Dirty Films with Origma 45 to produce Noora Niasari’s ‘Shayda’
Posted on
May 22, 2022

Dirty Films with Origma 45 to produce Noora Niasari’s ‘Shayda’

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Dirty Films is going to be producing another movie which is the directorial debut Iranian/Australian writer and director Noora Niasari. It will be led by Iranian actress Zar Amir-Ebrahimi.

Being sold in Cannes by HanWay Films, Niasari’s directorial debut follows a young Iranian mother who finds refuge in an Australian women’s shelter with her six-year-old daughter.

Iranian actress Zar Amir-Ebrahimi (Tehran Taboo, Morgen sind wir frei) is set to star in Shayda, the directorial debut of Iranian/Australian writer/director Noora Niasari. HanWay Films has come on board to handle international sales and distribution, while UTA Independent Film Group is representing the U.S. sale.

Shayda follows a young Iranian mother (Amir-Ebrahimi) and her six-year-old daughter who find refuge in an Australian women’s shelter during the two weeks of Iranian New Year (Nowrooz), which is celebrated as a time of renewal and re-birth. Aided by the strong community of women at the refuge, they seek their freedom in this new world of possibilities, only to find themselves facing the violence they tried so hard to escape.

Shayda is produced by Vincent Sheehan (The Hunter, Jasper Jones, Animal Kingdom, Lore) through his new production venture Origma 45. Cate Blanchett, Andrew Upton and Coco Francini at Dirty Films (Apples, Carol, Little Fish) are executive producers.

“We first encountered Noora’s talent watching her short films, The Phoenix and Tâm. We were blown away by her precise, emotionally-driven filmmaking and her capacity to draw out gripping performances,” said Dirty Films in a statement. “We are excited to be working alongside Vincent again to help Noora fulfil her bold and distinct vision for Shayda.”

Melbourne-based Niasari is well known for her award-winning short films including Waterfall which screened at the 66th Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) where it was nominated for best short film, Tâm and feature documentary Casa Antúnez.

Heads of production on the film will include cinematographer and Niasari’s closest collaborator, Sherwin Akbarzadeh (Stories From Oz). Osamah Sami (Ali’s Wedding), Leah Purcell (The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson), Mojean Aria (The Enforcer), Jillian Nguyen (Expired) and Rina Mousavi (Alexander) will star alongside Amir-Ebrahimi. Production will commence on July 11 in Australia.

“We are delighted to be part of an incredible team supporting Noora Niasari’s feature debut,” said HanWay Films managing director Gabrielle Stewart. “Noora has written a beautiful piece that reflects much of her own experience of moving to Australia as a child. There is an intimacy to her storytelling that brings to life what it is to honor the traditions of the culture you have left behind as a mother raising her young child, whilst together bravely embracing a whole new one.”

Source: THR

Cate Blanchett and Cindy Sherman on New York Times
Posted on
May 4, 2022

Cate Blanchett and Cindy Sherman on New York Times

Ciao, everyone!

Last week Cate went to an exhibition by Cindy Sherman while she was in New York and NYT has released an article about the visit.

On the 45th anniversary of Sherman’s acclaimed series “Untitled Film Stills,” they toured her show, discussing what an image, or a smile, may reveal.

Cindy Sherman and Cate Blanchett had only met in passing, a few times. And yet there is an identifiable thread connecting the work of Sherman, the artist who (dis)appears, disguised in character, in her own photographs, and Blanchett, the protean and Oscar-winning Australian actress. On a gray morning in late April, the women, mutual admirers, convened at Hauser & Wirth gallery on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, where a collection of Sherman’s critically acclaimed early work opened May 4, and where they quickly forged a connection.

“I’m a massive fan,” said Blanchett, proving her adulation with detailed questions, both technical (does Sherman use a timer?) and philosophical (“where does rhythm sit in photography?”). Blanchett had whisked into town to receive an award from Film at Lincoln Center, before heading back to London, where she is filming “Disclaimer,” an Apple TV+ series directed by Alfonso Cuarón.

Sherman was busy overseeing the exhibition, which includes all 70 of her untitled film stills, the black-and-white photos that put her on the map, and shook up the art world, starting in the late ’70s, as well as her subsequent rear screen projection and centerfold images, all in color and all starring her. Sherman, 68, and Blanchett, who turns 53 this month, toured the exhibition together, eagerly finding commonalities.

“She really takes on different personas,” Sherman said admiringly.

In 2015, Blanchett performed in “Manifesto,” a 13-channel video art installation by the German artist Julian Rosefeldt, in which she played at least a dozen different characters, from news anchor to homeless man, reciting various artistic and political manifestoes. (It was later released as a feature film.) “That was inspiring,” Sherman said, adding that she felt like she’d done some of those characters too. “It was a nice confirmation, of feeling like we’re on the same wavelength a little bit.”

In what was less a conversation than a cosmic matchup, they talked about getting into character, childhood play, the value of makeup, and the horror of clowns. These are edited excerpts.

How do you make use of each others’ work?

CATE BLANCHETT Filmmaking can be very literal. So, I find anything you can do to move yourself to a more abstract space. Sometimes it’s a piece of music. But invariably it’s an object. Oftentimes, I’ll make a whole tear sheet composition about the feeling around something I can’t articulate, images that had nothing to do on a conscious level with what I’m doing. Like the Clown series, for instance. I can’t even begin to express my revulsion and terror — the visceral feeling of seeing those works [Sherman’s series of lurid clowns]. I tore it out for [the Guillermo del Toro film] “Nightmare Alley” recently.

I find if you slam something left of field up against what you need to do as an actor, it can create something slightly more ambiguous. It doesn’t always work.

CINDY SHERMAN I don’t really get into the characters that way, but there’s a big difference between what I’m doing and acting. I’m just standing still, and because I’m also working alone, I can really mix it up, do the complete opposite of what I thought the character should do — and sometimes that works.

Did either of you grow up thinking that you had very malleable faces?

SHERMAN I didn’t.

BLANCHETT No. I used to do this thing with my sister where she would dress me up, stand me in front of the mirror and give me a name. Then I’d have to figure out that person. My favorite one — we kept saying we were going to make a movie about him — his name was Piggy Trucker. He was a little short guy, a bit like an Australian Wally Shawn [the actor and playwright Wallace Shawn], and he drove a pig truck. [I was] probably about 7, 8 years old.

SHERMAN It was playing dress-up. My mother would go to the local thrift store and for 10 cents buy these old prom dresses from the ’40s or ’50s. There was also, I think it was my great-grandmother’s clothes that were left in the basement. I discovered them, and it was like, wow. It looked like old lady clothes, but also the pinafore type of things. When I was 10 or 12, I would put them on, stuff socks to hang down to the waist to look like old lady [breasts], and walk around the block.

BLANCHETT [laughing, pretending to be Sherman] I knew then I wanted to be an artist!

Often, these things start as play and then the exploration becomes, I imagine, a seamless transition. It’s not conscious — some of these things, you’re doing without thinking.

SHERMAN Yeah. When I was in college, I was putting makeup on and transforming myself in my bedroom when I was studying painting. I think I was working out my frustration with whatever was going on in my life, and my boyfriend at the time finally just said, you know, maybe this is what you should be taking pictures of. And that seemed like a good idea.

Sometimes, I’ll be making up [a character] and look in the mirror as I pose, and I suddenly feel like I don’t recognize [myself]. Wow, where did she come from? It’s kind of spooky, kind of cool. [To Blanchett] How do you come up with characters? Like all those for Julian [Rosefeldt]?

BLANCHETT It was so fast. It was quite interesting for me actually, because you can get really hung up on your character’s back story, particularly in American acting culture. It’s all about your connection — if your mother died or father died, then use that. That is really alien to me anyway. I’ll talk to my therapist about that. What was really great about the Julian thing was, there was no psychology. It was just a series of actions. Most of the time, we’re not thinking about what makes us tick. You’re doing things. [To Sherman] You’ve done a few male incarnations too.

SHERMAN That was a lot harder. I had to just become confident in a way that I, as a woman, maybe am not. Once I relaxed into the character, I [sometimes] felt, this is a very sensitive guy.

Sometimes, I’ll be making up [a character] and look in the mirror as I pose, and I suddenly feel like I don’t recognize [myself]. Wow, where did she come from? It’s kind of spooky, kind of cool. [To Blanchett] How do you come up with characters? Like all those for Julian [Rosefeldt]?

BLANCHETT It was so fast. It was quite interesting for me actually, because you can get really hung up on your character’s back story, particularly in American acting culture. It’s all about your connection — if your mother died or father died, then use that. That is really alien to me anyway. I’ll talk to my therapist about that. What was really great about the Julian thing was, there was no psychology. It was just a series of actions. Most of the time, we’re not thinking about what makes us tick. You’re doing things. [To Sherman] You’ve done a few male incarnations too.


Click images for higher resolution

SHERMAN That was a lot harder. I had to just become confident in a way that I, as a woman, maybe am not. Once I relaxed into the character, I [sometimes] felt, this is a very sensitive guy.

BLANCHETT Often a smile is a defense. It’s actually a shut down rather than an invitation. When you smile with your eyes, that’s where the genuine thing comes from. One of the many things that’s so powerful about your work is creating that expectation [of emotion] but not delivering, so there’s an eerie sort of hollowness to it. It’s the disconnect from what we present to who we actually are, and that vacuum between the two. It’s often the space where all our personal horror sits.

[To Cindy]It’s interesting, you go through this process by yourself. I’m not a great fan of the monologue. I did a play once, a Botho Strauss play, where I had a monologue for 25 minutes. It was like, wow, this is lonely. Often on films, there’s zero rehearsal or even conversation about stuff. You’re just meant to walk on and deliver. You’re thinking about the result, and I find that a pretty deathly way to work.

