Stateless wins at Screen Producers Australia Award; & New Magazine Scan
Posted on
Mar 30, 2022

Stateless wins at Screen Producers Australia Award; & New Magazine Scan

Hi, everyone!

Slow news day on Cate but Stateless won at this year’s (SPA) Screen Producers Australia’s Award. Stateless is based on the idea by Cate, she is a co-creator and co-executive producer on the series. The series is available to stream on Netflix (outside Australia). There’s also a new magazine scan from Palace Scope.

Screen Producers Australia Awards 2022 Winners

“Every year, the SPA Awards are an acknowledgement of Australian screen industry excellence, uplifting diverse, locally-made productions with cultural impact and worldwide reach. Alongside the Queensland Government as Principal Partners, Screen Queensland is proud to have brought Screen Forever back to the Gold Coast — a globally renowned screen industry hub and a dazzling setting for tonight’s celebrations,” said Screen Queensland CEO Kylie Munnich.

“SPA members continuously raise the global bar for creativity and skillful producing, and tonight that talent was on full show. The task at hand is storytelling, and the winners of our 2022 Awards take this task seriously. They understand the significance of their work and the contribution it makes to the Australian economy, generating jobs for local creatives, and showcasing Australia and its unique heritage to millions around the world,” said SPA CEO Matthew Deaner.

Telemovie or Mini-Series Production of the Year (Tie)
• A Sunburnt Christmas – Every Cloud Productions
• Alice-Miranda Friends Forever – SLR Productions
• Hungry Ghosts – Matchbox Pictures
• Operation Buffalo – Porchlight Films
Stateless – Matchbox Pictures
• The Gloaming – The Two Jons
• The Secrets She Keeps – Lingo Pictures
• The Unusual Suspects – Aquarius Films

Palace Scope – March 23rd 2022

Source: TVTonight

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 on Madame Figaro (Photoshoot & Scans), UNHCR videos, & Nightmare Alley wraps filming
Posted on
Dec 18, 2020

Cate Blanchett on Madame Figaro (Photoshoot & Scans), UNHCR videos, & Nightmare Alley wraps filming

Hey, everyone!

A bit of news – new magazine cover with an interivew with Cate, UNHCR has released two new videos, and we got release month for Nightmare Alley!

Cate Blanchett : “J’évite les réseaux sociaux, je fuis la pensée unique”

Son magnétisme et sa capacité de pouvoir tout jouer en font une star célébrée. Présidente du dernier Festival de Venise, l’égérie d’Armani Beauty et visage des parfums SÌ, nous parle de confinement, de cinéma et de l’importance d’être singulière.

Elle a incarné deux fois et avec panache la reine Elisabeth Ire. Les mandats de présidente ne sont donc pas de taille à effrayer Cate Blanchett. Elle a mené le Festival de Cannes en 2018 avant de régner, en septembre dernier, sur celui de Venise. «La présidente» Cate Blanchett, outre ses fonctions régaliennes cinématographiques, y a assuré à elle seule le show sur tapis rouge, un red carpet invisible de l’extérieur puisque réservé aux seuls photographes, Covid oblige. Même sans public, elle rayonnait, effet spécial à elle seule avec son élégance jamais prise en défaut, gigantesque et longiligne, teint d’albâtre, cheveux d’or et regard bleu acier, un écrin haute couture idéal pour les créations de Giorgio Armani : Cate Blanchett est l’égérie du parfum Sì et l’ambassadrice d’Armani Beauty, par ailleurs partenaire officiel de la Mostra.

La beauté singulière de Cate Blanchett convoque un imaginaire hollywoodien fantasmagorique – elle possède l’aura des stars des années 1940, comme Katharine Hepburn qu’elle a jouée dans Aviator, de Martin Scorsese -, tout en imposant une implacable modernité : actrice superpuissante, elle est aussi à l’aise sur une scène à Broadway que dans un blockbuster (Le Seigneur des anneaux), une performance (Manifesto, de Julian Rosefeldt) ou une série TV (Mrs America). Bref, Cate Blanchett, deux Oscars, ne dédaigne aucun moyen d’expression et se fait un devoir de défendre le cinéma quel qu’il soit. Interview téléphonique.

Madame Figaro. – Quelle est l’humeur du jour ?
Cate Blanchett. –
 L’optimisme prudent. Un repli relatif. En ce moment, je vis à la campagne, en Angleterre. Je viens d’arroser les plantes, j’ai nourri les animaux et mon mari fait du pain. Je m’amuse de constater que tous les hommes de mon entourage se sont mis à faire du pain depuis le confinement…

Ressentez-vous, comme chacun d’entre nous en cette période de crise mondiale, une nécessité de vous réinventer en tant que femme ou en tant qu’actrice ?
Eh bien, vous savez, c’est inévitable pour chacun d’entre nous, ce sont des mutations auxquelles nous devons faire face depuis des décennies, depuis la révolution industrielle, en schématisant. Depuis, nous acceptons les changements sans trop nous poser de questions. Aujourd’hui, ceux auxquels nous sommes confrontés sont catastrophiques. Cette crise nous oblige donc à faire face à des problèmes préexistants auxquels nous n’avions pas envie de remédier. D’une certaine façon, c’est la nature qui rappelle à notre espèce son obligation d’évoluer. Ainsi, nous remarquons encore plus qu’auparavant les inégalités entre les différentes classes sociales, les populations et les cultures, et cela a tendance à nous diviser davantage. Mais dans le même temps, je remarque aussi beaucoup d’opportunités qui s’offrent à nous. Il suffit de regarder toutes ces initiatives, souvent lumineuses, lancées par des groupes et des individus qui cherchent à vivre différemment. Et ces projets solidaires font boule de neige. Je suis convaincue que le désir de changement est très fort, et qu’il est désormais impossible de revenir en arrière, à notre ancien mode de fonctionnement.

