Netflix Film Club has uploaded the Q&A with some of the Don’t Look Up cast including Cate. It was moderated by David O Russell.
Hola, Cate Blanchett fans! What a weekend we have!
The new episode, with Cate, of Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso has been released. You can listen below. Cate has been presented with the inaugural International Goya Award last night in Valencia, Spain. Pedro Almodóvar and Penélope Cruz presented the award. Check out the photos and videos from yesterday.
"La Academia de Cine ha creado el #Goya2022 Internacional para reconocer a personalidades que contribuyen al cine como arte"
— RTVE Noticias (@rtvenoticias) February 12, 2022
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With a sweet “Hello!”, the actress Cate Blanchett has conquered the press that was waiting for her in the hall of the Palau de les Arts de València. Many of them welcomed her to the city that hosts, for the first time, the Goya ceremony.
She, on the other hand, “does not need introductions”, as Mariano Barroso, director of the Film Academy, has pointed out, who has accompanied her in the pose before the incessant shooting of the photographers. Then she, alone, elegantly, she has smiled at everyone dressed in a pink suit jacket and sneakers, before explaining that “I was speechless when they called me to tell me that they gave me the award.”
It had raised maximum expectation and did not disappoint. Cate Blanchett starred this Saturday in a massive meeting with the media a few hours before receiving at the Palau de les Arts in Valencia the International Goya Award created this year by the Film Academy to “recognize personalities who contribute to cinema as an art that unites cultures and viewers of all the world”. In her case, she is also awarded for being “an actress who has played unforgettable characters that are already part of our memory and our present.” The Australian actress and producer was satisfied and excited, and she thanked the Film Academy for this recognition, which represents support for her career. “I come from Australia, where we have a small but quite powerful film industry, and being in Valencia receiving an award from the Spanish Academy means a lot to me,
In a room packed with journalists, cameras and photographers, the president of the Film Academy, Mariano Barroso , opened the event by welcoming Cate Blanchett, who was very grateful for the award. “When they called me to tell me that they were going to give me the International Goya, I was speechless, because Spanish cinema has had a fundamental influence on me, not only because of the work of Almodóvar and Amenábar, but also because of all cinema spoken in Spanish” he explained.
Winner of two Oscars, for Best Leading Actress for Woody Allen ‘s Blue Jasmine , and Best Supporting Actress for Martin Scorsese ‘s The Aviator. .In addition to three Golden Globes, three BAFTAs and three Screen Actors Guild Awards, Blanchett is one of the greatest talents in world cinema today. Some awards that represent recognition of his professional career. “I am old enough to say that I have a career, and I hope that it will continue to advance and take me in multiple directions. The creative path is full of deviations, it is not a straight line. If one decides to make applause the objective of the experience and ignore what work is, one is making a mistake. When you make a movie, a play, a book, how the audience is going to receive it is completely out of your control.”
Project with Almodovar
The actor spoke with enthusiasm about her upcoming projects, among which is Manual for cleaning women , by Pedro Almodóvar, an adaptation of the book by Lucía Berlín produced by El Deseo and Dirty Films, a company of which she is the founder and director together with Andrew Upton(with whom he chaired and artistically directed the Sydney Theater Company from 2008 to 2014. He had words of praise and admiration for the director from La Mancha. “I have known him for 20 years and we have been talking about working together for a long time. Now we have found a project that excites us both. There was another that did not materialize because it was not the right time, but now it is, “he revealed, adding that making this adaptation “means working with a person and a film culture that I love. It has always interested me and allows me to enter Pedro’s universe”.
This will be Almodóvar’s first film in English. “The key to working with him is that he is an excellent writer, an artist. All his cinema, everything he has created has a brutal influence. The script that he has proposed to me is unique, I had not seen something like it. Lucia Berlin’s stories can be represented cinematographically in very different ways, but Pedro’s point of view makes us go further, that we delve into concepts that have to do with addiction at different levels. We are going to talk about addictive relationships, but also about substance addiction, ”she recounted enthusiastically.
In addition, Blanchett currently has Nightmare Alley by Guillermo del Toro which she said “generates a great story behind each character that helps you a lot.”
