As we announced here a few days ago, Cate Blanchett is the latest guest on Patrick Marber and Peter Curran BBC Radio 4 series entitled Bunk Bed. The podcast episode featuring Cate is now available. Enjoy!
As we announced here a few days ago, Cate Blanchett is the latest guest on Patrick Marber and Peter Curran BBC Radio 4 series entitled Bunk Bed. The podcast episode featuring Cate is now available. Enjoy!
Time to listen to Cate’s voice on the radio!
After Books to live by, Cate Blanchett will be a guest on Bunk Bed, a BBC 4 radio podcast hosted by Patrick Marber and Peter Curran. The comedy radio programme, recorded in real beds, features talks on family, relationships, work, and imagined life. Stay tuned!!
The episode is set to air Wed 17 April, 11pm on BBC Radio 4.
According to Independent Ireland*, all special episodes (including the one featuring Cate) will be available on BBC Sounds from April 16, and will play weekly on BBC Radio 4 from April 17 at 11pm.
Everyone craves a place where their mind and body are not applied to a particular task. The nearest faraway place. Somewhere for drifting and lighting upon strange thoughts which don’t have to be shooed into context, but which can be followed like balloons escaping onto the air. Late at night, in the dark and in a bunk bed, your tired mind can wander.
Tonight, Hollywood star Cate Blanchett joins Patrick Marber and Peter on Curran the spare mattress, in relaxed mode as they muse on their experiences of gallstones, vomiting, night walks and severe haircuts.
For more info. Visit the official website
— Peter Curran (@curranradio) April 12, 2019
*Special thanks to Catepedia from CBF Chat for sharing this info.
A couple of promotional interviews with Cate Blanchett on Sì Fiori, the new version of perfume Sì by Giorgio Armani, and new articles have been added to the gallery. Enjoy the reading!
Cate Blanchett : “On peut se tromper, mal faire les choses et les réparer”
Actrice phénoménale, féministe engagée … A peine sortie d’une pièce de théâtre sulfureuse à Londres jouée à guichets fermés, l’égérie du parfum Sì de Giorgio Armani nous parle risques, aventures et éducation.
Identité – “La pièce que je viens de jouer à Londres, When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other , évoquait les jeux de rôles, le genre, l’identité, l’idée de consentement et de pouvoir, des thèmes qui m’interpellent ces derniers temps. Katie Mitchell, qui l’a mise en scène et avec qui je rêvais de travailler depuis longtemps, s’attache à présenter des points de vue féminins dans des domaines où ceux des hommes prévalent traditionnellement. C’était physique et passionnant.”
Égalité – “J’élève ma fille exactement comme mes trois fils. Je leur apprends qu’il ne faut jamais identifier quelqu’un à son genre, que tout commence par le respect de soi et des autres. Cette génération ne se définit plus selon la perception des autres. Dans l’éducation, on dit très tôt aux enfants qui ils sont et ce qu’ils vont être, et cela peut les empêcher de s’épanouir librement. L’un de mes fils adorait les jeux traditionnels de filles, je ne l’ai pas empêché.”
Féminité – “J’ai aimé que le film publicitaire du nouveau parfum Sì Fiori de Giorgio Armani soit réalisé par une femme (Fleur Fortuné, ndlr). Il véhicule des valeurs fortes à mes yeux qui redéfinissent la féminité : la confiance en soi, la soif d’aventure, la prise de risques et le fait de ne pas avoir peur de l’échec.”
Matriarcat – “Mon père est mort quand j’étais jeune. J’ai donc été élevée par ma mère et ma grand-mère, dans une maison pleine de femmes fortes. J’ai vu ma mère reprendre le boulot, cela m’a donné un grand sens des responsabilités personnelles et du travail. On peut se tromper, mal faire les choses et les réparer. C’est ce qui m’a permis de me construire en tant que femme.”
Langage – “Les mots qui ont été associés à celui d'”actrice” depuis une dizaine d’années sont ceux de “célébrité”, “visage” ou “figure de proue”, qui ne sont que des descriptions superficielles. Ils ont depuis été remplacés par “militante” ou “activiste”, et c’est bien plus intéressant. En revanche, les rôles sont distincts. Je ne vois pas mon rôle d’actrice comme politique, plutôt comme provocateur. Les gens oublient que vous êtes aussi un être humain. (Rires.) Un parent, un partenaire, un citoyen, et c’est avec ces nombreuses casquettes que l’on s’engage sur d’autres questions.”