Au cours de ces mois difficiles, avez-vous découvert en vous de nouvelles vertus ?
Au contraire, je dirais plutôt que j’ai découvert beaucoup de vices ! Je n’ai pas particulièrement trouvé de solution ni de remède à mes inquiétudes ou à mes craintes, ni même corrigé quelques mauvaises habitudes qui rythment mon quotidien. La seule leçon de vie, finalement, c’est l’apprentissage de la patience, car, comme la majorité d’entre nous, j’aime avancer vite et beaucoup accomplir dans ma vie et dans mon métier d’actrice. Tous ces mouvements ont évidemment été considérablement freinés. L’énergie de l’autre, le regroupement, le collectif, tout cela me manque beaucoup.

Êtes-vous quand même revenue un peu à la vie normale ? Avez-vous retrouvé le chemin des studios ?
Le retour à la vie normale ne m’intéresse pas du tout ! Comme beaucoup de personnes qui travaillent, et pas forcément dans le cinéma, je cherche surtout à ralentir et à me recentrer sur moi-même… Pour 2020, j’avais décidé de prendre une année sabbatique, notamment pour mon fils aîné qui termine un cursus scolaire et que je souhaitais épauler dans le but d’améliorer son développement personnel. Le confinement n’a fait qu’accentuer cette pause.

Vos projets en cours ont-ils été maintenus ?
Je travaillais avec le réalisateur Guillermo del Toro pour le film Nightmare Alley (un thriller avec Bradley Cooper, NDLR) quand le confinement a été décrété. Rooney Mara (autre actrice du film, NDLR) a accouché de son premier enfant et je suis rentrée chez moi. Je pense que le film doit être au stade de la postproduction. Mais au-delà de l’arrêt des tournages, qui finira par n’être qu’un mauvais souvenir, le vrai challenge, c’est le retour en salles des spectateurs. Je suis obnubilée par cette composante sociale fondamentale sur laquelle repose le cinéma : un film, c’est une histoire projetée sur un grand écran, dans une salle plongée dans le noir, que l’on regarde réunis avec des inconnus, tous ensemble. L’idée, c’est que ce rassemblement, ce cérémonial, est une chose précieuse, une chose qui repousse l’isolement, une chose qu’il faut préserver absolument intacte. Bien sûr, les plateformes de streaming sont incroyables et l’offre proposée toujours plus intéressante et riche, mais je persiste à penser que certaines visions cinématographiques ne se révèlent pleinement que sur grand écran.

En tant que présidente du dernier Festival de Venise, vous avez eu la chance de voir des films en salles…
Oui, mon jury et moi avons vécu ce festival comme dans un rêve, et cela semble aujourd’hui assez surréaliste de constater que beaucoup de salles ne sont toujours pas rouvertes. Je suis extrêmement sensible aux festivals de cinéma, à qui j’apporte un soutien total et actif, car ils sont essentiels dans la vie des films et dans la carrière de réalisateurs émergents. Venise, pour revenir à cette expérience, a représenté à la fois une preuve de solidarité et une leçon d’optimisme réaliste. Je suis ravie que cette édition si particulière ait quand même permis de porter la voix et le point de vue de cinéastes qui n’auraient pas eu cette chance autrement. C’est ce qui a rendu cette expérience si unique.

À Venise, vous avez également montré une autre facette de vous : égérie pour la maison Armani. Selon vous, quelle est la définition d’une muse ?
Je ne peux pas parler à la place de Monsieur Armani. Mais pour moi, une muse sert à atteindre une certaine vision. Il s’agit d’un point de départ, un préalable pour toute inspiration. Mais pour être honnête, je ne m’envisage pas du tout de cette façon. Je n’y pense pas.

Quel est votre lien avec la beauté, en tant qu’actrice et aussi en tant que femme ?
À mon avis, la beauté réside souvent dans cette esthétique japonaise, le wabi-sabi : comment les imperfections, les anomalies, les défauts donnent leur grâce, leur authenticité et leur unicité aux choses. Il m’est assez incompréhensible que l’être humain cherche à gommer ses imperfections au lieu de les travailler ou même de les souligner. Voilà ce qui rend unique, et donc beau. La beauté devrait être, doit être, honnête, sans complexes, et s’enraciner dans la liberté d’être tel que l’on est. Et j’accorde plus de crédit que jamais à la notion de liberté. Bref, la beauté conventionnelle ou uniformisée présente peu d’attraits à mes yeux. Ce qui m’intéresse, c’est de rendre acceptable ou séduisant ce que je possède en moi.

Et d’un œil un peu plus superficiel, quelles sont vos astuces pour devenir la championne des tapis rouges comme vous l’êtes, Cate Blanchett, la star hollywoodienne ?
Je ne vois absolument pas de qui il s’agit. (Elle rit.) Si vous parlez d’une beauté supposée, je vous dirais qu’elle se trouve dans l’œil de celui qui regarde. Je n’aime pas les opinions dominantes, les diktats, et je valorise plus volontiers la différence comme vous l’avez compris. J’évite les réseaux sociaux, je fuis la pensée unique et l’hégémonie du goût mondialisé. Je suis en relation avec beaucoup de créateurs de mode, ces hommes et ces femmes ont des talents infinis, et j’estime avoir beaucoup de chance de porter leurs vêtements. Par ailleurs, même s’il m’arrive d’être un peu nostalgique de mes tapis rouge de l’«ancien monde», j’ai décidé dorénavant de privilégier des tenues que j’ai déjà portées au lieu d’encourager constamment la consommation…

En tant qu’actrice, considérez-vous votre visage et votre corps comme des outils ? À votre avis, quel est votre meilleur atout ?
Mon meilleur atout, c’est ma curiosité. Pour le reste, oui, le visage et le corps sont des outils et des instruments de travail… Pour s’engager dans un rôle, la seule façon d’y parvenir, c’est de s’approprier le corps d’un autre et de s’immerger dans le monde qui l’entoure.

