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Old 12-29-2006, 08:23 AM   #1
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Cate Blanchett Appreciation Thread

I love her- love her looks, love her acting. She's a class act. Has anyone seen Notes On A Scandal? I didn't know there was a sequel to Elizabeth coming out next year.

There were two gorgeous photos of her with this article- the other is a closeup of her face that I can't find on the web site, unfortunately

Cate Blanchett is Queen Elizabeth, Elf queen, and everything in between
Katharine Hepburn, art teacher, tourist, married woman, Bob Dylan, chorus girl, psychic journalist, Queen Elizabeth, elf queen. What can't Cate Blanchett play?

December 29, 2006

NEW YORK -- Cate Blanchett looks impossibly serene for an actress who has spent the past year and a half hopscotching the globe.

Since winning an Oscar for her no-holds-barred portrayal of Katha rine Hepburn in Martin Scorsese's "The Aviator" in 2005 , the 37-year-old Australian native and married mother of two has transplanted her family to Sydney and completed films in the United States (Steven Soderbergh's noir-y "The Good German" and 2007's Bob Dylan identity-riff "I'm Not There"), England ( "Notes on a Scandal" and "The Golden Age," a sequel to 1999's "Elizabeth," also due out next year), and Morocco (Alejandro González Iñárritu's "Babel"). In January, she'll head down to Louisiana for an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's time-bender "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" -- her second film opposite Brad Pitt and her sixth movie in 1 1/2 years.

But despite her nonstop big-screen schedule, Blanchett -- who recently announced that she and writer husband Andrew Upton would be taking over as co-artistic directors of the Sydney Theatre Company in 2008 -- remains a theater geek at heart.

"I started in the theater and love the lingering feelings it supplies," says Blanchett, looking chic in a trendy jacket and black boots over fishnet stockings and her skin a luminous shade of alabaster. "It's easier to flip between film roles; I started 'The Good German' [three days] after finishing 'Notes [on a Scandal] ,' and both were hefty roles."

It's Blanchett's passion for the stage that led her to "Notes on a Scandal," which opened Wednesday. An adaptation of Zoë Heller's Booker Prize short-listed novel, it was scripted by "Closer" playwright (and friend) Patrick Marber and directed by noted British theater director Richard Eyre ("Stage Beauty"). The taut and twisted psychodrama pairs the actress with stage veterans Dame Judi Dench and Bill Nighy and proved to be a collaborative dream project.

"People who are primarily in film, they can maybe hold their cards very close to their chest and wait for the take," says Blanchett. "Whereas with Bill and Judi and hopefully myself, we just throw caution to the wind because we treat the set like it's a rehearsal room. We just get there and go, without the sense that somebody's going to judge you, or judge your performance, because each take is a process toward finding it."

As Sheba Hart, a boho art teacher whose illicit affair with a 15-year-old student (Andrew Simpson) is discovered and exploited by fellow teacher Barbara Covett (Dench), Blanchett finds her way by deftly morphing from discontented naïf to penitent mother and wife in a performance that has already earned the actress a Golden Globe nomination.

"There's a real fragility and desire to self-combust in Sheba that I really had to get my head around," says Blanchett. "Having sort of shied away from all these cases -- it's a circus and I find it horrific for everyone involved -- I obviously had to read about as many as I could to prepare. I wanted to see how women [like Sheba] interface with the media and how the story was told -- to truly know what the pressures were on Sheba and to appreciate again how taboo her trespass really was."

If Blanchett and Dench seem particularly well-suited for their roles, credit Marber, who was brought aboard the project by producer Scott Rudin and had both actresses in mind while adapting the script.

"Cate and I know each other socially [Marber's wife, Debra, costarred with Blanchett in a 1999 West End revival of David Hare's play "Plenty"], so when I was writing it -- and she knew I was working on it -- we'd bump into each other and she'd ask, 'How's it going?' and I'd say, 'Good, I wrote you a good scene today,' " says Marber. "Ultimately, she was just as I'd imagined she'd be to work with: Very professional, always knew her lines, and as a writer, that's all you really care about."

Blanchett, who was slated to play Alice, ultimately the Julia Roberts role, in "Closer" before her first pregnancy forced her to drop out, was equally enticed by Marber's vision and the prospect of working with him.

"What I love about the way he writes is that he doesn't shy away from the unpalatable sides of people -- he gives voice to the recesses in people's psyches that they try to keep hidden, which makes for fantastic drama," says Blanchett. "Some of the words he puts into the characters' mouths are simply ridiculous and completely absurd. The line I deliver to Judi about her being Virginia Woolf and getting that strand of my hair with a special pair of tweezers? It's delicious. I could go on and on."

