Cate Blanchett Cinderella Interview | A Wicked Stepmother Is #CinderellaEvent. Post sponsored by Disney. All magical opinions are my own.Photo Credit: Louise Bishop of MomStart.com
Cate Blanchett Cinderella Interview | A Wicked Stepmother Is
Cate Blanchett. Me. Breathing the same air. To say this was a Cinderella moment come true…it was so much more.
My Cate Blanchett Cinderella Interview was nothing less than flawless. Her soft and captivating voice. Her elegance and beauty. And yet a devilish twinkle in her eye, the red curl of her lips and even an eloquent F-bomb…Cate Blanchett was no doubt the perfect choice for one of the most iconic Disney villains of all time. So what makes up an evil Stepmother?
Pull up a chair, a cup of tea, and step inside the mind of Cate Blanchett.
Evil Landed In Her Lap
Right off the first question, Cate Blanchett easily takes the stage with nothing less than humor. When asked if she went after this role, we were immediately laughing….hysterically.
“Yes, like a rabid dog, [LAUGHS], and I didn’t get the Cinderella role [as she puts on a fake pout], [AUDIENCE LAUGHS], though I had so many friends who asked me what I was doing in the summer, and I said, oh, I’m, in a live-action version of Cinderella. And there was a big kind of awkward pause. And they didn’t quite know how to ask me, [LAUGHS], are you a little old to be playing Cinderella? Yeah, a bit Bette Davis. No, it sort of landed in my lap, actually. I was very lucky, and when Sandy Powell and Dante Ferretti were on board, and they’re, you know, two of the greats that have 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.”
Following a question like that, we could already tell that this was going to be a fun interview. Everyone sitting back in their chairs a little bit easier, we dove into an amazingly insightful rest of the interview.Photo Credit: Louise Bishop of MomStart.com
Preparing for Her Role…and a Eloquent Swear Word
If there’s one person that could pull of a swear word with elegance and grace, it’s Cate Blanchett. You can tell how much she loved preparing for her Wicked Stepmother role as she passionately told us how everything starts pulling together.
“Often on film, we don’t get a lot of rehearsal time. We got a little bit with Ken on the script. But actors come in at various different times. So for me the most creative two parts of the process early on are your costume fittings and so working with Sandy who I’ve worked with before, but also, Morag Ross who is doing my makeup, and Kay Georgia who is doing my hair, and the four of us have worked together quite a lot. And we get to try things out because before you even utter a syllable, what you wear- I mean, we do it, we do this on a daily basis. You, we form unconscious judgments of people, you know, the way they smell, [LAUGHS], what they choose to wear, how you choose to present yourself. It’s a big part of who we are, and particularly on film because it’s so visual, obviously. Once I knew what those silhouettes were, I knew which bits I didn’t have to act because the costume was revealing those things. You could play against it. So that was an incredible amount of fun and then obviously, it gives you a sense of how the character might move, and you try those things out because the camera’s not rolling- no one’s looking at you. The other thing I find very creative is the camera tests. Because obviously the cinematographer and the director are looking for lighting effects and how will it affect on your skin or the hair- with wig color. They’re not looking at you, and I always like to see the camera tests because you can try things out. You can f*** things up, and think, oh, [AUDIENCE LAUGHS], I won’t, I won’t do that. Um, so that was a big part of the preparation.”
Finding The “Good” In Lady Tremaine
There’s so much more the Lady Tremaine, and that’s what Cate Blanchett is hoping to leave you with this modern day updated version of Cinderella. Finally getting to dig deeper into the Stepmother’s story, Cate Blanchett hopes that you will gain a new founded understanding of her character.
“There’s a lot of great Disney villains, and a lot of them are women and they always have fabulous frocks and fabulous hairdos, and so it was an enormous amount of fun. The wonderful message in the film, of course, is to have courage and to be kind. You know, kindness is a super power, and we try to teach our children, to share, to be respectful, to be generous, to be thoughtful, to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. And to play someone who can’t do any of those things, to have that as your avatar during the day was quite fun. I’m not in the film all the time, so I wanted to sort of try and chart a journey that was from an exquisite exterior- with a sort of affected grace that the stepmother became increasingly brash. And so it was just trying to calibrate that.
You finally get to hear the stepmother’s story, and it’s not the stepmother’s story. It’s the story of Cinderella. And so the stepmother is foiled for her, narratively, and they’ve both suffered an incredible amount of hardship and tragedy. This is a world still like today’s world where a lot of women don’t have agency; don’t have financial independence. And [Lady Tremaine] made a decision really early on that the world is a tough place, and the way to navigate your way through that is to graft yourself onto a man. And that’s what she’s imparting to her children. And the way that the stepmother has dealt with grief and hardship is to close down and to become bitter and jealous, and there’s a sense of entitlement. And yet Cinderella’s experienced those things, but she’s remained open-hearted and good. She’s much more glass half full. And I think that whether you’re a man or a woman, that tragedy does define- can define your character. You don’t necessarily like what the stepmother does, but hopefully you understand her.”
On The Stunningly Evil Wardrobe
There’s no hiding that the wardrobe in this movie is a character within itself. Cate Blanchett discusses her Wicked Stepmother wardrobe and why a gherkin pickle comes into the conversation.
