An Interview with Cate Blanchett


Q: What is the contemporary relevance of Queen Elizabeth's life? In some ways the battle she was fighting then is relevant to women today.
Cate Blanchett: It was interesting watching a character test out her emotional and political emotions while being torn between love and duty, on a more epic scale than one would normally experience it. It is important when you tell a historical tale that you find a modern reason for telling it, but Shekhur [the director] was never interested in historical accuracy when creating the movie Elizabeth. Rather, he was interested in weaving a fantasy around a historical setting, which gave us a lot of artistic license, allowing us to draw on things that weren't purely fact.

Q:How important was doing research on Queen Elizabeth, in helping you create the real her?
Cate Blanchett: I researched her letters because I felt that a lot of Elizabeth's biographies were colored by the historian's political perspective and how they felt about women. For me, the initial historical source is better to read because there is no barrier between the reader and the historical fact. The more I read about her, however, the more I realized just how large an impact she had on Britain. It's incredibly humbling as an actor to think of how you could you ever replicate that impact on screen.

Q:Was there a moment when you felt you captured a part of her true character?
Cate Blanchett: It's a gossamer thing, feeling that you've captured a moment. The minute that it comes, it goes away again. There wasn't any one scene, but overall, the filming was incredibly intense, so there was a heightened sense of chaos and melodrama and instability on the set, which probably did help my actinginstability is what characterized the beginning of Elizabeth's reign, after all. Of course, Queen Elizabeth, because she spent her childhood in the public eye, had a strong sense of performance. She relished an audience and was an incredible actress herself.

Q:What was your favorite scene in Elizabeth?
Cate Blanchett: I really liked the scene in the board room where Elizabeth was negotiating with her advisorsmen who had no real confidence in her abilityabout how to take back Scotland. Elizabeth did have an innate tactical sense, and it's always interesting to watch somebody rise to their capabilities.

Q:How did you feel when you turned yourself into the "Virgin Queen" at the end?
Cate Blanchett: As Elizabeth made herself increasingly remote, she actually walled herself up within her clothing. I couldn't move very well in the costume, but that would have been historically correct. We didn't show them in the movie, but a lot of her dresses were jewel-encrusted, and very difficult to move around in.

Q:When you play a character like Queen Elizabeth, do you wonder whether you would have been able to make the sacrifices that she did?
Cate Blanchett: I would never presume that I would be at that state, but one muses about that sort of stuff. I'll answer your question when I find myself in the same situation.

Thanks to Allied Advertising and Grammercy Pictures for reprint permission.


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