Time for a new interview with Cate Blanchett! She is in the cover of Beauty Papers magazine VII Glamour issue released today. Cate Blanchett stars as American artists Bruce Nauman and Andy Warhol in a short video and photoshoot for the magazine.
If you can, make sure you buy a copy!
BEAUTY PAPERS ISSUE SEVEN GLAMOUR stars Cate Blanchett in "Performance", as #brucenauman and #andywarhol for our latest cover. Photographed by Casper Sejersen, Beauty Morag Ross. #cateblanchett #beautypapers #glamour pic.twitter.com/obmYJrKnU5
— Beauty Papers (@beautypapersmag) April 1, 2019
Performance: Cate Blanchett[…] Undeniably beautiful, yet she is too intelligent, too complex and too layered to be shoved into an easy package. It is this complexity that makes her arguably the best of her generation. She leapt to international fame with regal period excess in Elizabeth, progressed through waspish 1950s bourgeois in The Talented Mr Ripley and excelled with ethereal elvish mystery in The Lord of the Rings. She has worked with directors such as Todd Haynes, Sally Potter, Jim Jarmusch and Martin Scorsese on comedies, dramas, thrillers and period pieces. She is an Australian who can seem faultlessly Scottish, Russian, American or British. Blanchett has won Oscars for Blue Jasmine and The Aviator, been nominated for four others, and notched up three Golden Globes. She is at the top of her game, yet not afraid to be experimental, as her collaboration with artist Julian Rosefeldt in 2015 demonstrated. Away from the stage and the screen, she is also a UNHCR Global Goodwill Ambassador, working on human rights projects.
Many of her roles have played with or unpicked the image of beauty. The mature lesbian chic of Carol, the disintegrating edges of Jasmine in Blue Jasmine or the confused attraction of Sheba in Notes on a Scandal all highlight the fact that there is something beyond perfect hair, clothes and sex appeal. Blanchett truthfully comes across as a woman of substance.
Francesca Gavin: Your career grew out of theatre and you worked with the Sydney Theatre Company for a long period, more recently working on Broadway and in London. Are you still attracted to working on the stage? Which aspects of your stage experiences do you think have had the most influence on your approach to acting and creating?
Cate Blanchett: Now that is a question and a half… My time as co-artistic director of the Sydney Theatre Company was probably the most formative regenerative period of my career thus far. A homecoming of sorts – to the rich and hungry artistic community from which I sprang. But apart from the enormous responsibility for the fiscal and creative health of the company and indeed fostering the careers of emerging and mid-career artists, Andrew [Upton, husband] and I were placed into a dynamic national creative conversation. This was so very galvanising. For better or worse, one still has to fight in Australia for the basic notion that the arts should be available and central to people’s lives. But perhaps this is rapidly becoming a global issue. Wasn’t it Winston Churchill who refused to cut arts funding during the war as an austerity measure saying, ‘Then what are we fighting for?’ In spite of all the talent my country possesses, there is still a profound lack of confidence in our artistic output. That was in large part why we made it our mission to tour the company’s work internationally.
FG: How do you approach finding such a breadth of roles? Variety feels something central to your choices.
CB: Oh yes, variety is very much the spice of my life… but I’m beginning to think about repetition much more. When I say that, I mean in order to go more deeply into things – not always looking for the next and the new. Perhaps part of why I’m an actor is that I’m far more interested in the thoughts, feelings and experiences of others than of my own – mine are a tad boring. I’m sure there are a myriad of people who would back me up there! But to try to answer your question… my choices have always been made on instinct. And, since having children, around school holidays.
FG: What do you find interesting about the process of transformation – visually, but also internally and psychologically – when you become different characters?
CB: All I ever see is myself. Which bores me rigid. Transformation is not a focus for me. The story is – do I want to be part of this conversation? Do I have anything to offer it? But in terms of character – which is always the point of entry for me in a project – I am very text-based. The rhythm of good writing. The tempo of a character as well as what they choose not to say. Often, what someone says is a smokescreen to what they actually think or feel. Who does a character think they are as opposed to who they actually might be.