Academies and festivals
Blanchett highlighted the important role of film academies and festivals today. “They have much more than nominees, red carpet and awards. There is work to support the industry and they are mentors in a process that has to look at the present and the future without fear. We find social movements such as Black Lives Matter or MeToo that must be understood and included. That inclusivity has to be adapted at all levels. If an academy does not understand these concepts and does not look to the future, it ends up being irrelevant, ”she said bluntly.
She also referenced the damage the pandemic has done to culture. “We have all missed going to a movie theater and all these types of cultural events that allow us to share experiences with complete strangers. We have missed it in the cinema, but in the theater even more”, she assured, although she acknowledged that the cinema was already “in danger” before the virus spread. “I had the hope, which I still do, that once we go out on the street we would really want to meet and we would do it in a movie theater. I don’t lose it.” But “we must be aware of what has happened: for 18 months we have been consuming on platforms,” she said, after considering that “the works should be seen as they have been planned. When we talk about creativity we talk about great ideas. The size of the screens doesn’t matter if the ideas are big”. The Australian actress and producer is currently involved in the pre-production of the series Disclaimer, directed by Alfonso Cuarón for AppleTV+, in which she will star and executive produce, and has just wrapped filming on Todd Field ‘s TAR , which she also produces and stars in, and Guillermo del Toro’s version of Pinocchio , for Netflix.
?? #Goya2022 | Espectacular lluïa l’actriu australiana Cate Blanchett, que aquesta nit rep el primer Premi Goya Internacional.
Entre aplaudiments, eixia per la porta de l'hotel.
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— påu?? (@raliciasporro) February 12, 2022
Penélope Cruz, Cate Blanchett y Javier Bardem se saludan en la alfombra roja de los #Goya2022 en València. Los tres han sido galardonados con un premio Oscar. La actriz australiana tiene dos y los intérpretes españoles están nominados este año. pic.twitter.com/7xXYsv6YkA
— Miguel Vicente (@_mvicente_) February 12, 2022
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Cate will be on Talk Easy with Sam Frogoso podcast this Sunday. She may have not been nominated at this year’s Oscars but she has broken an Oscar record for having the most credited roles in a total of 9 movies nominated for Oscar’s Best Picture.
Cate Blanchett has broken a record set by Gone with the Wind actress Olivia de Havilland. Thanks to her roles in Nightmare Alley and Don’t Look Up, the two-time Oscar winner has now become the actress with the most credited roles tied to a best picture nominee. Before the 2022 nominations, Blanchett had starred in seven best picture-nominated films: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Babel, The Aviator, all three installments of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Elizabeth. The record has been long-held by Havilland, who was in eight separate films nominated for best picture. She was previously tied in her seven roles with Bette Davis, Beulah Bondi, Deborah Kerr, Elizabeth Taylor, Elsa Lanchester, Gladys Cooper, Katharine Hepburn and Meryl Streep. The only actors that have more are DiCaprio (10) who also adds one this year (Don’t Look Up), Jack Nicholson (10) and Robert De Niro (11).
Great day, everyone!
Nightmare Alley is now available to stream on HBO Max and Hulu in the US. We have updated the gallery with some behind the scenes photos, FYC campaign posters, and screencaptures from the movie and behind the scene look. The black and white version of Nightmare Alley is also playing nationwide in the US and selected theatres in UK and Mexico. Check out some interviews as well.
On the Red Carpet Presents: Nightmare Alley Behind the Scenes
Don't miss @RealGDT’s #NightmareAlley: A VISION IN DARKNESS & LIGHT Playing in Theaters Nationwide this Weekend!
Get Tickets now: https://t.co/EFbM6U9aq5
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#NightmareAlley: Vision in Darkness and Light is out today! ?
We're celebrating by giving you the chance to win one of these exclusive, limited edition posters…
To enter, simply quote-tweet this with the name of your favourite black-and-white film. Good luck! ? pic.twitter.com/TZBxferAJw
— Team Picturehouse (@picturehouses) February 4, 2022
It’s a strange feeling to stare into the void of a Zoom loading screen, waiting for a two-time Oscar winner to join the call. But that’s what I did one Sunday morning, counting the seconds until my interview with Cate Blanchett began. Her schedule was packed—plenty of news services wanted interviews regarding her recent roles in Nightmare Alley and Don’t Look Up, two movies considered likely to receive Oscars nominations—but she found the time for a half-hour audio call.