“Sandy’s got very, very strong ideas. I mean, that’s what makes her Sandy Powell. But we talked really early on. We started emailing each other pictures that we found inspiring. Lighting references, hat references, drapes, fabrics, and we sort of- we found this pool of images that we were both drawn to. And the big outfits that Sandy began to make, which I found really exciting is when she pulled out the color swatches. Okay, we’re going for chartreuse, we’re going for green, we’re going for hot pink, and we’re gonna mix them all together. My favorite [outfit], well, there was a lot of green- my school uniform was green, so I tend not to wear a lot of green in everyday life. I call that dress that I wore at the ball, the gherkin. That was my least favorite, but everyone seems to like that one. I like the blue one. There’s a scene where the stepmother goes to see the archduke, and the poppy gloves and a blue hat. It was sort of, I think from memory, it had a bird on it. The detail in Sandy’s costumes are just extraordinary. The costumes, some were slightly more difficult to maneuver.”
Input on The Script and Changing The Ending
I think one of the most surprising parts of the interview was when Cate Blanchett was telling us just how much input she got to have on the script. I mean, c’mon, it’s Cate Blanchett. If she told me to jump off a bridge, I’d seriously consider. But being able to hear how her creative mind was able to change and inspire the script, up until the very pivotal ending….genius! So just how much input did Cate Blanchett have in Cinderella?
“A lot. I mean, I think there’s a sense that actors are sort of puppets that get moved around, but no, I’m always interested in input. My husband’s a writer, you know, and I come from the theater, so I have a great respect for the script. Often times, the line that you want to change is the line that you need to make work. And that once you make that line work, then you’ve actually- you’ve 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 neuro-linguistic 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. But 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. And 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 going to 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 super power. Ella has an incredibly generous spirit and she also closes out the film, which I think is great.”
Her Favorite Scenes of the Movie
To have been there for the most riveting moments of the movie, I would have cried too. Cate Blanchett shares her two favorite scenes of the movie, and why it’s ok to cry.
“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 music is beautiful, but also it was 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, I wept because it was beautiful to watch. But I think maybe being the mother of sons, I found it very, very moving, and every time I see it, I do- I’m a bit of a- I do cry a lot, [LAUGHS].
I [also] love the scene between Derek Jacobi as the king, and Richard Madden as the prince. 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, and they can, in a way, it’s harder, I think, to lose a parent at the age, the way that we are. Well, I might be a thousand years older than you all [LAUGHTER ENSUES]. I found that really moving. I thought for him as a man to be curled up like a young boy, and whether you’re eighty or eight and you lose a parent, you’re always the child.”Photo Credit: Louise Bishop of MomStart.com
Nailing The Wicked Stepmother Laugh…and My Interview Blunder
So this is the part when I tell you that I had my awkward star struck moment. The hand raises. Cate calls on you…and then…a bliss stupor. I was so caught up in the fact that Cate Blanchett was not only looking at me but talking to me that I stuttered, fumbled and reached a new octave in my voice when I asked my question. But my question (which ironically ended up being the last question of the interview), left a profound impact as we ended the interview. A deliciously evil note to leave you with, we talked about the inspiration behind the unforgettable Stepmother laugh in the movie.
“Well, I was mucking around with a friend of mine on set and we were talking about, [LAUGHS], we were talking what makes people ugly. And I said, it’s interesting, you can go out with somebody and think, oh my gosh, you’re so attractive, and then he or she eats, and you think, oh my god, you’re a pig [AUDIENCE LAUGHS]. Or someone is amazing and you think, your politics are reprehensible. Or there’s something about them that will give [their true selves] away. And we were talking about dirty laughs. And, and so I just did it, and she laughed. Then there was a scene where we were at the gambling scene, and I laughed, and Ken’s face was so revolted. He was really worried. He said, you’re not gonna do that, are you? And I said, oh yes I am! So I think his reaction made me wanna keep it. And it was a way where she’s got exquisite dresses, perfect makeup, and then she opens her mouth and that comes out. And so I thought that that was a bit of a red flag about what was to come.”
And what is to come? In just 5 days, Disney’s Cinderella, one of the most enchanting stories of all time will enter theaters on Friday. Whether you’re going for the classic fairy tale ending or the true story behind one of the most classic villains, a Cinderella story without the evil Stepmother is just not the same. Be sure to check out Cate Blanchett’s unforgettable evil role, impeccable wardrobe and her sinister laugh starting March 13, 2015.Photo Credit: Disney
And don’t worry, I was able to get over my interview blunder quickly. I got to have THE seat next to Cate Blanchett for our group picture. We had a “butt” moment together 🙂
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Disney’s Cinderella waltzes into theaters this Friday, March 13, 2015.
Have you been following along my #CinderellaEvent journey? Check out my own Cinderella Moments at the JCPenney Glam Ball and My First Red Carpet Experience. Stay tuned for more amazing of my Disney Cinderella interviews with Lily James (Cinderella), Richard Madden (The Prince), Director Kenneth Branagh, Costume Designer Sandy Powell, and Frozen Fever Directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee.
- Check out my exclusive interview with Cinderella herself, Lily James!
- Check out my exclusive Director Kenneth Branagh interview as we divulge the details and the story within the story.
- Check out my exclusive Frozen Fever interview as we get a behind the scenes peek with Directors Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee.
Are you excited about Cate Blanchett’s role as the Wicked Stepmother?
Disclosure ~ I was invited to attend an all-inclusive Disney media trip in exchange for this posting. All opinions are 100% my own. Be sure to follow Saving Said Simply for Disney movie updates, Cinderella moments and more!