FG: What are your feelings about the pressures that Hollywood presents to women in terms of their looks?
CB: Oh, those boring pressures are age-old and eternal. Men feel them too, I’m sure, but the reaction to this manifests itself in different ways. But I feel there is a healthy interest in people’s points of difference, their uniqueness, which means performers are stepping into a space of boldly finding their own non-cookie-cutter way of doing ‘their thang’. Women, in particular, are collectively now prizing their worth and their individuality. I think that extends to challenging the male gaze which has run mainstream cinema for so long. Nothing wrong with a male gaze – it’s just mind-numbingly boring and exclusive if other perspectives are suffocated.
FG: Some of the characters you have played on screen – for example, Jasmine in Blue Jasmine – are very conscious of their perceived image. What have you found interesting about that sense of self-preoccupation?
CB: I’m always saying yes, perhaps to my own detriment. I just get excited by fabulous ideas – and the prospect of nutting out a world and sets of experiences or theories I have no present knowledge of. The only hard part about that for me is the doing of it. I’m a little on the shy side. Kaboom! Not all actors are exhibitionists.
FG: What is your definition of glamour?
CB: Glamour shines, it’s effortless and unselfconscious and damn sexy. It’s also quite unattainable. Something to reach for. It probably also involves brushing one’s hair?
FG: You have played some incredibly strong, powerful proto-feminist women, from Elizabeth to Katharine Hepburn. What do you like about these individuals who are either in positions of power or innately powerful? To what extent do you feel that is a reflection of yourself?
CB: If there is any similarity between characters I’ve played on film and myself it’s utterly unintentional. But when you say powerful, what do you mean exactly? That these women have a strong impact on the narrative? They know and speak their minds? Because a woman in a position of power is not an interesting enough byline for a film in and of itself. Often in the past, producers have been fascinated by certain so-called powerful women in history, women who have made an impact on events, on the world around them, broken new ground, women who are complicated and conflicted. But then haven’t bothered to find a reason to make a film about them. Having had the imagination to locate them in a riveting story that is more than their character alone. The story is the thing. The perspective. Interesting ‘powerful’ male characters have more often than not been encased in a great ripping story.
FG: What are your feelings about the representation and limitations of gender?
CB: I’ve been reading Maggie Nelson lately, who is fascinating and revelatory on the subject of gender binary thinking. She talks about gender as not being volunteerism, about it not being performative. She referenced Judith Butler about dealing with the question of how do we rework the trap we are all inevitably in. I’m fascinated right now with how one turns the inclusive nature of feminism, female equality, from downfall to unassailable strength. How one claims it without allowing it to be weaponised…It’s why I wanted to be in Martin Crimp’s play with Katie Mitchell [When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other]. To investigate all this ‘stuff’.
FG: What are your feelings about make-up and costume? Do you find them inspiring elements in your process of creation?
CB: I adore make-up and costume. The most delicate and robust creative time on any project happens in wardrobe fitting and in the make-up business. And so very many of those elastic tossing-ideas-around and trying-things-out sessions have been with Morag [Ross]. Her eye and her sense of risk are very, very inspiring.
FG: Your job is to constantly embody other people. How do you maintain your sense of self?
CB: My sense of self, if I have one, is non-linear and utterly elastic. And honestly, apart from owning my fuck-ups and missteps, of which there are many, I try to think about myself as little as possible. There is just too much else to be concerned about in the world right now. The void under the Thwaites Glacier? The Dakota Pipeline, anyone? Australia’s offshore detention horrors…?
The BBC Sounds podcast called Books To Live By hosted by Mariella Frostrup has released it’s episode featuring Cate Blanchett today!!!
"I love that you find this book sexy. I don't think anyone has ever found that strain present in it!"
@MariellaF1 discovers Cate Blanchett's most cherished books in Books To Live By, on BBC Sounds ?https://t.co/r2sb4YKT0x pic.twitter.com/FJOoXkwfoT
— BBC Sounds (@BBCSounds) March 28, 2019
Update: Thanks to Catepedia on CBF Chat!
