After the interview published a few days ago, The Los Angeles Times released a clip from the roundtable, that will air on January 17th, on Ovation, at 8:30 p.m. ET.
“You know when you go to a great dinner party – the food can be wonderful but it’s the thing that you remember least if the company and conversation is amazing.” Twice-Oscar winning actress Cate Blanchett’s brow furrowed momentarily as she contemplated the question of how she goes about choosing which projects to pursue. “That is the best way I can think to describe it,” she continued. “In a way the role is the last point of entry for me. It’s always first about who I’ll be working with.”
In her career to date, which she describes as “lucky, so very lucky”, the line-up of Blanchett’s co-stars and directors reads as a who’s who of Hollywood’s most renowned – from Woody Allen to Robert Redford, George Clooney to Judi Dench – with her roles spanning royalty, fairy-tale characters, a socialite, a teacher, a Soviet agent, a Disney snake (Jungle Book: Origins is currently filming), Katharine Hepburn and Bob Dylan, to name only a few. However, not one to rest on her laurels, she was thoughtful about what she would like to do next.
“Oh! So many things. I’d love to play Lucy in the musical You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown,” she laughed, “And I would love to work with Jenna Rowlands, Jane Fonda, Amy Adams, Andrea Arnold. They’re all such strong and interesting women.”
So, with such an impressive CV to her name, does Blanchett ever still get star struck? “I worked with Bob Redford recently on a Jamie Vanderbilt film called Truth and I said to Jamie when Bob showed up, ‘What do I call him?’ He was about to come into the trailer and I was like ‘What do I call him? Do I call him Mr Redford? Do I call him Bob? I can’t call him Bob, that’s his nickname! Shall I call him Robert?'” she acted out in mock panic. “Then he came in, stuck out his hand and said,’Bob Redford’ and I thought ‘Ok, that’s what I’ll go with.’ He’s had such a profound effect on American culture and has a deep-seated curiosity about what makes the world tick that’s as alive in him today as it was 50 years ago. He’s thrilling to be around. He’s a facilitator of talent, which is such an incredible achievement.”
Aside from the script and the company, there is something – or rather four somethings – that now play an even more vital role in Blanchett’s career choices. “I mean, it’s also – sorry to be so prosaic – having four children and a partner who is working, it’s a balancing act. So often it’s, ‘Is this happening in the school holidays?” You can’t do everything,” she told us. “By devoting yourself to one project you think, ‘Oh I can’t do that, I can’t see that, I missed this.’ There is always that fear of missing out.”
Another decision that Blanchett has found herself having to make in her professional life is how, and whether, to utilise her prominence for philanthropic purposes. “If you have a certain amount of airtime, you can use that space to talk about something worthwhile or you can use it to release your own clothing line and a reality television show based on your own life,” she mused. Having recently returned from a UN trip to Lebanon to meet with refugees displaced by the current crisis, her choice is evident. “You do have to be quite judicious about what you say though, because of the way it gets digested by the media and the conversation can be hijacked. The issues have to remain the most important element.”
No matter the topic, Blanchett takes the same measured approach to each answer, visibly thinking out every question – particularly when she is discussing her work and the characters, who she describes as if they are old acquaintances, that she has played. Her latest venture, the title role in Todd Haynes’s lesbian romance Carol is no different. The film, which possesses all the elements of a traditional love story – the chase, the passion, the heartbreak – is based on Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel The Price Of Salt, the genre of which was so controversial at the time – it was printed the very year, in fact, that the American Psychiatric Association classified homosexuality as a mental disorder – that the author chose to publish it under a pseudonym.
The compellingly subtle way in which story unfolds onscreen is an element that Blanchett credits Haynes with, but the triumph does not only belong to the director. A masterpiece so rich in atmosphere and emotion requires a myriad of complementing elements to carry weight and for a film that Blanchett describes as “fast and furious – we didn’t have a lot of time or money,” it has a beguilingly measured pace. Tension – from erotic to spine-chilling – builds in the lingering camera shots and Blanchett’s lasting gaze, for which she is so famed, conveys the most evocative expression with the merest of movements.
“He has made a film that is entirely about the process of falling in love – the thrills, the anticipation, the eroticism, the longing, the lust and the trepidation. Those volcanic feelings,” she lilted. “And yet the love exists between two women. It’s a vital component in the film but it’s also immaterial.” Material or immaterial, after only 15 minutes with Blanchett, who is already receiving Oscar whispers for the role, it is clear that she is a woman of substance.
via Vogue UK
A new bunch of press junket interviews, mostly form the European promotion of the movie
Cate Blanchett was also a guest at Lorraine: the interview was recorded during the London Film Festival
Cate and Rooney at BBC Breakfast. Watch a clip below!
Two new clips have been released!
After the long interview released few days ago, a new videos from Women in the World India Summit came out today.
