In the first week of filming for Blue Jasmine, her first movie with director Woody Allen, Cate Blanchett feared she might be fired. It was just a simple scene but Allen wasn’t happy. ”He said, ‘It’s awful, it’s not working’.”
Blanchett is sitting in a Sydney hotel room recalling the eight takes required to nail the scene in mid-2012. ”I thought, ‘I’m really not going to last the week’.”
She had watched Robert B. Weide’s Woody Allen: A Documentary during the flight to the US for filming. She knew there would be little small talk on set; that Allen is unforthcoming with direction and likes to do scenes in one take. Perhaps, she thought, he was unhappy with her work.
She need not have worried. Later it emerged Allen hadn’t liked anything about the scene, which he dropped in the final cut. Blanchett, playing the character Jasmine French, was not the source of his worries. In July he told Variety that it was ”like having an atomic weapon or something, to get an actress like that”.
Critics are claiming that 44-year-old Blanchett’s performance as the self-absorbed, Xanax- and alcohol-addled Jasmine, a woman who has lost everything – her philandering white-collar fraudster husband, her status as a New York society princess, and her mind – is her most extraordinary yet. The chatter is that her first major role since stepping away from the position she shared with her husband, Andrew Upton, as artistic director at the Sydney Theatre Company will earn her an Oscar nomination, at the very least, for best actress.