Ep2 of #BooksToLiveBy with @mariellaf1 is now available on @BBCSounds! Listen to hear our visit to #CateBlanchett's house where we chat about her fav reads of all time – including the book that boosts her sex drive plus her opinions on the #MeToo movement https://t.co/Ob1ksfv10s pic.twitter.com/uM4KhfbWkz
— Sera Baker (@_serabaker) March 28, 2019
Let’s start the week with this new interview for British Vogue, a couple of photos added to our gallery!
Cate Blanchett has long been a female force to be reckoned with. Having starred in several big-hit movies – such as the Lord of the Rings franchise, Blue Jasmine and The Aviator – she’s not only a great talent, but her beauty and style musings are certainly notable, too. To mark the launch of Armani Si Fiori fragrance – she’s been the face of the beauty brand since 2014 – Blanchett talks to Vogue about fashion, feminism and fragrance.
I was given my first fragrance while I was at drama school, my friend gave me a Clinique perfume that she didn’t like. I had absolutely no money. But I think probably even earlier than that I wore perfume. I must have smelled like lavender or violets because that’s what my grandmother smelled of. For me, growing up with my mother and grandmother, and remembering their scents, I felt like one day I’m going to be allowed through the portal into womanhood and I, too, will wear a fragrance.
On hair colour
I changed from blonde to brunette [and then back to blonde] for a play [When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other]. I was on stage at The National. I think I looked like my mother and my sister. It felt like some kind of throwback. I just felt like it was right for the character and it was right for the look of the play. So, I did it for work. I could’ve worn a wig, but I don’t like wearing a wig on stage. So, I did it for work.
I don’t think about ageing at all until someone brings it up. [When] I think of some of the most inspiring faces, it’s Louise Bourgeois and Georgia O’Keeffe. I’m looking into the spirit of the woman and that’s what I love. Like Mr Armani, who’s really wanted to capture the spirit of being alive as a woman [in his work]. You know, it can be sensual, but it can also be full of power, it can be fragile, but it can be wicked. It’s a whole lot of dualities.
It depends on the season. I always use good quality products and products that have a natural base [to them]. What I’ve been using recently (because of the weather) is Giorgio Armani Crema Nera. I use a cream moisturiser and a recovery oil every day to give my skin an extra barrier from the weather. But even on days like this [winter weather] I put on something with an SPF, too. I think it’s just a process I’ve inherited from growing up.
I’ve recently realised the power of exfoliation, so I use an exfoliant every day. If I’m not going to go out, I might put on a face mask. I occasionally have an oxygen facial – they’re great. Being on stage you’re constantly taking make-up on and off, it does take its toll on my skin.
At night I’m usually face-planted onto a surface so I don’t have a lot of make-up on. During the day, I’ll wear mascara and I love the Rouge d’Armani matt lipstick. It’s really smooth and it doesn’t dry out your lips.
I love fashion. I see it all as costume. That’s where it springs from [for me], an interest in character and costume – but also when you get to work with great designers or people who are so good at tailoring or interested in forward-looking ideas. If you look at people like Roksanda Ilincic and her incredible collection where she smashes those extraordinary colours and patterns together, it is really inspiring. Recently I was unpacking stuff and I found an Armani suit that I’ve had since 1997. You hold onto these things; you don’t necessarily need to have the latest and the new. So, if you have something that’s beautifully made, you keep it and you re-wear it. Fashion always looks backwards to look forward, so why can’t we just recycle and re-wear?
I have started an astonishing read by a journalist called Behrouz Boochani, called A Letter From Manus Island, about an offshore detention centre for Australia. The book is a series of texts that he smuggled out on his mobile phone and it is absolutely heartbreaking and eye-opening.
Having not read a lot of her previous work, I read a lot of Rachel Cusk’s writings last year. And I read an astonishing book by Maggie Nelson called The Argonauts, she’s part memoirist, part theoretician, part poet, part prose writer, she defies description. She wrote the book while she was pregnant, and [at the time] her partner was transitioning from female to male. She describes that whole journey. It’s an astonishing read.
I think there are now more women in the writer’s room. There are more women at the centre of narratives being optioned and there are more platforms on which to release stories. There are certain stories, from the Nineties, about really interesting female lives but they were basically used to tell the same story about a woman. A woman in a man’s world. Whereas I feel now that the complexity and interest of these characters are being placed in very interesting backdrops and the stories that are being told about them are more sophisticated and complex. It excites me, both as an actor but also as an audience member. You don’t have to be in them to consume them.