A new lead actress panel, this time for the Los Angeles Times
An eclectic group of actresses behind some of the year’s most intriguing films, including rising stars and established performers alike, gathered earlier this month to talk with The Envelope about their films, their personal approaches to work, and their industry.
Participating in the conversation were Cate Blanchett, from the 1950s lesbian love story “Carol”; Brie Larson, from the imprisonment drama “Room”; Helen Mirren, from the art saga “Woman in Gold”; Charlotte Rampling, from the marital drama “45 Years”; Saoirse Ronan, from the immigrant tale “Brooklyn”; and Lily Tomlin, from the intergenerational comedy “Grandma.”
Here are edited excerpts from the free-flowing conversation moderated by Times film writers Rebecca Keegan and Mark Olsen in which the actresses discuss the roles that hit too close to home, the secret alchemy of working with directors and how they know when to say “no.”
Keegan: Helen, you recently played gossip columnist Hedda Hopper in “Trumbo.” We’re in the L.A. Times building, which is where she worked. How do you think she would handle an actors roundtable?
Mirren: She’d certainly be wearing a hat … the difference would be that none of us would be relaxed because we would know that we had to obey not just what Hedda was requiring of us, but what our studios were requiring of us. I presume we’re all much, much freer than any of those actresses.
Blanchett: No, I was bought many, many years ago. Cheaply. 50 cents.
Keegan: It seems like there is more of an expectation of actors to share of their personal lives now, perhaps, than there was then. Saoirse, how do you strike that balance between wanting to be able to preserve something for yourself and also share a little bit of who you are?
Ronan: I started when I was very young. Even from the age of 12, the only thing that was important was actually the film, and that was the only thing that I was ever going to talk about. Naturally, as actors, we’re very, very open, we’re very emotional and so it’s easier to kind of be expressive…. But for me it’s important to protect my life outside of work.
Olsen: Cate, do you find that living in Australia, as you do, that that allows you some distance from Hollywood, and maybe the machinery of celebrity?
Blanchett: I’ve been running the Sydney Theatre Company with my partner for five years … and because it was a public position you’re asked to … be part of the national conversation. I found that very confronting.
Mirren: Who here has a Twitter account?
Larson: I just got one three months ago.
Blanchett: Is that because of the gorilla? [Larson is currently shooting “Kong: Skull Island.”]
Larson: No, it was actually, weirdly, my choice. I never had social media and then suddenly I felt like … any time I did tap into the Internet … it was so much negativity — and nothingness — I thought, well, perhaps I can be part of a group that’s maybe pushing it in a different direction.
Ronan: I think you can feel the pressure, as well, from social media to, present yourself in a certain way, and because of that, you lose touch of what individuality actually means. You see, on things like Instagram and Facebook and Twitter, when it’s used in the wrong way, your representation of yourself is completely warped. I know lots of people around my age who have kind of lost touch with who they are, because they spend so much time presenting their every day life in unrealistic ways.
Blanchett: I remember, years ago when I first came to Los Angeles, a friend of mine, a female director, was wanting to make a very small, low-budget film, and she was presented with a list of actresses that she wanted to approach, and the studio executive rolled out this piece of paper with a calendar of events, and there was this chart with a list of actresses and the tick against what events they’d been to.
Larson: That exists?
Blanchett: They were wanting to cast these women based on their photograph-ability. Now there’s a request that you open yourself to social media so that your profile is high…. You’re a commodity, you’re a brand, and that you’re expected, now, to brand yourself … it’s a changing landscape.
Keegan: Lily, in “Grandma” you are wearing your own clothes and driving your own car —
Tomlin: Right, that was budgetary.[Laughs]
Keegan: That’s a part that was written expressly for you. How do you think about the difference between the character you’re playing and the real you?
Tomlin: I’m sort of late to that kind of starring role. I’ve been a co-star and so on, but I’ve rarely led a film. It was very low budget, and [director] Paul Weitz was a friend; I’d done “Admission” with him…. I’m known for creating these very extreme characters, very different one from the other, and different voices and everything, not that I didn’t approach them as an actor — I did, and I do — but this movie, it just rolled off my back. I thought, “Well, maybe I’ve tried too hard in the past, to be a different person.”[Laughs]
Olsen: Charlotte, your director on “45 Years,” Andrew Haigh, said that he liked the idea that both yourself and your co-star, Tom Courtenay, that the audience would have all these memories of earlier films the two of you had done, that in thinking about this couple at their 45-year anniversary, that the audience would have these images of you. Did that affect your performance, or how you saw the movie in any way?
Rampling: You can’t not bring who you are to a role. You can’t efface work that you’ve done … there is an identification that people will automatically make throughout…. They do, as we grow up and grow on through films, they follow us…. Tom and I started almost exactly the same time in the ’60s in England, as actors…. We didn’t necessarily know each other very well … but we knew each other because of the journey that we’d had.
Blanchett: It’s the difficulty of returning to a place that you know inside out and playing a role that is really enmeshed with your own identity. There’s a challenge in that…. The membrane between you and the character is so thin.
