Just a Minute With: Oscar winner Cate Blanchett

Thu Jan 1, 2009 6:38am EST
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By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters Life!) - Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett has earned a reputation for challenging roles -- from screen legend Katharine Hepburn in "The Aviator" to the iconic singer-songwriter Bob Dylan in "I'm Not There."

In her latest film, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," the 39-year-old Australian star portrays a dancer at several stages of life as her character, named Daisy, ages more than 80 years on screen.

She spoke of Reuters about her penchant for taking risks as a performer and the experiences she drew on for her work in the film, which co-stars Brad Pitt and earned five Golden Globe nominations.

Q. You seem to go out of your way to tackle tough, demanding roles. Have you always been an adrenaline junkie?

A. "I guess I must be. I trained to work in the theater, which is the ultimate adrenaline-junkie job. You go out every night and risk having egg on your face in front of 400 to 800 people. ... It's taken me a long time to get used to being watched by the camera. And I think that the more I do, the less self-conscious I've gotten.

"Every job I take, I think, 'Well, I've got nothing to lose.' And I think the more you do, the more important it is to say that, because you can think somehow that you're protecting your position and your reputation, and that way lies really minuscule choices. But I've also been lucky that people have asked me to do the bizarre and the unusual."

Q. You're not a dancer by trade, but is it true that you had some childhood dance instruction?

A. "Yeah, I studied ballet, but also in drama school the most powerful training for me was the movement training. And look, if I had my way over again, I'd be a Butoh dancer (contemporary dance form originating in Japan), or I'd desperately try and finagle my way into working with (modern dance choreographer) 'Pina' Bausch. So, (in "Benjamin Button") I worked with Michelle Johnston, who was the choreographer."   Continued...

<p>Australian actress Cate Blanchett poses for a portrait in Beverly Hills, California December 7, 2008. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>