This week we go back to Cate Blanchett’s early career and another one of her “titular” roles, playing Irish journalist Veronica Guerin (2003). To discuss Joel Schumacher’s film, Murtada welcomes illustrator and designer Dash Silva to the podcast. This wide ranging conversation also covers Blue Jasmine, The Aviator, the accent work of Meryl Streep and a few of this year’s best actress awards contenders including Lady Gaga, Jessica Chastain and Kristen Stewart.
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What is the film about?
From Wikipedia: The film’s about Irish journalist Veronica Guerin, whose investigation into the drug trade in Dublin led to her murder in 1996, at the age of 37.
Who does Cate play? Veronica Guerin – another one of her “titular” roles.
How is Cate introduced? 2 mins in court defending herself as a reckless driver. It’s an exciting prelude before the film goes back 2 years to tell the story.
What year did it come out? 2003
- Guerin is a major figure in Ireland, the film came just a few years after her murder and tries to capture the legend.
- A clear good vs. evil narrative. Does it get at the complexity of the story?
- The portrayal of Guerin as dogged, focused, intimidating and intimidated, brave and frightened. Many notes for Cate to play.
- An odd choice for Joel Schumacher or is it? He seems to make many different genres of film. Best known for Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, he also directed a musical (The Phantom of the Opera), thrillers (8MM and Falling Down), melodramas (Dying Young and Flawless) and even a rom-com (Cousins). This is his Erin Brockovich.
- Since Cate does an Irish accent here let’s pit her against the Accent Queen; Meryl Streep. Irish (Dancing at Lughnasa), Italian (The Bridges of Madison County vs. Cate actual Italian in Heaven ), English (Plenty vs. Notes on a Scandal).
- Brief interlude about Cate’s performances in The Man Who Cried, The Aviator and Blue Jasmine.
- Oscar winner Brenda Fricker (My Left Foot) and current Oscar hopeful Ciaran Hinds (Befast) are in the cast. Plus a Colin Farrell cameo ( a meta joke since they talk about Eric Cantana who’s in Elizabeth).
- Brief mentions of Cate’s two films out now in release; Nightmare Alley and Don’t Look Up.
- This year’s best actress hopefuls; Lady Gaga in House of Gucci, Kristen Stewart in Spencer and Jessica Chastain in The Eyes of Tammy Faye.
What critics said at the time:
Cate Blanchett plays Guerin in a way that fascinated me for reasons the movie probably did not intend. I have a sneaky suspicion that director Joel Schumacher and his writers (Carol Doyle and Mary Agnes Donoghue) think of this as a story of courage and determination, but what I came away with was a story of bone-headed egocentrism. There are moments when Guerin seems so wrapped up in her growing legend and giddy with the flush of the hunt that she barely notices her patient husband, who seems quite gentle, under the circumstances, in his suggestions that she consider the danger she’s in and think of their child. – Roger Ebert.
Film within context of Cate’s career:
- 2003 was a busy year for Blanchett, see also The Missing, Coffee and Cigarettes and her 3rd time as Galadriel in LOTR:The Return of the King.
- 2003 was the last year of her wilderness era post Elizabeth (1998) when her movies didn’t seem to connect. The year after she appears in The Aviator and for the next 4 years she’ll have a great run.
- Murtada on Lady Gaga‘s performance in House of Gucci.
- Murtada on Jessica Chastain in The Eyes of Tammy Faye.
- New Yorker 2006 profile of Blanchett that mentions the refrenced anecdote about her Notes on a Scandal accent.
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