Ronan: It’s terrifying…. To come along and be so used to playing somebody else completely different to you, and feel like … you’re acting, you’re working, you know. And with [“Brooklyn”], I couldn’t get my head out of the fact that I was feeling all these things every day that this person felt, you know? It takes your head a second to manage all of those emotions. I felt completely out of my depth for the first little while.
Larson: I had the same thing with “Room.” It wasn’t until a month before we started shooting — and I had spent eight months prepping for it and doing all of these ridiculous things to get ready, and then I decided to just take a month of just silence, because she’s trapped in this space for seven years, so I thought, “Why don’t I just take a month of not leaving the house and see what happens?” — and I remembered that when I moved to Los Angeles at 7 years old, it was me and my mom and my little sister, we moved into a studio apartment in Los Angeles, not much bigger than “Room,” in the movie. We had no money, we were living off of instant noodles — once we started shooting, I woke up in the middle of the night, and I realized that my father had asked for a divorce right before we left, so we moved there not knowing if we had the money to go on. My mom had no idea what she was going to do; her life was completely uprooted. And yet, she created this world for me and my sister that was so rich, so full of imagination, and it gave me chills when I realized that I was gonna have the opportunity, in a month from now, to relive my childhood from my mother’s perspective…. I just felt like every day I was just on my knees asking my mom for forgiveness. I just could not believe the amount of love and the amount of strength that she had in order to get through that.
Ronan: I realized that “Brooklyn” was my mom’s story, this story about a young girl who becomes a woman, and who makes a choice that’s right for herself … and that’s what my mom did too, you know? This job came to me just like it came to you. In order to kind of celebrate our parents, you know, or our moms.
Blanchett: With some roles, in both of those films, they seem so particular that, that they’re so much themselves, they’re not made from any formula or any cookie-cutter thing — but they’re so unique that they somehow have the ability to tap into a universal experience.
Keegan: Helen, when you’re playing a person who is real, as you do in “Woman in Gold,” do you go through a similar kind of process?
Mirren: There’s the impersonation side of playing a real character and then the storytelling side of playing a real character. I found with Maria that it was the reading and the research that was actually more valuable than watching her. I knew I didn’t look anything like her. That’s a problem with playing a real-life character, is you can only ever be, if you’re lucky, 65% of what they are … so you have to sort of look at it from a different angle. I found an incredibly liberating thing when I played the queen, because I was tortured by it before I started, terrified and tortured. And then I suddenly thought of it as a portrait. Portraits have been painted of her many, many, many times, and I thought, “I’m just another artist painting a portrait, and it’s gonna have as much of me in it as any portrait does … I found that incredibly liberating. And then I felt the same with Maria.
Olsen: Cate, you had a different experience with the film “Truth,” where you’re playing journalist Mary Mapes. She’s a living person that you had access to — you had a book that she recently had written — how does that sort of access impact your performance?
Blanchett: I met Mary…. And we Skyped and at a certain point, I think both she and I thought, “We have to stop this,” because it was a very particular truncated moment of crisis in her life; it’s not a biopic. She was at the center of this terrible media storm. She’s hilarious and vivacious and vital, but this particular moment in her life was fraught and confronting, and she was in free fall. You try and pepper all of those things that are kind of inconsequential and almost invisible for an audience. You have to take a deep breath and say, “I’m going to disappoint people who know her” and if you play someone who’s well-known it’s even worse…. Playing Katharine Hepburn, I had to say to myself, “I’m going to disappoint millions of people but Martin Scorsese has asked me to do this, so I’m going to give it my best shot.”
Keegan: Only about 4% of studio movies are directed by women. Helen, is there anything that, in your position, you can say or do about that?
Mirren: I’m so on both sides of the fence. On the one hand, I think it should just be how brilliant, how talented you are — but then you can’t get to be talented if you’re not given an opportunity to work. If you’re never given the experience of making a film, how can you get to be a great filmmaker?
Blanchett: Well, say, for example, the fellow who’s directing your amazing King Kong movie. He had that extraordinary film that came out a few years ago [“The Kings of Summer”], but he’s not widely known, he doesn’t have a track record for producing big-budget action films, but he’s got this huge film. Without those track records in place, would someone be prepared to take a risk [like that] on a woman? And if, God forbid, it didn’t work, and how many films have I been in that haven’t worked for one reason or another, not necessarily because of the quality of the film — if a woman does that it’s like, “Well, see.”
Larson: Why are we talking about women like they’re aliens? Like, we’re talking about them like it’s a niche genre. It’s like, “Some zombie movies did good. You think we’re gonna be making zombie movies forever?” We’re talking about half of human beings…. It’s unbelievable to me at this point, that there is an entire perspective, the female perspective … and we’re missing one half completely. At least for me in my point in my career, the director’s attached, and then I meet, and if they want to work with me then that’s how it goes. But I also can’t just say, “There’s nothing I can do.” I think having a conversation about it is at least the beginning of it.
