Cate Blanchett on ABC 90 Celebrate
Posted on
Jun 16, 2022

Cate Blanchett on ABC 90 Celebrate

Good day, Blanchett fans!

Cate Blanchett is set to be featured in the live two-hour entertainment TV event, ABC 90 Celebrate! She has appeared in a few of ABC programmes: Police Rescue, G.P., Heartland, Rake, and most recently in #StatelessTV which she co-created and co-produced.

A first look footage for Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio was shown at Annecy Film Festival and VR project, Evolver is still showing at Tribeca Film Festival. Read a review on Evolver from Independent below.

ABC 90 Celebrate!

ABC has announced a stellar lineup of famous faces set to feature in the live two-hour entertainment television event, ABC 90 Celebrate! Airing Thursday, 30 June at 8.00 pm on ABC TV and ABC iview.

Hosted by Zan Rowe, Tony Armstrong and Craig Reucassel, the broadcast will feature an exciting list of performers and presenters who are set to celebrate the value and role the ABC has held in connecting Australians for 90 years.

Throughout the evening, audiences can expect live crosses to different locations, studios and community events across the country.

Taking audiences through a nostalgic journey of the programmes and people that have made an impact across the 90 years will be an abundance of Australian entertainment legends.

The list includes Adam Liaw, Amy Shark, Annabel Crabb, Bjorn Ulaveus, Bryce Mills, Cate Blanchett, Christine Anu, Daniel Browning, Hunter Page-Lochard, Ebony Boadu, Kev Carmody, Leah Purcell, Leigh Sales, Magda Szubanski, Michael Hing, Molly Meldrum, Namilla Benson, Richard Roxburgh, Roy & HG, Ross Wilson, Steph Tisdell, Wil Anderson, and many more.

Pinocchio

Guillermo Del Toro world premiered eight minutes of footage, finished and unfinished, from his stop-motion fable about a wooden boy with a borrowed soul.

Even without the full title “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio,” the film’s artistic voice would be unmistakable. In the first excerpt screened we find Geppetto encountering the newly living Pinocchio for the first time. The characters are unlike any versions we’ve seen prior. The inventor, for one, seems thoroughly soused (or at least terribly hung-over), picking himself off the floor and stumbling across his creaky workshop with bloodshot eyes.

Only something is stirring, something is upstairs, and that something announces itself with a fright. As the wooden puppet moves out of the shadows, it does so not with the upright footing of a boy but with the spindly movements of a bug. Newly brought to life, Pinocchio moves at first like a spider, using his arms as two extra legs before (presumably) learning that in order to be a real boy one should aim to be bipedal.

Cate Blanchett takes us inside the human body in an epic VR experience

Stepping through a blacked-out revolving door in Manhattan’s Financial District and into Evolver, a virtual reality exhibit about human breath, the audience is confronted by a dark concrete room. There’s an eerie, amplified natural soundscape of babbling brooks and passing storms and enormous backlit pictures that feel familiar, but with closer scrutiny prove ineffable. An indistinct image could be a Hubble telescope capture of the stars or maybe a tree’s underground roots, or even a network of human capillaries, magnified to a scale that renders the mundane fact of circulation alarming. This is, of course, the point.

Created by the London-based art collective Marshmallow Laser Feast, luxuriously narrated by Cate Blanchett, and co-executive produced by Terrence Malick, Evolver drops its audience inside the human body on the journey of an inhale. Here we follow the flow of oxygen from the outside world, through our lungs, and eventually to our distant cells. But the impression of the exhibit – which had its world premiere last week at the Tribeca Film Festival – is far less sterile than its brief. Though based on biologically accurate renderings, the result is closer to painterly mimesis than precise simulation. There’s no way the inside of my body looks this spectral and astonishing.

The exhibit acknowledges that’s a trippy question to ask, and so our first ten minutes are spent in deliciously enveloping zero gravity chair sacs, functioning like a palate cleanser. Instead of bulky VR headsets, attendees are outfitted with pillowy headphones and invited to close their eyes. Cate Blanchett then huskily murmurs in your ear about the relationship between your body and the world beyond it.

Transitions are always messy in big, interactive exhibits, but being roused from Cate Blanchett’s seductive whisper to be tightly fitted with futuristic goggles was particularly unwelcome but quickly forgotten. In the main presentation, Blanchett’s voice is replaced by a moody, natured-inflected soundtrack by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, avant-garde artist Meredith Monk, late Icelandic composer Jo?hann Jo?hannsson and experimentalist Howard Skempton. It starts aloof and electronic and grows triumphantly grandiose. Visually, human breath streams and swirls around you like the Milky Way; blood vents as explosively as lava. The path of the molecules that appear to surround you can be modestly altered by swooping your hand across your body.