I’ve realized over the years that my relationship with the costume designer and the hair and makeup people is really profound. It’s profound to see what the character looks like, and therefore how a character might move or project. Those departments — so-called “female guilds” — are often things that male directors profess to know nothing about. “I’ll just leave that bit to you.”

I played Elizabeth I years ago and the director, whom l love and respect, was always, I just want the hair down, flowing in the wind. I said, have you seen the pictures of Elizabeth I? There weren’t that many like that.

But it’s because [some male directors] need to feel attracted. They can’t see that there are other ways — and not even in a sexual way — you can be alluring. You can draw an audience into a character’s experience in many different ways. I keep going back to the clown images — you can tell I’m really disturbed by them. When you’re taking them, do you think: I want people to feel repulsed by this?

SHERMAN Even the repulsive things I’ve done — grotesque things with rotten food — I want people to feel kind of repulsed, but attracted and laughing at it, all at once. I don’t want people to take it too seriously.

I’ve always been attracted to horror movies, and I equate that to the feeling of being on a roller coaster. You know you’re not going to fall out, but you can still be terrified. And then it’s all over. I think that’s how fairy tales functioned way back when. I was trying to do that with my work, to make it seem from a distance like, oh, pretty colors! And up close — oh, it’s a little awful. But then you get the joke.

In the mid-80s, this company in Paris asked me if I would make some ads for French Vogue. That’s when I started playing with fake blood and fake noses. They hated it, of course. That inspired me to make it much more dark. I got fake scar tissue and fake body parts. Eventually I found these prosthetics — fake [breasts and butts] was the perfect way to start playing with nudity, partly because I think I’ve been hiding in the work. The idea of revealing any part of myself literally was never the point.

BLANCHETT I’m quite kinesthetic — that’s why I love being onstage, I feel like I’m always better in movement. You’re so incredible, there’s so much movement, and then, it’s all captured in this vibrating, still image.

It’s like when you go and see dance. It’s that moment of [sharp inhale] suspension before someone lands that’s so thrilling. Andso great that [your photographs] are not titled. You’re not led to make any particular sense of them. These works, it’s like a litmus test. Thank you.

Source: New York Times

Additional photos from Chaplin Awards and Articles
Posted on
Apr 28, 2022

Additional photos from Chaplin Awards and Articles

Hi, blanchetters!

We have added some photos from Chaplin Awards and there are articles released the past few days since the gala.

Cate Blanchett Honored by Film at Lincoln Center

It took Film at Lincoln Center (née Film Society of Lincoln Center) 47 years to get around to honoring “the Meryl Streep from Down Under,” Australia’s own chameleon-in residence, Cate Blanchett. To give you an idea of her range: not only is she able to get away with impersonating Bob Dylan and Katharine Hepburn, she gets Oscar-nominated and even an Oscar for the effort.

The Chaplin Award (named for its first recipient back in 1972) used to come with a phalanx of the honoree’s name-brand co-stars, who’d introduce a group of film clips they appeared in, then retire to glitter up the after-party. Times have changed, and the celebrity count is way down.

Todd Haynes, who directed the actress to two Academy Award shots (Carol and I’m Not There, the movie that saw Blanchett’s turn as Dylan), was to lead “A Conversation with Cate Blanchett” on stage, but tested positive the day of and had to cancel. Strike Two: Guest Speaker Bradley Cooper, her Nightmare Alley co-star, likewise was “not feeling well and unable to attend the festivities.”

It fell (upward) to Daniel H. Stern, President of Film at Lincoln Center, to bring this brimming bad news to the Alice Tully Hall crowd. They, of course, responded en masse with a primal moan.

“I’m here!” trilled a statuesque celeb in the orchestra section. It was the evening’s honoree, and the moans turned immediately and memorably into roars of delight. She proved quite enough.

Blanchett was not entirely abandoned on her big night. Several of her directors sent filmed testaments to her considerable worth. Austin filmmaker Richard Linklater, who guided her through Where’d You Go, Bernadette, took it upon himself to do The Big Reveal: that she’s half-Texan, half-Australian. Her dad was a US Navy officer who settled in Australia after World War II.

Martin Scorsese admitted he didn’t just love making a movie with Blanchett, he felt a bit blessed by the experience. (His movie was the Howard Hughes bio The Aviator and Cate was Kate—Hepburn.) “The role called for her to do something that I think is extraordinarily difficult, which was to take a very famous and extremely recognizable person and bring her to life as a character in our film,” he said. “I found out that this was exactly the kind of challenge Cate was up for, and to watch her taking it on was really a learning experience. Did you ever see an actor who is so brave and so daring on the one hand and at the same time so confident in her ability to meet that problem head on?”

Fellow Aussies Hugh Jackman and wife Deborra-Lee Furness chimed in with cheery sentiments. “We were at drama school around the same time, and everyone was talking about Cate Blanchett,” he remembered. “You were, for us, the north star—your courage, your range of the work that you do, your commitment to theater and to your community. You are extraordinary.”

Such testimonials served as punctuation for the film clips that illustrated the depth and range of Blanchett’s performances. After the clips had run their course, the evening went into the chat portion of the program. Co-deputy editor of FALC’s Film Comment Devika Girish, having chalked up an earlier podcast with Blanchett, took on the interview duties that Haynes was to do.

The blast of Blanchett Concentrate in the film clips left the actress a little shaky. “Sorry, I’m still reeling from the reel,” she said as she joined Girish on stage for the sit-down grilling.

The blast of Blanchett Concentrate in the film clips left the actress a little shaky. “Sorry, I’m still reeling from the reel,” she said as she joined Girish on stage for the sit-down grilling.

How has growing up in Australia affected her as an artist? Blanchett greeted that question with remarkable candor: “Artists in Australia are not particularly valued by the government. There’s been a long history of Australians not consuming their own cultural products, so there’s a wonderful lack of interest in what you have to offer as an artist—which is right, because you expect the oranges to be thrown at you, and, when they’re not, you go, ‘Okay, it’s working.’

“If you have a chance to go overseas, you wouldn’t say to Rameau, ‘Thou shalt not travel.’ You do get inside other cultures by getting inside their filmmaking culture or their theatrical practice, or their literary practice, whatever it is. Australia is a very interesting place to grow up in, but I never once thought I would be an actor. I certainly didn’t feel I would be sitting here tonight. I’m sorry if I appear a bit strange, but I am massively overwhelmed about tonight’s honor.”

She pointed to the “Cate Blanchett” sign above her. “I’m not quite sure who that person is.”

Blanchett may have a right to wonder who that person is, given how many richly varied other people she has inhabited on the screen in some 90 films. They all, she was quick to confess, have the same constant: “Fear. Absolute fear. I’ve been married for quite a long time now, and so I can no longer ask my husband. I just turn over and go, ‘Andrew?’ And he goes, ‘It’ll be fine.’

“This notion of working out how you do it, working out who you are or working out your relationship to the work—it’s just nonsense, I think. When things are working, it’s all about flow, and you don’t need to ask questions until the flow stops. If it’s flowing, it’s easy, so you don’t think about the process. I think each project, each group of people that you’re with, each director, each script—reveals everything you need to do. There’s more inconsistency than consistency, but, if there was anything, it would probably be the fear of finally being found out.”

And what keeps Blanchett going back for more? “It’s the conversation with people. I’m not being disingenuous when I say that every time a film comes to an end, I feel profoundly what Liv Ullmann describes of Ingmar Bergman’s last moment on a set. She worked with him on Scenes from a Marriage, and they literally did not say goodbye to one another. He just walked out the door and left. It’s hard to say goodbye to those things. Every time I finish, I think, ‘That’s it. It’s done. I’m moving on to another chapter. There’s so much else to do in the world.’ Then you have a conversation with someone. It’s a wonderful idea. What they’re asking you to do is weird and impossible, and you think, ‘Oh, okay,’ and you do it again. You start thinking about time left.”

This thought led Blanchett to remember the 2010 Chaplin Award winner, director Robert Altman: “Years ago, we were talking about making a version of Mata Hari, and we were talking about dates, and I was trying to wiggle something around,” she recalled. “Do you remember that wonderful documentary that Laurie Anderson made about the face where you split the face in half, and each half projects something different? I said, ‘I don’t know if we can do it in the next six months,’ and he looked at me with the death side of his face, and he said, ‘Cate, I don’t have a lot of time.’ You do start thinking, ‘Well, how much time do I have?’”

Stage
Dinner
Arrivals
Outside

Cate Blanchett, mask with message: “Stop bombing hospitals”

Cate was seen recently wearing a mask that says “STOP Bombing Hospitals”. Last Sunday, she had moderated a Q&A for FOR SAMA — the filmmakers of this documentary are also advocating for the targeted bombing at hospitals to stop. They have started the campaign #StopBombingHospitals. You can find more information about the campaign on their official website.

April 27th 2022 marks 6 years since the brutal attack on Al Quds hospital in Aleppo – an attack you see in For Sama Film. It is on this anniversary that we are launching a global action to show solidarity with all brave medical colleagues who are saving lives under fire.

The international community has failed to hold the perpetrators of these war crimes to account. This is why Russia has been allowed to repeat these crimes over and over again – testing their war tactics over many years and now targeting healthcare facilities in Ukraine.

Dr. Hamza al-Kateab

The actress was photographed at New York’s JFK airport. Always, even on social media, she has been urging people to donate and help those who fled Ukraine due to the war.

The reference to the situation between Russia and Ukraine seems evident, also because Blanchett, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), has always expressed herself clearly on the ongoing war. “As the conflict and tragedy hit Ukraine, the world is watching,” she said in a video posted on the organization’s Twitter: Cate Blanchett has repeatedly called for donations to help UNHCR give life-saving aid to people fleeing Ukraine.

Her appeal did not go unheeded by the private sector which donated $200 million to help fleeing people. “Right now, all eyes in the world are on Ukraine. We stand in solidarity with people who are fleeing for their lives, whose families have been destroyed. We thank the private sector for their overwhelming generosity,” Blanchett said.

