol, that premieres on Sunday at the Cannes Film Festival. So:
SK-II #changedestiny Hangout
Press section #1 (click on the image for the original video, the one on Youtube is out of sync)
Press section #2 (click on the image for the video)
Unfortunately both press sections are mixed up together in the videos.
And two official portraits (check the gallery)
With the start of the 68th Cannes Film Festival, the first two clips from Carol have been released! Enjoy!
A new still via Salvatore Ferragamo’s official twitter
We at Cate Blanchett Fan wish Cate a very Happy Birthday!
Here’s the video from Birthday Project. It looks awesome!
On the eve of the 68th Cannes Film Festival, Variety dedicates the new issue to the festival, featuring a long interview with Cate Blanchett, and a wonderful photoshoot by Steven Chee. Check the gallery!
It’s not surprising that “Carol” was locked away in Hollywood’s development closet for 15 years. Based on Patricia Highsmith’s scandalous 1952 novel “The Price of Salt,” Todd Haynes’ latest movie is a double whammy by industry standards: it’s headlined by two women, who fall in love with each other.
The film, which stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, and premieres at the Cannes Film Festival on May 17, arrives at a pivotal, yet paradoxical, time for female-driven stories. There has been a string of hits this year that celebrate female empowerment — from “Insurgent” and “Fifty Shades of Grey” to “Cinderella,” and the upcoming “Trainwreck,” “Spy” and the final installment of “The Hunger Games.” That said, gender inequality both in front of and behind the camera is a hot-button issue in the global entertainment business.
As one of cinema’s most prominent stars, Blanchett, whose recent roles include the evil stepmother in “Cinderella,” doesn’t want Hollywood to wait for Prince Charming to save the day. “We have to push forward,” says the 45-year-old Australian actress, who believes successful women are finally starting to nurture projects for females. “What industry has parity pay for women? None. Why would we expect this industry to be any different?” She says the dominance of male stories on the bigscreen is bad business. “It’s not serving the audience,” she explains. “People want to see good films. We should have equal access to the multiplexes.”
On a recent afternoon in Manhattan, lounging outside the Crosby Street Hotel with her hair in a ponytail and a shawl draped over her shoulders, Blanchett says she wasn’t convinced that “Carol” would ever make it to theaters. “It was so hard,” she recalls. “Midrange films with women at the center are tricky to finance. There are a lot of people laboring under the misapprehension that people don’t want to see them, which isn’t true.” And while the franchise-obsessed movie industry covets young male audiences above all else, it can no longer ignore female moviegoers — who account for at least half of ticket sales each year.
Blanchett believes there is some hope. “I think there’s been a critical mass of women who have reached a certain place in the industry,” she says, citing Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman, as well as producer Allison Shearmur, who made the Disney fairy tale about a magical glass slipper a reality. “I want it to not be discussed anymore,” Blanchett notes. “But it needs to be discussed.”
Blanchett was delighted when she received a call in 2013 from her old pal Haynes (“I’m Not There”), telling her he wanted to make “Carol,” after a series of directors had dropped out. The drama centers on a charismatic New Yorker (Blanchett) who embarks on a passionate love affair with a younger department store clerk, Therese (Mara).
The indie production, which was financed by Film4 and Goldcrest Films, and was filmed in a Cincinnati outfitted to look like 1950s New York, wrapped in only 35 days in April 2014. “We shot in these old homes that felt like tombs,” Blanchett says. “The atmosphere of the city really added to the atmosphere of the film.” But after various cuts were shown to test audiences, the movie (scheduled for a late 2015 release from the Weinstein Co.) went into hibernation.
If “Carol” works, it could earn Blanchett a seventh Oscar nomination (she’s already won two Academy Awards, for 2004’s “The Aviator” and 2013’s “Blue Jasmine”). But if it stumbles, it may be perceived as yet another example of the curse of the gay love story.
When Highsmith first published “The Price of Salt,” she used a pseudonym to protect herself from public outcry. These are very different times, but Hollywood still hasn’t caught up. “Brokeback Mountain” debuted 10 years ago, and there have been few breakthrough gay romances since. Even the past summer’s enthusiastically reviewed “Love Is Strange,” starring Alfred Molina and John Lithgow as a couple, eked out only $2.3 million at the domestic box office.
Haynes, who directed Dennis Quaid’s closeted husband character in “Far From Heaven,” says the focus on gay stories has shifted more to TV. “In some ways, the event of a gay love story is less surprising every day,” Haynes says. “But I think love stories are hard to pull off, period. They require external forces that keep the lovers apart.” Elizabeth Karlsen, who produced “Carol,” adds: “I hope it’s a film for everyone. And certainly when we’ve screened it, we’ve found young and old, male and female, straight and gay, have all responded.”