Virtual reality on this scale is disorienting; a watchful exhibition assistant had to save me from walking into a wall and later, another participant. It’s also stupefying – I struggled for words in the minutes immediately after and I’m told some visitors even cried. But Steel’s impossible question occasionally revisited me. Are you breathing the air, or is the wild world remaking itself in miniature inside you? Is circulation anything less beautiful than a brook that babbles within us?

Evolver won’t improve your anatomical understanding. Instead, it elevates the simple and involuntary fact of human respiration into something as extraordinary to look at as the world outside us. It accomplished something more startling than making me think about my own breath. It made me gasp.

Sources: MediaWeek; Variety; Independent

First Look at Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
Posted on
Jun 14, 2022

First Look at Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Hello! Vanity Fair has released the first look at Guillermo Del Toro’s stop-motion animated version of Pinocchio. Cate is voicing a monkey named Spazzatura, the lead puppeteer of one of the main villains in the movie, Count Volpe.

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio tells this truth about its otherworldly title character: he can be a little unsettling, or even scary, before you get to know him. In the Oscar-winning filmmaker’s upcoming stop-motion animated movie from Netflix, even Geppetto gets the willies when he first encounters the cheerful wooden boy clamoring around his workshop. A hallmark of del Toro’s storytelling, from Pan’s Labyrinth to Hellboy to his best-picture-winning The Shape of Water, is that beings who are initially seen as freakish, or frightening or unnatural, are often even more humane and sympathetic than the seemingly normal people who fear or scorn them.

The director always brings a slight chill before warming the heart, so his take on the living puppet comes from a gothic direction. “I’ve always been very intrigued by the links between Pinocchio and Frankenstein,” del Toro tells Vanity Fair for this exclusive first look. “They are both about a child that is thrown into the world. They are both created by a father who then expects them to figure out what’s good, what’s bad, the ethics, the morals, love, life, and essentials, on their own. I think that was, for me, childhood. You had to figure it out with your very limited experience.”

Despite that monstrous inspiration, Del Toro’s movie was crafted to be family friendly. He knows it will be challenging, but hopes his Pinocchio connects across generations and brings out a sense of compassion. “These are times that demand from kids a complexity that is tremendous. Far more daunting, I think, than when I was a child. Kids need answers and reassurances.… For me, this is for both children and adults that talk to each other. It tackles very deep ideas about what makes us human.”

His approach to this story is a significant departure from what audiences have seen previously in movies about the puppet who yearns to be a real boy.  In this version, “real” is a given. “To me, it’s essential to counter the idea that you have to change into a flesh-and-blood child to be a real human,” del Toro says. “All you need to be human is to really behave like one, you know? I have never believed that transformation [should] be demanded to gain love.”

The formally titled Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio aims to stand apart. For one thing, the production quality of his film is self-evident in the ornate detail of the sets and textures of the characters. And he has reinterpreted Collodi’s tale in a way that distances it from the formidable Disney adaptations. “I have been very vocal about my admiration and my great, great love for Disney all my life, but that is an impulse that actually makes me move away from that version,” del Toro says. “I think it is a pinnacle of Disney animation. It’s done in the most beautiful, hand-drawn 2D animation.”

By contrast, he notes that his own film is “a story about a puppet, with puppets—trying to seek acting from the animators in a different medium completely. We couldn’t be more different than any other version of Pinocchio in our spiritual or philosophical goals, or even the setting.”

Del Toro’s Pinocchio takes place not in a fairy-tale world, but in Italy between World War I and World War II, during the rise of fascism and authoritarian rule in the country. The wooden boy happens to come to life “in an environment in which citizens behave with obedient, almost puppet-like faithfulness,” del Toro says.

Pinocchio (voiced by newcomer Gregory Mann) is a silly, sunny personality, eager to learn about the world and meet the people who inhabit it. But his roots, quite literally, are in sadness. In del Toro’s retelling, he is carved from a tree that grew over the grave of Geppetto’s son, Carlo, whose life was cut agonizingly short years before. (In the shot at the top in which del Toro is peeking through the window, you can see the lost child’s photo in a frame on the woodcarver’s workbench.)

