60 Minutes: Cate Blanchett Acting Philosophy & Blue Jasmine Review

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60 Minutes: Cate Blanchett

Two weeks before the 2014 Academy Awards, 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl profiled Cate Blanchett, a frontrunner in the best actress race thanks to her role in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine. She grew up in Australia and came up in the theater. She is praised for her stage roles, but she also seems to have fun on the big screen, no matter what or whom she is taking on.

Her resume includes the queen of England, and elf, an albino, and many more memorable characters. Her range was called extraordinary, but Blanchett said that she is just a plain canvas who is not vain about her appearance. She has also portrayed Bob Dylan, but she said she does not think of herself as a great actress, simply someone on a journey.

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She starred as screen legend Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator, which netted her a best supporting actress Oscar. Cate said that she worked with a voice coach to master the memorable voice. But don’t ask her to do an accent on the spot, because she told 60 Minutes that she cannot do it.

60 Minutes: Cate Blanchett Blue Jasmine Review

60 Minutes: Cate Blanchett Acting Philosophy & Blue Jasmine Review

Down-to-earth Australian actress Cate Blanchett talked to 60 Minutes about her acting philosophy and the fear that motivates her to explore her characters. (s_bukley / Shutterstock.com)

Cate Blanchett starred in Blue Jasmine, a Woody Allen film in which she played a Ruth Madoff-type character who lost it all. Her character recalled the humiliation of waiting on her former socialite friends in her job as a shoe sales clerk.

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“Like a lot of us, our lives are built on a fictionalized sense of self, who we aspire to be rather than perhaps who we actually are,” she said of the character. How did she research the role? This time, she watched Morley Safer’s 60 Minutes interview with Ruth Madoff, Bernie Madoff’s wife, which taught her a sense of shame that she used in the role.

One review called her performance “complicated and demanding.” However, she struggled with Allen’s minimal directorial style, and she prefers to hash out a role, getting clear feedback along the wa. Woody Allen told her she was “awful” after the first day of shooting, without providing any advice for her to improve upon.

60 Minutes: Cate Blanchett Wedding

Cate Blanchett broke through in 1998’s Elizabeth, as the queen of England. That performance led her to other memorable characters, as she avoided starring roles in pursuit of interesting roles. A college dropout, she pursued the stage, landing her first major role at the Sydney Theatre Company, co-starring with Geoffrey Rush in David Mamet’s play Oleanna.

She recalled in her 60 Minutes profile that she was almost fired, and Stahl speculated that she is motivated by fear and terror of losing a role. There is also the Trapeze Effect, because she could always fall when you are doing these high-flying acting tricks.

She and director/playwright Andrew Upton decided to get married on a whim. They did not get along at first, but after a poker night together, things changed and they fast-tracked a wedding a few weeks later. “You leap off at the same moment, and I think it’s all about timing,” she said, calling their marriage and family a partnership.

60 Minutes: Cate Blanchett Sydney Theatre

Blanchett and Upton both share a love of Australia, and she prefers to get away to her home whenever she is not working. Stahl got to take a walk with her on the coast, but 60 Minutes cameras were kept out of her home and away from her children.

When the couple moved to England in the 1990s, her movie career was taking off. But in 2006, Sydney Theatre invited the couple back as co-artistic directors. She said that it was a quick decision for them both, and they shared the workload for six years, getting to spend more time with family and enjoying a love of theatre.

Blanchett learned to oversee wardrobe and props as an administrator, working with Upton to hire talented directors and generate buzz for the theatre, even taking A Streetcar Named Desire to New York in 2009.

60 Minutes: Cate Blanchett Acting Philosophy

Blanchett starred as Blanche DuBois in the iconic play, but she admitted that eight shows a week were grueling, causing her hair to fall out. She did her own makeup backstage for Uncle Vanya, which she was performing when 60 Minutes visited her. But her husband said she does not take her characters home.

60 Minutes learned that she is not a method actor. “It has nothing to do with me,” she said. “Therefore, you don’t carry it home, because you’re not going through some personal, inward self-analysis every night, that could eat you away. You’re giving it away to the audience, and hopefully, if it works…it’s their problem.”

As of December 2013, she decided to leave the Sydney Theatre Company and focus more on her children’s schooling needs. She is making some career decisions based on how long she might be away, and whether her kids can travel with her.

60 Minutes: Cate Blanchett Future Career

Blanchett may be shattering the myth that there is no work for women in their 40s, and she has seven future feature films lined up through 2015. She does not consider acting work to be difficult, but she told 60 Minutes that it can be complicated to juggle work responsibilities with family, which many could empathize with.

She said that the hardest part is gaining confidence and starting something new. “You have to just say, ‘I’m just going to start. I’m ready, I’m open. Let’s go,’” she said.\

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