Revered in Hollywood for playing challenging roles like Queen Elizabeth, Katharine Hepburn (which she won an Oscar for), and even Bob Dylan, Cate Blanchett’s dedication to her craft is unparalleled. Which makes you wonder why it took so long for Woody Allen to cast her in one of his films. Thankfully we don’t have to ponder this any longer, as the 77-year-old director hands the Australian beauty one of his most complicated characters he’s ever written.
In Blue Jasmine, which opens in theaters Friday, Blanchett plays Jasmine, a former Manhattan socialite who after her husband (Alec Baldwin) goes to jail for fraud travels to San Francisco to stay with her sister, Ginger (Sally Hawkins). A time bomb ready to explode, Jasmine can’t cope with the simple life Ginger lives—or her choice of blue-collar men (Andrew Dice Clay, Bobby Cannavale, Louis C.K.)—and aided by vodka and Xanax tries to quiet the voices in her head long enough to find a new suitor.
Blanchett spoke to The Hollywood Blog about adapting to Allen’s notorious hands-off approach to directing, why playing someone like Jasmine can stay inside you forever, and the next marquee director she’s most excited to work with.
The Hollywood Blog: Had you ever met Woody before he offered you the role?
Cate Blanchett: No, I hadn’t met him. I had met friends of his, but no, we had never actually encountered one another. In fact, I had given up hope that he was ever going to ask me to be in one of his films, so I was thrilled when I heard he was interested.
As you mentioned at the premiere of Blue Jasmine, you had very brief conversations with him about taking the role, and then he just said, “See you on set”—
That’s when the terror begins.
Yeah, are you just filled with anxiety because you want to talk about the part with him?
Well, there has to be a dialogue, and the thing with Woody, I think, at least, 97 percent of his direction is in the script already. He gives you so many clues to mull over. I think the really important thing is the actors are all on the same page, and his films are always cast so interestingly, and this is no exception. I mean, Andrew Dice Clay! You talk about eclectic. It was really fabulous, and many of these actors in this film had done standup or theater, so there was a common language quite quickly between all of us. We obviously talked a lot about the subtext. And also, Sally and I were the only ones with the full script.