Cate Blanchett is calling out Hollywood directors for their attitudes towards female characters in film.
The actress spoke with The New York Times, alongside feminist photographer Cindy Sherman about the struggles with capturing female characters.
Blanchett, who has played everything from Katharine Hepburn in “The Aviator” to Bob Dylan in “I’m Not There”, has come to realize how important her relationship is with the costume and makeup team on sets.
“I’ve realized over the years that my relationship with the costume designer and the hair and makeup people is really profound,” Blanchett explained. “It’s profound to see what the character looks like, and therefore how a character might move or project.”
It’s an aspect of production she’s found that surprisingly male directors have little knowledge in.
“Those departments — so-called ‘female guilds’ — are often things that male directors profess to know nothing about,” Blanchett said, adding that directors often say, “‘I’ll just leave that bit to you.’”
In fact, she often finds herself at odds with directors about how to interpret her characters.
“I played Elizabeth I years ago, and the director [Shekhar Kapur], whom l love and respect, was always, ‘I just want the hair down, flowing in the wind,’” Blanchett recalled. “I said, have you seen the pictures of Elizabeth I? There weren’t that many like that.”
Blanchett theorized it came from a need for directors to feel “attracted” to these characters – something she hopes changes in the industry.
“But it’s because [some male directors] need to feel attracted. They can’t see that there are other ways — and not even in a sexual way — you can be alluring,” the actress said. “You can draw an audience into a character’s experience in many different ways.”