Madame Figaro – December 18th 2020 (Venice Film Festival Photoshoots)

Madame Figaro Scans – December 18th 2020 

Nightmare Alley wraps filming

Nightmare Alley will be released in December 2021. Guillermo del Toro is also putting finishing touches on his other film, Pinocchio, where Cate will voice a character.

UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, Cate Blanchett, encourages people to donate to help refugee families during winter season, and talks a bit about the humanitarian crisis in Yemen

https://www.instagram.com/p/CI0AXXnD-wr/?igshid=1bwdpu3r0qptu

Also, here’s a video of when Cate won Best Supporting Actress in a TV series at 2020 AACTA. There’s no recorded speech from her but she sent a message to her friend and co-creator/producer on Stateless, Elise McCredie which she read.

Source: Madame Figaro, Indiewire

Congratulations, Cate Blanchett and Team Stateless for sweeping the AACTA Awards for TV!
Posted on
Nov 30, 2020

Congratulations, Cate Blanchett and Team Stateless for sweeping the AACTA Awards for TV!

Great day, everyone!

We would like to congratulate Cate Blanchett for winning Best Supporting Actress in Television Drama at this year’s AACTA Awards. Stateless also won Best Teleseries or Miniseries for which Cate is also an executive producer and co-creator. This is Cate’s 9th AACTA Award, her first win in the TV category alongside her 7 wins in film category. The series won a total of 13 AACTA Awards.

This year, the main ceremony was split into two events: film, followed by TV. The TV categories were dominated by the ABC drama Stateless, which Blanchett co-created, co-executive produced and co-starred in. The series, directed by Emma Freeman and Jocelyn Moorhouse, follows four people as they interact with Australia’s notoriously harsh immigration detention system, and is reportedly based on true stories. Guardian reviewer Luke Buckmaster called it a “gripping” drama with a “curious mixture of nail-biting verisimilitude and psychologically charged aesthetic”.

The cast of Stateless, including Fayssal Bazzi, Yvonne Strahovski, Darren Gilshenan, and Blanchett won all of the acting awards for TV drama. The show was announced best telefeature or miniseries, and also swept up statuettes for best screenplay (Elise McCredie) and best direction. It bested other multiple nominees Bloom and Mystery Road; the latter of which, however, did win best drama series.

Stateless also dominated the craft awards, with its first episode, The Circumstances in Which They Come, yielding five of the six awards the show picked up last week. The others were for best cinematography, costume design, editing, production design, and sound in the television categories. Episode six of the series also won the award for best original score.

Source: The Guardian 

Cate Blanchett on the country’s ‘inhumane’ treatment of refugees
Posted on
Nov 28, 2020

Cate Blanchett on the country’s ‘inhumane’ treatment of refugees

Hi, everyone!

Stateless has won 6 AACTA Industry Awards so far then the acting/best teleseries category which Cate is nominated for supporting actress and as a producer will be announced on November 30th then broadcasted on Foxtel – Arts on Sunday December 6th at 7:30pm. Meanwhile, read this new article on Cate.

While Cate Blanchett is living in Britain – locked down amid a shocking surge in COVID-19 cases – one of Australia’s greatest actors remains acutely conscious of her home country’s poor record of detaining refugees over the years.

“There is so much to be proud of in Australia but our treatment of refugees and asylum seekers is not our finest hour,” she says. “Not by a long chalk.”

It was a shared concern about troubling events at detention centres over breakfast with a former MLC schoolfriend, director Elise McCredie, that led to them creating the television series Stateless with producer Tony Ayres.

After a world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival, then screening on the ABC and Netflix around the world, the series has a dominant 18 nominations at this year’s Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards. At Friday night’s Industry Awards, it won six craft prizes with more expected at the main ceremony on Monday.

Blanchett, who is nominated for both producing and acting in Stateless, calls the success of the series “beyond gratifying”.

“Obviously, the series takes place in Australia but the predicaments and themes it touches on are universal,” she said. “We live in a world where every two seconds somebody is forced to leave their home. This is a story that allows us to ask the question: ‘What would I do in that situation?'”

While the pandemic has drawn attention away from the global refugee crisis, Blanchett believes it remains a pressing issue.

“On one level, the pandemic has meant that people have been understandably focused on their local health and safety,” she said. “But people have also been forced to look at how interconnected the world’s challenges are and how vital it is that we all play a part in seeking solutions.

“We have been living with massive uncertainty, and uncertainty is an ongoing condition for refugees and asylum seekers and indefinite detention is a traumatic and deeply inhumane extension of this.”

McCredie said their breakfast took place at Blanchett’s Sydney home amid controversy around the Manus Island and Nauru detention centres in 2014.

“We just started talking about what we were passionate about and [it was] immigration detention,” she said. “That was the height of Manus and Nauru and the beginning of offshore detention. We started throwing around ideas about moral responsibility and how we felt about our government.”

They decided to tell a fictional story set in the past, inspired by the wrongful confinement of Cornelia Rau. McCredie said indefinite detention was still continuing away from public attention.