Cate Blanchett’s kids totally ‘disinterested’ in mom’s fame

Cate Blanchett’s kids couldn’t care less that their mom is a movie star.

“They have no idea, no idea,” the Australian actress told Page Six at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall Monday night, where she was honored with the prestigious Chaplin Award.

“I told them, ‘Oh I’m going to New York for 36 hours. I’ll be back on Wednesday…’ One of them is getting an award at school, and they went, ‘Oh, OK, have a good time.’”

Blanchett shares four children – Dashiell, 20, Roman, 18, Ignatius, 14, and Edith, 7 – with husband Andrew Upton.

The “Don’t Look Up” star, 52, told Page Six that her kids are totally “disinterested” in her fame, but “in the best possible, healthiest way.”

Regardless of how her children feel, Blanchett’s accolades are highly impressive and she’s regarded as one of the finest actresses of her generation.

In her years in the spotlight, she’s won two Oscars – for her roles in “The Aviator” and “Blue Jasmine” – and doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.

“I was talking to somebody about the notion of arriving somewhere and how dangerous that can be when you think you’ve arrived. Without wanting to sound pretentious, I think it’s about a process of constantly becoming, like there’s a flow to it,” she told us.

“Every time someone wins an Oscar, there are five or six, maybe 15 other people who were equally deserving. It just happens to be your timing,” she continued.

“But, you know, not being from this filmmaking culture, and being recognized by this filmmaking culture tonight at the Chaplin Awards – such an international set of previous recipients – it’s such a deep and profound honor.”

Film at Lincoln Center Tributes Chaplin Winner Cate Blanchett

Glittering in flowing black sequins, two-time Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett, the second-youngest recipient of Film at Lincoln Center’s coveted 47th Chaplin Award, was ushered to her seat at Alice Tully Hall to resounding applause. As Film at Lincoln Center president Daniel H. Stern intoned the usual litany of praise and tribute to “one of the most versatile and talented actresses working today,” he eventually had to inform the crowd that the two starry presenters of the night, “Carol” filmmaker Todd Haynes (“Ooooh,” groaned the audience) and “Nightmare Alley” star Bradley Cooper (“ughh,” they moaned), couldn’t make the event due to a direct COVID hit, in Haynes’ case. Cooper was under the weather, he said. (A Searchlight source said Cooper’s daughter had COVID.)

A voice pierced the darkness. “I’m here!” cried Blanchett. The audience cheered.

Over the course of the night, between videos of former winners (including Bette Davis, Barbara Stanwyck, Sidney Poitier, Alfred Hitchcock, James Stewart, Robert Altman, and Meryl Streep) and Blanchett stans like fellow-Aussie Hugh Jackman, Martin Scorsese (“The Aviator”), and Richard Linklater (“Where’d You Go, Bernadette?”) who explained how Blanchett was a good ol’ Texas name, Blanchett and others had fun throwing a bit of shade on Cooper.

And later, when the co-deputy editor of Film Comment, Devika Girish, gracefully took over the career interview from Haynes, Blanchett responded charmingly to the younger woman’s queries about running the gamut of characters from Queen Elizabeth and Katharine Hepburn to a Middle Earth elf and Norse villain and working for directors Peter Jackson, Gillian Armstrong, Terrence Malick, Steven Soderbergh, and David Fincher. Like many actresses, it turns out that Blanchett is motivated by a combination of confidence, fear, and going with the flow. And if she’d had another career, she might have studied dance with Pina Bausch.

Finally, Blanchett loves cinema. “We have had a collective experience over the last two years to a greater or lesser degree that has been deeply, profoundly confronting,” she said,  “and dealing with our situation through allegory and metaphor, which is what film is. It has been providing us with a collective catharsis. Our cinema is ripe for an enormous lift, because we want to be together in a room, we want to be experiencing something in the dark together with strangers and with friends, and being united by something that we’re seeing together.”

After a rough weekend, Film at Lincoln Center’s Lesli Klainberg and Eugene Hernandez were relieved that the event went smoothly after scrambling to pull it together. At the end of the night, Haynes’ producer Christine Vachon took on the presenting role. And at the elegant sponsor and patron black-tie dinner at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theatre, Vachon explained how Haynes arrived from Portland, Oregon not feeling at all well. She got him tested, and sure enough, he was positive.

As for Blanchett, these days she just rolls with the punches, she told me, as she looks forward to getting back to work in London on Alfonso Cuaron’s Apple TV+ mini-series “Disclaimer,” about television documentary journalist Catherine Ravenscroft, in which she and Sacha Baron Cohen play the parents of Kodi Smit-McPhee.

Cate Blanchett Says Elon Musk’s Twitter Takeover Is ‘Very Dangerous’

Director Adam McKay’s Netflix film “Don’t Look Up,” which starred Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Mark Rylance and more A-listers, made a splash last winter for how the dark, political comedy eerily mirrored real life. The film tackled issues of climate change and media misinformation, and one fictional tech billionaire character hit even closer to home after Elon Musk and Twitter agreed to a $44 billion deal on Monday.

“It’s dangerous,” Blanchett told Variety about Musk’s Twitter takeover, at the Chaplin Award Gala in New York on Monday. “That’s all I have to say, it’s very, very dangerous.”

Rylance’s character, Peter Isherwell, an eccentric tech CEO who profits off a comet hurtling toward Earth, was based partly on Musk, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs. In “Don’t Look Up,” the comet becomes a politicized and misinformed issue, as Isherwell helps spin the catastrophe into a cash-grab and job-creating scheme that picks up widespread support. After Musk’s shocking Twitter deal, the “Don’t Look Up” character seems even more ripped from the headlines.

“I think the future is often imagined in the mind of the artist,” Blanchett told Variety. “Adam wrote this well and truly pre-pandemic. It was really interesting to see how much meaning an audience brings to a work. If the audience viewed the same script, the same story performed in exactly the same way, pre-pandemic, it would’ve been a very different response to the takeaway than the audience has now. That speaks to the power of the zeitgeist and the times in which we live.”

In “Don’t Look Up,” Blanchett played a talk-show host who dismissed the urgency of the comet disaster live on air. Earlier this month, a “Good Morning Britain” interview went viral after the TV anchor downplayed a climate activist’s serious concerns about the world’s growing oil use.

The Oscar best picture-nominated film was one of many on display at the 47th Chaplin Award Gala, where Blanchett was being honored. The two-time Academy Award winner became the second-youngest recipient of the Chaplin Award. Past honorees include Spike Lee, Helen Mirren, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Streep, Tom Hanks and other film icons.

The Lincoln Center celebration included several montages of Blanchett’s work, including “Blue Jasmine,” “The Aviator,” “Carol,” “Elizabeth: The Golden Age,” “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Lord of the Rings,” “Nightmare Alley” and more. There were also video tributes from some of her directors and collaborators, like Martin Scorsese, Hugh Jackman, Richard Linklater and James Gray.

However, the celebration was not without a few hitches; presenters Todd Haynes and Bradley Cooper were unable to attend, as planned. Haynes, who directed Blanchett in “Carol,” tested positive for COVID on Monday morning, and Cooper, her “Nightmare Alley” co-star, was “not feeling well,” Film at Lincoln Center chair Dan Stern announced at the beginning of the ceremony. Blanchett was quick to poke fun at Cooper’s absence.

“There’s a few empty seats there; there’s a few people who either didn’t want to come up and said they had COVID or actually really had COVID — Bradley!” Blanchett joked. During her acceptance speech, she went after her co-star again. “I want to thank all those people who’ve been paid to say such wonderful things about me this evening. And to all of those who offered to be here, but couldn’t due to contracting COVID — rest up — or laziness, whatever.”

Sources: The Observer, Corriere, Page Six, Indiewire, Variety

Cate Blanchett on Course Correction Podcast
Posted on
Apr 12, 2022

Cate Blanchett on Course Correction Podcast

Hi, everyone!

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.

We’d like to thank Rebecca for her donation to the site!

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.

This is a Google translated article

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!

Source: Course Correction, Palace Scope

Cate Blanchett on Perfect Magazine
Posted on
Mar 22, 2022

Cate Blanchett on Perfect Magazine

Hi, everyone!

Cate has been featured as one of the covers on Perfect Issue Two. You can read the accompanying interview with the photoshoot below. A few film posters are also made. The magazine is available to purchase here.

Perfect Issue Two


Perfect Issue Two – 2022 (Scans)

Towards the end of a brief, if instructive, telephone exchange with Cate Blanchett, the actress drops in a small life detail which explains a sizeable corner of her story. Blanchett has an unblemished media profile. She is loved by audiences and industry alike for her work, while left alone to her private life without seeming either cautious or guarded. She has spoken up on weighty issues while appearing neither sanctimonious nor overly punctilious. She is allowed both a sense of humour and circumspect seriousness, knowing as if by instinct exactly when to powerfully deploy both.

So our conversation begins with a genial exchange about her loyal, old, incontinent dog, Fletcher, who is starting to develop some other old-man issues.

‘I watched The Father again the other day,’ she says breezily. ‘It’s such a beautiful film and the performances are all so perfect. I’ve started to call our Labrador Anthony because he has dementia. As in Hopkins.’

He doesn’t sound like the easiest pet.

‘I know. But I love him. I adore him. Now that we’ve all turned our Zoom cameras off and resorted to the old-fashioned telephone – which is a relief, frankly – I was having quite a high-powered conversation with someone. It went silent and so I had to ask, “What has happened to you?’”And she had to say, “The cat’s just been sick in my hand.”’

