Cate Blanchett On How She Prepared For Role In The New Film Tár
She Says It Was About Characters Who Were Control Freaks.
Doane met the actor at Abbey Road Studios, made famous by The Beatles, where the London Symphony Orchestra was realizing a plot line from the movie, completing what was set up in the film. The character Lydia Tár had been preparing to record Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, which this orchestra did as part of a concept album that’s being released as a companion to the film.
Before they shot, Blanchett worked with conductor Natalie Murray Beale, who described the role of conductor as “such a mix of skills. You’re leader sometimes. You’re boss, you’re interpreter. And you have to be aware of 100 people in a room all working within a system.”
Blanchett studied how to use the baton (what’s called the stick technique) and learned how to use the orchestra itself as a sort of instrument.
She said, “You get this amazing electric charge. And in that space, I can understand how some people can think that they’re the king or queen of the world. And it’s really important that you allow that space to be kind of filled again with humility, and I think that’s what you witness in the character.”
It’s a provocative film that explores of-the-moment themes, such as #MeToo, and cancels culture.
Doane asked, “Your character has this interesting mix of appearing very powerful, but also very vulnerable.”
In her life away from the spotlight, she’s married to playwright Andrew Upton and is a working mom.
“Yeah, we’ve all got those dualities in us, don’t we?” Blanchett said. “And I think I we spend half of our lives in the middle of a confidence trick of pretending we’ve got our s*** together when, in fact, you know, we don’t. The world and being alive is full of nuance and gray areas. And I think that that’s where the film is really human and really provocative.”
“Do you have self-doubt when you …”
“Yes, right now I’m full of it!”
“Yeah, Of course. Of course. I mean, that’s why, you know, I think I probably keep working, in a way, to try and repair or make good for mistakes and missteps.”
“You’ve done some pretty spectacular performances.”
“Oh, but I’ve also done a lot of garbage. For everything that you do you think, Oh, that was all right, there are five pieces of garbage that you put out into the world. I mean, you never know what’s going to work. And you also never know what’s going to connect with an audience.”
An Escape That Showcases Her Remarkable Ability To Transform.
Clearly, she’s connected. But Blanchett, who got her start in the theater, claims being in the limelight does not come naturally. “It took me a long time to feel comfortable with being looked at,” she said. “It’s very uncomfortable! But even longer to feel comfortable being, quote-unquote, famous.”
For Blanchett, the work is a form of escape. “I’m not interested in playing myself,” she said. “I mean, I do that in my everyday life, which is why I go to work, because I bore myself rigid. I don’t want to play myself.”
An escape that showcases her remarkable ability to transform.