I was invited on an expenses paid trip to LA by Disney to cover the #CinderellaEvent in exchange for my posts of the trip experiences. As always, all opinions are my own.
I do have to say right off the bat that I knew my interview with Cate Blanchett was going to be wonderful. I was more nervous interviewing her than anything else because…well its Cate Blanchett. Meeting her is a dorks dream. And now she gets to go in the iconic list of Disney villains as the Wicked Stepmother of Cinderella. She was quite funny as well. She came in like regal dream and was laughing and joking with us.
Question: So did you go after this role?
Cate Blanchett: Yes, like a rabid dog and I didn't get the Cinderella role, though I had so many friends 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. They didn't quite know how to ask me, “Are you a little old to be playing Cinderella?” Yeah. A bit Bette Davis.
It sort of landed in my lap, actually. I was very lucky. When Sandy Powell and Dante Ferretti were on board, two of the greats who've created such extraordinary visuals in modern cinema and then Ken Branagh came on board, who's so fantastic with actors and with language; it was kind of a perfect storm.
See how hilarious is she? She can poke fun at herself for being an older actor (who is still quite young in my opinion) and keep us laughing at the same time. She was very complimentary to all of the other cast and crew as well. She is also very human. We try to put actors and performers up on pedastols but they are still just like us. Parents, children, aunts, uncles, they are simply people who inspire in larger in life roles.
On being asked what her favorite role was she told us that it was the dancing scene with Lily James and James Madden but then she stole my heart when she added:
Cate Blanchett: I think maybe being the mother of sons, I found it very, very moving, and every time I see it, I do cry a lot. I 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, 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,the age the way that we are. Well, I mean, I might be a thousand years older than you all, but, I found that really moving. I thought for him as a man to be curled up like a young boy…. I’ve had a lot of friends recently lose a parent, and whether you’re eighty or eight and you lose a parent,you’re always the child, and so I find that scene very moving.
I cried like a baby at that scene and am halfway to tears writing this now. It was such a moving scene. I did not expect it to happen though it is archetypal for Disney movies. Everyone knows Cinderella's parents died but I had hoped that the Prince would be spared one of his to parent them both. I love that Cate didnt try to mince words, she honestly told us that she was sad and it was a moving scene.
Question: How much fun was it to play a Disney villain?
Cate Blanchett: There's a lot of great Disney villains, and a lot of them are women and they always have fabulous frocks and fabulous hairdos. So it was an enormous amount of fun. You know, the, 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, you know, you share, you be respectful, you be generous, you be thoughtful, put yourself in someone else's shoes, and to play someone who can't play someone who can't do any of those things, you know, to have that as your avatar during the day was quite fun.
That is another reason to love her. Great hair and awesome villain dresses would be the reason why I would want to be a Disney villain. They have the most fun anyway. I always identify too much with the bad guy in films. I think its my fatal flaw. And I would want the most epic villain laugh.
Question: Your laugh in the movie, I found that very iconic. Where did you draw the inspiration for that laugh?
Cate Blanchett: Well, I was mucking around with a friend of mine on set and we were talking about what makes people ugly. 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! Or someone is amazing and you think, your politics are reprehensible, or you know, there’s something about them will give them away, and we were talking about dirty laughs. So I just did it, and she laughed, and then was a scene where we were at the gambling scene, I think, and I laughed, and Ken’s face was so revolted. He was really worried. He said, you’re not gonna do that, are you? I said, oh yes I am! I think his reaction made me wanna keep it. It was a way where, she’s got exquisite dresses, perfect makeup, and then she opens her mouth and that comes out. I thought that that was a bit of a red flag about what was to come.
Oh yes I am! That is my kind of lady. She is so funny and I absolutely adore her. She is right though. There is always something that tips you off about a person especially in film. I love the foreshadowing.
If you want to see Cate Blanchett ace her role as Lady Tremaine (the Wicked Stepmother) in the new Disney live-action Cinderella, it is in theaters March 13th! This is the perfect family movie. You can follow Cinderella on social media below and please also check out the hashtag #CinderellaEvent to see more news, interviews, and pictures from our trip. You can also check out our awesome group photo with Cate Blanchett below.