It is the week before Christmas, 2021. Blanchett has just wrapped Todd Field’s Tár, an experimental film about the first German female orchestra conductor, a script she describes as ‘undeniable’. Her latest theatrical release, Don’t Look Up, a talking-point satire on the climate catastrophe with a peerlessly starry cast, is about to drop onto Netflix on Christmas Eve. It has yet to split opinion directly down the middle. Within seven days of talking to her, it turns into the cultural touchstone of this year’s festivities, the film on which everyone must have an opinion. Again, it is the kind of perfect social media storm from which Cate Blanchett has somehow managed to stay eternally, imperviously at arm’s length.

I’d asked the actor if she kept a journal throughout her work, making personal records of her professional experience. Blanchett has been central to some of the most profound cinema of the late movie age, her portfolio taking in both epic blockbusters and arthouse curios with an even hand, bringing something unique and imperceptible to both. Her best performances, in Todd Haynes’ Carol, for which she was Oscar-nominated, and Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, for which she won, mine a tricky vein of human behaviour, lodged somewhere at the sticking point between repression and expression, a point where neither quite triumphs.

She is one of the big screen’s few certainties at a time when cinema’s crown is slipping, as the medium resistantly twists from collective, committed experience to more spurious, dip-in-dip-out home entertainment. Blanchett is primed to have documented this epoch in detail. Her production company moved deftly into television with the startling birth-of-US-feminism story, Mrs America, and she has enjoyed a five-year tenure as an artistic director at the Sydney Theatre Company. Yet she will always be most revered for becoming as trusted a pair of performance hands as Hollywood knows.

Has she kept a diary throughout it all?

She laughs aloud. ‘Hahaha, I wish.’

One of Blanchett’s great professional skills is to give complicated material a strangely relatable twist, to find the human burrowed away in the emblematic. I first noticed her do it in The Talented Mr Ripley, when she played romantic deception and being taken for a fool with skittish ire rather than boo-hoo breakdown. The script could have gone either way.

In Don’t Look Up she plays a daytime TV host with toxic bleached hair and figure-hugging scarlet skirt suit who treats the impending end of the earth as oddly sexual. The film has been criticised for some of its broadsides. Blanchett is categorically not one of them. It is Blanchett’s character who notices the hotness of Leonardo DiCaprio’s space scientist behind the beard, christening him an AILF (‘astronomer I’d like to fuck’). With finely honed, demented determination, she manifests the action speedily, decisively and with some enviable truculence. Again, it feels like a new performance route, underlining the transactional nature of sex among high-flying professionals.

‘I have an actor friend,’ she says, on the subject of keeping a personal record of work. ‘A male friend. He was very studious about that. Back in the days when you put cuttings in scrap books, he was always about recording the things that he had done, probably to make them real for himself. In a way, it was controlling it.’ She doesn’t specify who the actor was. ‘Ultimately, I think he was quite interested in legacy. Whereas I’m more interested in the experience. I don’t know. I think it’s all quite ephemeral and random. It’s not for me to record those things.’

She pauses politely, but the point is made. Her career is about getting good work done, not celebrating the fact that good work has been done.

‘Maybe I should?’ she asks, flipping into the conversation the possibility that she might have been getting her attitude to work wrong all this time. To which one can only respond: as if.

For awards season 2022, Cate Blanchett has two steady horses in the race. The first is Don’t Look Up, the first full commercial crossover from the politically minded director, Adam McKay. Its contention has been utterly delightful, suggesting it will be the one film from 2021’s patchy cinema sketchbook that we may still be talking about in 2041. McKay uses some of his collaged, found-material signature style and abstract taste for pricking pomposity to propel an energetic story about a meteorite heading towards earth.

McKay’s move to major-league director has had deep audience repercussions, which may yet come to help or hinder its reception at The Academy. It hardly matters. Whichever side of the Don’t Look Up fence you sit on – for what it’s worth, I loved it – the film’s prominence during a cultural year dominated with the reheated leftovers of the late 20th-century mass market (Abba, West Side Story, The Beatles, Dune, James Bond etc) arrived like a breath of fresh air. As another year trundled to its slow, diseased end, at least someone was talking about something that mattered in the here and now.

Blanchett’s second awards contender is the delightfully prickly Nightmare Alley, a story of one man’s complete moral collapse – already notorious prior to release for a brief first cinematic sighting of leading man Bradley Cooper’s penis in an early bathtub scene. It is the virtuoso cineaste Guillermo del Toro’s follow-up to his atypically sweet-natured fantasia The Shape of Water, the last Oscar-winning Best Picture prior to Covid. Del Toro is back to his noir finest with the picture, letting his visual imagination run wild, this time in the mis-en-scène of a mid-century circus.

Blanchett’s co-stars in both, besides Cooper and DiCaprio, read like a roll-call of modern screen celebrity: Meryl Streep, Timothée Chalamet, Ariana Grande, Jennifer Lawrence, Rob Morgan, Jonah Hill, Kid Cudi, Tyler Perry, Rooney Mara, Toni Collette, Willem Defoe, Ron Perlman, David Strathairn. The actress says she selects work starting with the director.

‘In the end, when people ask “what sort of roles do you want to play?” I have no idea,’ she notes. ‘It’s about the arc and what comes along. If Guillermo asks you to do something, you say “absolutely – what do you want me to do?” It’s about being part of that conversation, you know?’ She felt the same about McKay. ‘I thought that was a story that I wanted to be a part of telling. That was a director I wanted to work with. The cast evolved to be, like Nightmare Alley, extraordinary. But it all starts with the director. It’s a double whammy.’

Del Toro had been attached to The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the films which sent Blanchett’s star astral in the early 2000s, before being replaced by Peter Jackson. ‘By the time I came along it was back in the hands of Peter, so I don’t know what happened there,’ she says. ‘But I think that Guillermo had been there for a while, that was the early stages. We’d been talking for a while about working together. There was talk of a television series, one thing and another several years ago, which didn’t come about. It was so wonderful to finally make something together. Without wanting to sound pretentious, I was so excited to be a part of Guillermo’s cinematic vision.’

She describes Nightmare Alley as ‘first and foremost about this self-made monster’. Cooper plays Stanton Carlisle, a hot, shady brute with Indiana Jones headgear and a past, who arrives at a carnival to teach himself the skills of the circus. As he leaves the fair to make his way in the city with his belle on his arm, he encounters Blanchett’s Lilith, a sly, vampish psychoanalyst who spots a phoney. She determines to untangle the immaculately ruthless showman Stan has become; to reveal, like the Wizard in Oz, the charlatan beneath.

‘There are three very different types of women that Stan encounters,’ says Blanchett. ‘He encounters almost a mother figure [Colette], an innocent [Mara] and then an ambiguous, unknowable, world-weary woman [Blanchett] with dark secrets and untold damage. Each of the women and each of those relationships are quite particular. I hope I fulfilled that function.’

She says the moment she stepped on set she was absorbed into the world of Del Toro’s twisted imagination. ‘Oh, totally. I spent all my time, really, with Bradley in one room. That room, when the doors shut, was just us.’ They make spectacular sparring partners, attempting to outsmart one another in a series of balletically choreographed psychosexual set-pieces. ‘There was no need for bits of green-screen. No wondering how the film might come to life. No worrying that you might not feel it. It’s intimate. All of those details are there for you. It’s not like somebody else comes along and inspects the set. Guillermo is over every single detail.’

Even at script-reading stage, the wonderfully dystopian world of Nightmare Alley was alive to her. ‘The thrust of the scenes and their function within the whole narrative is really clear. You get the reader’s script and [are] compelled by the narrative. In terms of the detail of the dialogue, that was finessed on the set.’ She describes working for Del Toro as a surprisingly fluid affair. ‘Really, he’s incredibly open to seeing how the actors might want to move in the space. For Bradley and I, all of our stuff happens in that one office. It was a luxury in a way. We got to work it out. There were a specific number of scenes we had together – how does that feel? How does it move? How does it look?’ Hearing her process is both engaging and informative. ‘We were constantly playing and rehearsing, even when we were shooting.‘

Blanchett is gifted the best line of the film as her exit, while wrapped in a telephone wire. ‘From memory, I think that came up on the day,’ she says. ‘I was being strangled by a cord but not wanting to make it a purely violent scene, to make it complicated. The character of Lilith really pushes Stan to the edge. She wants him to reveal the things that make him who he truly is so that he can see who he truly is. He can’t hide from himself any more. When he starts to really become that weak, that’s the most terrifying part of the journey for him. But she has to push him that far at her own peril.’ Viewers will be routinely forgiven for spotting an allegory for old Hollywood in the story.

The part of Lilith is almost quintessentially Cate Blanchett, feeling at once as if it is lifted from another time and place, a golden age of cinema which she could have quite happily glided through; hair set just so, red lips immaculately applied. She avers at the observation. ‘I don’t know what that is. What does that mean?’

It’s almost super-you.

‘Super-me? I don’t know if that’s an insult or a compliment.’

Rarely does Blanchett sound as in control of a conversation than when she undercuts herself. It’s quite the skill.

Cate Blanchett was one of the earliest voices in cinema to speak up on the disasters of the environment. As her fame escalated, she brought her conscience along for the ride. Her role in Don’t Look Up brings with it a depth and acuity few others could offer in her steely interpretation of the tin-eared newscaster. ‘I think actors are hungry for big stories,’ she says. ‘I think audiences are, too. I don’t mean big stories that are long. I just mean high stakes. Big images where you can dispense with language. In a way, narrative can be suspended, almost.’

Few issues come bigger than the climate, yet so little art is made about it. ‘Yes,’ she says conclusively. ‘I don’t know that there’s been a moment in history that has been this collectively faced, where culturally it hasn’t been addressed.’

The great abandonment of the climate by the arts might be attributable to the idea of the end of the world being such a trope in film already. Every superhero narrative follows an arc of a threat to the world and the superpower who can save it. ‘The end of the world has always been shrouded in notions of the future, whereas the end of the world now feels possible in the near present. It’s very hard to find a laugh or be transported by it. And Adam has somehow been able to.’