Mirren: I’ve always said we should all work toward getting great roles for women in real life, because as night follows day, the roles follow in drama. And to work on the visibility of women, behind the camera absolutely, for example, but also in all of the professions, in politics, business, science, in all of those roles. The three of us older women here, we’ve seen an amazing change, haven’t we? I seem to feel I’ve witnessed an incredible change.
Rampling: That’s for sure.
Larson: But then men sort of had a head start on us.
Mirren: They sure did, by a few billion years probably, absolutely.
Ronan: I think what needs to change is having more films that consist of female interaction. We’re all women here. We’re having an intelligent conversation…. You see it in “Brooklyn” and we’re so proud of it, that there’s so many scenes that just consist of women, and it’s entertaining, and it’s funny, and it’s heartfelt, and it’s sincere, and hopefully people learn something from it. I think, in that way, our mind-set needs to change.
Blanchett: But also, when I saw “Brooklyn,” half the audience were men, half were women — and both enjoyed it. And it’s the same with “Carol.” It’s about two women falling in love but there’s a universality to it, and there’s something that somehow only women directors can direct films that have women protagonists, and only women will go see them. It’s not some niche experience … it’s a human experience. “Hamlet” is one of the great plays and I feel it speaks directly to me, and yes it’s a male protagonist but it’s got an everyman quality to it. Women can speak to all of humanity…. The conversations are more creative when there’s many voices.
Mirren: We have to teach 22-year-old-men that fact. That’s the only problem.
Olsen: Lily, all through your career, whether from when your variety show, or a movie like “Nine to Five,” even a movie like “Grandma,” what do you see the relationship being between the social current and the message of the work you’re putting out?
Tomlin: Oh, yes, absolutely, as long as it’s human…. Not politics in some traditional sense, but has, the sensibility, expresses progressive ideas, yeah.
Blanchett: It’s a provocation, you know, your work is so provocative.
Tomlin: Oh God, I love hearing that from you.
Keegan: Did you think of “Carol,” at all, as a provocation?
Blanchett: If the film had been made 10, 15 years ago, I think it would’ve been viewed — even if it had been made the same frame by frame — it would’ve been viewed through a much more political prism. It probably would’ve been seen as more provocative. I think it’s timely. I focused on the relationships and the human aspect of the story, because you can guide an audience, but you can’t make them have the conversation, you can’t tell them what to think about it. And that’s what I find really exciting about acting, and what I find tricky about being in film — it’s not till someone stops you in a supermarket and tells you they either hated it or liked it [laughs] that you necessarily know that people have even seen it. The [box office] figures don’t tell you whether — they might’ve bought a ticket, but did they walk out? [Laughing] You know, you don’t know that.
Larson: Ah, I will tell you, that’s one thing that Twitter does do.
Larson: I know exactly when the movie’s getting out, and I get a flood. And that’s the thing that’s really interesting, and you get very personal responses.
Blanchett: But there’s nothing you can do about it. You see, this is the thing. This is what I find so difficult…. I did a play where I had an opening monologue of 20 minutes, and we hadn’t run the show — it was a really complicated show — I hadn’t run the show before the first preview. First preview, 100 people walked out. I went, “OK.” Next night, 70 people walked out…. Opening night, no one walked out. I could do something about it. Whereas, like, you find out on the Twitter feed that it’s trending like, what can you do?
Larson: Most of my friends are musicians and they’re baffled by what we choose to do. They’re, like, “Wait a second, so you don’t edit your own stuff? You don’t get to choose what the poster is?” For us, our job is just to give everybody in post-production all of the colors to paint with later.
Blanchett: But that’s why it’s so great to have that — I mean, we definitely had with [“Carol” director] Todd Haynes, it was Rooney [Mara] and Todd and I together. He was inside and alongside, and throughout the thing, so you think, well, “OK, we’ll do this five different ways because I know that when you get into the editing room, you will make a really great decision.”
Mirren: That’s why that moment of getting into bed with, or marrying, your director, that moment when you say, “OK, let’s go ahead,” it’s such an important moment.
Rampling: It is, it’s complete, the word is “surrender.” You have got to surrender.
Blanchett: Yes, you surrender but it’s not a passive surrendering. It’s like having great sex. You don’t know who’s leading…. And that’s where you have to be a little bit brave. You make an offer — and you go, “OK, that was the wrong way —” But it’s not often until you’ve done it the wrong way, but you think, “OK, it’s not that terrain, it’s that terrain.”
Keegan: How do you know when to say no?
Blanchett: In terms of the creative conversation, I think it’s always better to say, “Maybe.” Or “Why?” OK, that’s a good reason to do that. Let’s try it.
Rampling: It’s never “no.” “No” is useless in creation.
