Cate Blanchett covers Cahiers du Cinema; new film Alpha Gang; Rumours Cannes premiere date

Cate Blanchett is featured on the cover of the May 2024 issue of Cahiers du Cinema, a French film magazine considered to be the most influential in history of film. The issue is out now ahead of 2024 Cannes Film Festival where her new film, RUMOURS directed by Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson and Galen Johnson, will premiere out of competition on 18 May, 21:45 CET.

Variety broke the news that Cate is starring and producing in a new comedy film. More details below.

If we open this issue of Cannes with Cate Blanchett’s long interview, it’s with an idea in mind: at a time when red carpets, awards and ceremonies are in danger of focusing attention on the star system, it’s a good idea to talk business with technicians as well as actors. The Australian actress expands on the most important, albeit mysterious, aspects of her work: her relationship with space, staging, diction, the way she controls time or not. Stories of experience, theoretical reflections and anecdotes feed a generous conversation in which Blanchett shares reflections on her collaboration with Todd Haynes, Terrence Malick and, more recently, Todd Field. Guy Maddin’s enigmatic Rumors, in which Cate Blanchett stars.

The preview below is Google translated from French to English

As she says in the interview she gave us for this issue: on the red carpet, Cate Blanchett sometimes wonders what she’s doing there, as if waking up from a dream not quite sure where or who she is. This situation is in keeping with her singular duplicity, or multiplicity. She is one of those rare actresses who can impose herself from the outset, with the photogenic grace and obviousness of a star; But she can also, on the contrary, give the impression of escaping from herself, or escaping from herself, through characters worried about the mere fact of existing, wanting to be somewhere other than where they are – exemplified in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, where she gradually sheds her stature and finery, in a tragic existential and social metamorphosis, or in Richard Linklater’s Where’d You Go Bernadette, where she plays an architect who never ceases to want to change scenery, literally and figuratively. But she’s also capable of going so far as to make people forget who she is, in an art of transformation that made her a totally credible Bob Dylan in Todd Haynes’ I’m Not There, or allowed her to play thirteen different characters in Julian Rosefeldt’s Manifesto. Blanchett embraces an immense spectrum, from Katharine Hepburn (whom she played in Martin Scorsese’s Aviator) to Gena Rowlands, from Hollywood sophistication to the most painful naturalism.

Her “entries on stage” are often striking, they say a lot about her characters, the way the filmmakers look at her and her conception of each role. In The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou by Wes Anderson, she arrives at night on a beach lit almost exclusively by luminous jellyfish and the torches of oceanographer Steve Zissou’s team. She literally emerges from the night, forcing the others to turn their lamps towards her. Still a little frail (her voice hasn’t yet taken on the gravity it will later), still an intruder and a stranger (here she plays a journalist who crashes in, assuming a thick Australian accent), she is nevertheless already an apparition whose charm operates immediately.

In Carol by Todd Haynes, we first see her furtively among extras in a restaurant, for a brief pan reflecting the gaze of a man; the latter approaches the table where she is sitting, her face is illuminated by a small lamp, he calls out to a certain Therese, we think at first that it is her, but he actually points to the woman with whom she is dining, then from behind. Carol/Blanchett was therefore not the one who was looked at and recognized from the beginning, but the staging and the presence of the actress ensured that we only saw her among the others. This opening replays for the viewer the moment of the meeting between Carol and Therese, which we will discover later in a flashback: Carol seen in the distance, immediately detaching herself from the extras, the focus being on her, which catches the light and the glance.

In Tár, she plays a cold, authoritarian conductor, but in the film’s opening she is seen just before taking to a stage for a master class on her craft. We therefore immediately surprise her in what she does not show to others: her way of putting on a presence, of stiffening her body, of hardening her features, her stage fright, too. We are behind the scenes of the character that Lydia Tár assumes in life at the same time as in Blanchett’s dressing room physically modeling her incarnation, with all the mixture of fragility and mastery, of instinct and construction which defines the profession of actress.