I take a deep but not quite calming breath as she joins; knowing time is limited, we briefly exchange greetings and begin. The first thing I want to know is how she was cast in Nightmare Alley, a film noir about the rise and fall of Stan Carlisle, a carnival mentalist in 1940s America. In the movie, Blanchett plays Dr. Lilith Ritter, a cunning psychologist who seems to partner with Stan, but has an agenda of her own.
She tells me that she and director Guillermo del Toro had previously spoken about working on a project together; while that original project never bore fruit, he kept her in mind when it came time to cast Nightmare Alley. “I read the script, and was blown away by it, because it felt so distinct and obviously was drawing from deep recesses of not only the novel,” she says (referring to the 1946 novel by William Lindsay Gresham which the movie adapts), “but things that Guillermo and [co-writer] Kim Morgan had been thinking about for a long time.” I agree with her, saying that the movie’s clearly inspired by del Toro’s personal interests, such as his fondness for filming weird things in jars.
Laughing, she tells me that she and del Toro have a shared love of the horror genre—“I was gripped by that all through my adolescence…I now can’t watch a horror movie without peeing my pants”. But Nightmare Alley doesn’t just rely on the sinister visuals that del Toro is often associated with; rather, halfway through the film the setting shifts from a seedy, exploitative carnival to the elegant ballrooms and offices of New York. While beautiful, it’s ultimately an equally dark and destructive realm—“there’s blood in the panels of those walls,” Blanchett says of that setting.
So what makes film noir relevant as a genre these days? There are so many archetypes of the genre that can be used in a sloppy way, Blanchett notes, and a mere replica of its conventions can just end up being a “cinematic history lesson”. But what del Toro has done is to harness the tropes of the genre—characters haunted by a dark past, spaces that are claustrophobic and confining—and show how they remain pertinent to the psychology of the modern world.
Gresham’s novel was previously adapted as a black-and-white film in 1947 by director Edmund Goulding, and while Blanchett likes the film and had seen it prior to signing on to this project, she does point out a limitation in its storytelling. For her, the 1947 adaptation’s characterization of Dr. Ritter felt “hazy”, less memorable than some of its other components—but this, in a way, was useful.
Without the fear of being held back by Dr. Ritter’s portrayal in the previous version, she could put her own spin on the character. “She had to be a little Sphinx-like, in the sense that she’s asking the question, but you sense that there’s a power and weight of experience behind those questions,” she says. Del Toro prepared a detailed biography for the character, which Blanchett tells me was headed by a quote from Hamlet: “I am very proud, revengeful, ambitious, with more offences at my beck than I have thoughts to put them in, imagination to give them shape, or time to act them in”.
However, because she knew that to explicitly show her character’s past would be saying too much, the movie only hints at her true self and history. Blanchett especially praises the film’s production design, by Tamara Deverell, as a means of implying Dr. Ritter’s true nature—“I’ve never walked onto a set that so absolutely represented the character I was playing”. Ultimately, she didn’t want the character to be a stereotypical femme fatale, who sought to destroy men “simply because”; rather, Dr. Ritter had been physically and mentally scarred by a cruel world, and was trying to bring about a twisted form of justice.
But that goal wouldn’t be achieved without Stan Carlisle, played by Bradley Cooper, who her character simultaneously works with and undermines. “I adore Bradley”, she says, as an actor as well as a producer and director. They found that they had similar rhythms as actors, so that performing alongside him was enjoyable even in the darkest and most complex scenes—“it’s a dance of death…it’s a matador and a bull,” she says of their characters’ dynamics.
On the topic of the actor’s craft, does she see acting more as telling the truth or telling lies? She reflects on the question, telling me that for her, ultimately, “acting is revealing”. The things revealed can range from being pleasant to repulsive—“but it’s never, ever telling an audience what to think…I suppose that’s what art is, isn’t it? It does more and resonates more than what it seems to do on the surface.” Maybe that’s why some people think that art and acting is deception, she says.