Mirren: Well, I’ve said no. I’ve said, “No, I’m not doing that.” It’s usually, it was related to — I felt that the writer or the director was demeaning women. I felt it was demeaning, or one-dimensional, or something like that. It would get my goat and I’d say “no.” But I have done a lot of very [laughing] demeaning things as well, incidentally. The people out there think, “What about that being nude in a van full of dead meat? That was fairly demeaning!”[Laughs]
Blanchett: Oh, that was extraordinary.
Larson: You did that?
Mirren: [Laughing] I did, I did, I did. I had to get very drunk to do it. Well, you know, it was art, that’s the thing.
Carol received six nominations! The award ceremony will be on February 27, 2016, the day before the Oscars!
“Beasts of No Nation”
Cary Joji Fukunaga – “Beasts of No Nation”
Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson – “Anomalisa”
David Robert Mitchell – “It Follows”
Sean Baker – “Tangerine”
Todd Haynes – “Carol”
Tom McCarthy – “Spotlight”
Best female lead
Bel Powley – “Diary of a Teenage Girl”
Brie Larson – Room
Cate Blanchett – “Carol”
Kitana Kiki Rodriguez – “Tangerine”
Rooney Mara – “Carol”
Charlie Kaufman – “Anomalisa”
Donald Marguiles – “The End of the Tour”
Phyllis Nagy – “Carol”
S. Craig Zahler – “Bone Tomahawk”
Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer – “Spotlight”
Cary Joji Fukunaga – “Beasts of No Nation”
Ed Lachman – “Carol”
Joshua James Richards – “Songs My Brothers Taught Me”
Michael Gioulakis – “It Follows”
Reed Morano – “Meadowland”
A transcript and some photos here
With “Carol,” the actress is back in the Oscar race and with it the inevitable red carpet question: “Who are you wearing?”
It was shortly after 8 a.m. on Wednesday and Cate Blanchett was 15 minutes late to breakfast.
“Oops,” she said, wafting into the restaurant at the Crosby Street Hotel, giving a smile and a shrug as she explained that when her publicist hadn’t stopped by her room earlier, she assumed the time had been changed and went back to bed.
Oh, well. Surely, one could excuse Ms. Blanchett for being a little sleepy.
After flying in Sunday night from Los Angeles, she hit the ground running with a Monday appearance on “Good Morning America,” promoting her new film, “Carol.” From there, she went on to the film’s press junket, changed into a black Antonio Marras dress with ruffled detailing and darted off to “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”
Then, she put on an olive green Lanvin gown and hoofed it to the film’s premiere, where she worked through red carpet interviews and posed for shots that would be beamed across the globe.
Thirty minutes later, Ms. Blanchett’s Escalade snaked through Manhattan toward the School of Visual Arts Theater on West 23rd Street for a Q. and A. with the film’s director, Todd Haynes, and her co-star, Rooney Mara, before heading back uptown to an after-party dinner.
The following morning, there was “Live With Kelly and Michael.” In the afternoon, a Q. and A. with the National Board of Review. In the evening, she changed into her black-beaded Chanel and headed to the week’s starriest event: a huge tribute on her behalf at the Museum of Modern Art.
There, colleagues like Ralph Fiennes and Woody Allen feted Ms. Blanchett for her Houdini-like ability to morph into characters ranging from homeless to head of state. Friends testified to her unfailing kindness. Magazine editors waxed poetic about her impeccable sense of style.
So how did she look by Wednesday morning, having ended the previous evening well after midnight? Pretty great, actually.
She was dressed all in black: black Givenchy tuxedo jacket, black asymmetrical Stella McCartney sweater, pleated black trousers and black patent leather Tod’s loafers.
The one dash of color came from a pair of bright pink aviators, which sat on her forehead in front of those famous blue-green eyes, and produced against her monochrome outfit an effect that was almost the ocular equivalent of a Dan Flavin lighting installation.
Ms. Blanchett professed to be a little gobsmacked by all the people who had shown up the previous evening on her behalf.
Martin Scorsese, who directed her in “The Aviator,” was a co-chair of the MoMA tribute, even though it was his birthday and what he really wanted to do was go to dinner with a few friends and family.
“Bless his socks,” Ms. Blanchett said. “What a mensch. What a guy!”
Graydon Carter was another co-host, and just thinking about him brought a smile. “Hasn’t he got wonderful hair?” she said.
She even had a chance to bond again with the artist Cindy Sherman, although that encounter had been a little bit petrifying to her, truth be told.
“Drooling fan! Stalker!” she said, describing herself and the fit of nerves she nearly collapsed into upon realizing the art world’s best known chameleon was amid this dazzling crowd of admirers. “I just thought, ‘Where’s my anorak?’”
So Ms. Blanchett is human. She can still get star-struck all these years later, even after she has won two Oscars, one for “The Aviator” and another for “Blue Jasmine.”
