Cinderella brings the classic Disney tale to new audiences in a live action retelling, yet remains faithful to the classic story, which was all something that really appealed to Cate Blanchett when the prospect of playing Lady Tremaine, Cinderella’s evil stepmother, was brought to Cate’s attention. Blanchett told Reuters that she found the idea of playing such a well-known villain far more challenging than one might expect. Cate said that making the character of Lady Tremaine in Cinderella involved much more than simply understanding that the character is evil. The key to Blanchett’s portrayal was in Lady Tremaine’s motivations.
“It’s very easy to play someone who’s just bad, but then hopefully understanding what makes someone tick. I think an exploration of jealousy amongst women is an interesting thing to explore on screen.”
Overall, Cinderella is a well-known story. Almost every child and adult knows it from beginning to end. Cinderella‘s story with her “they lived happily ever after” ending is all too familiar, so what appeal is there to retelling the story at all? Blanchett talked with The Wall Street Journal about what made this Cinderella project enticing to her as an actress and what makes it such a big draw to audiences worldwide.
“You have a director at the helm who understands why, for centuries, we would continue to want to see and want to perform Hamlet. We all know how it ends. We all know the story. But when you see a great production of it, you feel like you’ve been told the tale for the first time. There’s something really robust about the fairy tales, I think. … There’s something really pure about the re-telling and, I think, ultimately very satisfying.”
Blanchett also expressed her love for the variety in the female dynamic seen throughout Cinderella’s characters. Cate admitted that she likes seeing so many women in the Cinderella story to both idolize and revile. She found those aspects all-inclusive in her own character in a very unique way. Ms. Blanchett enjoyed portraying Lady Tremaine, because she exemplified the traits that all women are socialized to emulate — kindness, generosity, honesty, etc. — and yet turns on her own step-daughter in the most treacherous and sinister ways.
Speaking of female roles in Hollywood, Cate responded to the subject of the lack of intriguing roles for women in major motion pictures. Ms. Blanchett said that the very fact that such questions comes up in current interviews proves that Hollywood hasn’t evolved as far as it should have in that respect. Cate went on to say that the problem doesn’t lie solely with Hollywood. The base issue of equal pay for equal work, Ms. Blanchett responded, needs to be addressed in all industries across the nation. Blanchett feels that Hollywood is a mirror for society as a whole, so, seeing a problem in films and television, is representative of a larger problem.
“I think women still have to talk about it… there’s still not gender equality in any industry,” Cate told Reuters.
In another interview, Lily James discussed her own Cinderella role and responded to her thoughts of the criticism she’s received for her performance in the film.
[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images Entertainment]