​cate blanchett on sexuality, feminism and woody allen’s “benign neglect”

The Carol actor has spoken out about the gender wage gap, the misreporting of her relationships with women and Woody Allen’s anxiety-inducing style of directing.

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07 November 2015, 5:10pm

Cate Blanchett has spoken out about the apparent misreporting of comments she made about her relationships with women. In an interview with the Guardian, the actor describes what really happened when she told a reporter at the Cannes premiere of her new film Carol that she had "personally had many relationships with women" -- meaning that she has friends, family and colleagues who are women.

"I also just played Mary Mapes, who's a journalist. No one asked me how long I'd been to journalism school. If I played someone who has an affair, I think a reporter would probably think twice before asking, 'Ooh, how many affairs have you had?' It would be a slightly delicate area," she says, "But there are no holds barred about asking me whether I've had relationships with women. And so I facetiously said, 'Oh yes, I've had many relationships with women' -- because frankly, who hasn't? Of course I said it in inverted commas. But the inverted commas didn't make the page".

The plot of her new film, Carol, recounts the true story of an affair between a wealthy, married society women, played by Blanchett, and a shop girl, played by Rooney Mara. Asked whether it is still taboo to depict same-sex relationships in mainstream American film, Blanchett answers by noting that, "the fact that we're talking about it means there are still barriers," before addressing the issues of inequality that face women in every industry:

"It's like the situation with women in film -- or, frankly, women in every industry -- not being paid the same as men. You have to keep it on the agenda. You have to keep it politicised," she says. "But I'm not very interested in agitprop cinema," Blanchett adds, "That's the realm of the documentary. That's where investigative journalism belongs. The problem is that when you represent a character in a same-sex relationship, it's like you have to represent them all. You become a spokesperson, which really isn't the point. When the time comes that we have a diversity of same-sex couples in film, then the problem is solved, I don't have to stand for everyone".

Speaking about her other films, Blanchett describes working with Woody Allen on Blue Jasmine as "brutal", saying his directing style is one of "benign neglect". "He came up to me and said, 'This is awful and you're awful.' As if he were talking about someone else, some other actress, and that maybe I could go and have a word with her. And then three weeks later it turned out that he didn't like the costumes, he didn't like the locations, he didn't like the scene. He said, 'You've got to help me rescue this movie.'" Blanchett adds that she had no idea how the film would turn out, saying she was, "sweating bullets", though she later claimed the Best Actress award at the Oscars for the role.