Cate is a guest on Course Correction podcast season 3 episode 4. The third season of the podcast is in partnership with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) “to illuminate all aspects of the refugee experience”. Cate talked about her work with the agency and refugees as UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador. You can listen on links below. There’s also the interview on the recent magazine scan from Palace Scope that we posted previously.
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Course Correction Podcast
Nelufar Hedayat speaks with Academy Award-winning actor Cate Blanchett about her experiences as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador advocating for refugees. Blanchett explains that educating refugee children and young adults provides opportunities to be leaders in rebuilding their homelands while also benefiting their host countries.
Cate Blanchett: “What I like above all is going against the grain”
An honorary Caesar for Cate Blanchett! That’s what warmed our hearts. As if the mere presence of this great lady of the cinema, with her intelligence above the fray, her fascinating magnetism, was already a promise of happiness. As if a close-up on her was enough to make us happy. Her feline smile, the magical sparkle of her aquamarine gaze, full of stars, the glamorous blonde and her pink complexion… “A special effect in itself,” a journalist once said of this luminous wonder of a woman, who, at 52, seems to be constantly getting younger. And this elegance, worthy of the greatest Hollywood goddesses! When host Jimmy Fallon asked her about the honorary trophy awarded to her by the French Académie des César, she exclaimed happily: “French cinema has influenced me so much!”
And what a career! From her beginnings as a “messy young girl terrified of sophisticated women”, as she says, the journey is dizzying. “I was born in Melbourne, my father was Texan and my mother Australian. Just before entering university to study fine arts, I traveled for a year. In Italy, I slept in convents, I was fascinated by the nuns.” In Egypt, she did some extras in a film about boxing! When she returned to Australia, she discovered her vocation: the theatre. While rising the wave of Australian stars, Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe, she graduated from the National Institute of Dramatic Art in Sydney. The movie theater? “Frankly, I could stop cinema. I would also be happy staying at home knitting,” says the divine, who, against all odds, readily shows herself to be schoolboy, full of playfulness, and very rock’n’roll. Let’s not forget that she played the role of Bob Dylan! “But the desire to transcend is always stronger. Becoming an actress stabilized me. The mystery and unpredictability of this job suits me well. Being an actress consists above all in not being interested in oneself, but in taking the point of view of a gallery of characters that I carry around with me. What I like above all is to go against the current.”
When does an actor’s roles merge with her life? Two Oscars (best supporting role in 2005 for The Aviator, best actress in 2014 for Blue Jasmine), four children (three sons now teenagers and a daughter), a husband she describes as a “legend”: the friendly screenwriter and director Andrew Upton, with whom she ran the Sydney Theater Company. Conquering Hollywood and staying away from it – half in the picturesque suburbs of Sydney, half in England – is only given to the greatest. And all these crazy and impossible bets of a chameleon actress, starting with that, sumptuous, of Queen Elizabeth, a role that would crown her on the international scene at 29 years old. And propelling her to Todd Haynes, Jim Jarmusch, Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, David Fincher, Terrence Malick… which in no way prevented her from conquering mainstream cinema! The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogy, of course, but also Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Thor: Ragnarok (role of evil creature acclaimed by her sons), Ocean’s 8, Cinderella, several animated films…
Last year, Cate Blanchett fiercely defended a feature film, Apples, to help its director. This year, she has already blown us away in two shocking roles: overly tanned TV host and ultra-bright teeth in Adam McKay’s Don’t Look Up. And a femme fatale, limping and bamboozling Bradley Cooper, in Nightmare Alley, by Guillermo del Toro . Two films nominated for the Oscars. We will also see her again soon in Borderlands, a science fiction by Eli Roth, who had already directed her in the children’s film The House with Clocks in Its Walls . And in Tár from Todd Field, where she plays an orchestra conductor. “I don’t choose my roles, they choose me. Of course I really wanted to act with Bradley Cooper! But, at the end of the day, it’s always the director first. When someone like Guillermo, for whom I also did a voice in Pinocchio, calls me, I go for it! It is the directors who provoke the momentum, the desire for an encounter, the desire to immerse themselves in their world and to come back from it larger.”
Among her dreams as filmmakers, two are coming true. Cate Blanchett will be the heroine of the first film in English by Pedro Almodóvar: A Manual for Cleaning Women based on the novel by Lucia Berlin: the story of a woman who has known a thousand lives. And, after having worked with the other two amigos, Alejandro González Iñárritu (Babel) and del Toro, she will turn under the direction of Alfonso Cuarón in the Disclaimer series: there she will be a journalist, threatened when her own secrets are revealed by a novelist played by Kevin Kline. Cate Blanchett is co-producing both projects through her own production company, Dirty Films.
It is also under this banner that she produced and adapted, two years ago, two series reflecting her humanitarian commitment: Mrs. America and Stateless . The first deals head-on with feminism. Cate Blanchett, it should be remembered, is one of the great figures of #Mee Too in Hollywood. The other series, based on a true story, denouncing Australia’s immigration policy. “The more the world regresses, the more I have to get involved,” says the one who was appointed Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 2016. “We must keep hope, especially for the younger generation, but , and it’s the same for the climate, I am appalled by the fight to be led. When we were filming Don’t Look Up, we hadn’t realized how much our satire was becoming a realistic documentary!” And if Cate Blanchett, when she presided over Venice, had chosen to wear only “recycled” outfits, it was not to lecture. “To encourage each of us,” she insists, “when we can, to do our part.” Feet in reality, head in the stars! Latest news is that Ms. Blanchett set to add a private art gallery to her Victorian mansion in Sussex. A wing to replace an old shed, with preservation of the bats that lived there… This new building, dedicated to the actress’ contemporary art collection will also include a meditation space and a studio for her rehearsals. When we tell you that Cate Blanchett is a bit of a rock star!