Never mind the interminably long awards-season dinners and mini-wardrobe malfunctions and two-cheek kisses with people harvesting newly named superbugs that only seem to strike at the heart of Oscar season.
Never mind the reporters with their inane questions and rumpled suits that appear to have been bought before the start of the first Bush presidency.
Even now, Ms. Blanchett still manages to evoke, in spite of all that, a sense that she has not seen it all.
This Friday, she hit theaters again in “Carol,” the latest film from Mr. Haynes, in which she plays a housewife falling in love with another woman in the Fifties. It received terrific reviews for itself as well as its leading lady, and the Oscar buzz has been building again.
“It’s been great,” she said of the last year, which also included a six-week run at the Sydney Theater Company, starring in “The Present,” an adaptation of Chekhov’s “Platonov,” and turns in the Disney update of “Cinderella,” as well as “Truth,” on the saga at CBS News.
Ms. Blanchett is aware that being this busy at age 46 is to have a series of problems most actresses only dream of. “But I literally thought I need to bring a sleeping bag to MoMA.!”
Now, she was hungry and in need of a little caffeine.
Thankfully, a waiter approached to take her order: a bagel with smoked salmon, along with some avocado, a little hot water with lemon juice, and some caffeine.
“Would it be possible to get a double espresso with hot milk?” she said.
For the next hour, she dined on all of that in the corner of this half-empty restaurant, talking animatedly about every cultural subject under the sun, from art to theater to movies to fashion to feminism.
She was lovely, she was nice, she was forthcoming.
She also turned out to be the sort of person who peppers conversations with so many erudite cultural references, it was sometimes hard to keep up.
Had a reporter been to the new Whitney?
Yes, he had. Transformed the entire neighborhood. Pass.
Had the reporter seen the well-reviewed new production of “A View From the Bridge” that opened on Broadway last week?
No, he had not. Fail.
There was nothing arrogant or haute about the way she discussed this or any of the artists, writers, designers, directors and playwrights she loves, among them Willem de Kooning, Spike Lee, Raf Simons, John Galliano, Gerhard Richter and Anton Chekhov.
Nor was she anodyne, certainly not as she voiced misgivings about the new Harper Lee novel (“I don’t know that I want to read that book. If she wanted to publish it, would she have published it earlier?”) and lamented the recent departures from Dior by Raf Simons (voluntary) and from Lanvin by Alber Elbaz (definitely not).
“I just knew that it had happened and it was like a little death,” she said, speaking of the firing of Mr. Elbaz, a friend whose dress she wore Monday night. “That’s gone. To what end?”
Still, Ms. Blanchett retains in person a queenly, almost ethereal quality that is unusual in this current era of fame.
She hates selfies. She doesn’t do Twitter. When the food arrived, she did not so much eat it as nibble upon it. Even on the occasion that a four-letter word came from her mouth, Ms. Blanchett seemed constitutionally incapable of being vulgar or bitter.
One could see why directors constantly offer her period dramas. Her modern sense of style is complemented by a tinge of formality that is almost anachronistic.
In “Carol,” Ms. Blanchett plays the title character, a housewife with nails manicured just so, nary a hair on her head ever out of place. Her billowing fur coat gets so much screen time, it could easily have had its own credit.
For Ms. Blanchett, the costumes were a vital tool to finding the character, a form of anthropology, from the outside in.
“The process of developing the costumes, it sounds like ‘O.K., what shoes does my character wear?’” Ms. Blanchett said. “It seems very Stanislavsky. It’s not. It’s more organic than that. It’s like ‘How does this make me move?’ ‘If I move that way, what does it mean?’”
Growing up in Melbourne, Australia, where her mother was a teacher and her father worked in advertising (he died when she was a girl), Ms. Blanchett played dress-up games with her sister, from which they would create fantastical characters with wildly elaborate narratives.
“I would inhabit the clothes she put me in, and then she would name the person that came out,” Ms. Blanchett said. “Our favorite was a guy named Piggy Trucker, this little dude who drove a pig truck to the abattoirs and was really conflicted because it made him stop wanting to eat meat.”
When she moved into doing movies and theater after finishing drama school in 1992, she put that proclivity toward self-transformation to bigger and better use.
In 1999, she hit the carpet at the Kodak for her first nomination — for playing Queen Elizabeth I in “Elizabeth” — wearing a dark John Galliano gown with butterflies on the back.
Five years later, she won her first Oscar for “The Aviator” (playing Katharine Hepburn), decked out in a yellow one-shoulder Valentino with a wine-colored belt and pink floral brooch.
In 2007, she moved back to Sydney from Britain and took over the Sydney Theater Company with her husband, the writer and director Andrew Upton.
There, her status as a fashion icon came in handy as Giorgio Armani provided millions of dollars in donations, and became its lead patron.
In an email, Mr. Armani called Ms. Blanchett “one of the most talented actresses of our time,” a person whose appeal is being simultaneously “fragile and strong, icy and sensual.”
