British Glamour August 2003
"I love work but life is more important"
Cate Blanchett looks like the ultimate ice queen. But
scratch beneath the surface of this cool beauty and
you'll find a down-to-earth Aussie A-lister who still
catches the bus. Miranda Sawyer talks to a woman of
mystery about secret dates, the truth about her
relationship and the ['happy accident that's changed her
If you were to judge Cate Blanchett by her looks, you'd
have her down as a cool customer,. So sophisticated she
makes Gwynnie looks like Billie, so elegant she wears
Galliano as though it were made for her (as, indeed, it
often is). Cate's Grace Kelly beauty and ice-maiden
style make her one of the world's most dazzling
red-carpet regulars. Collected, classy, chic.
If you were to judge Cate by her films, however, you'd
have more of a problem. She's played so many parts, in
so many ways, She disappears into characters, makes you
utterly believe she is them. Is she the beleaguered,
passionate lead in Elizabeth? The delicate yet fearsome
elfin queen in The Lord of the Rings trilogy? The
crazed, stroppy cow of The Shipping News? The tense
little rich girl of The Talented Mr Ripley? The
determined spy of Charlotte Gray? the courageous and
controversial journalist of her latest film, Veronica
Guerin? Perhaps, then mercurial, gifted and selfless.
The one thing you can't do is judge Cate by her real,
5ft 8in, 34-year-old, Australian self. She goes out of
her way to give nothing away. She's elusive and vague,
which means women like her, but we're not sure why.
Maybe it's because she's stunning, but not precious
about it. Because she's talented, but not bigheaded.
Because she's happily married, to a man no one really
knows. Because she's not caught up in the celebrity
game. Because she still catches the bus.
Whatever, like her we do. Which is lucky, because today
Cate is late. Still, the wait in the Art Deco foyer of
Claridge's in London is entertaining: old money sweeps
about, nose aloft, rattling its jewellery. And there's a
contemporary buzz, too: check the sharp-heeled PRs, the
shuffling TV crews, even little Ant and Dec, who skip
past, dolled up in dinky bow ties. In an upstairs suite,
George Clooney is promoting Solaris and Confessions of a
Just as I start to think about crashing the Clooney show
and ask him Cate's questions, in she strides.
Long-limbed, straight-backed, an elegant black spider in
her pencil skirt, boots and fishnets; her pale hair and
face glint like glass. Cate is glamorous, but unlike her
image, she's not perfect: she's all elbows and knees,
and there's a whacking great hole in her tights.
Claridge's looks up, sniffs, then continues its
Upstairs a few moments later, Cate is full of apologies.
She's off to the US tomorrow to work on The Missing, a
Western directed by Ron Howard. And when Cate moves, her
family moves, too: husband Andrew Upton, a fellow
Aussie, and their baby son, Dashiell, are leaving their
London home for life on the new Mexico prairie. (She
tells me she lives
in Islington; many people swear she has a beach-front
Brighton home. When I ask her she flatly denies it.)
After six months away from work, Cate's excited, but
"It was such a palaver getting here today!" she rattles,
in her soft tones. "I was in Paris yesterday then back
for a meeting that went on until 11pm. I woke up at six,
because we're moving and packing, and Andrew had a
meeting, and there was no food in the house, and I had a
personal trainer round, but I had to say, 'Can we just
do one set of exercises 'cause I've really got to go?'
then I did more packing, dashed off, and now I'm here.
I'm so tired, I'm just happy to sit down.
As Cate speaks, she's very animated. For a tired person,
she has a lot of latent energy Her voice is calm,
though, and once she settles, her body language is
controlled. Still, when questions get too direct, she
twists into odd shapes and fiddles with her boot zips.
Is it important for you to have your family on set? "We
always go together. Andrew and I have been apart for a
film a couple of times and we hated it. You have to plan
around the relationship. It's the number-one priority
and it doesn't work unless you prioritize it. I've just
had six months off, hanging out, because Andrew [he
works in film and theater as a write, editor and
director] had a play on in Sydney. It was great, looking
after the baby, seeing friends and family. I love work,
but life is more important."
Dashiell, named after the crime writer Dashiell Hammett,
was conceived while Cate was working on Charlotte Gray
and was born in December 2001. He wasn't planned, but
Cate says, "He's the happy byproduct of a happy
marriage." His parents married in 1997 - "before all
this" - in the Blue Mountains outside Sydney. The bride
wore a white MaxMara coat, since donated, by mistake, to
a thrift shop. Cate and Andrew are madly in love,
despite hating each other when they first met working in
a Sydney theatre (he thought she was aloof, she thought
him arrogant). "He's an amazing person," gushes Cate,
who says she can barely remember a time when she didn't'