The first magazine cover and photoshoot of 2019 have arrived! Cate looks amazing!
Cate Blanchett is on the cover of the new issue of Interview Magazine and with a brand new interview by fellow actress Julia Roberts. Take a look!
The Inimitable Cate Blanchett Asks Julia Roberts the Timeless Question: Is Enough Enough?
Cate Blanchett does not play nice. Her performances almost always hinge on the unhinged. Although she is nothing if not regal—audiences will forever remember her as Queen Elizabeth I, a part that earned her the first of her seven Oscar nominations—Blanchett has never backed away from malice and mania, or what she describes as the “King Lear end of the spectrum.” The 49-year-old Australian actress has stalked down the darker corridors of human complexity by inhabiting a sexually repressed housewife in Carol, a shrill and martini-drowned socialite in Blue Jasmine, and, most recently, an agoraphobic architect in Richard Linklater’s adaptation of the Maria Semple novel Where’d You Go, Bernadette, out later this year. And yet, from a hotel room near London’s National Theatre, where she has been taking the stage in a production of When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other, Blanchett wonders whether enough is enough. From across the ocean, at home in Los Angeles, Julia Roberts helps her grapple with the answer.
JULIA ROBERTS: Hello, Queen Cate.
CATE BLANCHETT: Hello, movie star. You want to know something? We just had your film Ben Is Back on, I kid you not. It made me cry after five minutes. And then, being totally brain-dead, I suddenly thought, “What day is it?” An alarm went off in my head, and I went, “I’ve got to go talk to that actress lady!”
ROBERTS: You want to talk about being brain-dead? I’ve had the craziest day. I woke up sick, and I was at Urgent Care for an hour and a half with one of my son’s friends who cut his foot when he was surfing. He got eight stitches.
BLANCHETT: You are a good friend. I’ve just had a half-bottle of red after a rather challenging day of rehearsal for a play I’m doing at the National Theatre [When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other]. As you get older, acting just gets more and more humiliating. When I was younger, I would wonder why the older actors I admired kept talking about quitting. Now I realize it’s because they want to maintain a connection to the last shreds of their sanity. As I get older, I ask myself if I still want to submit myself to the shamanistic end of this profession and go completely into madness. It’s the King Lear end of the spectrum of what we do, right? So I’m on the proverbial couch thinking, “Do I want to go that direction, or do I actually want to live a life?”
ROBERTS: The great thing about doing theater is that there’s never really a “This is it” moment. There’s that alchemy every night.
BLANCHETT: And I certainly love that alchemy as an audience member.
ROBERTS: What are you up to right now?
BLANCHETT: At the moment I’m thinking, “Where do the radical ideas actually exist?” I gravitate toward museums and galleries but often they tend to speak predominantly to audiences that have time to go into that quietude. There are such large sections of our communities that don’t have the time because they’re working two or three jobs. But what I love about those things is that they get to deal with abstract ideas. We get so used to these narrative structures, but there are certain ideas that don’t fit into that slot, so I’m finding my work with visual artists or choreographers more rewarding at the moment than the cookie-cutter projects.
ROBERTS: For someone like you, it probably has to do with the fact that you have accomplished so many things on such an incredibly creative level.
BLANCHETT: Maybe it’s just time to stop.
ROBERTS: Stop saying that.
BLANCHETT: No, but it really is. I have to go onstage in my underwear yet again, and I’m thinking, “Why? Why don’t I just feed the chickens and read Proust?” It’s on my bookshelf staring at me right now. All these volumes I have purchased and not yet read. Why have I not picked those up? Why am I still bothering to make movies? Why do you make movies?
ROBERTS: They call to me.
BLANCHETT: Is it a response to someone else’s idea of who you might be?
ROBERTS: I think the first time that Danny [Moder, Roberts’s husband] and I worked together after we were married was the first time that I suddenly thought, “Oh my gosh, what I do for a living is so silly. I’m calling myself a different name. I’m wearing somebody else’s clothes. And I’m basically playing pretend on a huge scale.” I had never been so self-conscious until I was suddenly doing it in front of my husband, thinking, “What must he think?”