With this film and Don’t Look Up (a disaster movie by Adam McKay that satirizes the inaction and misinformation surrounding the climate crisis) speaking to the uncertainty of the modern world, I ask her what it’s like to try and make sense of truth in a time where nothing seems to be known. She agrees that it’s become difficult to hunt the truth out, to get at the things that are foundational to a democracy. “I feel for students at the moment,” she says, wondering when it was that truth became degraded into nothing more than competing information sources—in the last six years? since the Cold War? “Certainly in the last four years, that word itself has been so destroyed”.
As for the function of art in general, she says, “I don’t think art is political; it’s wilfully not”. Whereas politics focuses on the here and now, artists have the freedom to look backwards or forwards in time, such as how del Toro’s film uses the 1940s to reflect modern cultural questions back at us. For her, art is a provocation, a space for dangerous ideas: “art is a much more irresponsible medium—it has to be”.
This leads the conversation to current affairs, specifically the experience of making movies during COVID–apart from her two aforementioned projects, last year she finished filming TÁR, a drama film by Todd Field, and is about to begin filming Disclaimer, a seven-part series by Alfonso Cuaron, as well as an adaptation of Lucia Berlin’s short stories, directed by Pedro Almodóvar, next year. Noting the importance of how stories and films provided escapism amidst the pandemic’s stresses, Blanchett tells me that she felt privileged to be part of the film industry. However, she also notes that “there are millions of out-of-work performers, particularly in the live performing arts” who’ve not been as lucky as her and have struggled because of the pandemic.
Blanchett also stresses that the film industry also hasn’t fully processed other key cultural moments such as Black Lives Matter or MeToo, and the need to address these systemic issues in an uncompromising way. “The pandemic revealed just how broken everything was,” she concludes this train of thought by saying, “as you put the pieces back together, the upside is that there’s an understood necessity in our industry to fix it.”
My final question for her is to ask, on behalf of our readers (and myself), for any film recommendations she might have. She replies that while she hasn’t been able to see anything in a cinema yet, she rewatched the 1981 TV miniseries adapting the novel Brideshead Revisited, singling out Jeremy Irons’ performance for particular praise. More recent works she singles out for praise include Long Day’s Journey Into Night, by Bi Gan—recommended to her by her son—the movies of Josephine Decker and Lucrecia Martel, and Pedro Almodóvar’s Parallel Mothers. It’s clear from how she speaks that these are movies she genuinely feels passionate about.
With that, she answers my final question—or so I assume. Because, later that day, she messages me with one final recommendation: “The other film to see is RED ROCKET. Unforgettable”.
Note: We have added the countries where the black and white version of Nightmare Alley is released.
Cate will be honored with the first International Goya Awards from the Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences of Spain. The ceremony is on February 12th and will be broadcasted by Televisión Española (TVE). According to EL PAÍS, she “will go to collect the award at the gala on February 12 in Valencia”.
The Academy has created this new recognition for “personalities who contribute to cinema as an art that unites cultures and viewers around the world.”
The first International Goya will be awarded to Cate Blanchett for “being an extraordinary figure in world cinema” and “an actress who has played unforgettable characters that are already part of our memory and our present.”
Cate Blanchett will receive the International Goya Award, an award created by the Film Academy to “recognize personalities who contribute to cinema as an art that unites cultures and viewers from around the world.” Instituted for world cinema figures, in its first edition it has gone to the Australian performer and producer for being “an actress who has played unforgettable characters who are already part of our memory and our present.”
Blanchett is a professional recognized throughout the world: actress, producer, artistic director and humanist. She is a goodwill ambassador for the UN refugee agency, as well as a member of the Australian Conservation Foundation. He is also a figure committed to the Australian Wildlife Conservancy and has received the Crystal Award at the World Economic Forum in Davos for his work for UNHCR. In 2012, Blanchett was invested as a Knight of Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture. He has presided over the Cannes Festival (2018) and Venice (2020). He has received Doctor Honoris Causa from the University of New South Wales, the University of Sydney and Macquarie University, as well as being a Companion of the Order of Australia for his continued commitment to nature and social equality.