With Don’t Look Up, McKay has fashioned the definition of an iron fist in a velvet glove. It has tapped nerves for all the right reasons. ‘Climate change itself gets addressed in essays and long-form journalism and journals, but artists themselves have not yet addressed it through narrative or fiction or works of cinema.’ Cate Blanchett understands the reasoning. ‘I think it’s because it’s become, unfortunately, a political battleground. So somehow, if you discuss it or imagine a way of setting a story within that landscape, it automatically becomes agit-prop.‘

Protesting war is sexy. Protesting injustice and prejudice is righteous. Protesting the planet is complicated, murky and enormous. ‘Where Adam has come so far is by making a film that’s about climate change that is not about climate change. And it’s funny and it’s witty and it’s really, ultimately incredibly moving.’

It is also prescient. ‘Every two or three weeks I’d text him when something new happened,’ she explains. ‘You know, there was a point where a meteorite was coming close to the earth’s orbit? And I said, “Did you have a crystal ball?” He wrote this and we were meant to film it pre-pandemic. Then it got pushed and pushed and pushed. He imagined all of this. He had this in his mind for quite some time. I find that kind of incredible, actually.’

The reason Cate Blanchett has a blemish-free media slate is mostly because she has a blemish-free belief in the power of storytelling.

What has acting taught her about the extremes of the human condition?

‘That you can’t rule anything out. You know, we often behave in quite unexpected ways in extreme conditions.’

She plucks an example from the air. ‘It’s like when the car’s about to crash. You expect screaming and yelling, but everyone is suddenly quite calm. There’s quiet. Often, we behave in polar opposite ways than we would anticipate. I think that everything’s up for grabs at the moment, because we are in such an unprecedented world. Though we should have seen it coming, of course, the situation of a species that we have all been through, no matter what our socioeconomic standing or our economic loss or our uncertainty. I think we’re all alive to behaving in ways that are surprising to other people, but also to ourselves.’

Perfect Issue Two – Film Posters

Source: Perfect

Cate Blanchett: “I want to spend more time being myself”
Posted on
Mar 13, 2022

Cate Blanchett: “I want to spend more time being myself”

Happy Sunday, everyone!

A new interview with Cate has been released. This is a Google translated interview from Spanish to English.

Cate Blanchett: “I spend most of my time being someone else. I want to spend more time being myself.”

Other than her two Oscars, Cate has added in recent weeks from Europe the first International Goya and a César for her entire career. Actress, producer, and farmer, the versatile Australian performer, also an ambassador for Armani fragrances, she confesses that with age she feels more limitations when it comes to acting. She laments that she is sometimes still the only woman on a shoot and she fears that the platforms will become monopolies.

Cate Blanchett (Melbourne, 52 years old) thinks there are too many awards. And she knows what she’s talking about. Because she has almost all of them: two Oscars, three Baftas, three Golden Globes and three from the Screen Actors Guild. As if they weren’t enough, she has now embarked on the conquest of Europe. She has just received an Honorary César in Paris and a month ago she picked up the International Goya from Pedro Almodóvar, with whom she is going to shoot the first film in English by the Spanish director, A Manual for Cleaning Women. She welcomes us in Valencia, hours before hugging him and thanking him for a recognition that serves to strengthen ties with the Latin film industry. She wears trainers and a metallic pink suit by Giorgio Armani, the firm whose line of fragrances is an ambassador. Under the jacket, the skin, and around her neck, several golden chains with padlocks and snake heads that she plays with as she speaks. After premiering Nightmare Alley last February under the direction of Guillermo del Toro and dazzling the world with her false teeth in Don’t Look Up, she says she wants to spend more time playing herself. Normal: the character is exciting.

In an interview Julia Roberts did for Interview Magazine, you said that as you gets older, you find acting more and more humiliating.

It gets more difficult. Why? I think that when you work in the artistic field — also if you are, for example, a writer—, this field becomes more and more entangled in your life. I spend most of my time being someone else, and I think I want to spend more time being myself. Also, as an actor you are very exposed. I do not know how to explain it. Six years ago [photographer and artist] Cindy Sherman started using digital effects to create her works [in which she often appears]. And people threw their hands in their heads because she had always used prosthetics and had worked her body as if it were a malleable object. She simply explained that she had reached an age where she was less malleable. And that she had to resort to digital technology to maintain the same skill.

Is it the same as an actor?

You feel a bit the same, that your palette is getting smaller and smaller. But the truth is that I am not very interested in digital advances. What I like are magic tricks, I still scream when someone does one in front of me. Because with magic you become an accomplice: you know you are being deceived, but in the digital universe you don’t know what is real and what isn’t. It’s like when you see Gary Oldman without prosthetics or digital treatment, the interpretation of him is something that he builds from the inside and you believe it. He is really inspiring. I’ve worked with digital retouching on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and, yes, it can be liberating, but in the end, as you get older, you face more and more of your limitations, and that’s humbling.

Is the film industry easier for women now than when you started?

If we keep talking about it, the problem still exists. But we have to keep talking and working on it until it is no longer a topic of conversation. Sometimes I keep walking on set and there are 30 men and I’m the only woman, and I think, “This is so out of sync with what’s going on in society. How is it possible for us to connect with the audience like this?” When you’re in a predominantly male or white work environment, it feels old-fashioned and you feel like it’s also starting to be irrelevant. I think there has been a big change. But you have to stand firm and understand that changes are very fragile, as is democracy. So you have to persevere.

You were artistic director of the Sydney Theater Company. Has that experience influenced your way of understanding her work as an actress?

We were not only artistic directors [and her husband, screenwriter and playwright Andrew Upton], but also CEO, so we were responsible for the financial and creative health of the company. And many times these two aspects are conceived as mutually exclusive. But they don’t have to be: throughout my career I’ve worked with producers who are amazing at keeping finances in order while also helping with creative decisions.

Is that producer profile in danger of extinction?

Yes, unfortunately, because it is something I aspire to. It’s not all about being in front of the camera. I don’t feel obligated. No longer. I’ve already done it. I’ve bored the audience enough already. I do not need it. No more.

Throughout your career you have played everything from action characters to femme fatales, through comedic roles or even men, such as Bob Dylan. How do you choose your characters? Is there any kind of woman you would never play?

Many decisions are based on instinct and timing. I have a wonderful and great life, with a lot of commitments and things that interest me, starting with my farm, with my sheep, my pigs, my cows, and with my children, of course. So sometimes not all projects fit into my schedule. But nothing happens. There is no need to bleed for it. You have to let them go. It’s one of the best things the film industry has taught me.

The fact that?

You make a film and you let it go because after your work comes post-production work and finally, if you’re lucky, it reaches the public. And by that time you will have already done one or two other things. And that film happens to become a kind of second cousin. And then, hopefully, you can see it again with fresh eyes and appreciate it.

What do you expect now from A Manual for Cleaning Women, your project with Almodóvar?

We had talked many times about working together, but it was never the right time. He is a man of incredible taste and insight. He is very precise and, like his films, very free. We are very aligned and excited about the project. I love it because he works with his heart and with his hands. And with his head, of course. He is a person very connected with what happens in the world, but at the same time someone who follows his own path. So I think this project will be unique. His work has a clearly Spanish framework, but it has always transcended and has been recognized internationally because it connects very well with American concerns: the family, being outside the majority culture, being an outcast. I think it’s going to be a fascinating journey in search of that hybrid between the American and the Latin experience.

You have a master’s degree in that Latino perspective. You have worked with Alejandro Cuarón, Guillermo del Toro and now Almodóvar. Is there something that differentiates Latino directors from the rest?

They all have incredible hearts and a certain brutality, but not in the bad sense of the word. I mean they don’t run away from things that others prefer not to name. And they are profoundly plastic artists. His intellectual pursuits are very sumptuous to digest visually. Latino and Australian directors have a very special, unique vision of the world, and that is why they have more and more weight in the US film industry.

I said before that Almodóvar was a very precise director. Is he the kind of director you like to work with, someone who gives a lot of directions and controls every detail?

I think the project is what dictates how you have to work. For me, the perfect thing is to have a clear line of communication with the director based on trust, because there are moments in the shoot when you have to say that something is rubbish, and you have to know that it comes and is said from respect. Rehearsals and filming are not always friendly. They are not disrespectful, but sometimes you have to fight a thing to the bottom and it’s not comfortable.

Woody Allen even told you on the first day of shooting Blue Jasmine that the take was horrible, and so were you.

But in the end I realized that the location was wrong, the camera was wrong… so we changed everything. And then the scene was cut, it was never in the final footage. You can’t take it personally, you have to listen to it and think that it’s teamwork, that sometimes a director can say something challenging but it doesn’t necessarily have to be about you, but about the product.

How do you feel that the film and fiction industry has changed in recent years with the emergence of platforms and the rise of series? Are you interested in that new channel?

Well, I did Mrs. America (Hulu) with a group of fabulous women. And there are a couple of projects in development that look very good. But in the end, what interests me are really lasting experiences, although only time can tell which ones will be. On the one hand, streaming platforms represent a wonderful opportunity for the audience and also for a lot of people in the industry who have stayed afloat for these two years thanks to them. But this model cannot go forward without being examined.

What is the perceived risk?

It is necessary to analyze the potential monopolies that are emerging from this format, and that are not good for anyone. They are not good creatively and neither for the public. And, of course, they have never been good for the industry. We do not want to replicate the old studio system in a more radical and irrevocable way. I am worried about this. Very worried.

Do you think this system of monopolies is accelerating?

Yes, and I think the public can perceive it. Because everything looks alike. The offer is uniform. There is nothing special anymore. However, going to the movies is still an event.

But after the pandemic, due to fear or routine, cinemas continue to lose viewers, at least that is what is happening in Spain.