The heartbroken Geppetto (voiced by David Bradley of Game of Thrones and the Harry Potter movies) is still too blinded by grief to realize that his wish has come true. “He begs for another chance at being a father, but he doesn’t recognize that the essence of his own child comes back in the form of this indomitable boy,” the filmmaker says. “The main conflict within Geppetto and Pinocchio is that Geppetto wanted Carlo, who was a very well-behaved, very docile kid, and he doesn’t quite get Pinocchio, who is rowdy and wild and exuberant.”

A creature who does understand Pinocchio’s heart is Sebastian J. Cricket (voiced by Ewan McGregor), the eloquent purple insect who built a home in his trunk and continues to reside there when he comes to life. In the image below, you see not just the erudite insect, but also the tree still standing over the lost child’s resting place. “That’s the arrival of the cricket, who has been crisscrossing the world, and this is where he discovers the perfect home,” del Toro says.

Once the tree becomes a living puppet, Sebastian aspires to be a conscience for the boy (just like his alter ego in the Disney version, Jiminy Cricket) But in del Toro’s adaptation he more or less…bugs the kid. “In the beginning of the story, the cricket is full of self-importance,” the director says. “And towards the end, he’s movingly humbled and he understands that it’s not about teaching Pinocchio how to behave, but about himself learning how to behave.”

Sebastian will need more than one lesson about getting out of the way—and he gets more than one lesson. Fortunately for him he is a survivor. “One of the things I liked in the book when I read it as a kid is that the cricket keeps getting killed over and over again and crushed and maimed,” del Toro says. “In our story, the cricket gets smushed often, but it’s a journey also for the cricket to find love and humility.”

The cricket is one of the only other mystical beings in the story. “I didn’t want magical creatures other than the wood spirit that gives him life, and Pinocchio himself,” del Toro says. “I didn’t want a talking fox and a talking cat and the magic of transforming him into a donkey. I wanted everything else to feel as close as we can to the real world.”

With that in mind, one of the story’s main villains, Count Volpe (voiced by Christoph Waltz), is not an actual anthropomorphic fox, but a human whose wing-like sideburns flare up like a fox’s ears. Del Toro describes him as “a grand aristocrat that has fallen into misfortune.”

“The three main villains in the original story are the cat, the fox, and the puppeteer, and we wanted to fuse them into one,” the director says. “This is a puppeteer that has regaled the courts of Europe, and now is traveling in a down and dirty little carnival. In Pinocchio, he finds the hope to be a king, again, you know? To recreate his grand, golden years.”

He fashions an ironclad and lengthy contract, then recruits Pinocchio to join his act, performing alongside other marionettes who are controlled by Volpe’s lead puppeteer—a monkey named Spazaturra, voiced by Cate Blanchett, worships Volpe, even though he is awful to her.

Source: Vanity Fair

 

 

 

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 podcast interview and Netflix’s Pinocchio Teaser and Release Date
Posted on
Jan 24, 2022

Cate Blanchett podcast interview and Netflix’s Pinocchio Teaser and Release Date

Hello, blanchetters!

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.

Cate Blanchett in all facets

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”

Pinocchio Teaser Trailer and Release Date

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.

Source: France Inter; Variety

Cate Blanchett on the Jess Cagle podcast with Julia Cunningham
Posted on
Jan 18, 2022

Cate Blanchett on the Jess Cagle podcast with Julia Cunningham

Hi, everyone!

Here’s the new podcast interview with Cate with some video clips released by Sirius XM

 

Cate Blanchett in Porter Magazine; & New Nightmare Alley Clips, and Don’t Look Up Still
Posted on
Nov 29, 2021

Cate Blanchett in Porter Magazine; & New Nightmare Alley Clips, and Don’t Look Up Still

Hello, everyone! Feeling ecstatic with this new Cate update!

Cate covers Porter Magazine. We have updated the gallery with the editorials and the outtakes. There are new footage from Nightmare Alley clips, and Vogue published an article on the costumes in the movie. Also, new still from Don’t Look Up has been released.

Leading Light with Cate Blanchett

Few actors have the cachet of CATE BLANCHETT, but what really drives the multi-Oscar-winning star these days? She talks to AJESH PATALAY about choosing projects that provoke, overcoming parenting challenges and why she’s not interested in ‘winning’ the scene

Click image for higher resolution

When Cate Blanchett finds her groove, it’s like a wind catching in her sails – and a wonderful thing to behold. She’s currently in Berlin, where she’s shooting Tàr, a movie written and directed by Todd Field, in which she plays an eminent music conductor. Having just come off a night shoot when we speak, the actor takes a few minutes to revive. Talking about Berlin, a city she adores, instantly warms her up. “There are so many expat Australians living here,” she effuses. “I feel very at home.”