“People who were on Manus for six years are now in hotels in Melbourne and have been for a year,” she said. “As a country, humanity has to be part of the policy and it hasn’t been really for 20 years.”

Blanchett said it took time to find series partners willing to “look beyond the politicisation of the refugee and asylum-seeker experience, to look beyond the rhetoric of fear and xenophobia to the human face of the global displacement crisis”.

What drove them was a passion to bring “this painful, bewildering and on-going situation into the light – to look at this diabolical and dysfunctional situation from a myriad of perspectives, without judgment, allow people to discuss it, examine it and connect to it”.

What was it like producing the series while acting in it?

“An absolute joy,” Blanchett said. “Everyone, from the background artists to the chippies to the actors, was so passionate about the project.”

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

Cate Blanchett News Compilation
Posted on
Nov 21, 2020

Cate Blanchett News Compilation

Hi, everyone!

We’ve compiled the latest new on Cate these past weeks. She narrated a short video for Beirut, Lebanon and participated in Experience Camps’ Talk About Grief (TAG). New image for Armani Beauty Holiday Campaign is out.

Risposta affermativa. Intervista a Cate Blanchett

Dal 2013 Cate Blanchett e? la testimonial di Si?, la fragranza di Armani. E anche se non ci tiene a lanciare messaggi planetari, non rinnega l’impegno. Perche? «viviamo in tempi molto introspettivi, c’e? davvero bisogno di aprirsi agli altri»

«Non mi permetto di dire alle donne cosa debbano fare. Ognuna deve essere fedele alla sua natura: e? quello che conta di piu?. Solo se sei davvero onesta con te stessa, quando ti chiedi perche? dovresti dire Si? o No, sai cosa risponderti. E comunque, parlando in generale, preferisco i Si? ai No. Viviamo in tempi comprensibilmente molto introspettivi e c’e? davvero bisogno di essere aperti».

Anche se non e? un periodo facile per fare la testimonial di un profumo che e? una dichiarazione d’intenti esplicita e un po’ rischiosa (dire Si? significa infatti aprirsi al mondo e alle opportunita?), Cate Blanchett prosegue con imperturbabile entusiasmo la sua missione di volto ufficiale della fragranza piu? intrepida di Armani, arrivata ormai al suo settimo anno e a una versione in rosso metal (Si? Passione) dedicata a donne forti e assertive. Che dicono Si?, insomma, solo a quello che pare e piace a loro.

A proposito di donne assertive, e? arrivata di recente in Italia (su Timvision) l’ultima serie di cui lei e? protagonista, Mrs. America, incentrata sulla parita? dei diritti delle donne nell’America degli anni 70. Come e? cambiato il femminismo da allora a oggi?

La serie parla di politicizzazione dell’equita?, di come la richiesta di parita? e uguaglianza sociale da parte delle donne sia diventata una richiesta politica. E? la stessa cosa che sta succedendo adesso con le mascherine. Indossarle si sta trasformando in un gesto politico che, alla base, non lo sarebbe: dovrebbe riguardare soltanto la responsabilita?, il rispetto e la democrazia.

Di recente ha dichiarato che preferirebbe essere chiamata attore e non attrice.

Mi riferivo a un episodio successo a Berlino (la controversa decisione del Festival del Cinema di Berlino di non assegnare premi di genere, ndr). Quando ho iniziato la carriera, la parola “attrice” aveva un senso peggiorativo ma non ho mai pensato che il mio lavoro fosse diverso da quello che faceva un uomo. Il femminismo e? questo: la richiesta di un’uguaglianza genuina, sofisticata, orientata al futuro.

Cos’e? la bellezza per lei? Crede ci siano parametri universali?

Non credo che la bellezza abbia tanti significati diversi. Adesso, pero?, mi sembra piu? evidente che, quanto in passato si considerava bello in un senso mainstream, forse non lo sia cosi? tanto. Ho sempre fatto mia la visione giapponese in base alla quale la bellezza deve avere delle imperfezioni per essere tale. Non sottoscrivo invece l’estetica plastificata: la perfezione non e? perseguibile. E ogni cosa diventa piu? interessante proprio quando inizia a decadere. E per quanto riguarda i parametri universali: no, la bellezza deve sorprendere.

Che rapporto ha con Armani?

Condividiamo l’amore per l’oceano. Per questo sono cosi? contenta di vivere in Australia. E dopo averne parlato svariate volte con lui, alla fine sono riuscita a convincerlo a venire a visitarla. Mi venne anche a trovare nel teatro dove stavo lavorando e fu generoso e gentile, volle incontrare tutte le persone che erano li? con me. Erano tutti eccitatissimi all’idea di conoscere Giorgio Armani e lui fu disponibile con tutti.

Cosa le piace del suo stile?

Quando ero adolescente ero attratta, e lo sono tutt’ora, dagli abiti con una silhouette maschile, e Armani e? stato uno dei primi a proporli. Lo ha fatto anche Yves Saint Laurent, ma in un modo diverso, Armani e? stato capace di sfumare quella linea di demarcazione tra i generi in un modo fluido, sensuale e libero.

You can listen to the dubbed podcast below:

 

Why You Need to Watch This Beirut Film By Cate Blanchett and Nadine Labaki

Lebanese director and actor Nadine Labaki has long been friends with Hollywood superstar Cate Blanchett, with the pair having more than philanthropic endeavors and movie experience in common. So, it was inevitable that the talented duo would join forces for something incredibly powerful, and that’s exactly what they have done creating an impactful film depicting the on going crisis in Lebanon.

