Here’s something all we ink-stained wretches don’t have to worry about: the complexion of whomever we’re writing about.
At Sunday’s press conference for Elizabeth: The Golden Age, I distinctly heard a cameraman say, “She’s so white.”
“She,” of course, is Cate Blanchett, and apparently her lovely pallor becomes an issue for the camera. Especially if you’ve spent most of the week taping a parade of tanorexics.
Blanchett, while in many ways not a classical beauty, harkens back to the days when being pale was desirable (being a pasty gal myself, I keep waiting for those days to return) which makes her the perfect woman to take on the role of the virgin queen. Elizabeth I has been played by many women – my favourite is still Miranda Richardson in the second Blackadder series – but few can claim the distinction of having played her twice, as Blanchett has.
Not that she was easily convinced to don the wig and ruff a second time. “I didn’t feel like enough time had passed” between films, she explained. But “Elizabeth is endlessly fascinating” and eventually director Shekhar Kapur lured her back to his chaotic, free-flowing set.
Kapur comes off as an almost ego-less director, praising his cast effusively and claiming that “making a film is not about directing, it’s about allowing the film to be made. Not standing in its way.”
Also on the panel were Geoffrey Rush, Abbie Cornish and the yummy, yummy Clive Owen, who sadly didn’t speak much. Kapur had no qualms about speaking about him and his role as adventurer Sir Walter Raleigh, however.
“Clive was the ultimate Walter Raleigh,” he said. Raleigh was a Renaissance man and represented the ultimate in masculinity. “That was Clive.” And how.
Kapur said he saw Cornish’s role – Elizabeth Throckmorton, the woman who comes between the queen and Raleigh – and Elizabeth I as being the same person: the queen was the spirit and Throckmorton was the body. Raleigh was sent by the gods to separate them, according to Kapur.
This wasn’t the only time the story of an English monarch took on mythical overtones during the press conference: Kapur seems to see a lot in those terms.
“I wake up every morning and grapple with the mythology of my own life,” he said.
“That’s why you’ve got so many problems, Shekhar,” Blanchett deadpanned.
Well, don’t we all. I don’t have many that wouldn’t be solved by the gods sending me Clive Owen though.
Okay universe? Get on that.