BLANCHETT: When you’re so inside a richly lived life, you suddenly think, “Do I need to pretend to live inside these other experiences?” When you have a richly lived experience, you can empathetically extrapolate out from there. That’s what women like Rachel Cusk and Maggie Nelson do in their writing. And that’s where I found Bernadette. I recognized something very deeply about a creative life that shuts down.
ROBERTS: And yet, you want to stay home and feed the chickens.
BLANCHETT: I’m quite happy sitting here looking at my unread Proust, talking to you and feeding my pigs. I was a vegetarian for years when my husband wanted to get pigs. I said, “I’ll get pigs as long as we tell the kids that the sausages and bacon they eat are from our pigs.” We called them Benson and Hedges.
ROBERTS: You can’t name something that you’re going to kill. That’s the number-one rule of being a farmer.
ROBERTS: And now they’re in the freezer.
BLANCHETT: It was this Machiavellian vegetarian plan that I had for my kids, that they would form this deep connection with the piglets, which were very cute and smelled kind of like smelly people. And then I would tell them that if we eat sausages, they’re coming from these pigs. The kids were just totally fine with that and I was horrified. My plan to turn my family vegetarian was a monumental failure.
ROBERTS: What type of roles do you automatically turn down? Is there such a thing?
BLANCHETT: When I feel like it’s a pre-masticated version of something I’ve already done? Like a margarine commercial, where the agency thinks, “This worked before, so, hey, let’s do it again!” After I played Queen Elizabeth, I got offered myriad roles that were basically the same story with a different costume. There was no potential for discovering anything new. There’s no risk.
ROBERTS: In Where’d You Go, Bernadette, you play the spouse of Billy Crudup, one of my favorite actors and someone who played my spouse in a film [Eat Pray Love].
BLANCHETT: We worked together years ago on a film in France called Charlotte Gray. He’s so open and egoless. As we all know, that is rare in a male actor. How many times have you and I said, “That’s a great role—I’m not the lead, but the male lead is a great actor and I’d really love to be a part of this project”? Invert that, and you don’t have a lot of men who would come to the party in the same way for a woman. Billy is one of those guys who says yes. It’s rare that you get an actor of his caliber who is prepared to play the so-called “husband role.” The best thing for me about this post–[Harvey] Weinstein era is the opportunity to learn from it. We can change the structure, to have horizontal conversations rather than hierarchical ones. That’s a matriarchy. I think the opportunity here is to reinvent the power structure so that it is genuinely more inclusive. It’s not about competition—it’s about collaboration.
ROBERTS: You’re incredible. Honestly, I could sit and just listen to you talk about things for hours.
BLANCHETT: I wish I were interviewing you. It feels a little like a veil has been lifted, and we’re talking to one another in a muscular way about stuff that we’ve had to deal with. We can all pretend that we live in a community, but we actually live in a capitalist environment and our worth is being measured in dollars. It’s a really boring conversation to have because when you talk about the creative industry, it’s always seen as, “Well, you’re famous. You’ve got the opportunity to do this, and now you’re being greedy to talk about money.” But you’re not. You’re talking about really practical things such as residuals, producing credits, insurance. In the end, you’re actually talking about status. And status opens doors, whether you’re in the banking sector or the film industry or whatever. They’re not attractive conversations. They’re not conversations that women are traditionally meant to have because we’re expected to be more demure, but there are certainly robust “masculine” compensations that are had by our male counterparts, so why shouldn’t we be a part of that dialogue?
ROBERTS: Do you have a nickname?
BLANCHETT: Maybe it should be Blabbermouth? Sometimes my husband calls me Poss, like possum. Do you have one?
ROBERTS: When my kids’ friends were little, they couldn’t say Julia, because it’s a lot of syllables, so they’d call me Juju. They still call me that.
BLANCHETT: That is really sweet. You are such a mensch.
ROBERTS: Juju and Poss, a love story.
Good morning Blanchetters! The collaboration between Cate and Mr. Armani is bearing fruits into the new year, with lovely new contents. At the end of 2018 the fashion maison released a new set of interviews by the title What is Armani for you?