Next, Blanchett moves into enthusiastic discussion about Tàr, in which she gets to conduct (or pretend to) a full orchestra: “It’s been astonishing. Just to be vibrating in that space with that many musicians.” This leads her on to a rhapsody about a National Trust performance that was broadcast live during the first UK lockdown in 2020, for which five musicians in different locations began playing as daylight broke where they were, building from a solo to a quintet. “My husband and I lay there – we’re sort of on a hill…” Blanchett says of the manor estate in East Sussex (which includes an orchard where, naturally, she presses apples in her downtime), where she lives with her playwright/director husband Andrew Upton and their four children. “We just watched the dawn, in russet mantle clad, emerging,” she says, quoting Shakespeare, “knowing there were about 5,000 other people listening to this music. It was the most beautiful gift that came out of the pandemic.”

Five minutes later, we’re on to climate change and Blanchett is firing on all cylinders. The subject is her next release, Don’t Look Up, a boisterous satire from writer/director Adam McKay about two astronomers (played by Leonardo DiCaprio, himself a fierce advocate for climate action, and Jennifer Lawrence) who try to warn mankind about an approaching comet that will destroy Earth. Everyone, from clickbait pundits and tech billionaires to inept presidents, is subject to ridicule in a story that becomes an obvious metaphor for global warming. Blanchett plays a TV talk-show host, a model of artificiality with bleached-blonde hair, blinding white teeth and impossibly bronzed skin. “Actually, it’s a revolting moment when you wash that makeup off and see the sludge going [down the drain],” she recalls. “It’s quite confronting.”

On the environmental matters that inform the film, she doesn’t sugar any pills. “Everyone is trying to be positive, talking about 1.5 degrees of global warming,” she says. “But 1.5 would still be disastrous. We need to be fucking scared… and demand change; be collectively courageous enough to face that fear and do something about it.” The movie, for all its doomsday messaging, is actually a laugh a minute. And there’s a particular thrill in seeing so many Hollywood stars onscreen at the same time. One pivotal scene in the White House Situation Room brings together five Oscar winners and one Oscar nominee: Blanchett, DiCaprio, Lawrence, Meryl Streep (who plays a catastrophically useless president), Mark Rylance and Jonah Hill.

What was it like being in that room? “It did feel like a Last Supper,” Blanchett says, but this was less a measure of the star wattage than of the strict Covid protocols that were in place, along with the film’s apocalyptic plot. Still, she concedes, getting to high-five Streep (which is the extent of their interaction onscreen) “was great”.

At the same time, Blanchett stars opposite Bradley Cooper in Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley, a period noir set in the world of a traveling carnival that follows the “rise and fall of a liar”, according to del Toro. Many will see the film (like Don’t Look Up) as a response to the Trump era. “I definitely think this was something boiling in Guillermo,” says Blanchett. “[The film] is a real dark night of the soul. You watch a man breaking the rules, getting away with it… and refusing to show sympathy or compassion.”

McKay has said Don’t Look Up was inspired by a litany of “disastrous presidents”. And Blanchett points to other populist leaders, remarking on the common thread. “I’m hoping it’s a white-male ghost dance,” she says. “They realize they’re on the edge of extinction and they’re panicking. We’re witnessing them in their death throes, which is why it’s so aggressive and destructive.” I ask if, on the contrary, such leaders could see a resurgence. “That’s why people have to vote,” she fires back. “And exercise their power. I’m sounding like I’m on a soapbox, which I’m not interested in, but it’s important to not give in. I’m not giving up hope. As I say to my kids [on climate change], if we’re going out, how do we choose to go out? It’s a terrible conversation to have with your 13-year-old, isn’t it? But anyway. We do laugh around the dinner table. That’s what’s good about Adam’s film. You have to laugh.”

Understandably, Blanchett prefers discussions about her work and not to be caught soapboxing. “I couldn’t be less interested in agitprop [or] telling people what to think,” she says. But she is drawn to films that “ask provocative questions” and she isn’t afraid to get behind causes she believes in, such as Prince William’s Earthshot Prize, which awards contributions to environmentalism. She also recognizes how fraught being outspoken in public can be. “You have to be judicious,” she says. “I’ve been asked to do things by people and I’ve said, ‘I think I’m going to be a liability’.” Her presence can derail a debate, she acknowledges, as she draws the focus over the issues.

