I veryone wants to work with (‘ate Blanchett. In the last year the '1" Australian actor has hopped from " H Hollywood to liurope to New Zealand

. for all three Lord ()flllr’ Rings films and back again. On one occasion she finished work on one film and caught a plane the same day to the next. As Blanchett says: ‘There hasn't been much down time.‘ You can just imagine Hollywood producers meeting their casting agents and yelling: ‘Those damn Brits have got Blanchett for that Second World War French resistance movie.‘

Indeed. the Brits do have Blanchett for that resistance movie: Charlotte Gray. based on the popular novel by Sebastian Faulks. directed by the star‘s old friend from ()sear Aral Lueimla. Gillian Armstrong. and produced by Douglas Rae‘s Ecosse Films. Faulks and Rae wooed Blanchett away from Hollywood for the title role in their film. Those crafty boys took her to lunch on her birthday.

Faulks had previously delivered a copy of his novel to Blanchett while she was at the Almeida Theatre in London rehearsing another wartime drama. David Hare‘s Plenty. Faulks says: 'I mentioned [to Rae] that if the production was able to get (‘ate Blanchett to play Charlotte. I would see that

as perfect casting.‘

Rae was happy enough with that. ‘Cate Blanchett is the best actor of her generation.. he says. ‘She is highly intelligent and a chameleon bringing an entirely new character to each role.~

Blimey. And there‘s more. Armstrong. who came to the film late in its production schedule. says: ‘When I first heard about Charlotte Gray. before I had even read the script. the key thing that excited me was that (‘ate wanted to do the film.‘

()K. enough with the accolades; can anyone live

up to all that gushing praise'.’ Well. on the strength of

her performance in (‘lzarlutte Gray. Blanchett can. She‘s in pretty much every scene and so it‘s her who holds the film together. Her Charlotte Gray. at young Edinburgh woman who is recruited by the British Army and dropped into occupied France to spy for her nation. is at once emotionally restrained. petrified with fear and yearning desperately for her missing-in-action RAF pilot boyfriend Peter Gregory. There‘s nothing straightforward about this leading lady.

'l was really curious about the level of flux she was in.‘ says Blanchett of her latest screen alter ego. ‘and how people perceived her to be. say. aloof and self-possessed and a clear thinker. when in fact she was in a lot of emotional turmoil. She's an exceptional human being. but she‘s also a very

14—28 Feb 2002 THE LIST 13