Cate Blanchett’s name rolls off most people’s tongues as though she were someone we knew really well. In one form or another of her myriad characters on celluloid – whether she’s playing the Queen of England or a society girl with money issues – there’s just something forever relatable about her.
In her latest role, as the evil stepmother in Kenneth Branagh’s new take on Cinderella, that “I just feel as though I know her” feeling is ever more present.
Blanchett’s Lady Tremaine is indeed all of our stepmothers rolled into one. She’s fussy; full on with the criticism; fluffed up to the nines (and wants us to never be comfortable in our glad rags); and ferociously finicky when it comes to marrying her daughters off.
She’s also disturbingly admirable: speaking in a calm, collected voice, even when angered, and insistent she’d doing what’s best for her daughters when win/winning benefits for herself.
A seemingly refreshing role for the now mother-of-four (after recently adopting a baby girl with husband Andrew Upton), Blanchett’s three sons, Dashiell, Roman and Ignatius apparently delighted far more in her playing Galadriel in Lord Of The Rings than as the treacherous Lady Tremaine.
Perhaps it’s an attachment to envisioning their mother as a kind, loyal and benevolent figure rather than as a stepmother consumed with jealousy, or perhaps this remake is just not their cup of tea, one thing’s for sure: the kids think you’re a bit too wicked in this flick, Mum.
While the Australian beauty seized the villainous role and struck a balance between playing a classy socialite and spiteful mother, she has described the character of Lady Tremaine as “very empowered, but not in a very right-on sort of way. And she rides a mean horse.”
Living in a male-centric household, until the recent adoption of Edith Vivian Patricia Upton, Blanchett also notes that “it’s very easy to play someone who’s just bad, but then hopefully understanding what makes that someone tick. I think an exploration of jealousy amongst women is an interesting thing to explore on screen.”
As Cinderella wickedly stirs up screens around the world, Cate Blanchett has told media that she is intending to take a break from filming this year to spend time with her family.
That said, she’s already asking herself, “What’s next? The devil? I’m up for anything. And I never say no to anything.” Andrea Manno & Antonino Tati
Pictured above, Cate Blanchett doing her darnedest Joan Crawford in ‘Cinderella’ which currently screens nationally.