She also sees how polarized – and mired by point-scoring – public discourse has become. “I’m very sad about the loss of genuine debate,” she says, “where leaders, public intellectuals and everyday citizens try to find common ground, try to understand the issue, rather than try to win… Even in acting, people talk about [how] to ‘win’ the scene. No, we have to make the scene come alive. And we might have to lose a bit here, win a bit there.”

iven how social media is sharpening the debate, I wonder how much that comes up in conversations with her teenage children Dashiell, Roman and Ignatius, and her youngest, Edith. “A lot,” she says. “Because so much of our so-called information comes through social media. I’m old enough to have been taught at school what a primary, secondary and tertiary source is. I say to the children when they mention something, ‘Where did you read it? Who has [authenticated] that? You have to learn how to read an image and article. And if you’re going to share something, you’d better make sure you have checked the sources.’ Of course, they roll their eyes. But when you hear them talk to their friends, I think they’re responsible. My son is studying physics and philosophy, so he is really interesting to talk to about [technology]. I don’t want to become a separated generation, because I also feel responsible for the landscape he is about to emerge into as an adult.”

On to lighter topics and there’s still one question of vital, global importance I have yet to ask: what did Blanchett make of Adele holding her up as ‘her style icon’ in a recent interview for Vogue? The actor laughs. “I was absolutely chuffed! I think she is amazing. So down to earth. Our paths crossed when she came to Australia on tour.”

As for her own style icons, Blanchett cites Iris Apfel and Fran Lebowitz. And her regard for fashion can be traced back to her early years playing dress-up with her sister: “My sister would dress me up and I would pretend to be whatever the costume told me to be,” she recalls.

She’s clearly not lost her appetite for childish play because, when asked to name the role she’s most enjoyed playing across her illustrious career, it isn’t the historical dramas, fantasy epics or action blockbusters that first spring to mind. It’s “voicing a monkey” in Guillermo del Toro’s upcoming version of Pinocchio. “That was hilarious,” she says. “I’d listen to a lot of different chimpanzees, then try everything out. You go back to being six years old. I mean, I have a six-year-old, so [I did] a bit of work with [her] too.” That must have been fun for her daughter. “Actually, she got rapidly sick of my noises,” Blanchett smiles. “Hopefully, the audience won’t.” As if we ever could.

‘Don’t Look Up’ is in cinemas from December 10 and on Netflix from December 24. ‘Nightmare Alley’ is in cinemas from December 17 (US) and January 21 (UK)

Porter Magazine

Creating the Costumes for the Charlatans, Hustlers, and Con Artists of Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley

Nightmare Alley is Del Toro’s homage to classic film noir, where a character’s alluring façade can mask ulterior motives. Take Dr. Lilith Ritter, a glamorous psychiatrist who attempts to expose Stanton as a fraud before getting tangled in his web of deception. She’s played by Cate Blanchett in full femme fatale mode, and her collection of stylish gowns and velvet capes reveals more about the character than any verbal description.

“Luis designed a reality with his costumes that reflect personality and help tell the story,” Del Toro says. “Leather, wool, embroidery—they all define character and integrate visually to a color and texture palette, seamlessly.”

Ahead of Nightmare Alley’s December 17 premiere in theaters, Sequeira shared some of his costume sketches with Vogue and spoke about bringing Del Toro’s sinister world to life.

Dr. Ritter represents the world of distinguished old money that Stanton wishes to inhabit. Sequeira cites her as his favorite character to dress in Nightmare Alley, drawing inspiration from Paris fashion sketches from the ’40s for Blanchett’s designs. “It was all about working with Cate’s body frame and making her look as beautiful as possible, which isn’t difficult,” he says. The designer culled materials from various archives across Spain, Italy, and the U.K., pulling different types of velvet for Dr. Ritter’s collection of glamorous eveningwear. “There’s one gown that had little brass stitching throughout, so in the low lighting of the Copa, any kind of movement really made the fabric sing.”

Click image for higher resolution and more concept art photos:

Check these two new clips with some unseen clips from the movie.

 

Vogue

Don’t Look Up

Don’t Look Up offers plenty of comedic knives for Trumpism (the title is the rallying cry of science deniers), but it’s also a brutal send-up of the media. Cate Blanchett’s take on a morning show anchor for a show called The Daily Rip is as close to Mika Brzezinski as one could get without being an impersonation. Even The New York Times comes in for a spanking.