Few day ago Armani releaved that a new documentary called Armani Privè: A View Beyond was set to premiere on the italian channel Sky Arte on January 16 (Italian Title: Armani Privè – Lo sguardo oltre)
Here is the trailer:
Who’s ready to see Cate’s debut at the National Theatre in London?
Here’s the first interview about When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other opening on 16 January.
You can read it on the scans or below. Enjoy!
Cate Blanchett strides into the room and plomps herself down on the sofa. In front of us – this is meant to be lunch – a table is piled high with sandwiches, fruit, salads and a copy of the script she has spent all morning rehearsing. She prods at it with a finger, hooting with laughter. “Any pointers?” she asks. I glance across at the other sofa, where Martin Crimp, the playwright, is settling himself in. He gazes back impassively. This might be a joke; it might not.
We’re backstage at the National Theatre to discuss Blanchett’s appearance in Crimp’s new play – her debut here, and her first appearance on the London stage in seven years. Also squeezing on to the sofas are Blanchett’s director, Katie Mitchell, and her co-star Stephen Dillane. To call the production hotly anticipated is something of an undersell: demand for tickets was so high that the theatre was forced to introduce a Hamilton-style ballot (a few day tickets are left, if you’re able to queue). Even from the vantage point of not-quite-mid-January, this looks like being one of the biggest plays of the year.
Working out what kind of play Crimp has come up with, however, is trickier, as Blanchett and her colleagues readily admit. Entitled When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other, it is – at least on paper – a loose adaptation of Samuel Richardson’s 1740 proto-novel Pamela. Relating the story of a young maidservant’s relationship with her employer, the book scandalised readers when it was first published. Composed of a series of letters in which Pamela relates how she is pursued by the mysterious “Mr B”, then sexually assaulted, it ends with her finally (and apparently enthusiastically) agreeing to marry him. It’s been called everything from tawdry S&M to a set of case notes for Stockholm syndrome.
“It’s an archetypal story: Beauty and the Beast,” says Crimp. “Or, to be more blunt, predator and prey.”
In the play, the problems of the novel are sharpened. Although the characters played by Blanchett and Dillane often resemble Pamela and Mr B, at other times they seem to blur into each other, or transform into other people entirely. At the play’s opening, the scenario seems grimly clear: Mr B is a bullying despot, Pamela his cowering victim. A few scenes in, however – there are 12 in all, each responding to a different fragment or aspect of the novel – the ground has begun to shift. Images of voyeurism and violence proliferate: is the audience being challenged, titillated, or both? Is, in fact, the woman controlling her master, rather than the other way around?
Dillane says: “There’s a line in the play, ‘I took you – against your will – was it against your will? – jury’s out.’” He pauses. “That’s the question: who’s doing what to whom?”
The script reminds Blanchett of the boundary-breaking writers Rachel Cusk and Maggie Nelson: “A lot of the things the play brings up is stuff I’ve been thinking about for a long time. The boundaries of gender, how language constantly fails us and confines us, keeps us in paradigms and frameworks which are frustrating and confounding.”
Mitchell doesn’t want to reveal too much about what audiences will see when the lights go down – “That’s a spoiler!” she laughs – but says the production will be set in the present day, not a periwig or petticoat in sight. “No Downton Abbey,” she adds, in case anyone was expecting it.[…]
As a stage actor, too, Blanchett has been eager to take chances. In 2006, she put a burgeoning movie career on ice to move back to Australia and run Sydney Theatre Company with her husband, the playwright-screenwriter Andrew Upton. Though Blanchett stepped down from the co-directorship in 2012, she appeared opposite Isabelle Huppert in STC’s production of Genet’s The Maids and made her Broadway debut in 2017 in Upton’s version of Chekhov’s Platonov.
The last time she was in London, it was in another Crimp text – a translation of the German playwright Botho Strauss’s Big and Small. It offered a white-knuckle portrait of a woman disintegrating before our eyes – one second happily gossiping and flirting, the next keening and clawing the floor in anguish.
How on earth does she decide which roles will suit her? “If you read a work and you know what it is, I don’t know why you’d bother rehearsing it,” she replies crisply. “You always have to risk failure. The more recognisable you are, the more expectation there is around you, the harder it is to carve out that space. But you have to.”
Being among artists who challenge her is a powerful attraction, she adds, which is partly why this particular project was a no-brainer: “I’m not going to lock myself in a room for my own enjoyment or pain. The process is really important.”