Currently, the actress is embarking on the pre-production of the series Disclaimer , directed by Alfonso Cuarón for Apple Plus, in which she will star and of which she will be the executive producer. She has just finished filming TAR , by Todd Field –which she also produces and stars in– and Guillermo del Toro ‘s version of Pinocchio , for Netflix. She currently has The Alley of Lost Souls , also from Del Toro (Searchlights Pictures), in addition to the film Don’t Look Up , by Adam McKay , which can be seen on Netflix.
She will be the protagonist of Manual for cleaning women , by Pedro Almodóvar , an adaptation of Lucia Berlin ‘s book produced by the actress’s company, El Deseo and Dirty Films, a company of which she is the founder and director together with Andrew Upton (with who chaired and artistically directed the Sydney Theater Company from 2008 to 2014).
With two Oscars – for Best Leading Actress for Blue Jasmine , by Woody Allen, and for Best Supporting Actress for The Aviator , by Martin Scorsese–; three Golden Globes; three BAFTAs; and three Screen Actors Guild Awards, the actress is one of the most sought-after talents in the industry and respected and loved by movie lovers around the world.
Blanchett, who as an unknown played Queen Elizabeth , a role that brought her her first Golden Globe and made her internationally known, has been the queen of the elves in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Bob Dylan in I’m Not There . Carol ‘s leading lady participated in the fourth installment of Indiana Jones and has worked with Anthony Minghella ( The Talented Mr. Ripley ), Sally Potter ( Furtive Lives ), Steven Soderbergh ( The Good German ), Jim Jarmusch ( Coffee and Cigarrettes ),Wes Anderson ( Life Aquatic ), Ridley Scott ( Robin Hood ) and Richard Linklater ( Where Are You Bernadette ), among many other filmmakers.
? Cate Blanchett recibirá el primer Goya Internacional el 12 de febrero en Valencia. La @Academiadecine crea este reconocimiento para “ personalidades que contribuyen al cine como arte que une culturas y espectadores de todo el mundo”. pic.twitter.com/9m2YJMwRXC
— Premios Goya (@PremiosGoya) February 4, 2022
Cate will be co-hosting an Audible podcast. She is one of the actors included in British Vogue’s 25 of the world’s talked about stars. There’s also an accompanying video interview for the photoshoot. We have added some behind the scene photos from Don’t Look Up.
Audible has commissioned a new original podcast, Climate of Change with Cate Blanchett and Danny Kennedy.
Co-created and co-hosted by multi award-winning actor, producer and environmental advocate, Cate Blanchett and climate entrepreneur and activist, Danny Kennedy, it will feature “out-of-the-box thinkers”, innovators and high-profile guests, who will be announced at a later date.
Two seasons have been commissioned in the deal between Audible and Blanchett’s Dirty Films (in association with StoryHunter), with the first series set to launch globally this April ahead of Earth Day.
The collaboration marks the first time that Cate Blanchett and Danny Kennedy will create and host a podcast together, as well as Audible’s first major original climate change podcast series.
Climate of Change sees the two long-term friends explore despair, optimism and hope in the face of environmental change.
From women-led energy solutions in Uganda, to a Navajo solar farm in the Arizona desert, to ideas that could transform the global fashion industry; Cate and Danny will tell stories of ingenuity and resilience.
Cate and Danny interview guests along the way, discussing the biggest challenges humankind face and the ground-breaking work being done to tackle the crisis.
Some of the world’s leading authors and thought leaders in the green economy, behaviour change and sustainability will feature, as well as grass-roots innovators who are making a positive impact on their local communities by creating clean energy solutions.
The exclusive soundtrack to the podcast is by Grammy Award-winning electronic artist Imogen Heap.
Cate Blanchett, Partner, Dirty Films, said: “This podcast is a joyous extension of a long-standing friendship that all of us at Dirty Films have had with the wonderful Danny Kennedy.
“Danny’s knowledge about and passion for climate solutions is infectious, and our experience developing this project with the folks at StoryHunter for Audible has been a shot in the arm – and has gone a long way to tempering our eco-anxiety.