The marriage between the Sydney Theater Company and Mr. Armani also turned out to be a harbinger of a new economic reality in the entertainment business. As movie salaries shrunk and executives turned up their noses at making big, ambitious movies about women, the fashion industry was becoming increasingly dependent on Hollywood celebrities to sell magazines, clothes, jewelry and makeup. And so a small coterie of big-ticket actresses began to earn some of the difference back by taking on edgier, more experimental film and theater work while forging relationships with luxury brands, which compensated their muses in myriad ways for the affiliation.
In 2014, Ms. Blanchett won her second Oscar for “Blue Jasmine” and accepted the award in an Armani Privé gown that was reported to have cost $100,000 to produce, which was mere pennies compared with the value of the jewelry she was decked out in: $18 million worth of Chopard.
There, she gave a speech that was statesmanlike toward her colleagues and pointed toward Hollywood’s studio heads, whom she put on notice for failing to realize that movies about women are not just necessary, but profitable, too. “The world is round, people,” she memorably shouted.
And she was there as a presenter the following year as well, looking resplendent in a silk velvet sheath from John Galliano for Maison Martin Margiela, her neck adorned in a turquoise Tiffany creation that was designed by Francesca Amfitheatrof and inspired knockoffs the world over.
The fact that the Good Witch of Oz never once seemed to land in a supermarket tabloid before or after that only added to her authority and bankability.
“She makes you miss her,” said Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy, who dressed Ms. Blanchett for numerous appearances, including one at the Oscars back in 2011. “You crave on-screen time with her, and then she comes with this crazy major movie and it’s mind-blowing. Then, she’s gone again. She is the antithesis of today’s speed fame obsession.”
Part of this has to do with Ms. Blanchett’s desire to raise her four children, whose ages range from almost a year old to 13, in Sydney, an environment where fame is perhaps a somewhat less powerful commodity than it is in New York or London or Los Angeles. “I don’t want them to be defined by it,” she said. “There’s a circus quality to what we do.”
Still, she frets that she’s damaging them, not doing enough for them, even living nearly 10,000 miles away from all these cameras and all this mayhem.
On her “Tonight Show” appearance, Ms. Blanchett had a blast. But she was still nervous the entire time that she was going to embarrass her oldest son, whom she said “bears the brunt somewhat at an all-boys school when his mother says or does something.”
“When my son heard I was playing a lesbian, he went, ‘ugh,’” she said. “There was no judgment on the creative decision. He could just see what Wednesday at school was going to be like.”
Her time here was now running out. Ms. Blanchett had a baby waiting for her back upstairs, Edith, a little girl whom she and her husband adopted this year. Plus, there was another flight to catch. She was due in New Delhi on Friday, where she had a speaking engagement at Tina Brown’s “Women in The World” summit in association with The New York Times.
But shortly before departing, she talked a little more about her complicated feelings about how women are treated in her industry and answered a question about how she has navigated an entire career without once taking her clothes off in a gratuitous sex scene.
This sentence stuck out beyond the others: “A career is built as much by what you say no to as what you say yes to.”
via New York Times
New interview and new photoshoot!
Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara faced ‘secrets … forbidden topics … taboos’ in the world of ‘Carol’
In the period drama “Carol,” Cate Blanchett plays the elegant, sophisticated, title character who resides in the tony suburbs outside New York City. Rooney Mara portrays the shy young salesgirl Therese who works in a Manhattan department store.
The women have nothing in common until they fall in love, bending all social mores to bridge the gap between their worlds and that of the conservative society around them. Carol is trapped in what should be a perfect marriage. Therese, at least a decade younger than Carol, is headed toward the ideal life goal for a single girl in 1952 — marriage to her longtime fiance.
That stark contrast in style and deportment carried over into the real world recently when the actresses got together to discuss the film. Blanchett, dressed in a silky cream-colored pants suit and red stilettos, filled the room with her presence as she engaged on multiple levels about the subversive love story in the film. Mara preferred to speak as little as possible, looking like a somewhat disinterested teen in a gothy black outfit and pale, gloomy face makeup.
As for the age gap, Blanchett, 46, stepped out of the hotel press suite to call her kids. Mara, 30, tuned out those around her as she texted home to check on her dogs.
Equal to both actors, however, was the challenge of conveying the risk of a same-sex love affair to audiences who live in an age of marriage-equality legislation and transgender TV stars.
“There’s so many secrets, codes and forbidden topics and taboos that exist between the women of ‘Carol,’ which is fantastic stuff to play with as actors,” said Blanchett. “But here’s more to it than that. The same-sex nature of the relationship sits alongside the age gap, along the gulf of innocence as opposed to experience. There’s a lot of other textures in the film to explore beyond their relationship.”
“And both of the women are coming of age in a different way,” added Mara, who skyrocketed to fame for her blistering performance as the lead in David Fincher’s version of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” “They’re both at a stage of life where they have to decide what kind of women they’re going to be and if they’re going to live their truth or continue on in this life that doesn’t really feel like theirs.”