The #keeptalkingaboutbeirut film reveals the brutality of the explosion at the Port of Beirut on August 4, 2020. The raw footage edited by Nadine Labaki, in collaboration with Lebanese filmmaker Elie Fahed, was captured by citizens and journalists, and shows the real state of Lebanon’s capital. The film’s script, which is narrated by actor Cate Blanchett, was written by Labaki and political activist Sara El-Yafi.

Celebrities Talk About Grief

With millions more people grieving due to Covid-19, Talk About Grief (TAG) is a national campaign to create a more empathetic, grief-aware culture – for each other and for our kids. On National Child Grief Awareness Day, November 19, Experience Camps is coming together with hundreds of partners nationwide to encourage people to share their grief.

Cate’s part starts at 00:52

Stateless dominates 2020 AACTA with 18 nominations

Refugee drama series Stateless earned 18 nomination in the TV category, including best telefilm or miniseries and acting nominations for Blanchett, Asher Keddie, Yvonne Strahovski and Jai Courtney, but co-star Dominic West missed out.

The show also scored multiple screenplay and directing nominations, as well as being nominated for editing, cinematography, casting and costume design.

2020 Armani Beauty Holiday Campaign, British Vogue Photoshoot, Corriere Della Sera Interview

   
Source: Vogue Italia, Vogue Arabia, Nine.Com.Au

Cate Blanchett and Stateless AACTA Nominations
Posted on
Nov 1, 2020

Cate Blanchett and Stateless AACTA Nominations

Hi, Blanchetters!

We have great news, Cate has been nominated for Best Guest or Supporting Actress in Television Drama at the 10th Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts. This is her 8th AACTA nomination (first in TV category) for which she won 7 AACTAs.  She is also nominated for producing credits in Stateless since the series is nominated for Best Telefeature or Miniseries, the series itself secured 7 nominations.

A reimagined broadcast celebrating a decade of Australian screen since AACTA launched will feature on Channel 7 on Wednesday 2 December, along with highlights from the 2020 AACTA Awards presented by Foxtel Ceremony.

 

Source: AACTA.org

Cate Blanchett: Vogue’s Hope Series, Newspaper Scans, and This Changes Everything
Posted on
Aug 17, 2020

Cate Blanchett: Vogue’s Hope Series, Newspaper Scans, and This Changes Everything

Hello, fellow Blanchetters!

Cate has written a piece about hope as part  of Vogue’s Hope series. On other news, photographers Firooz Zahedi and Simon Annand are releasing their own books, with Cate as cover of Zahedi’s book and her giving a foreword on Annand’s book. We also have scans from last week’s issue of Le Figaro and The Sunday Telegraph, and screencaptures from This Changes Everything. Check them below.

Cate Blanchett: “The Internet Is A Haven For ‘Strongman’ Attitudes And Posturing. I Hope We Can Find A Way Out”

I hope we can find a way to live together.

It’s so easy to get angry when you know you are right… and sometimes that delicious satisfaction I taste in the echo chamber of my own righteousness is an end in itself.

I’ve been thinking a lot about anger. About the kind of rage and frustration that can take hold of you in the bubble of your car, where you can vent and rant and Be Right — irrespective of reality or of the tedious and confronting complications of other people and other opinions and other anger. And I have been wondering if the internet is the same — a kind of car-like bubble, a non-space that has allowed us all to go deeper and deeper into our private rage and frustration. Where all our (let’s face it) amateur solutions to the world’s problems make such perfect, uncensored and liberatingly unvetted sense. A place where whatever I say goes. A haven for ‘strongman’ attitudes and posturing.

I hope we can find a way out of this bubble, so we can see each other again and relearn how to live together. I hope we can remember not only how to talk to each other, but also how to listen to each other.

Because when I think about those times when I am utterly convinced of my own righteousness, I have to remember the plight of the world’s refugees throughout history — people uprooted by disasters such as famine, war and persecution. Disasters that were, more often than not, created by the whim, instinct or rage of a ‘strongman’ or a belligerent state; bad ideas that led to thousands of young men killing and looting and being reassured that the madness and chaos that they had unleashed was really making the world a better place…

And when, as they always do, those strongmen had withered away — along with their promises and posturing and certainty that they knew best — those refugees who had wandered in search of peace and protection could finally return home or put down roots in new places, having made new families, friends, homes and communities. And for a while, they could live free of the anger and answers from those who know what’s best.

The reason I dwell on refugees throughout history is that when you are exiled and broken, at the mercy of forces beyond your control, the one thing you still have is each other. For the sake of my four children, I have to hope that we can find a way to come together, because there cannot be seven billion ‘number ones’.

On my travels as a goodwill ambassador for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, I once met a young man called Shadi in a refugee camp in Jordan. Shadi had planted a tree in the unforgiving desert soil and watered it every day. He had planted it so it would grow big and strong for his daughter to enjoy in the years to come; but he watered it so that every day he himself could experience and affirm his humanity and his agency — and his hope in the face of overwhelming trouble and chaos.

I share Shadi’s hope — and I stress ‘hope’ rather than Pollyanna-ish optimism, because no matter how hopeless a situation may seem, the answer is to respond with realism, a desire to take up the challenges that undeniably exist, and to accept and then tackle the scale of the task. There are almost 80 million forcibly displaced people worldwide right now — ordinary people forced from their homes by conflict, violence, persecution, and human rights violations. We can help them by coming together, by listening to each other and finding collective solutions. By bursting the bubble, and once again setting ourselves free of the anger and answers from those who think they know what’s best.

