Emotion, a German women’s magazine, recently published their interview with Cate Blanchett.
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Interview is Google translated from German to English
We met Cate Blanchett in person. Of course we had a lot of respect for talking to one of the greatest actresses of our time. And yes, she was impressive, confident, elegant. But also: down-to-earth, funny and very open. We chatted with her about gender boundaries, pubescent children and whether she would actually turn her back on the film business soon.
“Sorry for the delay, I had to pee,” apologizes Cate Blanchett and grins when we meet her in a suite at the Ritz-Carlton in Berlin for our first of two interviews with Armani Beauty. A quick reminder that even one of the best actresses of our time has to do something. There can be no question of small: 1.74 meters of pure elegance enter the room. That could seem intimidating – if Cate Blanchett wasn’t so warm, funny, approachable. You almost forget that the uber-actress already has two Oscars in her closet. But only almost. Because her performances in “The Aviator” as Katharine Hepburn and in “Blue Jasmine” as former society lady Jasmine Francis were simply unforgettable. She is rightly called “Cate the Great” in Hollywood.
The 54-year-old has a pretty good instinct when it comes to choosing her roles, all of which are characterized by raw vulnerability. The figure is not the deciding factor when she accepts a job. On the contrary: “When I choose projects because of the script, they usually didn’t work. The dialogue with the director is the most important thing for me.” She doesn’t necessarily have to recognize herself in the role in order to embody it credibly.
But Blanchett then plunges herself knee-deep into research: For example, for the drama “Tár”, which earned her another Oscar nomination and in which she plays the conductor Lydia Tár, she learned conducting, playing the piano, German and memorizing the entire script. For Blanchett, the characters she plays may not be the top priority when choosing projects, but she gives herself to them wholeheartedly – until they become a part of her. Lydia Tár even haunted her dreams. “Sometimes I woke up and I still had my hands raised to conduct.”
It’s actually one of Blanchett’s most haunting and profound performances. The character Tár uses and abuses her position of power – something that is usually attributed to men. That’s exactly what attracted her to the role, says Cate. “This is much more challenging and uncomfortable precisely because she is a woman and we so rarely see women abusing their power.” For her, the gender of the character played no role – and anyway she doesn’t care much about gender boundaries. Not just since she played an androgynous version of Bob Dylan in “I’m Not There.” “For me, people are people. In my eyes, gender does not define who or how they are. It only becomes a problem when a person is not allowed to be themselves because of their gender.”She says she raises her children in the same gender-neutral way. Her daughter Edith plays with the same toys as her three older brothers. What she values in her upbringing, however, is good manners and respect – for herself and for others. Cate Blanchett also fights the same battles as all mothers. She admits that her children sometimes find her embarrassing. “My 14-year-old then says: ‘Mom, you’re annoying.'” Even Hollywood stars are not immune to pubescent children.
Although Cate Blanchett is one of the most respected actresses in the film industry, she largely stays away from the star hype. You almost never read gossip about them. She has been married to the screenwriter and director Andrew Upton since 1997. The two live with their children in England in rural Sussex. It’s easy to forget that she’s Australian-born because she so effortlessly slips into the accents that her characters dictate to her. But, she says, she still feels very connected to her country of origin. “The last time I was there, it was raining when I arrived. It smelled of earth and eucalyptus and I just thought: This is where I come from. Australia is such a special place that always brings me back down to earth.”, she enthuses.
It’s this down-to-earth attitude that almost makes you forget which superstar you’re talking to. And that fits into the picture: no matter how confident she seems, she tells us, she is still nervous before appearing on the red carpet. “You just feel so exposed. A German friend once gave me two little feet as a talisman and said: ‘Be where your feet are.’ I always carry them in my purse, they remind me to breathe and be in the moment.”
There are always rumors that Cate Blanchett wants to turn her back on the film business. At our first interview appointment we ask straight away. “Oh yes,” she says surprisingly openly, “I’ve been wanting to stop acting all this time. I can’t hear my own voice anymore, it’s time.” But when we speak to her again twelve weeks later, this time via Zoom, she is already promoting her next film, the historical drama “The New Boy” and already has other projects in the pipeline. What about quitting? She laughs: “I’m just a yes man. I find it difficult to say no.”
How fitting that she has been the face of Armani Beauty’s “Sì” fragrance for ten years, which, as we know, means “Yes” in German. In recent years, Blanchett says she has often said yes to her job, and in the future she wants to pay more attention to saying yes to her private life. “I have a lot of energy, but sometimes you have to take the time to listen to yourself and reflect on yourself.” Her most important yes: to her husband Andrew, with whom she also founded the film production company “Dirty Films”. “Our relationship has changed my life. We’ve been on so many adventures together. We talk about everything, he makes me laugh.”
Blanchett describes herself as an “experience junkie,” always looking for the next inspiration. Their curiosity about new, life-changing experiences is greater than their ego. “Early in my career, a director once said to me: ‘You have to stop playing small roles.’ I replied: ‘But then I wouldn’t have the opportunity to try out so many new things.’ I don’t care whether I play the lead role or the supporting role. I see acting as an experiment from which I can take so much.” That’s probably what makes her a great actress: her hunger to explore the world. Cate Blanchett seems like a freedom-loving person who is not fixed in who she is. Like a sponge, she absorbs everything that could be of use to her.
It’s obvious that she loves working with people. She says: especially with women. “I think it’s terrible when women are pitted against each other. Especially because our natural impulse is to support each other. I’ve worked with a lot of powerful men. With women it’s just… different. Especially in my industry, which is very male-dominated, I am always grateful when I can exchange ideas with female colleagues.”
Consequently, her personal team consists mainly of women. With her stylist Elizabeth Stewart, who also works with Julia Roberts and Sandra Bullock, she created countless legendary red carpet looks. But Blanchett also makes it clear: “I am responsible for my own style.” Because as much as she loves to cooperate, she knows exactly what she wants and what she stands for.
She doesn’t let the unwritten rules of the fashion police influence her. “I don’t understand why it’s considered a faux pas if you wear an outfit multiple times to events. With my first salary I bought a trouser suit from Armani – I still wear it to this day. I think fashion shouldn’t be about that all the time. It’s about wearing the latest, but about finding new things in old things. There’s nothing nice about endless consumption.”
The queen of timeless elegance has spoken. The fact that she complimented our interviewer on her outfit on both occasions was almost like an accolade. Because no matter how approachable Cate Blanchett may seem, she is and remains “Cate the Great”.