Woman, Warrior, Queen

Posted on: 06 December 2007 by Gareth Hargreaves

Cate Blanchett talks about playing a Queen again in 'Elizabeth - The Golden Age', and you can watch an exclusive preview clip.

Directed by Shekhar Kapur and starring Cate Blanchett, Clive Owen, Geoffrey Rush and Samantha Morton, Elizabeth - The Golden Age tells the thrilling tale of an era - the story of one woman's crusade to control love, crush enemies and secure her position as a beloved icon of the western world.

As Elizabeth's cousin Mary Stuart conspires with Philip of Spain to topple the throne, Sir Francis Walsingham, Elizabeth's trusty advisor works tirelessly to protect her from the many plots and conspiracies against her.

Preparing to go to war to defend her empire, Elizabeth struggles to balance royal duties with an unexpected vulnerability in her attraction to Raleigh.

Elizabeth The Golden Age posterInterestingly enough, the Oscar winner and prolific Blanchett was not immediately attracted to the idea of returning to the role. Kapur and Rush campaigned Blanchett over dinner, and it was only later that she agreed to portray the ruler once again.

Blanchett explains, "It helped, however, when I played Hedda Gabler in a production in Sydney, and then again 18 months later in New York. I had a sense that through returning to a role, you can delve deeper into it.

"I've learned much more about filmmaking since Elizabeth," the actor continues. "That said, it is a tricky role and there are times when I thought I’ve got it all wrong and I wanted to start again. I think that’s the testament to a really powerful, complex character - there are an infinite number of ways you can approach her…and because film is temporal, this is the way we chose to do it at the time. Elizabeth is a character who continues to fascinate people; it's why so many versions of her life have been told. What is revealed about her depends on where you shine the light."

The concept of appearances - literally, that Elizabeth I lived and reigned at the centre of a theatrical stage - is one of the things that intrigued Blanchett.

"Elizabeth explored denial, what one had to extricate from oneself in order to lead. She made herself into an icon, an image that she polished and honed for political ends…and I surmise for emotional protection. The journey of The Golden Age, in many ways, is about acceptance. What I have tried to do in this film is to create a sense of a hollow woman - without a companion, a husband, a child - searching for what replaces that void.

"Elizabeth had a vigilant sense of self-control," Blanchett continues. “She was very controlling about her image. What the film deals with, among other themes, is that as she began to age, her availability to be married and form alliances with other countries - a very powerful weapon - was ebbing away. Her physical attractiveness and ability to bear children was questioned. It deals with the political pressure, as well as pressure from within. Things that she’s kept suppressed for so long come flooding to the surface, especially in the relationship she forms with Raleigh."

For Blanchett, her relationship with Raleigh proved to be the most motivating aspect of stepping back into the role. As the script began to evolve, an exploration of a love triangle that develops among Elizabeth, Raleigh and Bess was brought to the fore.

Elizabeth The Golden Age Samantha MortonWatch An Exclusive Preview Clip
You can watch the exclusive preview clip 'Mary Stuart is accused of treason' by clicking on one of these links:

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