Blanchett was a celebrated Australian stage actress before she was cast in Shekhar Kapur’s 1998 drama “Elizabeth.” Kapur recalls interest from a variety of A-list actresses — including Gwyneth Paltrow and Kidman — in playing the virgin queen, but from the moment he saw a clip of Blanchett, he knew she was fated to assume the throne. “Cate Blanchett was destined to break upon the international screen, and I was her conduit,” Kapur says. He recalls how a young Blanchett would beat herself up after takes, saying that she hadn’t quite landed a scene.
That trait evidently still persists some 50 movies later. “There are days when she’s frustrated by her own work,” Haynes says. “We don’t know what she talking about, but she’ll say, ‘I need to take an acting pill today. It’s not working.’?” Blanchett doesn’t like to talk about her how she prepares for a role. “Do I have a process?” she asks. “I don’t know. There are certainly things perhaps that I don’t want to identify.”
Until recently, she ran the Sydney Theatre Company in Australia with her husband, Andrew Upton, and she’d criss-cross between stage and screen roles such as “The Monuments Men,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” and the “Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings” trilogies, in which she portrayed the elf Galadriel.
When asked if this is her first turn as a lesbian, Blanchett curls her lips into a smile. “On film — or in real life?” she asks coyly. Pressed for details about whether she’s had past relationships with women, she responds: “Yes. Many times,” but doesn’t elaborate. Like Carol, who never “comes out” as a lesbian, Blanchett doesn’t necessarily rely on labels for sexual orientation. “I never thought about it,” she says of how she envisioned the character. “I don’t think Carol thought about it.” The actress studied the era by picking up banned erotic novels. “I read a lot of girl-on-girl books from the period,” she says.
The other book on Blanchett’s shelf was “The Private Life: Why We Remain in the Dark,” by psychoanalyst Josh Cohen, which she found relevant on many levels. She describes Carol as “unknowable,” but she could just as easily be talking about herself. Unlike many celebrities today, she treasures her privacy.
For example, she says she’ll never join Twitter. “I think I’d end up in rehab,” she jokes. “That stuff is addictive.” She doesn’t Google herself either. She finds out she’s made headlines when she walks her kids to school and the crossing guard tells her, “What they said about you — that was terrible!” Blanchett realizes we live in a society of snoops. “We need to get into people’s private lives now,” she says. “If they are hiding something, they are dishonest.”
She eventually offers some details about how she unlocked her latest character. Blanchett turned to the film’s costume designer, Sandy Powell, for help. “We asked, ‘What is the most erotic part of the body?’” Blanchett says. “We kept saying that wrists are really erotic. The neck. The ankles. The way Highsmith writes, she’s got this exquisite observation of detail that most people would miss, but a lover’s eye never would. We talked a lot about erogenous zones.”
One of the most memorable scenes in the novel takes place in a hotel room, when the women consummate their love for the first time. The scene appears in the film too, though it isn’t overtly racy. “It’s not ‘Blue Is the Warmest Color,’?” Blanchett says. “That’s not the ambition of the film.”
Screenwriter Phyllis Nagy had always been a Highsmith fan. As a researcher at the New York Times Magazine in the late ’80s, she finally met her literary idol when Highsmith was commissioned to write a walking tour of Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery, and Nagy tagged along. The two struck up a friendship through letters and occasional visits — Highsmith would write to her from Switzerland, where she spent her final years. She even suggested Nagy make one of her books into a movie, a daunting proposition, because Highsmith loathed all adaptations of her work, including the 1951 Hitchcock classic “Strangers on a Train.” (She died in 1995, four years before the release of “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” in which Blanchett co-stars and first discovered Highsmith.)
Around 2000, a producer from Film4 had acquired the rights to “Carol,” and asked Nagy to work on an adaptation. The writer had a distinct take. “To me, Carol was very much like Grace Kelly in ‘Rear Window,’?” she says. “There’s a sexuality beneath the cool.” She cranked out a first draft in 10 weeks, and spent the next decade working on roughly 10 revisions. “People came and went,” Nagy says. “Various directors were attached and unattached,” including Kenneth Branagh and John Maybury.
The rights eventually lapsed, and returned to the Highsmith estate. That’s when producer Karlsen at Number 9 Films decided to chase after them. The pursuit took her all the way to Zurich, where she had to arrange for an in-person meeting with publishing house Diogenes to make her case that she’d actually get the movie finished. “It’s not a coincidence that I’m a female producer,” Karlsen says. “I have three daughters, and that puts me in tune with the paucity of great female roles. It’s almost by osmosis that you’re drawn to them.”