Vanity Fair

Cate Blanchett to star in new Todd Field film, TAR; and more news
Posted on
Apr 12, 2021

Cate Blanchett to star in new Todd Field film, TAR; and more news

Hi, everyone!

Some Cate movie news. She will be teaming up with director Todd Field for a new movie, and we also have update on which character she will be voicing in Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (thank you for the heads up from one of our chat members, Catepedia). You can also listen to Cate’s introduction for the Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing audiobook below.

Cate Blanchett, Todd Field Team On ‘TAR’ For Focus Features

Cate Blanchett and In the Bedroom director Todd Field have teamed up for the filmmaker’s next picture. She’ll star in TAR, a drama that Field wrote and will direct for Universal Pictures-based Focus Features. They are keeping the plot under wraps, but it is set in Berlin, and production will begin in September.

Field will produce under his Standard Film Company banner alongside Alexandra Milchan & Scott Lambert for Emjag Productions.

Field last directed Little Children, the adaptation of the Tom Perrotta novel for New Line, with Kate Winslet starring.

Most recently seen in Mrs. America, Blanchett wrapped the Guillermo Del Toro-directed Nightmare Alley and the Adam McKay-directed Don’t Look Up, and Pinocchio and she is filming the Eli Roth-directed Borderlands.

Cate Blanchett will voice The Dove in Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio

Pinocchio, the stop-motion animated musical directed by the team of Guillermo del Toro and Mark Gustafson, will follow Pinocchio (Gregory Mann) as he comes to life and dreams of becoming a real boy in 1930s Fascist Italy. Following his creation by Geppetto (David Bradley), the wooden puppet takes a liking to mischief and begins playing cruel tricks on those around him.

The Pinocchio cast will also feature the voices of Ewan McGregor as the Talking Cricket, Ron Perlman as Mangiafuoco, Tilda Swinton as the Fairy with Turquoise Hair, Cate Blanchett as The Dove, Finn Wolfhard as Lampwick, and several other notable stars.

Guillermo del Toro has been working on getting his darker version of Pinocchio off the ground since 2008 and went through a series of ups and downs before Netflix stepped in and revived the project in October 2018 with a release at some point in 2021. The exact release date remains unknown at this point, especially after Netflix announced that Pinocchio could be pushed back to 2022 or later.

Introduction of Lauren Hough’s Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing: Essay

You can listen to Cate’s introduction for Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing audiobook. There was also a 10-minute preview of the audiobook being read by Cate. Click here.

 

Source: Deadline, Cinemablend,

Cate Blanchett: Cast in Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio, Mrs. America Team virtual Q&A, and UNHCR new video
Posted on
Aug 22, 2020

Cate Blanchett: Cast in Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio, Mrs. America Team virtual Q&A, and UNHCR new video

Hi, everyone!

Great news! We have a new Cate film (Pinocchio) to look forward to, which will be directed by Guillermo Del Toro. There’s also new UNHCR video released for World Humanitarian Day last August 19. On Mrs. America related news, the cast and creators conducted a virtual Q&A. Check the news and videos below.

Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Pinocchio’ Adds Cate Blanchett, Ewan McGregor, Tilda Swinton

Guillermo del Toro has cast Ewan McGregor, Tilda Swinton, Cate Blanchett, David Bradley and Finn Wolfhard in “Pinocchio,” his upcoming stop-motion animated musical feature for Netflix.

Newcomer Gregory Mann will star as Pinocchio, with McGregor as Cricket and Bradley as Geppetto. Other cast members include Christoph Waltz, John Turturro, Ron Perlman, Tim Blake Nelson and Burn Gorman.

“After years of pursuing this dream project, I found my perfect partner in Netflix. We have spent a long time curating a remarkable cast and crew and have been blessed by continuous support from Netflix to quietly and carefully soldier on, barely missing a beat. We all love and practice animation with great passion and believe it to be the ideal medium to retell this classic story in a completely new way,” del Toro said on Wednesday.

The film, first announced in 2018, will be set during the rise of fascism in Mussolini’s Italy during the 1930s. It tells a story of love and disobedience as Pinocchio struggles to live up to his father’s expectations.

The film is directed by del Toro and Mark Gustafson from a script by del Toro and Patrick McHale. The song lyrics are by del Toro and Katz, with music by Alexandre Desplat, who will also write the score. Gris Grimly created the original design for the Pinocchio character.

“Pinocchio” is produced by del Toro, The Jim Henson Company’s Lisa Henson, ShadowMachine’s Alex Bulkley and Corey Campodonico, and Exile Entertainment’s Gary Ungar. It’s co-produced by Blanca Lista of The Jim Henson Company and Gris Grimly. Principal photography began last fall at ShadowMachine’s Portland studio, and production has continued uninterrupted during the pandemic.