Yes, and also in the United States there are a lot of small theaters that have been acquired by the platforms to project their content. But there are still places like a small theater in Pittsburgh called Row House and that has only 50 seats where retrospectives of Tarkovsky, of Wes Anderson are shown… I am confident in that differential value that the cinema can continue to offer and that people appreciate you can still be interested.

The pandemic has changed our consumption patterns, but also other industry tools such as awards and red carpets. Do they still make sense?

I think there are too many prizes. They all look the same and people are tired. But this was already happening before the pandemic. So I think we have to be critical. We have a very good opportunity to change things: to ask ourselves what we want to do, what we want it to look like and, above all, if bigger is always synonymous with better. And I’m not just talking about red carpets, but events in general. We don’t want to go back to that old narrative. I personally don’t want to go back to the good old days because I think they weren’t really that good.

But in the end the old physical events have their magic. Even Giorgio Armani, the first designer to suspend a show due to COVID, has returned to the physical catwalk with guests.

It is a live event. That is why the performing arts are so special. When you walk into a room and you can see the fabrics, hear the music, you are there. You remember. But I think the key is the same in fashion as it is in film. Mr. Armani is always aware of every detail. Even at his age, he is a tireless worker and his control over the quality of the products is incredible. He thinks the more you do, the less special he is. And this happens in all industries, including the film industry.

Source: EL PAÍS

Interviews and Magazine Scans
Posted on
Mar 12, 2022

Interviews and Magazine Scans

Hi, Blanchetters!

Cate has shown her support for flood appeal telethon to help those who have been devastated by the flooding in Queensland and New South Wales, Australia. She has also given interviews to Variety and Io Donna plus a podcast interview which can be listened on Amazon Music for free and will be available on Apple and Spotify on March 14th. We’ve also added some magazine scans from the recent releases.

 

Video link

In a rare move, tonight Seven Network, Nine Network and Network 10 will jointly present Australia Unites: Red Cross Flood Appeal to help the people and communities who have suffered from the devastating floods across Queensland and New South Wales.

All of the funds raised during the Telethon will go to people affected by the floods.

Kym Pfitzner, Australian Red Cross CEO, said: “Red Cross is delighted and grateful to join with the major TV networks to raise money for flood-affected areas. We have all seen the enormity of the flood damage across large parts of New South Wales and Queensland, and these communities now face a long and tough road to recovery.

“Everyone coming together during this telethon will help Australian Red Cross provide financial assistance to people at a time when they really need it.

“We can only give out what we raise, so we ask everyone to dig deep and really come together to support the people who have lost so much.”Whenever disaster strikes, Australian Red Cross works side by side with organisations such as the St Vincent de Paul Society, The Salvation Army, Lifeline, and GIVIT to get help to where it’s needed most. They do an incredible job and the Red Cross is grateful to work alongside all of them.”

Donations to the Telethon will help Red Cross teams provide humanitarian support to people and communities smashed by the floods, which may include:

  • Enabling volunteers and staff to help with evacuation and relief centres and outreach services
  • Supporting people and communities to recover and build resilience to disasters

So far, 468 Red Cross emergency response team members and volunteers have provided support in 49 evacuation centres – and donations help to make that support possible.

Apart from the Telethon, Australian Red Cross has already launched a flood appeal. You can donate to it now at redcross.org.au/floodsappeal or by calling 1800 733 276.

Tonight’s Telethon will also be highlighting the great work from organisations such as the Foodbank, Rotary, Good Food 360, Koori Mail Flood Appeal, and Rural Aid.

7:30pm AEDT tonight on Seven, Nine and 10 (7plus, 9Now, 10Play)*
* check local guides.

This is a Google translated interview

Cate Blanchett: “The time has come to banish fears and face reality”

Oscar-winning actress, Cate Blanchett, just made two films about greed and selfishness. But she is preparing to celebrate “what unites us”. She is ironic and a bit philosophical, for the directors she has the energy of “a 12-year-old bad boy”. And here she tells us how she faces life on this complicated planet every day.

Six in the morning in Los Angeles, early afternoon in England: Cate Blanchett calls me from her “manor”, the manor house in East Sussex – once home to Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle – where she lives with her children Dashiell, 20 years old , Roman, 17, Ignatius, 13, little Edith of 7 and husband Andrew Upton. We have had several encounters in recent years, in person, on the phone, during photo shoots or at international festivals, and they have been promptly animated: we discuss cinema, the conditions of immigrants, refugees (she produced the TV series Stateless) and women’s wage equality, with some ironic allusion to our respective roles in Hollywood as well.

In short, each of her films becomes a reason or an excuse to pick up the thread of our discussion: “What’s new in this world of ours? Is it possible to participate, to make it better for us and for future generations?”. I have always spoken with Blanchett as if she were a guru, an enlightened soul: her interests range in the most diverse fields, from art to history, to economics. She is informed and curious, but she is also generous and helpful, she knows how to manage fame and success with completely unusual naturalness and spirit.

As an eclectic and courageous actress perhaps, the most acclaimed and coveted on the current international scene – she has never lost the pleasure of having fun and playing with even the slightest tones : she is there to comment on the color of my socks or the cut of a jacket, to indicate as icons of style Iris Apfel, the famous American interior designer who has passed the century of age, and Fran Lebowitz, the 70-year-old writer to whom Martin Scorsese has dedicated two works. She says: “Please remind me of the name of that extraordinary restaurant in Turin…” and then she cites the latest essay by a sociologist, that of a physicist expert on climate and the talk of an economist who studies mathematical models of productivity and wages.

The tone of the conversation today is calm, thoughtful, reflective. Two years of Covid also leave their mark on an incurable optimist like her. We have just seen the Oscar-winning actress in two films, Nightmare Alley, film noir with Bradley Cooper directed by Guillermo del Toro, and Don’t Look Up, a catastrophic-political-ecological satire directed by Adam McKay. In the coming months we will see her in Tár, the story of the first female German conductor, Pinocchio, the animated film directed by del Toro, and Borderlands, based on the popular video game. A few days ago, the news came that the director Alfonso Cuaròn managed to grab her for his first series for Apple, Disclaimer, with Kevin Kline.

Good morning Cate. The last time we spoke we were at the beginning of the pandemic, singing on the balconies and switching from one zoom to another with friends and family. Today, after two years of forced isolation, we are all a little tired, empty. How can we find ourselves? What to rely on, who to rely on to recover strength, hope and face the world? Art and creativity have been a healthy refuge for many…

I feel exactly this emotions and feelings. But I don’t think we can tell stories, read books, listen to music or walk down the street and walk in a park without thinking about what happened, and it’s still happening in a global sense. Even if you don’t make a film about the pandemic, that’s the thing we talk about or keep quiet about. I believe the time has come to put it out of mind and celebrate what unites us. It is interesting, however, that my last two films, Nightmare Alley and Don’t Look Up, instead tell precisely what separates us from one another.

Meaning what?

Both speak of our spiritual dryness, greed, selfishness, and the need to believe our own lies. In the case of Nightmare Alley, then, there is a very strong desire to ignore the truth. My truth? Let’s focus instead on what unites us, otherwise everything becomes only debilitating, tiring, exhausting. Because life is exhausting.

We generally find relief in movies, in stories.

Yes, many have taken refuge in cinema and books, especially during the first months of the pandemic, but now I want to face reality. I found myself reflecting on what is important and what is not, what is broken and what must be resolved, on a personal and systemic level. We are not only experiencing the reality of the pandemic, there are other relevant movements for which we should move and intervene. Having said that, I am also convinced that films, in a period like the one we are experiencing, offer the possibility of reading and understanding reality better.

Cinema as therapy?

Of course, to recharge and forget our worries for a while, but above all to communicate with each other. If you think of the films of 1945, and after the Second World War, you find great works of art that helped to process terrible catastrophes and crises. A film like Nightmare Alley, it forces you to reflect on what it means to be corrupt: you see a man who does not respect any rules, shows no empathy or compassion of any kind and a weak social system that allows him to get away with it. Just recently I read in The Guardian an article that, to report the growth in wealth of the richest men in the world as a percentage, cited a billionaire whose wealth had increased by 1006 percent in the last 12 months, that is, by 1.3 billion a day. A financial disparity of this kind is impossible to digest, not even the most amazing film can make you forget it.

You are active in various social and environmental organizations. You now collaborate with activist Danny Kennedy on the Climate Change podcast, on Amazon. Is the climate issue the most urgent problem to face and solve today?

Ours is a complicated planet, isn’t it? Everything is connected, but what is striking in the world, everywhere, is the disproportionate number of refugees due to the climate and certain political realities, and this will have a ripple effect. Insisting on protecting borders is pure folly: we need an international strategy that allows us to work together. This is my answer.

Don’t you think that the world, on the other hand, is closing up and not opening up to others?

Violence is perhaps more active, but it is motivated by fear, and fear takes shape and action when the truth has flown away. I think of Bradley Cooper’s character in Nightmare Alley and what happens to those who lose the sense of who he is, to situations without any underlying truth. Lies never got the human race anywhere.

You have three teenage children. How do you deal with these issues with them?

Bits and bits, sometimes with deeper conversations, often with brief hints. Taking it for granted that everything is working well doesn’t lead to substantial changes, but at the same time you can’t get caught up in the mud. You have to give yourself a move and move forward, with attention, respect for others, and never forgetting the sense of humor. Whatever your ideology or religion, what matters is to be human, tolerant and humble.

Immediately after Nightmare Alley you wanted to work with Guillermo del Toro again.

Yes, yes, I’ll be one of the voices in his version of Pinocchio, a monkey actually (laughs). One day on the set I ask him: «When is it that we will work together again, Guillermo?». “I don’t know, now I’m doing Pinocchio” … then he looks at the producer, Miles, and blurts out: “That monkey, for example… You know what, Cate, everyone has this idea of you as a great lady when in reality you are a rascal, a dirty, cheeky 12-year-old bad boy! ” Yes, you see, he is someone who knows me well (laughs). I ended up in his next movie for this reason, probably (winks).