Look At Me


Le Figaro

The Sunday Telegraph


This Changes Everything 2019

Source: Vogue UK, Vogue,

Cate Blanchett: UNHCR Instagram Q&A, Stateless Interviews & Mrs. America Variety Roundtable
Posted on
Aug 15, 2020

Cate Blanchett: UNHCR Instagram Q&A, Stateless Interviews & Mrs. America Variety Roundtable

Hi, everyone!

First, we would like to thank everyone who donated for the annual hosting renewal of the site. We have reached out goal for the August 22 renewal. We are in no way affiliated to Cate nor her management. This site is dedicated to all the fans of Mrs. Blanchett, to get all the updates and the materials related to her works that are made accessible through the site. We thank you for your support!

Moving on, here are Stateless and Mrs. America related news. Enjoy!

Stateless / UHNCR videos and instagram Q&A

The official UNHCR instagram account did a Q&A this past week wherein Cate answered questions, sent through the account, about Stateless or her work as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador. Click on the image below to see her answers posted on the Q&A highlight stories of UNHCR instagram:

UNHCR has also released part of the conversation with Marta Dusseldorp and Cate last June 2020 for World Refugee Day and some more Stateless promo videos

PBWC Conference 2020

Cate was also a panel at this year’s PBWC annual conference. Unfortunately, the video of the conference is only available to those who registered but here are some posts from the official PBWC twitter account.

An Exclusive Q&A With The Cast & Creators of Mrs. America

On August 18, 2020, a roundtable discussion with Emmy-nominated cast, producers, and writers of Mrs. America hosted by Variety will be released. You can register here.

Here’s the preview:

Cate Blanchett: Stateless Promo Interviews
Posted on
Aug 1, 2020

Cate Blanchett: Stateless Promo Interviews

Hello, everyone. Cate interviewed Fayssal Bazzi last July for Interview Magazine and there was a virtual press junket over zoom for the promo of the series.

Cate Blanchett and Fayssal Bazzi on the Timely Resonance of Stateless

Earlier this month, Netflix released Stateless, an Australian drama miniseries that traces the seemingly disparate experiences of an airline hostess (Yvonne Strahovski of The Handmaid’s Tale) fleeing a cult, an Afghan refugee (Fayssal Bazzi) fleeing persecution, and a young Australian father (Jai Courtney) in search of stable work. The trio’s lives converge in an immigration detention center in the middle of the Australian desert, revealing the nation’s dark history of imposing mandatory detention on immigrants who arrive on its shores without visas.

The project, executive produced by Cate Blanchett, the Australian national treasure and Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations’s High Commissioner for Refugees, was no easy feat to realize. For Blanchett, who has worked for years to enact reform surrounding the Western world’s treatment of refugees, Stateless is a labor of love. The actor spent six years combatting heavy social pressure in her homeland in order to bring the project to life, and in the month since its release, the miniseries has generated a considerable reaction across the globe.

A major source of Stateless’s positive reception is Fayssal Bazzi’s portrayal of Ameer, a father of two who sacrifices himself to ensure his family is smuggled to safety. Bazzi’s visceral performance stems from first-hand experience: at just three-and-a-half years old, the actor fled the Lebanese civil war with his parents and embarked upon the endless journey of combatting racial prejudice in Australia, his adopted home. For Bazzi, Stateless was an opportunity to portray a three-dimensional character, not a pigeon-holed stereotype, and to act alongside former refugee detainees at the detention center where much of the series is filmed. Over just six episodes, Bazzi delivers a heartrending performance that has placed him at the center of a cultural conversation that often disregards the humanity of immigrant lives. Though he never managed to “tread the boards” alongside Blanchett (who makes a glittering cameo as a suburban cult leader), the pair are confident that there will be plenty of opportunities down the line.

To celebrate the show’s success, Blanchett hopped on Zoom with Bazzi to discuss everything from the experiences that inspire his craft to the glory of growing a full beard. —MARA VEITCH

———

CATE BLANCHETT: Oh, hello! Are you in Sydney?

FAYSSAL BAZZI: I am in Sydney. It is a crisp Friday morning, 6:30AM and there is nothing I would rather be doing than speaking to you.

BLANCHETT: He’s just done his workout, of course. I thought that the last time we spoke virtually, you were in Los Angeles. Are you time traveling right now? Are you space shipping?

BAZZI: I wish I could be.

BLANCHETT: Or were you pretending? Were you using one of those Zoom backdrops? You’re in Hong Kong one day and in Shanghai the next…

BAZZI: Yeah. You’ll see that today. I’m just going to keep changing locations after every question.

BLANCHETT: To the envy of millions. One gift that COVID has given us is that we get up earlier than we ordinarily do; although we’re actors, so we are used to getting up at ‘the dawn of crack,’ as they say.

BAZZI: I was actually trying to think of the last time I’d gotten up at this hour, and it was this time last year filming Stateless. I actually do love an early morning, especially when I’ve got something creative to do.

BLANCHETT: And also, I mean, I don’t want to sound like I’m working for Tourism Port Augusta, but the light on the Australian desert at that time of morning is something to behold. I do think it’s quite spectacular.

BAZZI: It is absolutely stunning. I think that was one of the major benefits of early mornings and late finishes on set. The sunrises and the sunsets just look incredible. The sun setting over the rocks. I can still picture it now. It takes me back.

BLANCHETT: You don’t go to Port Augusta for the cuisine, but—

BAZZI: Actually, Port Augusta has a pretty good roast chicken shop that Yvonne [Strahovski, Bazzi’s costar in Stateless] and I would visit most days for a chook, so before you go bad mouthing the cuisine, I think you’ve got to try their rotisserie chicken.