The woman with sovereign charm (The Life Aquatic), the charismatic star (Carol), the highly technical actress (Tár), this is all that Cate Blanchett manages to appear and be, as we saw in a simple exchange in videoconference where, in her living room, she burst the screen while creating an off-camera scene. She waved goodbye to a son we couldn’t see, spoke of the sounds of an alarm at home and of a helicopter in the sky over London that we couldn’t hear, but of everything that could happen in her and around her was immediately charged with fiction – beyond the true and the false, out of the ordinary, simply by the force of her voice and her gestures.

A part of her interview with Cahiers du Cinema (video conference on 24 April) where she talks about Rumours. She also mentioned on the lengthy interview with her that she is already filming BLACK BAG directed by Steven Soderbergh.

We know very little about Guy Maddin’s Rumours, except that it’s a comedy; do you feel it’s become too rare a genre for you?
CB: First of all, life is a comedy! And I love shooting them. In art, as in life, it’s important, in these times of decadence and depression, to find a form of freedom. I also believe that the best comedy is always rooted in tragedy. Look at Buster Keaton, the sad clown, hilarious but as if resigned to disaster. For me, it’s easier to express that on stage, perhaps. In cinema, casting is sometimes too literal. If you haven’t been seen in a particular register, it’s hard to imagine you in it. But I’ve always looked for moments, even in films considered to be strict dramas, where a form of comic freedom can emerge.

The tragedy in Rumours seems very clearly to be politics…
CB: The political system is defined by empty promises. What could be more absurd in the world? Absurd, tragic and confusing. When I read Evan Johnson’s script, I couldn’t help laughing, but I couldn’t imagine what it was, how it could be expressed. That’s one of the most interesting aspects of this job, to work together to find a way of expressing the tone of a film.

What did you mean by too “literal” casting?
CB: Let’s not generalize. When I think of filmmakers that I admire, like Bi Gan, Alejandro Jodorowski, Emir Kusturica, Claire Denis, Lucrecia Martel… it’s anything but literal. Let’s take Martel: she only seeks a poetic strangeness in reality, somewhere between wakefulness and deep sleep. But more often than not, cinema is a literal medium. Or we teach it as such. The three-act structure, for example, which can sometimes be the death of the imagination. But like everyone, I also love entertainment cinema, popcorn movies.

You can order a copy here.

Cate Blanchett Joins Zellner Brothers’ Alien Invasion Comedy ‘Alpha Gang’

Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett is set to star as the leader of the “Alpha Gang,” an alien invasion comedy by “Sasquatch Sunset” filmmakers David and Nathan Zellner.

The hot package will be launched at Cannes by MK2 Films (“Anatomy of a Fall”) handling international sales and CAA Media Finance handling North American distribution rights. “Alpha Gang” is set to start filming in the Fall.

The Zellner brothers are producing “Alpha Gang” with Blanchett and Coco Francini for Dirty Films, as well as Ryan Zacarias for Fat City, and Gina Gammell for Felix Culpa.

“Alpha Gang” follows alien invaders sent on a mission to conquer Earth. “Disguised in human form as an armed and dangerous 1950’s leather-clad biker gang, they show no mercy… until they catch the most toxic, contagious human disease of all: emotion,” reads the synopsis.

“The Zellner brother’s work never fails to surprise and delight us,” said Blanchett and Francini of Dirty Films in a joint statement. “In ‘Alpha Gang,’ they have created a far out world in order to lampoon something much closer to home: the hilarious, absurd, and peculiar truth of the human condition,” Blanchett and Francini continued.

MK2 Films’ managing director Fionnuala Jamison said the company is “thrilled to be working with the visionary Zellner Brothers.” Jamison said the script for “Alpha Gang” “seamlessly blends the spirit of 1950’s rebellion with an intergalactic revolution.” “And with the incomparable Cate Blanchett in the role of the effortlessly cool Alpha One, leading an exceptional ensemble cast, we expect buyers to be fighting to join the ranks of the Alpha Gang,” said the executive.

Source: Cahiers du Cinema, Variety

Edit: Added a part of her interview with Cahiers du Cinema, news about starring in the new film Alpha Gang, and the premiere date for Rumours.