The Cate Blanchett interview took place at the luxurious Montage Beverly Hills. A hotel where loads of A-list celebrities stay to find their oasis in the craziness of Los Angeles. The hotel had a calm to it, a serenity and quietness that any busy celeb would come to appreciate after a long evening of publicity on the red carpet. From floor to ceiling, the hotel was styled in true old Hollywood vintage glam yet, it had a refined contemporary and modern feel. Still, I felt like I had arrived at Prince Charming’s castle. A perfect setting for the cast and filmmakers of Cinderella to be interviewed.
I arrived with twenty-four other social media influencers/bloggers for a 10:00 am interview with the film star. I first fell in love with Cate’s performance talent in The Lord of The Rings and on through The Hobbit. Though her filmography is long, I felt most connected to her talents in these films. Being a huge fan of the Lord of the Rings franchise, I have watched for over a decade as she became more than just a celebrity in an epic movie. She became a household face on my obnoxiously large TV. When you’ve spent thirteen years watching someone flawlessly execute a character in one of your favorite movies, they tend to grow on you.
I had an image of her before she walked into the room (albeit with elf ears). I’ll admit I was a bit nervous at the thought of her shattering my image of her flawless strength as Galadriel. I thought perhaps that by meeting her in person, It would somehow tarnish the element of the whole elf thing, making the trilogy of five books less important to me. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
-Christa Thompson, The Fairytale Traveler
The Cate Blanchett Interview: On Her Role as Lady Tremaine in Cinderella
So did you go after this role or?
Cate Blanchett: Yes, like a rabid dog, and I didn’t get the Cinderella role! I had so many friends who- they asked me what I was doing in the summer, and I said, “oh, I’m, I’m, um, in a live-action version of Cinderella”. Then there was a big kind of awkward pause. They didn’t quite know how to ask me, are you a little old to be playing Cinderella? Yeah. A bit Bette Davis, so yes it sort of landed in my lap, actually.
I was very lucky. With Sandy Powell and Dante Ferretti on board, and they’re, you know, two of the greats, who’ve created such extraordinary visuals in modern cinema. And then Ken Branagh came on board who’s so fantastic with actors and with language, so it was kind of a perfect storm.
What’s your favorite scene?
Ooh, well, I think the chemistry between Lily and Richard is palpable, and I wept like a baby, completely inappropriately and out of character when they waltzed for the first time. The the music is beautiful, but also it was a really big feat because Lily was cinched in so tightly, and that dress was like an armored tank, and he was in seven hundred layers of wool, and the dance was really athletic, and they acted like a dream. And the chemistry was palpable and I just wept because it was beautiful to watch.
I think maybe being the mother of sons, I found it very, very moving. Every time I see it I do- I’m a bit of a- I do cry a lot. But I love the scene between Derek Jacobi as the king, and Richard Madden as the prince. You know, because that’s the wonderful thing about the film, I think is that, you know, we try and shield our children from moments of grief and I know it from having lost a parent at the age of ten. Children are resilient. It’s harder, I think, to lose a parent, you know, the age the way that we are.
I thought for him as a man to be curled up like a young boy you know, and I’ve had a lot of friends recently lose a parent, and whether you’re eighty or eight and you lose a parent, you- you’re always the child, and so I find that scene very moving.
Did you kind of draw from anybody, I mean, to really get into that role? I mean, you’re not a villain, but you’re a mean person in the movie.
Well I think because we’ve all grown up watching it. I mean, I never consciously try and emulate anything although, I will steal from anything I see that works. I have no shame. I have no pride. I will steal from any other actor’s performance. You know, I’m a bowerbird that way. But I think as human beings, we do absorb those, um, you know, the stories that are read to us, the films that we see growing up, you know, the pieces of art that we get taken to see, the music that we listen to, and somehow, I mean, I have, I really do have early onset dementia.
But I can’t consciously remember anything. But some- that cultural wellspring, it does come up. You know, like, I love Bette Davis, I love Lucille Ball, I love, Gena Rowlands. You know, I don’t consciously try and reference any of that stuff, but the people that you’re inspired by will influence you. Certainly, we had the Joan Crawfordesque shoulder pads. So yeah I don’t know if it was conscious or not.
You just spoke about trying things out on the camera test. How much input did you have with the script or anything?
A lot. I mean, I think there’s a sense that actors are sort of puppets that get moved around. I’m always interested in input. My husband is a writer you know, and I come from the theater, so I have a great respect for the script, and oftentimes, you know, the line that you want to change is the line that you need to make work. Once you make that line work, then you’ve actually shifted from yourself, the line you find hardest to say.
It’s actually- so without getting too kind of complex, it’s quite a difficult neurolinguisic process to actually make someone else’s words sound like they’re your own. And so the one I find that you may find most difficult to make your own is often the one that will unlock the character. It was really important to me, and it wasn’t the case when I first read the script that Cinderella had the final line of the film. I said to Ken, so it’s a really great message. She comes in and says, well, I’m not gonna be rescued.
If this relationship is gonna work, he has to accept me for who I am, which I think is wonderful for young girls to say. I think it’s fantastic. And then there was a line at the end where he said, shall we go, and she didn’t say anything. And I thought, it’s not his story- it’s her story. And so then we added in this sense of forgiveness. I forgive you, and I feel like that’s a wonderful kind of conclusion to her superpower. Ella she has an incredibly generous spirit and she also closes out the film which I think is great.
Missed the Cinderella Trailer? See it Now!
This interview was done in a group setting. Not all of the questions in this interview were asked by me. I was one in 25 bloggers in the room. We all asked questions so I thought it best to share all of them here.