What else can you tell us about Guillermo?

If Guillermo asks me to work with him, I don’t hesitate for a moment: in common we have the same love for horror, and a sort of obsession for the human animal, its unpleasant and sublime complexity. Besides, he has crazy, fantastic ideas, nothing is too much for him and he keeps a flawless sense of history. In short: his is a truly stimulating space in which to work, not counting the actors and the cast that he brings together. But do you know that thanks to him I was able to work twice with Ron Perlman? (legendary American actor, favorite of John Frankenheimer and Joe Dante, ed).

How Cate Blanchett’s Dirty Films Production Company Is Making a Global Impact

Cate Blanchett, who recently appeared front of the camera in “Don’t Look Up” and “Nightmare Alley,” has been busy behind the scenes developing film and TV projects through the Dirty Films banner she co-founded with her husband, Andrew Upton.

Among those in the works: “A Manual for Cleaning Women,” her first collaboration with Pedro Almodóvar in his English-language debut; Indigenous Australian filmmaker Warwick Thornton’s “The New Boy”; and the Apple TV Plus series “Disclaimer” from Alfonso Cuarón.

Blanchett will star in each in addition to producing, building on her résumé of dual credits that includes “Carol,” “Stateless” and “Mrs. America.” Similar to how she chooses acting roles, the Dirty Films team (which also includes Coco Francini and Georgie Pym) takes a “filmmaker-driven” approach.

“No matter the budget or the genre, films are born out of interesting conversations, so that’s where we begin,” Blanchett tells Variety over the phone, chalking up the company’s “incredibly eclectic” selections to its principals’ Australian heritage.

“It’s a small country in terms of population, but we individually punch above our cultural weight, because we have such a mix of cultural influences, in a great way — also in a painful way,” she explains, alluding to the country’s birth by colonial invasion. “We have a very interesting perspective on the world.”

For her, the appeal of producing is less about finding a role to perform than about having a creative stake in the project.

“People often assume that when you have a production company, you are simply trying to develop materials for yourself. Sometimes that’s the case, and you do need to be in something,” Blanchett says, pointing to the “Stateless” as an example. The two-time Oscar-winner appeared in all six episodes of the miniseries that ultimately landed at Netflix. “I knew that I had to be in it in some way because of the material. No one wanted to make a project that was ostensibly about refugees and asylum seekers.”

Among other accolades, the drama earned 13 awards from the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts. But she’s also found that an actor’s ability to work behind the scenes can be underestimated.

“Oftentimes, people think, as an actor, that you don’t have that perspective on the whole thing — that you don’t understand how a film is put together,” she observes. “After years and years and years of doing this, it’s not just sitting in your trailer, waiting for your hair and makeup call.”

Pointing to her contemporaries who also produce — including her Oscar-nominated “Nightmare Alley” producer and co-star Bradley Cooper, Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Reese Witherspoon — she adds, “You get involved in a project because you’re interested in the whole thing.”

“You’re involved from soup to nuts; you’re invested in that experience,” Blanchett explains. “So you get to understand how all of those cogs come together and you can see a way that they might be put together slightly differently, or what didn’t work, because you’re inside the experience. And that is what I find increasingly exciting. Acting, less and less so, frankly.”

As for stepping behind the camera to direct, Blanchett acknowledges she’s been “spoiled by some of the most astonishing directors of all time, so it feels like an act of hubris to think that I could or would.”

But she won’t count out the possibility entirely. “If it was material that took me by the short and curlies, it could happen. But just because you’re opinionated, as I painfully am, doesn’t mean you are a director.”

Last month, Blanchett accepted the 47th annual Honorary Ce?sar award, presented by French film icon Isabelle Huppert, and became the inaugural recipient of Spain’s International Goya award, given by Almodóvar and Penélope Cruz. Both prizes celebrated the actor and producer for her contributions to cinema on a global scale.

“I’ve known Isabelle for a while now; we’re both theater animals who also work in cinema, and she’s such a legend,” Blanchett says, reflecting on the “huge” honor. “Penélope’s work is constantly inspiring and [Cruz and Almodóvar] is a historic partnership. To be in Spain, presented by both of them, you die and go to heaven. I can’t work out why [they awarded me], but I didn’t say no.”

In her acceptance speeches, Blanchett shared how she’d been influenced by the great cinematic artists of those countries, including Spain’s Luis Buñuel and France’s Robert Bresson.

“Watching a Bresson film, when I was in my early teens, it blew the back of my head off. I’d never seen anything like it,” she recalls. “There’s so many Russian filmmakers that have been deeply influential on me, not only working in the cinema, but also as an actor on stage. One of my favorite films this year was Sean Baker’s ‘Red Rocket”; Janicza Bravo’s ‘Zola’ was profound. I consider American filmmakers ‘international.’”

Beyond her own range of influences and collaborations with international filmmakers, the awards represent Dirty Films’ penchant to think globally. The company is in pre-production on “Disclaimer” with Cuaro?n and will then go straight into Thornton’s “The New Boy” and, later, Almodóvar’s “A Manual for Cleaning Women.” Also, following their partnership on the critical-acclaimed “Apples,” which Dirty Films executive produced, they’ll team up with filmmaker Christos Nikou again for “Fingernails.”

According to Blanchett, their greatest strength as producers lies in their understanding of the creative process and “knowing where to cut corners and where that will enhance the ultimate, individual creative flourish of the product itself.”

“We can all find money; but money is more difficult to come by without any creative strings attached,” she says. “To find the right rhythm, the right wave, the right budget ties and the best way to film, it’s not a science, it’s an art.”

Blanchett also credits her and Upton’s time heading the Sydney Theatre Company with helping to hone their skills, particularly in reference to getting a production off the ground quickly instead of languishing in development hell.

“We have a much quicker rhythm. If we committed to an idea, we could get it on,” she says and between 2008-2013, the duo produced between 19 and 20 shows a year. In 2015, they officially awoke Dirty Films from its dormancy with Todd Haynes’ critically acclaimed “Carol” and it’s been full steam ahead ever since.

“We want to be nimble,” she explains. “There’s a lot of stuff being developed that may never see the light of day. We’re not into over-developing or over-committing. You can get the thing up eight years later, but you’ve lost the reason why [that story needed to be told]. That’s something that carried from working at the theater company.”

In recent years, Blanchett has headed the juries at the Cannes and Venice film festivals and relished watching the definition of “cinema” morph as boundaries between the big and small screens — as well as those between streaming and theatrical — blur.

“The streaming platforms have shaken things up,” she comments, regarding the way the distribution and windowing have shifted. “We don’t want them to calcify and reform and imitate the worst sides of studios in terms of monopolies, but it does mean that you don’t have to think of things in terms of length.”

Plus, she says, “Streaming platforms and series have kept us afloat, frankly, mentally and psychologically over the last two years.”

While Blanchett believes that “big ideas happen in a cinematic form,” she notes that, “There’s a lot of options there in the way we think about stories, and the possibility of how we realize those narratives. The idea of making a short film or a long masterwork — those definitions are much more nebulous now. And I think that’s really exciting.”

Additionally, the business itself has become more international and likewise has a wider reach with its themes.

“We’re finding we’re much more amoeba-like in terms of cultural boundaries. That’s where the cinematic arts are a real bridge between this surge of ridiculous, antiquated nationalism that’s happening,” Blanchett says, relating the conversation to the news of the day. “There aren’t closed borders because we are all communicating. So, this rubbish that is going on in the Ukraine — this horrendous, disgusting rubbish — is totally antithetical to the way human beings are actually communicating.”

The actor and producer, who is also a Global Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, adds: “I think cinema can, through the lens of metaphor and allegory, help audiences. Without wanting to sound too pretentious, I think it can help society to comprehend and possibly make some kind of sense of issues that we all have a stake in.”

SmartLess Podcast

We roll up our sleeves and get down to business with none other than Cate Blanchett. She reveals her aspirations to make cheese, Sean fans-out on Lord of the Rings, Will explains his rich history in lowered expectations, and Jason explores his elasticity challenges. Pass the honey butter; it’s SmartLess.

Click the image below to listen to the podcast. This episode will be available on Apple and Spotify on March 14th.

Magazine Scans

Paris Match No. 3798 – February 23rd 2022

Entertainment Weekly – March 2022

Variety -Match 9th 2022

Io Donna – March 12th 2022


Source: IoDonna, Variety, TV Tonight

Cate Blanchett to star and produce Australian movie – The New Boy
Posted on
Feb 10, 2022

Cate Blanchett to star and produce Australian movie – The New Boy

Hi, everyone!

Cate will be starring and producing a new movie that is set in Australia. You can read the details below.

Cate Blanchett’s Dirty Films and Scarlett Pictures are partnering to co-produce The New Boy with Blanchett attached to star and Warwick Thornton writing and directing. Deborah Mailman and Wayne Blair join Blanchett in the ensemble, which is set to begin filming in October in South Australia.

Roadshow Films will be distributing for Australia and New Zealand, CAA Media Finance and UTA will be handling sales for North America, and The Veterans is on board to manage sales for the remainder of the globe. Blanchett, Andrew Upton and Georgie Pym will be producing for Dirty Films, and Kath Shelper will produce for Scarlett Pictures.

“What a joy to finally be collaborating with Warwick — a filmmaker whose warmth, wit and humanity we have admired for so very long,” Blanchett said. “We can’t wait to be on the ground with him and the wonderful Kath Shelper to realise this startling story.”

Set in 1940s Australia, the film depicts depicts the mesmeric story of a 9-year-old Aboriginal orphan boy who arrives in the dead of night at a remote monastery run by a renegade nun (Blanchett). The new boy’s presence disturbs the delicately balanced world in this story of spiritual struggle and the cost of survival.