Female ambition takes center stage with Cate Blanchett, Uzo Aduba and ‘Mrs. America’

The FX limited series “Mrs. America” tells the riveting story of the battle over the Equal Rights Amendment, but it is also a rich study of female power in its many complex permutations.

On one side of the drama is conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly (Cate Blanchett), whose ferocious professional drive and political power are at odds with the traditional values she espouses. On the other are second-wave feminist leaders including presidential candidate Shirley Chisholm (Uzo Aduba), whose White House aspirations made her a target of vicious criticism and even death threats.

“What really excited me about doing this show was putting forth a whole spectrum of women who are unapologetically ambitious,” says creator Dahvi Waller, “women who are not saying, ‘But I’m also a good mother!’ They’re just unapologetically seeking agency and political power — I wanted young women to see that. I really feel like that’s what’s missing from television: those kind of women.”

Waller was joined in a video call by three other women who contributed to “Mrs. America” in key ways: Blanchett, Aduba and Brenda Feigen, the pioneering feminist lawyer who was played in the series by Ari Graynor.

Blanchett, who was also an executive producer, wasn’t deterred by the thought of playing Schlafly, who remains an influential, deeply polarizing figure in American politics four years after her death and serves as the drama’s antihero. “It’s not my job to like or dislike a character. Nor do I think that women need to be nice to be interesting or watchable,” she says. Instead, the Oscar winner was excited to be part of a project that asked, as she puts it, “What is so scary about the notion of equality?”

“Even though this is set back in the 1970s, it was ‘Groundhog Day’ all throughout the making of the series,” she continues, citing fetal heartbeat bills restricting abortion passed in several states last year. “You hope in a way that it’s a museum piece that you’re making, … but this conversation is happening right now. That’s my takeaway from it: how little the discourse has changed.”

Indeed, the women gathered virtually the very afternoon that presidential candidate Joe Biden announced Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate, following weeks of feverish and often sexist debates about who was right for the job. By joining the ticket, Harris achieved a historic milestone for Black and South Asian women that was arguably made possible by Chisholm’s 1972 campaign.

“Mrs. America” resonated the way it has because it came out amid multiple crises, Aduba says, “when America is being forced to face itself and to clear its air. And, of course, in the midst of this we are having the announcement of a vice presidential candidate who is a woman. There’s going to be yet another moment where America is going to be asked to confront itself.”

The episode “Shirley” shows the painful lack of support Chisholm received from white feminists and Black male politicians during her primary run, in which she was beaten by the more “electable” George McGovern. Nearly 50 years later, what Chisholm believed was possible — a woman president — has yet to come to fruition.

Characters such as Chisholm and Bella Abzug, played by Margo Martindale, “were all women with aspirations,” Aduba says. “And it just begs the question, for me: Had they not had that limitation of being an ambitious woman, having that label slapped on them, who could these women have been?”

“I have felt it as a Black woman — that there is an amount of ambition that is carved out for you and there’s a way in which you’re meant to express it, and if you say it any other way, you are looked at as angry — that angry Black woman trope is a real thing — or expecting too much too soon. But to borrow from AOC [Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez], do it anyway.”

Waller channeled her experiences as a woman in a male-dominated industry into “Mrs. America.” Dialogue from the episode “Jill,” about Republican feminist Jill Ruckelshaus (Elizabeth Banks), was inspired by a vexing conversation she’d had with a male showrunner who seemed baffled by Waller’s belief that women should make up half the writers in the room (she was the only woman on that particular staff).

“He said, ‘What? You’re not going to be happy until 50% of TV writers are women?’ And I said, ‘Yeah!’ And he thew his hands up in the air.” Another scene in which Schlafly is asked to take notes during a meeting with men was also taken out of Waller’s time in the writers room. “You were always the one asked to be writing on the whiteboard. Because, of course, a girl would have the neatest handwriting,” says Blanchett sarcastically. “That’s what you offer a writers room, isn’t it, Dahvi?”

The writers room for “Mrs. America” consisted of seven women and two men. As they were breaking an episode about a congressman sexually harassing his secretaries, Senate hearings were underway for Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, making for “a very emotionally charged time in the writers room,” Waller says, recalling how the women once spent three hours sharing their #MeToo experiences in the industry. “We had some of the most uncomfortable and difficult conversations not only about gender, but about race and class and sexuality and the politics around that and how we were gonna represent that in the show. To have that space was really wonderful.”

