Oscar winning actress Cate Blanchett is currently staring in the new Rowan Woods film ?Little Fish?. In ?Little Fish? Blanchett plays a reformed narcotics addict, Tracey Heart, who is desperately trying to rebuild her life and make a career for herself.
In the following interview, Blanchett talks about working with her director friend, Woods; and the complex characters in the film?
?I think I probably heard about the project two or three years ago – and all good things take time! The thing I really loved about Rowan as a director was that after the huge success of The Boys – one of those Australian films that survive more than a year, people are still watching and talking about it – he wasn?t in any rush to make his second feature. We?d been speaking off and on about working together, and so it was just a matter of finding the right thing. He said that Jacqueline (Perske, writer) had written a script and he sent it me. I was really intrigued by it, I think primarily because of the characters. When you are dealing with supposed working class characters they are often clich?d, but this was a set of characters which didn?t fit into any particular socio-economic group ? they are almost a forgotten class of people.?
One of the things that attracted Blanchett to this film were the very real characters? ?These are people who have had exciting and hopeful dreams in their twenties, which have all been dashed on the rocks, and now they have to re-apprentice themselves to their parents and try and work out who they are in their thirties. This is a whole group of deeply uncool and unfashionable people who never get represented in cinema.
?I think that that it would be really easy with a project like this – it being Australian – for me to assume that I would understand Tracy?s world, so it was really important for me and for Rowan to accept Tracy as a really complicated character. I treated her like she was German ? I know as little about that culture as the culture that Tracy comes from. I had to find her voice, find her movements, find her place in the world. Over 18 months, Rowan would intermittently send me DVD research with interviews of people from Tracy?s world. There was an interview with a woman about Tracy?s age who ran a video shop and whilst she wasn?t an exact Tracy model she was a corner of Tracy?s existence.
Blanchett was determined to portray Tracey?s former addiction in a real unromantic way, some thing that took collaboration with Woods.
?What Rowan and I talked about a lot, as a recovered addict, is that she didn?t fit neatly into the NA model. She hadn?t gone down that sort of ?person who never recovers? path who then gets addicted to the group networks. She?s much more isolated and much more shut down than that. She?s recovered with her mother; de-toxed at home. There is a very strong sequence of scenes in the film with Lionel (Hugo Weaving) who is Tracy?s mentor and father figure – the Jesus to Tracy?s Mary Magdalene – the iconography continues! He asks her to score for him, and I decided that was her trigger: the getting on, that was her excitement.?
?It?s always quite nerve-wracking when you have to play a family member because families have such an unspoken series of complicated dynamics that span twenty or thirty years. How do you capture that with people you don?t know in a week or two of rehearsal, and bring all that history to screen? But when you?ve got Noni Hazlehurst playing your mum, and Martin Henderson playing your brother? it was just such a joy to do because they are incredibly playful detail actors and so easy to get along with.?
?Little Fish? hits cinemas July 21.