The “Carol” team underwent one more round of musical chairs before the cameras rolled. Blanchett was always interested in starring, and director John Crowley (“Brooklyn”) boarded the project, and tried to lure Mara to play Therese, but she had just completed “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” and passed.
“I didn’t think I could play the part,” Mara says. “So I turned it down, which is insane to me now, because working with Cate has always been a dream.”
Then Crowley had to bail due to scheduling, and producer Christine Vachon suggested Haynes, who was available. “I felt there was something exciting about the festering interiority of a person falling in love,” says the director, who shot the movie in 16mm (the look was inspired by the photography of Vivian Maier).
Haynes and Blanchett were glad to be reunited, and Mia Wasikowska was cast as Therese, but she too had to drop out due to a conflict. Haynes went back to Mara, who agreed to take the part this time. With all the near misses, Nagy believes Haynes was always meant to direct “Carol.” “Happily, we saved the best for last,” she says.
Blanchett is no stranger to Cannes. She first attended the festival in 1997, as an up-and-coming actress who used her connections to land a ticket to the premiere of Ang Lee’s “The Ice Storm.” She returned in 1999, with “An Ideal Husband,” in which she played Lady Gertrude Chiltern. “It was like night and day, walking down the Croisette on star Rupert Everett’s arm,” Blanchett recalls. “I was laughing so hard, because only two years earlier, I’d been on the other side of the barricades.”
Other trips to the festival would follow, for films including 2006’s “Babel.” But it was 2008’s out-of-competition screening for “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” in which she plays a villainous Soviet agent opposite Harrison Ford, that drew the biggest crowds. “I’d never seen so many people,” she marvels. “It was like Harrison was the pope.” Last year, she returned with “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” for which she voiced Valka, Hiccup’s mom.
Though she is considered one of the greatest modern screen actresses, Blanchett doesn’t like to watch herself in movies. “I never think I have it,” she says. “Maybe that’s why I keep working.” She’ll often calm herself by imagining that nobody will ever see the movie she’s making, but that didn’t work when she boarded “The Aviator” as Katharine Hepburn, given the high profiles of director Martin Scorsese and co-star Leonardo DiCaprio. She had a ball on set, but when she saw the finished film, she wasn’t satisfied with her performance. “I was filled with disappointment and regret,” admits the actress, who has starred in plays such as “A Streetcar Named Desire,” “Hedda Gabler” and Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya.” “That’s what I love about theater — you can try to improve what happened the night before.”
The Blanchett-Uptons are planning to move soon from Sydney to either New York or San Francisco. But first, she is in Manhattan for a quick visit before Cannes to reshoot a scene for “Truth,” about Dan Rather’s last days at CBS, in which she stars with Robert Redford. She’s also completed back-to-back Terrence Malick projects, filming for four days on “Knight of Cups,” and then two weeks on “Weightless,” a film for which she had to pseudo-improvise. “Terry would write reams and reams of poetry, and he’d give it to you in the morning,” says Blanchett, who told the director she couldn’t memorize all those lines that quickly. So he’d read her the dialogue in an earpiece. “You’d say what you heard or misheard,” Blanchett says.
She hasn’t seen either of those films, but Haynes showed her an early cut of “Carol” last August. “The visuals surprised even me,” Blanchett says. “I somehow was expecting something more familiar.” If Carol lived today, she couldn’t see her marching in a gay pride parade. “Her sexuality isn’t politicized,” Blanchett says. “I think there are a lot of people that exist like that who don’t feel the need to shout things from the rafters.” She says the movie captures the spirit of Highsmith’s prose. “Her stories, her characters, the texture that she writes are so slippery,” Blanchett says. “It was no surprise to me that it was a tricky thing to get made.”
Cate Blanchett, along with several celebrities who attented the Armani Silos Opening at the end of April, is featured in a celebratory video by Armani. Have a look!
The 68th Cannes Film Festival screening guide it’s been published! Save the dates!
CAROL (dir. Todd Haynes)
May 17, 2015 SUNDAY, Grand Théâtre Lumière (invitation only)
12:00 PM | 7:00 PM
Day After Screening
May 18, 2015 MONDAY, SALLE DU SOIXANTIE?ME
Marché du Film Screening (Market Screening)
May 21, 2015 | OLYMPIA 1 | 9:30 AM to 11:28 AM (present Marché du Film badge or invitation)