“The idea for the story of this little boy has been flickering in my imagination for a long time,” said Thornton. “Kath and I are beyond excited to be working with Cate and the Dirty Films mob to put him up on the big screen where he belongs.”

Source: Deadline

Cate Blanchett will live with the femme fatale label
Posted on
Jan 28, 2022

Cate Blanchett will live with the femme fatale label

Happy Friday!

Here’s a new interview that Cate did with Sydney Morning Herald. Nightmare Alley is now out in Australian cinemas.

From the moment Cate Blanchett’s Dr Lilith Ritter glides into the frame of Guillermo del Toro’s noir masterpiece Nightmare Alley, she easily takes her place alongside film’s greatest femmes fatales: Mary Astor in The Maltese Falcon (1941), Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity (1944) and Ava Gardner in The Killers (1946).

It’s a stunning performance, make no mistake. Perhaps even a career-best. In a richly detailed, delicately stitched study of human horror, as carny-turned-conman Stanton Carlisle (Bradley Cooper) masters the art of stage clairvoyance and is quickly consumed by his ambition and greed.

Carlisle thinks he’s playing games with Blanchett’s Dr Lilith Ritter but in truth, he’s met his match. And while femme fatale seems at first flush to be a somewhat dated way of framing a woman whose characteristics seem no more complicated than intelligence, ambition and agency, Blanchett says she’ll live with the label.

“Barbara Stanwyck is one of my all-time favourites, so yes, [it’s] wonderful company; I’ll take that on the chin,” Blanchett says. “But it is more complex than that, and if you look at femmes fatales traditionally, they have been driven to destroy men. A siren draws boats onto the rocks because, in a way, they’re enigmatic and they’re mysterious and they’re unknowable. Lilith is all of those things.

“But the wonderful thing about Guillermo is that he loves all the characters, he loves their quirks, their strangeness, their monstrousness, but he’s interested in revealing those inner machinations,” Blanchett adds. “Even though Lilith is in that enigmatic space as a femme fatale, hopefully you understand that she has a higher purpose.”

Nightmare Alley is based on the 1946 novel of the same name by William Lindsay Gresham, and follows an earlier screen adaptation of the same book, in 1947, starring Tyrone Power and Helen Walker in the roles now played by Cooper and Blanchett.

Under the guiding hand of del Toro – the man who made the Oscar-winning films Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) and The Shape of Water (2017) – Nightmare Alley becomes a study of the darkness within human nature, a de facto horror film that meshes the colourful whimsy of a backwater carnival with the knife’s edge suspense of a thriller. And if awards season buzz is to be taken seriously, Nightmare Alley is a genuine Oscar contender.

Speaking to this masthead in a separate interview, del Toro said he took great delight in pairing Blanchett and Cooper, whom he considered to be two extraordinary actors. “When I took Bradley to Cate Blanchett, I said, hey, King Kong, you’re about to meet your Godzilla.”

“So, I’m Godzilla, am I?” laughs Blanchett when I relate the story to her. I ask her whether del Toro is a genius, monster-tamer, cuddly bear or madman?“ He is, of course, all of those things,” Blanchett replies. “But the thing that you find with Guillermo, apart from his unparalleled ability as cinema artist, is this incredible, incredible heart.

“When we say that a director holds your hand through an experience, the feeling is somehow [that the actors are being] mollycoddled, but he doesn’t do that.

“He can be brutally honest, but it’s always done from a place of wanting to make things better. And this story, which has been brewing for a really long time, [is about] the monster within, that sort of extreme-sport aspect of our emotional, dark recesses that we keep in check by being, quote-unquote, civilised.”

In a sense, Blanchett’s dance with the dark side is an exercise in wilful pretence. Were she the sort of actor who inhabited a noisy social media life, she says, the idea of a double identity might be more everyday. And perhaps, she adds, fraught with greater risk.

“In a social media sphere where the wholesaling of oneself and one’s day-to-day identity gets morphed with one’s exterior persona … some people would be very good at navigating that, but I know [for me] it would be disastrous,” Blanchett says. “I feel very lucky to have a space to do that that is not enmeshed in my day to day.

“And of course, that’s the joy of being an actor; a little bit like a carnival performer, you get to do that, to investigate the monstrous, freakish, dark side of being alive in a hermetically sealed environment that is adjacent to one’s life, and then you step out and live your real life.”

Though the film resides in the shadows on the edge of del Toro’s unbridled love of the horror genre – though it is, strictly speaking, more traditional noir than explicit horror – it also serves as a chilling polemic on the danger of charlatanism, in an era where the political discourse seems to have been infected by hollow, performative showmen.

“It’s unbridled, unfettered charlatanism,” Blanchett says. “When it’s the circus and the carnival, where you’re told a lie and you know that you’re being lied to, it’s for fun, it’s for pleasure. It doesn’t affect the way our society is structured or who has the power, and who doesn’t have the power, and how people get treated. That’s a safe place to do it.

“But it’s when the people start believing their lies, and they’re running the country and, as you say, those charlatans are just celebrated. When the people in the corridors of power celebrate the fact that they’re not even bothering to dance with the truth, that’s where we’re in real trouble, and that’s the space we find ourselves in.”

Though they are profoundly different films, we’re not in so different a place to another recent film of Blanchett’s – Netflix’s monster hit Don’t Look Up – in which she plays newsreader Brie Evantee.

“It’s a climate-change film, but it’s not about climate change,” she says.

“In the same way, [Nightmare Alley] is about the era in which we live, yet it’s set back in time and it’s ostensibly set in the world of spiritualism and mentalism and in the world of the carny and monsters and monstrousness and the noir. It runs parallel to the world in which we live now, so people are free to make those associations, but those associations are not laboured upon.

“I think, really, the world is so unbearable for so many millions of people right now that it’s the only way we can talk about it.

“You open the proverbial newspaper and it’s a shit show, so you need to escape into a dream state, in a way. And that’s the space that Guillermo’s provided with Nightmare Alley. So all of those associations and textures are alive, but they’re there for the audience to make those connections, rather than being told to.”

How does Cate Blanchett choose her roles?
Posted on
Jan 26, 2022

How does Cate Blanchett choose her roles?

Hi, everyone!

LA Times published an interview with Cate. Read below:

If you’re Cate Blanchett, with two Oscars to your name (“The Aviator,” “Blue Jasmine”) you can do pretty much whatever you want in Hollywood. Which makes it extra fascinating that the Australian actress with the tremendous cheekbones and searing, narrow gaze has chosen to play supporting roles in two films this year: Guillermo del Toro’s “Nightmare Alley,” a neo-noir indictment of capitalism set in the world of 1930s carnies and grifters, and Adam McKay’s “Don’t Look Up,” a warning about the climate crisis wrapped in the guise of a movie about an impending comet impact. The Envelope spoke with Blanchett via Zoom and learned that, for her, every film is an ensemble and there are no small roles.

How much of your decision to work on “Nightmare” and “Don’t Look Up” had to do with the role and how much was a chance to work with great directors?

What I gravitate toward has been people that you want to be in the room with, or the conversation that you want to be part of. Those two examples were absolutely 110% director-driven. I wanted to be part of the conversation in the room with those extraordinary people.

The casts on both films are ensembles, and it’s like a greatest hits of who’s terrific right now.

When you’re working with actors of that caliber — and they don’t necessarily have to be well-known actors — you read the script and you think, “I know what the scene is about” or “I know who that character is.” And then things come tumbling out of them, and suddenly the scene goes in a direction you could never have imagined.

What’s a good example of that?

I had no idea how the scenes in the office treatment room in “Nightmare Alley” were going to unfold. Bradley [Cooper] played Stan as such a powerfully empty individual. That was absolutely thrilling to play opposite. Then, on my first day on set of “Don’t Look Up,” I was in the Situation Room with all of those actors, and it was like being teleported to Mars. Like, how did I get to be in the room with all these people, playing such strange characters in such an impossible and ridiculous circumstance?

You could headline more films than you do; what’s the appeal, then, in being one among many in an ensemble picture?

“Hamlet” only works if you understand who Gertrude is, who Claudius is … all of those characters, you’ve got to create a court, and they’re all part of that dilemma. Every so often, you’ll see a great production of “Hamlet” where the Hamlet is amazing, but the rest of the characters haven’t been worked. I learned to observe that early on as an actor in the theater, that everything is an ensemble. You get typecast incredibly quickly, and I get so bored of myself I think, “I’ll play that little role and do that little thing.” I had a director say to me once, “You have to stop playing small roles.” And I went, “Why?” There’s often a sense that, as an actor, there’s a certain career path that’s desirable and … I don’t think that way.

Having played Queen Elizabeth I and then winning your first Oscar for playing Katharine Hepburn in “The Aviator,” did you find you were getting typecast into a particular stiff-upper-lip kind of character?

Queen Elizabeth couldn’t be more different to Hepburn, particularly when Hepburn is looked at through the lens of Martin Scorsese. But I felt I was able to escape that [typecasting]. In the end, this is the instrument you’re working with. There’s a lot of prosthetics and artificial augmentations that can be liberating for an actor, but there’s also rhythm and timing and tone, which you also have. For me, it’s about balancing the two tools.

Women in Hollywood over the age of 40 used to find good, meaty roles difficult to come by. You’re over 50 now, but these two roles are not just meaty, but focused on you as a sexual character. How much of that do you find personally edifying, and how much of it signals the way the industry has shifted?

The fact that you’re asking the question means it’s still obviously an issue. … Women have had enough of being polite and waiting for the change to happen, or assuming it’s going to happen at all. There’s a sense that women aren’t being polite about it anymore, they’re just claiming that space. People talk about the golden age of Hollywood and how women were written for and how compelling they were as actresses. We glorified this period of filmmaking, but we lost the skill set around supporting the longevity of those careers. I think that’s definitely changing.

Source: LA Times