“Argument is part of a democracy,” adds Blanchett. “You have to have robust discussion. Certainly that’s what I found playing Phyllis. She has a woeful distaste for nuance. You have to go through discord and debate and disagreement to get to nuance.” While the actress resisted judging her character, Blanchett concedes she found it isolating to play someone who brooked little dissent within her ranks — something she felt acutely when she’d watch dailies of ERA proponent actresses engaged in spirited discussions.

“I would feel so lonely,” she says. “It really drove home for me that I much prefer being in conversation rather than monologue.”

‘Mrs. America’ Cast and Creators on Portraying Historical Figures With Accuracy and Empathy

The cast and creators of the FX on Hulu limited series “Mrs. America” sought to bring the ’70s feminist movement and the fight surrounding the Equal Rights Amendment to the screen through exploring the personal motivations of its key players.

After a screening of the series’ third episode, “Shirley,” Variety‘s Kate Aurthur discussed the importance of portraying these figures with accuracy and empathy with executive producer Cate Blanchett, who played Schlafly; creator, showrunner and executive producer Dahvi Waller; producer Tanya Barfield, who wrote the episode; Margo Martindale, who played Abzug; Uzo Aduba, who played Chisholm and Tracey Ullman, who played Friedan. (All of whom have been nominated for Emmys.)

Blanchett said that although Schlafly’s beliefs were the opposite of her own, she felt drawn to the character out of a need to understand where she was coming from.

“I think, like a lot of people, I was reeling from the process and the results of the 2016 election in America, and wanted to understand how we’d got to a point where women seemed to be voting against their own self-interest,” Blanchett said. “I wanted to know what made her tick, and I found that there was a terrifying need to be right, a profound need to make the world in her own image and a fear of change.”

Blanchett also found the subject matter deeply important to today’s political climate.

“I had this profound sense of living in Groundhog Day,” Blanchett said. “Every day we were on set, the words, the phrases, the situations that we found ourselves in as characters, seemed to be just literally mirroring the things that were happening in politics and society in America generally.”

Cate Blanchett and the ‘Mrs. America’ Team on Building a Bridge of Empathy

FX on Hulu’s “Mrs. America” used controversial conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly (a menacingly luminous and Emmy-nominated Cate Blanchett) as a pivot point for the show’s narrative, while building out a dynamite cast of players (including Emmy nominees Uzo Aduba, Margo Martindale, and Tracey Ullman) each of whom have their own respective episode to shine.

But few shine as brightly as Aduba, whose portrayal of Shirley Chisholm (the first Black woman elected to the United States Congress) is electric, particularly in her standalone episode, “Shirley,” written by Tanya Barfield. In it, Chisholm is committed to her presidential candidacy and disheartened by a feminist movement that cannot comprehend the importance of intersectionality.

Reviled by the left and revered by the right, Schlafly played a huge part behind the scenes in the rise of the Religious Right and actively worked to limit the quest for equal rights in America. Knowing her history set quite a challenge for the now Emmy-nominated Blanchett, but those divergent aspects of Schlafly’s character appealed to the actress.

“I’m not interested in presenting my own political beliefs or making work in my own image, Blanchett, who also served as an executive producer on the series, said. “It’s far more fascinating to inhabit people who think nothing like you, whose frames of reference are nothing like your own. You build a bridge of empathy, in a way, to to their experience.”

“What was revealed in the wake of the 2016 election was just how divided the country was,” she said. “You would speak to people in certain states, from certain socio-economic standing, certain sub-cultural groups, certain genders, and they would feel that the Obama administration had left them behind, had ignored them, that they felt outside of America and that their interests were not being represented. And I thought, ‘Well, how can you possibly say that when you’ve really been in power for several hundred years?’

Blanchett continued, speaking about the real and devastating schism happening in the country, and observing that Schlafly, too, was a grassroots outsider; so much so that it probably cost her the position in President Reagan’s cabinet she so longed for.

“I was interested in trying to find a way to be part of a conversation that built a bridge between what seemed to be polar opposites, whether they were polar opposites from a gender perspective or political perspective,” Blanchett said. “I think drama has the ability to do that. And I think our political discourse, not just in America, but globally, has become so divided that we can’t have nuanced conversations about things as important and as political as equality.”

Click the image below for the full video:

UNHCR Goodwill Ambassadors and Supporters send a message of solidarity to humanitarian heroes