Cate Blanchett Honored at 2014 SBIFF

“….I am laughing because I am very uncomfortable or laughing because I shouldn’t be laughing.”

She’s played a Queen (Elizabeth) and she’s played a Dude (Bob Dylan).

Cate Blanchett at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

Cate Blanchett at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

Expect the unexpected with Cate Blanchett, especially after her Oscar-nominated performance in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine as the dysfunctional pill-popping former socialite Jasmine. The only pill she popped this evening was a mint she accepted from Rooney Mara, who sat behind her pre-event and who later made a presentation to her.

At a sold-out gala at 2014 Santa Barbara International Film Festival on the weekend, Blanchett was both the girl-next-door, as well as the elegant established international actress. The Aussie-based lassie held nothing back as she spoke to a SRO crowd at the Arlington Theatre where she received Outstanding Performer of the Year Award.

In the past five years (mostly pre-Jasmine), she has been the co-artistic director of Sydney Theatre Company. “I’ve heard about the excruciating casting process that Woody usually puts his actors through, but I had never even met him. I got a call which was very brief. He said, I’d like you to do this film. I read the script and knew I had to. He said, see you in San Francisco.

“When I read a script, I invariably find a role that was not meant for me,” the mom of three admitted. “But then I make it work. But in this case, it was an incredible story. This is a man who has made both Interiors and Bananas. You think, where is he going with this?

“The tone is the most difficult thing to navigate. It’s the different types of laughter. When I read it, I thought I am laughing because I am very uncomfortable or laughing because I shouldn’t be laughing.”

Like many actors, Blanchett does not like to view her work. And this was the case during a monumental montage shown of many of her pivotal roles. “I’m not a big believer of regret. And then I saw the clips. You never feel that you have arrived at anywhere in particular. Maybe that’s what keeps you going. It’s embarrassing. That’s why I am so grateful to do stage every night and you have to witness that exposure.”

The actress says there is no post-production process or ADR on a Woody Allen film. “He sets aside extra time when everyone has the ‘shoot’ energy and we can go back and revive something.”

Blanchett would have preferred to have shot the back story first. “In the end, you rarely get to shoot things in the order that they appear. That tension in the film is a good thing.”

Blanchett next appears in The Monuments Men and shoots Cinderella in London. She says of playing the villain, “She’s wicked, not evil!”

The actress revealed that she approached Woody Allen about his playing the role of Jasmine. He said it would have been too comic. But he did say he wanted to play a Mary Beth Hurt character. I think he wanted to play Jasmine!

Sue Facter specializes in writing about the luxury brand. Her work appears in USA Today, Los Angeles Times, and Women’s Day Australia, as well as on broadcasts and the web.

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