Blanchett's favorite -- and simultaneously, most dreaded -- scene of absurdity was the final confrontation between Sheba and Barbara, which was reworked several times. ("In the first draft, it was a just a smack on the face and a couple insults," says Marber. "But after we realized the whole movie was building to this scene, this incoherent wail of aggression from both women, we juiced it up.")

"[In the novel,] once Barbara's spun her web and caught Sheba in it, [the latter] just lies flailing, waiting to be devoured," says Blanchett. "What Patrick has written for the film, and what we've created, is somebody who finds her spine too late, albeit in front of the paparazzi, and finally has the courage to face herself."

Blanchett's attachment to the theater is undoubtedly influenced by her lifelong interest in the art form, versus her relatively shorter career in film.

Raised in Melbourne by her schoolteacher mother (her father, a naval officer turned advertiser, died of a heart attack when Blanchett, the middle child of three, was 10), Blanchett first set her sights on acting while serving as the drama captain at Methodist Ladies' College. Though choosing to major in economics when continuing on at Melbourne University, the unhappy student left after two years to travel the world -- a trip that included a role as an extra in an Arabic boxing film while in Egypt, and resulted in a determination to enter Sydney's National Institute of Dramatic Art upon her return.

After graduating in 1992, Blanchett worked steady on stage until landing her first film role, as an Australian nurse captured by the Japanese, in Bruce Beresford's World War II-era drama "Paradise Road" in 1997. Star-making turns as a gambling-addicted heiress in "Oscar and Lucinda" opposite Ralph Fiennes and as the Virgin Queen in "Elizabeth" quickly followed, as did the then 29-year-old's best actress nomination, for "Elizabeth."

Blanchett continued delivering diverse performances -- including parts as a Russian chorus girl ("The Man Who Cried"), a Southern psychic ("The Gift"), an elfin queen ("The Lord of the Rings" trilogy), a slain Irish journalist ("Veronica Guerin"), and even, in a dual role, her own Goth "cousin" ("Coffee & Cigarettes") -- for the next several years, but it wasn't until her flashy, Oscar-winning take on another Kate and her recent prestige trifecta of "Babel," "German," and "Notes" that she's been openly invited to the A-list.

It's an invitation the theatrically minded and no-nonsense Blanchett isn't afraid to defer, however. After completing "Benjamin Button," the Aussie actress and her husband will wholeheartedly leap into their new roles as the co-artistic chairs of the Sydney Theatre Company, having already moved sons Dashiell, 5, and Roman, 2, back to her native country.

"It's already begun," says Blanchett. "We take over in 2008 and our first season is 2009. We're not trying to reinvent ourselves as directors. My husband's a writer and I'm entering the company primarily as an actress, but I am directing for the company next year, a David Harrower play called 'Blackbird.' "

Plus, Blanchett says with a twinkle in her eyes, "The STC has a clause in its charter that allows its artistic directors three months off a year to pursue their own creative projects. There's no doubt we'll be taking advantage of that."

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Old 12-29-2006, 09:18 AM   #2
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Cate Blanchett

I just saw The Aviator for the first time last weekend. Wow, did she nail that part. And this is coming from a Kate Hepburn fan.

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Old 12-29-2006, 12:33 PM   #3
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She's one of my favoite actresses. I've been a fan since "Elizabeth" and can't wait for the sequel
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Old 12-29-2006, 12:46 PM   #4
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She absolutely made the film Elizabeth for me - whenever i think of queen elizabeth now I automatically think of cate blanchett.
And I love her diversity, her role in the gift couldn't be much further from her role in Elizabeth and yet shes so convincing in both.
Rock on cate blanchett!
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Old 12-29-2006, 12:53 PM   #5
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Cate Blanchett is a brilliant actress...probably my favourite. I can't wait to see more of her. I had no idea she was so busy!

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Old 12-29-2006, 05:16 PM   #6
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I love Cate Blanchett. She's a great actress and very classy, the overall way she carries herself. Strangely enough, most of the guys I know think she's just plain-looking... whereas I would kill to look like her! LOL
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Old 12-29-2006, 06:20 PM   #7
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Originally posted by Pearl

She's one of my favoite actresses. I've been a fan since "Elizabeth" and can't wait for the sequel
I didn't know about a sequel to Elizabeth coming out! That is awesome, I can't wait.
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Old 12-29-2006, 06:36 PM   #8
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Amazing actress.

She has quite a masculine face but I wouldn't kick her out of the bed...
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Old 01-08-2007, 01:05 PM   #9
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What a combination, I love and appreciate Kate Winslet too


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