phone mail2 facebook twitter play
An Interview with Cate Blanchett

An Interview with Cate Blanchett

15 March 2017 |

She’s played a queen, an elf and a socialite in some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters, but actress Cate Blanchett is returning to indie cinema in Song to Song, Terrence Malick’s latest film about the Austin music scene. Here the former Brighton resident talks about the new film and her ambition to connect with the countryside.

“Recognition is important provided you don’t let yourself get too carried away by it. You need to keep your feet on the ground even though the attention can be flattering,” says Cate Blanchett, one of the biggest film stars of her generation, before adding coolly, “That’s one of the reasons I hate Twitter and selfies.”
 
Cool is the perfect way to describe the 47-year-old Aussie who comes across as both ice-maiden unapproachable and effortlessly hip. Lately the actress has been spotted in New York, where she is currently starring in a play – written by her husband of 20 years, Andrew Upton – wearing an array of outlandish fashion like leopard print coats and baggy leather trousers. She may always look composed and in control, but she rarely blends in, making her decade-long residence in Brighton seem all the more surreal.

Cate Blanchett
Cate Blanchett
 
Blanchett loved her time by the British seaside. So much so that when work required her to relocate her family back to Sydney, she remarked, “‘I miss Brighton enormously. There is so much I miss, including the rain. I miss the verdant countryside.” It was during the early years of their marriage, and before their children that herself and Upton had their four-storey Georgian home on the seafront. It’s easy to see why the city would suit Blanchett: her bohemian flair and easy elegance, and even her penchant for the odd extravagant purchase – like the £2,000 marble bathtub which needed to be lifted into the house by a crane – is all perfectly in keeping with a place that has its own Orient-inspired palace.
 
Having conquered the big screen over a career spanning 20 years, Blanchett takes a mixed-bag approach to her work these days, flitting from commercial projects – she recently completed work on Ocean’s Eight, the female spin-off in the billion-dollar Ocean’s franchise – to tenures onstage and more lo-fi endeavours like the soon-to-be released Song to Song, directed by revered filmmaker Terrence Malick. It’s a dream gig for Blanchett, who enjoys the free-form approach.
 
“Working with Terry is a fascinating experience. He often shoots without a script and without any prepared dialogue and he wants his actors to take a journey with him,” purrs the actress. The Badlands director also has a habit of cutting actors out entirely, regardless of their prestige, as he shoots vast amounts of unscripted scenes and assembles the film during the edit. But this free-form, narrative style can’t unsettle a pro like Blanchett, who says with a shrug: “He’s trying to break down the usual structures and rules about filmmaking. It’s like working with a poet as much as with a director – he describes his process as ‘going fishing’.”

Cate Blanchett
Cate Blanchett
 
The film promises ‘obsession’ and ‘betrayal’ as it tells the tale of two intersecting love triangles amid the creative soup of the Austin, Texas music scene, with guest appearances from the likes of Iggy Pop and Patti Smith. The locale may have felt familiar to Blanchett – Austin has often been compared to Brighton for its flourishing creativity, gaggles of indie kids with guitars and the SXSW Festival, which, like our very own Great Escape, is spread across multiple venues, turning the entire town into a giant mosh pit.
 
This talk of youthful pursuits begs the question of how Blanchett feels about nearing 50 in such a fickle and ephemeral industry. “I just accept it,” she says firmly. “Getting older happens to all of us and there are many advantages that come with age. I feel much more comfortable in my skin today than I ever have before. I am much more confident and secure in who I am than when I was in my twenties – I would never want to go through those years again!”
 
Now Blanchett has re-acquainted herself with Sussex, purchasing Highwell House in nearby Crowborough. The imposing 13-acre estate is rumoured to have cost around £3million and was once home to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It’s a fitting abode for a woman who portrayed Queen Elizabeth I with such finesse it scored her two Oscar nominations and who, when asked if she has any remaining goals, replies: “I’d love to become better at gardening. My mother was a wonderful gardener. She had a fabulous green thumb. I would like to cultivate one of my own! Combining that with a few more trips to Brighton to soak up the arts and culture would be just about perfect!”