“We hope that our listeners enjoy hearing the conversations as much as we have enjoyed having them.”
Aurelie De Troyer, Senior Vice President of International English Content at Audible, added: “We are thrilled to be working on such an exciting and important series as Climate of Change.
“Podcasts are the perfect vehicle to educate and raise awareness of important issues and it’s an honour to collaborate with the extremely talented Cate and Danny on their first podcast.
“We have been blown away by the passion for this project from the team at Dirty Films and StoryHunter and we know this will be something special.”
Tell us about your first ever audition.
“It was for the church musical. I got the part of Mr Worldly Wiseman. We performed at a couple of shopping centres and I thought I’d made it.”
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
“Something I tell my children, which is to stay out of the sun.”
Click image for higher resolution:
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.”
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.
France Inter has released the podcast interview with Cate. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, where Cate is voicing Sprezzatura (a monkey) will be released in December 2022.
Some call her “the chameleon” and consider her one of the greatest actresses in the world. Cate Blanchett is the guest of Augustin Trapenard.
Double Oscar winner, on the big screen, she played Elizabeth I, Galadriel in The Lord of the Rings , Katherine Hepburn in Scorsese, Bob Dylan in Todd Haynes and many others. She is currently starring in ” Nightmare Alley”, Guillermo del Toro ‘s new film , and will soon receive an honorary César for her entire career.
Excerpts from the show
“I’m a complete fan of Bette Davis. It’s no matter how much we claim our individuality, when we see an extraordinary actor or when we are crossed by a superb film, we are inevitably influenced. We actors are porous creatures”
“In ‘Nightmare Alley’, the three main characters are archetypal women, but they are imagined as parts of a whole. movie”
“The camera can lay bare something of our humanity. Indigenous peoples were afraid that the camera would steal a part of their soul. There is an essential truth here that even the actor is not aware of, and which is reveals in spite of himself
“Truth has become a modifiable, switchable and highly politicized product. Five years ago, truth was based on established, verified facts, and suddenly it became something vague, moving. I find that terrifying “
“You are the product of your habits. You can never really escape from yourself. But the privilege of the actor is to be able to slip into different lives and escape your own habits”
Netflix has announced the director’s stop-motion, musical adaptation of “Pinocchio” is set for release in December 2022. Del Toro co-directs this long-in-the-works passion project with Mark Gustafson. To mark the date announcement, Netflix unveiled a brief teaser with the first footage of Ewan McGregor voicing Cricket.
Starring opposite McGregor in “Pinocchio” is David Bradley as Geppetto, Gregory Mann as Pinocchio, Finn Wolfhard, Cate Blanchett, John Turturro, Ron Perlman, Tim Blake Nelson, Burn Gorman, Christoph Waltz and Tilda Swinton. Del Toro’s adaptation is set in Italy during the 1930s, a time when fascism is on the rise and Benito Mussolini is consolidating control of the country.
El Pais published a new interview they did with Cate ahead of the release of Nightmare Alley in Spain on January 28th. Here’s a google translated interview.
The actress premieres ‘Nightmare Alley’, by Guillermo del Toro, while leading the pre-production of ‘A Manual for Cleaning Women’, by Almodóvar. “I want to enjoy Pedro’s passion,” she says.
The deep, unique voice of Cate Blanchett (Melbourne, 52 years old), resounds on the other end of the phone: “What if I am Pedro Almodóvar’s new boss? Noooo [laughter]. We are fellow adventurers, I don’t believe in hierarchical structures”. The actress is promoting Nightmare Alley, by Guillermo del Toro, but A Manual for Cleaning Women appears on the horizon , the 43 stories of Lucia Berlin, who died in 2004, which Almodóvar has written script. For four years, the Spaniard has been working on the project. But before the doubt of whether it would go ahead or not, in his production company, El Deseo, they did not renew the adaptation rights. To the rescue of the film appeared Blanchett, its possible protagonist, who is passionate about the script, and who therefore bought the rights. Now, her production company, Dirty Films, is leading a work that will feature that script and be directed by Almodóvar and will be filmed in 2023. “We are collaborators, something I look for in my films. I had been wanting to work with Pedro for a long time, enjoy his passion”, she says.
