The Academy Award-winning actress reveals what it was like working on her latest film Cinderella
Cate Blanchett stars as the Stepmother in Disney’s upcoming Cinderella, a live action retelling of the classic fairytale.
The film is directed by Kenneth Branagh and hits NZ theatres on March 26, with a star-studded cast that includes Helena Bonham Carter, Richard Madden and Lily James as Cinderella herself!
Check out what Cate had to say about filming, her co-stars and her ‘wicked’ character:
Q. Tell us what drew you to the project.
Cate: I love fairy tales, and “Cinderella” in particular, because they deal with complex issues that face children. So many stories that children are told now make them feel like they are heroes who can overcome anything and that the world is a perfect place. The timeless fairy tales, like “Cinderella,” tell us that the world can be a nasty place and require a good deal of courage and resilience to survive. This is a story where kindness is a super power, which is something Ken Branagh and I talked about early on that I found really exciting. Plus, I have three boys so I’m aware of all the films out there that have male superheroes at the fore, so I was thrilled to be part of the telling of a female-centric story.
Q. How was it playing such an evil character like the stepmother?
Cate: I loved it. Like a friend of mine once said, ‘At a dinner party I’d rather be sitting next to Lady Tremaine,’ so it was great fun to inhabit such a colorful role like this. But Ken Branagh decided early on not to go for high camp, which you can absolutely do in a fairy tale, and to find the core of truth to the character instead, so it was quite a balancing act. No one is purely evil…everyone’s got a motivation. The stepmother is what happens when good is perverted: it often turns wicked. I was interested in exploring what makes someone wicked. Through little vignettes in the film, you get a glimpse that this is a woman who has tried to start her life again, and becomes intensely jealous of the deep affection that her new husband has for his daughter, Cinderella. She’s not as beautiful and not as kind and as good as Cinderella. When Cinderella’s father dies, the financial pressures, the panic and the jealousy grow…that is what makes her wicked.
Q. How did you come up with the look of the character?
Cate: Costume designer Sandy Powell and I drew inspiration from images taken in the 1940s of screen legends like Marlene Dietrich and Joan Crawford – women that we still admire today – who had a tremendous sense of danger and mystery about them, especially the dramatic way they were lit.
Q. Tell us about Lily James’ performance as Cinderella
Cate: Lily is a blithe spirit…she glows, and I think she is absolutely perfect for the role. She is like a breath of fresh air and is totally unaffected. And there’s a generosity of spirit to her as a performer, which is really rare and which requires incredible discipline, focus and depth.