 

Tell us what you think

You may also like

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Oxford’s History

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Oxford’s History

The city of dreaming spires is most commonly known for its academics, libraries and beautiful university grounds. However, down in the depths of Oxford’s history there…

An Interview with James May

An Interview with James May

He is recognisable around the world as Captain Slow, the methodical foil of first BBC’s Top Gear and now Amazon’s big-budget The Grand Tour. But it is…

Win Free Entry to The Canterbury Tales Experience

The Canterbury Tales - Win Free Entry to The Canterbury Tales Experience

We're giving away the chance to win free entry to an interactive tour through Chaucer's tales, meeting costumed characters and pilgrims along the way.

Top 5 Historical Attractions in Essex

Top 5 Historical Attractions in Essex

Forget all you think you know about Essex! With far more credentials than TOWIE and fake tan, Essex is home to some of Europe’s most fascinating…

An Interview with Alex James

An Interview with Alex James

Can you imagine Liam Gallagher espousing the virtue of a perfectly blended Coquetdale? Or Jarvis Cocker enthusing for hours on the subject of Wensleydale? Maybe…

Love in the Time of Tinder: Chris Sherwood Interview

Love in the Time of Tinder: Chris Sherwood Interview

The Institute of Art and Ideas (IAI) have a new event scheduled for the end of April. Love in the Time of Tinder is a…

Win a Family Stay at Marwell Hotel and Zoo

Marwell Wildlife - Win a Family Stay at Marwell Hotel and Zoo

Looking for a family weekend this summer? We’re giving away a family stay at the amazing Marwell Zoo’s on-site lodgings, the Marwell Hotel.

An Interview with Caro Emerald

An Interview with Caro Emerald

With a number one album already under her belt, the musical world is eagerly awaiting the upcoming third offering from jazz-pop songstress Caro Emerald. Before…

A Weekend Away in Arundel

A Weekend Away in Arundel

Surrounded by gentle English countryside and presided over by both a stunning gothic cathedral and a huge medieval castle, its not hard to see why…

Most popular

Win Two Tickets to the Brighton Fringe’s Spiegeltent and a Meal for Two!

Brighton Fringe - Win Two Tickets to the Brighton Fringe’s Spiegeltent and a Meal for Two!

Roll up, Roll up! We're giving away two tickets to a fantastic evening at the Brighton Fringe’s Spiegeltent, plus a delicious meal!
Win Free Entry to The Canterbury Tales Experience

The Canterbury Tales - Win Free Entry to The Canterbury Tales Experience

We're giving away the chance to win free entry to an interactive tour through Chaucer's tales, meeting costumed characters and pilgrims along the way.
A Guide to the Dutch Season at the Brighton Fringe

A Guide to the Dutch Season at the Brighton Fringe

We celebrate the best of Holland's cultural offerings at the Brighton Fringe.
A Guide to May Day in Cambridge

A Guide to May Day in Cambridge

The May Bank Holiday is upon us, so experience it Cambridge-style.
A Hangover Guide to Brighton

A Hangover Guide to Brighton

Here are the greatest hangover cures following a night out in Brighton.
Win a Family Stay at Marwell Hotel and Zoo

Marwell Wildlife - Win a Family Stay at Marwell Hotel and Zoo

Looking for a family weekend this summer? We’re giving away a family stay at the amazing Marwell Zoo’s on-site lodgings, the Marwell Hotel.
Top 5 Sunday Roasts in Nottingham

Top 5 Sunday Roasts in Nottingham

We've scouted out the best roasts Nottingham has to offer.
5 Things You Didn’t Know About Oxford’s History

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Oxford’s History

We've compiled 5 of Oxford's lesser-known historical facts.
Bristol’s Hidden Gems: Alternative Date Ideas

Bristol’s Hidden Gems: Alternative Date Ideas

Here's a selection of some of the best unusual date spots across Bristol.
A Weekend Away in Arundel

A Weekend Away in Arundel

We spend a weekend in the beautiful Arundel, West Sussex.

Your inbox deserves a little culture!