BLANCHETT: I think the catering on set by some of the refugee cooks was probably far better than the chook shop, but I’m not going to challenge you too quickly on that one. Before we launch into the tea, have you been okay? I mean, how are you holding up? These are bewildering and heartbreaking days.

BAZZI: I was in a weird position, where my plan for the rest of the year was to go to L.A. for a few months and try to get some management. I was going to do publicity for a movie I’ve got coming out. So, my whole year’s trajectory was away from home. I’ve really just had to change courses and reassess what I’m doing now. I’m not one to just sit at home, so it’s been a nice break, considering. I’m trying to look at the positives in everything. I am ready for work, whatever that may be. I’m ready to dive into something.

BLANCHETT: There’s been a monumental creative recalibration, hasn’t there? But I think if there’s any industry that’s going to emerge from this, it’s going to be the creative industries, because we’re so used to dealing with challenges and finding different ways.

BAZZI: Absolutely.

BLANCHETT: You have such an extensive background in theater. You’re like me, a theater animal. You and Marta [Dusseldorp] were unable to join us in Berlin when we launched Stateless to a European audience because you were on stage with Deep Blue Sea. What do you love most about performing for a live audience?

BAZZI: I guess it’s the fact that you’re creating every night, but every night is different. It’s a singular experience that you’re sharing with everyone in the audience and in the production. The ability to take people away from their daily lives and transport them somewhere in telling a story. I love doing screen work, but you just don’t get that buzz that you do from a theater crowd. I cannot wait until we’re back in theaters again at full force. That’s going to be my first port of call, just sitting in an audience and being one with the hive mind being affected by the artist on that stage.

BLANCHETT: There’s kind of a mystical, ancient call to gather with people. I think that’s what everyone I’ve spoken to is really missing. It’s a live experience. And we’ve all survived on being told stories with streaming, which is great, but you can’t supplant that live connection that you get between actor and audience, between story and audience. Do you find that, as someone of Lebanese and Syrian heritage, that there’s a more elastic sense of what is possible within theater than the more literal casting that happens in film?

BAZZI: Absolutely. I think with theater, if I walk on stage, I’m whatever I say I am. In the screen realm, sometimes producers and companies overthink it and go, “Oh, this’ll never happen.” One of my favorite experiences was watching August: Osage County on Broadway in 2012, I think it was. They had an African American woman as the matriarch. The rest of the cast were white and you don’t even think twice about it. Theater gets audiences into the habit of accepting anything in a story, because they want to be transported. They don’t really care about the politics.

BLANCHETT: The imaginative space is so large in theater that it transcends the literal. I think that’s often the struggle one has in television as well, because it’s all about the believability of the narrative. And so that sometimes it can tend towards the literal. So, casting opportunities have, probably up until relatively recently, been very literal and small.

BAZZI: Yeah, that’s been my experience coming up in the industry. I mean, I’ve been a professional actor now for 17 years and when I first started it was right after 9/11, so a lot of the opportunities that I was being offered on screen weren’t things I really wanted to pursue because I didn’t want to be a stereotype. I wanted to be a three-dimensional character with a story with a history.

BLANCHETT: So what made you actually want to get into acting in the first place? Is that something you were even conscious of? It’s a compulsion, isn’t it, in a way?

BAZZI: I can pinpoint the exact moment, and it was when my family and I immigrated to Australia in the mid-’80s. I was three-and-a-half. We were escaping the civil war at home. Our house was destroyed, which is what the catalyst for us leaving. We lost all our papers. When we moved here, I had no birth certificate and my parents told the government I was five when I was three-and-a-half to put me straight into school. I spoke Arabic and French but I couldn’t speak English yet.

BLANCHETT: Oh, wow.

BAZZI: My mother was an Arabic and French teacher, so I’d be going to school trying to learn English and I’d come home and she’d make me take Arabic and French classes. The first school was a pretty racist experience, from the teachers to the students. I didn’t really have a good time. I was bullied a lot.

My parents moved me to a Catholic school and on my first day there I met this teacher, and it was her first day as well. She came up to me and she went, “Oh, you’re Fayssal, right? I’ve heard about you. Look, I know you can understand English now, but you can’t speak it. So if you want anything, just show me what you want, and I’ll help you get it.” So I had to mime getting a pencil, mime going to the toilet, and slowly build up my confidence. I was slowly leaning English through that, and one day she just said, “You’re really good at that, Fayssal. You should be an actor.” And I’ve never thought of doing anything else. I think it was just that first bit of kindness from someone and that first bit of encouragement that just guided me for the rest of my life.

BLANCHETT: That’s amazing.

BAZZI: I’ve always said if I ever won an award for anything, I’m going to thank Ms. Moyle.

BLANCHETT: Ms. Moyle. It’s a powerful moment in one’s childhood when you feel understood for the first time. You feel that you’ve found someone who can actually see you.

BAZZI: It also highlights the importance of good teachers. I always follow the debates around cutting education budgets, and I think, “These people are shaping young minds.” It’s amazing how much difference a good teacher can make in a person’s life. I’ll always go to bat for teachers because one of them certainly changed my life.

BLANCHETT: We should probably talk about Stateless. We were so fortunate that you were free and willing to be part of it. I think I drooled all over you in person, but I may as well do it again in public. I find that the heartbreaking openness that you brought to your portrayal of Ameer and your connection with Soraya Heidari, who played Mina, is so authentic and rich and painful to watch as a parent. What drew you to the character of Ameer? What made you want to be involved in the project?