About her character, she explains: “It’s fascinating how Berlin explored herself from many different perspectives: love, addictions, the creative process… All the women in the stories are, deep down, herself. And that Pedro has grasped, because he knows what the primary mechanisms of relationships between human beings are like. In his films there is heart and at the same time a profound reflection on aesthetics”.
Blanchett finds a quick connection between Almodóvar and del Toro: “Both are deeply humanistic filmmakers. You can see it in Parallel Mothers, in its final interweaving between History and the deepest human feelings. He loves people.” And she explains that next week they will meet again: “On Wednesday I will present a screening of her film in London and Pedro and Penélope Cruz will be there. There is no plan that I want more”. It is a pass for members of the Hollywood Academy, since until February 1 they can vote for the Oscar nominations, and it coincides with the premiere, on Friday the 28th, of Parallel Mothers in the United Kingdom.
The excuse for the interview, held last Tuesday, is her work in Nightmare Alley, in which she plays a psychiatrist, Lilith Ritter, without any scruples to swindle people and who will find in the protagonist – who is brought to life by Bradley Cooper—, a trickster hardened in local fairs who now acts for rich people, his best possible ally. A femme fatale manual. “Well, it is that usually in film noir there are. And her wardrobe and her office provide many common elements of these women. But I also think that part of that type of character is made up of their body, and here that beautiful body is provided by Bradley. Guillermo has shunned the traditional image and planted elements of corruption and perdition for all the characters.” Is it a movie without monsters, unlike almost all of Del Toro’s previous films? “Ugh, the no monster thing is indeed moot, because some of the characters are demeaned in ways that you might think they are. The promises of power and money push them into an amorality that is as frightening as the monsters. Those behaviors are also terrifying.”
Production on Nightmare Alley was halted for six months during the lockdown, time Blanchett spent gardening. “It was frustrating for all of us, because we had very little left to finish, but at the same time it helped us reflect on what we had filmed.” For the actress, there is no one comparable to the Mexican director. “It’s unique. Not only is he a great lover of film history, as is obvious, but he is also fascinated by acting, production design, photography. He is constantly creating and is an artist who drives those of us who work to be better.” And that is why she will also be with him in Pinocchio, an animation project that will finally be released in September, produced by Netflix. An hour after this interview, Del Toro himself explained to EL PAÍS: “I know that I always say that the monsters that scare me the most are human beings. But Cate, no [laughs]. Our relationship has been explosive and joyful. It has been like discovering a friend who was already a friend before I met him. Years ago we developed a television series that was never shot and I was captivated by its humor and depth. Now my challenge is how to write roles for Cate in my future films.”
Blanchett has launched numerous messages in favor of movie theaters in recent years. When in September 2020 she attended the Venice festival, as president of its jury, he pointed out: “We have to go back to the theaters. We are coming out of a streaming monoculture that has lasted six months. This is the opportunity to re-examine how this technology changes the way of seeing and making cinema”. Now she explains, after being part of the success of Netflix Don’t Look Up: “I am passionate about getting involved in fascinating stories that force me to take risks. And in this case, I loved joining the world of Adam McKay, I’ve been in that project for years, before Netflix came on. Adam’s way of telling it in a documentary style is shocking… Because we actually live in a world where populism rules, where arguments are not listened to.” Due to these interests, she jumped from the cinema to the theater and although she has directed on stage, she does not think he will soon do it for the big screen: “I have always been interested, but you need a lot of patience and time. I have a couple of ideas, and at the same time four children. Too much hassle for now.”
On the element that unites both films, Don’t Look Up and Nightmare Alley, which reflect on what is true or false and the triumph of fake news, she points out: “The global level of distrust and fear is incredible. I am still amazed at the widespread corruption that we have accepted. We should reflect more on it and that is why it is pertinent to make these types of films, to debate about it”. Do those who best manipulate the rest of human beings win? “It infuriates me to see where the world is going because of this constructed fear, created by some.”
Source: El Pais