I’m wondering how she and her colleagues are approaching the wider politics of this play about the relationship between a predatory, all-powerful man and a woman being employed as a sexual plaything. British theatre was quick to channel the impulses of the #MeToo movement, at least on stage. Blanchett has often spoken about the issue, and pursued it doggedly when she chaired the jury at last year’s Cannes festival.
Crimp points out that he began sketching the script three years ago. But Mitchell says, for her, the play can’t really be about anything else, at least right now. “Of course we think about it. It’s a very live environment at the moment. It would be impossible not to.”
Blanchett is nodding passionately. “You make a piece for the time you’re in, otherwise it’s not relevant. What’s the point of doing it?”
So how do they think audiences might respond? “I always see theatre as a provocation,” she says. “You’re not up there running for office, you’re asking a series of questions. Some people might be enraged, some perplexed, some people might be excited. Hopefully it’s the conversation afterwards that’s the most important.”
Behind the scenes in British theatre, there seems to be a new determination to correct age-old imbalances: gender-equal and ethnically diverse casts, more plays written and directed by women, more awareness that theatre actually needs to look like the world that surrounds it. Do they feel things are finally starting to change?
Mitchell looks faintly weary. “For me, it’s hard. I feel like I’ve been telling these stories for, like, 30 years. I think the whole thing started before it started, if that makes sense.”
She adds: “It’s like #MeToo was the boiling point. It’s been simmering a long time.”
How about Blanchett, given that she moves so freely between the film and theatre worlds? Like Mitchell, she was talking about so many of these issues long before they became daily headlines.
She looks ruminative: I sense a reluctance to give too pat an answer. “We’re still in the process where the rage is bubbling up,” she suggests eventually, then gestures around her. “But when I come to a theatre company like this, I can feel it inside the building. Inclusion isn’t just box-ticking, it’s opening new ways of making work, new types of work.”
It has been a quiet week considering how busy Cate has been for the last few weeks. Today we are posting content released during the week; first IndieWire released an interview with greek director Yorgos Lanthimos, who confessed Cate has reached out and wants to work with him. Maybe this is Cate’s next big collaboration? We’ll see! Meanwhile, here’s a fragment of the interview:
But there’s one major actor who has been eager to work with Lanthimos long before he made inroads to English-language productions. “Cate Blanchett was the first one that reached out,” Lanthimos said, in an interview with IndieWire from New York, while promoting the upcoming release of “The Favourite” and recalling the immediate aftermath of “Dogtooth.” “I’m still in contact with Cate, and we are trying to do something together.”
Blanchett has yet to speak publicly of her affinity for Lanthimos’ work, and representatives for the actress declined to comment. Nevertheless, a collaboration with Lanthimos would be a natural gamble for the A-list performer, whose stable of auteur collaborators includes Woody Allen, Terrence Malick, Todd Haynes, and Martin Scorsese. Lanthimos and Blanchett have overlapped at festivals in recent years: “The Lobster” was in competition at Cannes the same year as Haynes’ “Carol,” and Blanchett was spotted at the Venice International Film Festival premiere of “The Favourite” in late August.
“I’ve been so fortunate to work with great directors,” she told IndieWire in 2013. “In the end, I think that’s driving the conversation.”
Lanthimos added that Weisz reached out to him shortly after he heard from Blanchett — and as the cast of “The Favourite” proves, they weren’t the only actresses drawn to his work. “It was mostly women who reached out,” he said. “I don’t know what that says about my work, the work they were getting, or about male actors.” Regardless, he welcomed them into his domain. “It is true that the way the system works, you need name actors in order to put things together when you make English-language films,” he said. “I took great care in making sure that all these people reaching out wanted to be a part of it because of what the work was, not because something different might happen, and that they actually appreciated the work.”
While promoting IWC watches in Shanghai last week, Cate gave this interview to Fashion Ifeng where she talks about female and male perspectives in fashion and in cinema.
We have also added magazine scans from Harper’s Bazaar Taiwan, i Look Magazine and Cine Premiere Mexico to our Gallery and a little behind the scenes picture from “The House with a Clock in Its Walls” set, published by Loop Weekly. Enjoy!