BAZZI: I think it’s what I was saying before about roles. He was a fleshed out, real life human being who was representing a community. I was completely blown away from the script. You follow the journey of a man seeking safety for his family and it was relatable. I could look at my own life. I could look at the sacrifices my parents made. I could look at the wars that are never ending, really, and the humans that are always just seeking a better life for themselves and their families. I had to be a part of telling this story. My first day on set at the detention center, I was welcomed by the Afghan elders and they held a ceremony to say that they were overjoyed that I was the one representing their community. One by one, these background actors would come up and just share their plight and their stories. Nearly all of them had been in a detention center or a refugee camp in Australia or around the world, which really hit home just how important it was to put a face on something that’s more often seen as a statistic. We’re talking about human beings here. Fleeing home is something that every single person would do if they were put in that position. And I got all that from the script. I’m thrilled that you fought so hard and for so long to get it out there, because a lot of people wouldn’t have. Stateless has got such a wide reach and people are seeing that Australia has a checkered past, not just with our Indigenous people, but also with people seeking asylum.

BLANCHETT: It was a real process getting it off the ground, to find the right partners who were willing to realize the project in a non-compromised way, in a non-sensationalist way, in a deeply human way. Like you said, a lot of the background artists had actually been in detention centers themselves. In a lot of ways, you had lived some of this experience yourself, but a lot of the other actors hadn’t. So there was a strange hybrid of people with lived experience and people who were having to learn. And I’m sure it was a minefield for you on a daily basis, but also illuminating in a lot of ways.

BAZZI: Just knowing how important it was for them to be represented added pressure. But there’s nothing better than the pressure of wanting to represent people properly.

BLANCHETT: Part of the motivation of wanting to make the series is that the refugee and asylum seeker is pushed offshore in Australia, and pushed out of the national conversation. So it’s up to the space of drama to ignite empathy. I’ve been so gratified by the diversity of the responses, but how broad now that we’ve finally got an international audience that can find those points of connectivity with the refugee experience as well. We’re all obsessed with home right now, during the pandemic, and so many people are estranged from family, or their freedom is curtailed. That is at the core of the refugee experience. Maybe, in a way, the show has dropped at a good time, and people are more open to hearing those stories.

BAZZI: There was this study in Australia a couple of weeks ago about the mental instability of white people forced to quarantine in hotels when they come back home, and how this is affecting them in the long run. The response is like, “You’re talking about people in a 5-star hotel here. What about refugees that have been here for seven years, or 15 years?” I think it’s very timely that this should come during the pandemic because more people can connect to it and more people can start to question their own privilege.

BLANCHETT: Yeah, I mean, you’re in quarantine for two weeks. There’s a beginning, there’s a middle and an end to that experience, but indefinite detention causes real damage. I want to return to your incredible commitment on Stateless. I know we threw you in the deep end. The pre-production on Stateless was the most fast and furious I have ever experienced. You had about two seconds to learn Dari, which is a Persian dialect that’s spoken in Afghanistan, having not been a native speaker. How was that? I believe you worked with Soraya’s dad—he was your kind of Dari master.

BAZZI: I was lucky enough that once Soraya was cast and we were kind of building our family relationship, her father came forward and said that he was a Dari interpreter and translator. And so he was my shadow for the majority of the shoot. I got to know their family very well because of that. He would also sit during takes and I’d just see this thumb pop out from behind the monitors.

BLANCHETT: What did your Ma and Pa think when they saw the series? Were they pleased you became an actor?

BAZZI: They were blown away. My dad wanted to be an actor when he was younger but my granddad wouldn’t let him, so he went into medicine. So when I told him that I wanted to be an actor, he had one rule. He was like, “I’ll give you my blessing to be an actor, but you have to make it work. You can’t be a bartender who acts or someone that works in a café. You either try it for real and it fails and then you do something else, or you don’t try it at all.”

BLANCHETT: Oh, Jesus. No pressure.

BAZZI: It’s pressure, but it’s also support. It makes you go, “Okay, how can I make this work for me?” And I’m thankful to say that because of that and because of that passion and the drive to want to act, I’ve been thankful to never have had the need for another job in 17 years. And that’s all from the support and the pressure that my father and mother have given me. They really connected with the the story because they know that there are no villains, really. Everyone is doing what they think is right and everyone is trying to look for their own slice of life.

BLANCHETT: Now that the series has been launched internationally on Netflix, what do you hope people are going to take away from it?

BAZZI: The responses we’re getting are what I was hoping for. I wanted to start putting pressure on the political powers that be to let them know that this isn’t on us anymore. The Black Lives Matter Movement at the moment is a perfect example of people finally standing up and going, “We deserve better than this.” These asylum seekers deserve better than this. Our Indigenous people deserve better than this.

BLANCHETT: Something that I’ve heard over the last six months is just how tired people are of being patient and waiting for change. And I can only imagine what that experience must be like when you’re in indefinite detention, when you’ve been forced out of your home and you’re in limbo. I think it’s a very, very brutal and tiring existence.

BAZZI: Absolutely.

BLANCHETT: I’m so envious of your talent and I’m so envious of your beard. It’s so nice to talk to you. What’s next?

BAZZI: There was a movie I was in that was meant to come out in May that has been pushed to September called Measure for Measure. It’s myself and Hugo Weaving as rival gang bosses and my sister falls in love with his ward and I don’t like it.

BLANCHETT: Your performance in Stateless is an absolute calling card. I only wish that we’d had a chance to share the screen together. I hope we get to tread the boards together before we’re in adult diapers.

BAZZI: Any offer to tread a board or stand maybe to the side of you on a screen, I will take, Cate.

The last two episodes of podcast on Stateless which was hosted by Cate was also released.

Source: Interview Magazine