“Carol,” out Friday in limited release, is the screen adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s semi-autobiographical “The Price of Salt.” Highsmith, who also wrote “Strangers on a Train” and the “Ripley” series, published the book in 1952 under the pseudonym Claire Morgan because of its taboo subject matter. It wasn’t until five years before her death in 1995 that the author, who was a lesbian, put her own name on the book.
“The interesting thing about a Highsmith character is that they’re quintessential outsiders,” said Blanchett, who also costarred in 1999’s “The Talented Mr. Ripley.” “Going back over all her writing and filmmaking carnations, that outsider perspective was the thing I was interested in mining. The way she describes people who are morally, psychologically and socially sitting on the edges of society — and that fact that love is the crime here.”
Todd Haynes, whose 2002 romantic drama “Far From Heaven” broke similar boundaries by exploring homosexuality and race relations in the 1950s, debuted his new production at the Cannes Film Festival in May, where it received high praise and Mara was awarded the lead actress prize. Blanchett co-produced the film with British Number 9 Films, Film4 Productions and the New York-based Killer Films, and it is being distributed in the U.S. by the Weinstein Co.
Blanchett, a two-time Oscar winner, and Mara, nominated for “Dragon Tattoo,” are considered likely nominees this year.
The story of Carol was based on a real encounter Highsmith had working as a clerk in a department store. She did meet an older blond married woman who intrigued her, but the rest of the story — the flirting, the relationship – was part of Highsmith’s imagination about the fleeting encounter.
“Carol” screenwriter Phyllis Nagy met the author in the last decade of her life. Nagy was in her 20s when she connected with Highsmith while working as a researcher for the New York Times. Highsmith was living out her last years in Switzerland, and the two eventually began writing each other regularly.
“I’d get these fascinating letters from her about life and politics,” said Nagy. “She’d tell me which of her books to read and should not read. But she never mentioned this one until she published it under her own name and retitled it ‘Carol.’ She gave me a copy of the book and talked about it in such a personal way I was afraid to read it because, what if I had the wrong response? I expected it to be like all that lesbian pulp literature of the day, and it wasn’t. It had somewhat of a happy ending.”
Nagy, who’d become an accomplished playwright, was approached a couple of years after Highsmith’s death to do her first film adaptation with “Carol.” Though it was all but completed by 2000, it underwent a decade-plus of revision under various directors (including Stephen Frears and Kenneth Branagh) and investors until the project finally went cold. Nagy says the painful slog was a combination of the usual Hollywood shuffle of funding, rights and jitters over the accessibility of a film with two female leads. The other trepidation, of course, was dealing with gay themes.
“During its development, there was a very different kind of lesbian or gay movie that got financed,” said Nagy. “They were very agenda or issue driven, and this was not. In fact it insists on not being that in order to make the point. I would talk about that with financiers, and I could see them glaze over.”
When Blanchett is reminded of how long ago the initial adaptation was written for “Carol,” she was taken aback. “Oh, my God, were you even born yet?” she asked Mara.
Mara smiled, “I was, barely.”
Blanchett continued: “Normally when a screenplay sits around that long, by the time it hits the screen it feels a bit bruised and battered, compromised,” she said. “I’m thrilled it doesn’t feel like there were those creative compromises made in the process. It feels like it can only now be made.”
The film, shot over six weeks in Cincinnati, is classic Haynes in that the story is told as much through the character’s emotions as the scenery (beautiful yet foreboding gray cold winter) and his depiction of the era (the uncluttered, postwar perfection of 1950s décor and society).
“There’s a suffocating quality to the rooms and the environment the women are existing within,” said Blanchett. “You could breathe that air in on the sets.”
Haynes prepared the actors with his own filtered view of artifacts from the era. “Todd sent us like five or six mix CDs from the time and this beautiful look book of all these photographs from the 1950s he felt represented what he wanted the film to look and feel like,” said Mara. “There’s a lot of different directions ‘Carol’ could have gone, but I could have never imagined the film Todd was going to make until I saw it. The film doesn’t feel like it’s preaching to the audience. It’s simply showing a reality and letting it live in the love story.”
Though the romance between the women is the driving theme here, an overt sentimentality is one thing you won’t find in “Carol.” True to Highsmith’s approach of never asking for sympathy for a character or situation, this sneakily powerful movie leaves it up to the audience to get there itself.
What would Highsmith have to say about this film? Likely nothing nice. She was renowned as a difficult personality. “Terse,” “rude” and “abrupt” were all used to describe the late author, a public persona that was perhaps a result of the impossible road she had to walk.
“Being a writer at any period in history is an uncomfortable relationship with the world, but she had a particularly difficult one,” said Blanchett. “The obsession and projection that she wrote about, the unspoken, the unshared psychology of her characters — it’s often dastardly the things we think in our heads.”