Warrior queen Cate loves a manly role


Last updated at 08:55 02 November 2007

Swathed in eye-catching costumes, Cate Blanchett is very much the female of her species as warrior queen Elizabeth I in The Golden Age - but the Oscar-winning star admits she has a thing about cross-dressing.

In Todd Haynes' wonderfully weird movie I'm Not There, Cate is one of several thespians who portray Bob Dylan.

Now she intends to appear in a production of The War Of The Roses staged by Benedict Andrews for the Sydney Theatre Company, and we could well see her as Hotspur or, and this would be fascinating, Falstaff.

"I see nothing strange about it being a cross-dressing production. In Shakespeare's day men played all the roles and I think we can learn so much about each other if we swop around now and again," the actress told me, laughing playfully.

She cited Elizabeth's Tilbury speech "I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman but I have the heart and stomach of a king", and said we should think of her Elizabeth as a combination of "Mrs Thatcher, Princess Diana and Elizabeth herself, which is more than enough for any man".

Cate explained that she had as much fun wearing male attire in I'm Not There (which is being screened in the BFI Times London Film Festival over the weekend) as she did wearing Alexandra Byrne's glorious gowns in The Golden Age.

Her outstanding performance as the legendary monarch makes her a front-runner in both Oscar and Bafta awards stakes.

Her rivals are likely to be Marion Cotillard for La Vie En Rose, Ellen Page in Juno (showing next week at the LFF), Keira Knightley, Laura Linney and Halle Berry for Things We Lost In the Fire.

What's going to happen though if she gets a Best Supporting Oscar nomination for the Bob Dylan film? Will it be for supporting actor or actress? I suspect actress, but you never know with Oscar.

This extraordinary actress would be making history if she won in both categories.

Next year Cate's not making any movies, but she pointed out that she has several being released including Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull and The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button.

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