I was completely transfixed when I saw Elizabeth, which is when I was first introduced to the extraordinary actress known as Cate Blanchett. When I think about her career, it’s amazing to me how diverse it’s been. She’s played practically every role imaginable from an elf to a queen to Bob Dylan to Katherine Hepburn. She’s different all the time and she’s a phenomenal character actress with a leading lady’s career. As I was thinking about Blanchett’s great roles, I started to recall some of the great leading roles by women in film that I think Blanchett could have played. The purpose of this post is not to suggest that Blanchett should have been cast over the actresses who actually played the parts, but rather to consider ten films that, if they had been made today or if they’re ever to be remade someday; Blanchett would be a great casting choice for:
1. Ellen Ripley, Aliens
I can imagine Cate Blanchett uttering the famous line: “Get away from her, you bitch!” with as much command and tenacity as Sigourney Weaver did. Blanchett has proven that she can get physical and kick ass in films like Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Hanna. I can easily picture Blanchett putting an arsenal together, riding the elevator down to the lowest level of the spaceship and raging against the Alien Queen.
2. Thelma or Louise, Thelma and Louise
We’ve seen her play a tough Southerner who gets caught up in some trouble before. In fact, her performance is the best reason to see The Gift. I think she could play either the naive housewife or the tough-as-nails waitress just as powerfully and memorably as did Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon, respectively.
3. Clarice Starling, The Silence of the Lambs
When Julianne Moore was cast as Clarice Starling in Hannibal, I thought she was a great choice to fill the big shoes left vacant by Jodie Foster. I think if Clarice were ever to meet Hannibal Lector again that Blanchett would be a great choice to play her. Blanchett portrayed crime reporter Veronica Guerin in the film of the same name with perfect feistiness, determination and bravery. Portraying the beautiful, intelligent, vulnerable and strong FBI agent would be a cakewalk for Cate.
4. Marion Crane, Psycho
Though already remade in 1998, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that this Hitchcock classic might be remade again. I have to give director Gus Van Sant credit for directing a shot-for-shot remake of the original, but the film doesn’t live up to the original, and I think it has a lot do with improper casting. Anne Heche was far less substantial as Marion Crane and she lacked the carnal quality that Janet Leigh brought to the original. I think Blanchett would do the role justice.
5. Beatrix Kiddo, Kill Bill Volumes 1 and 2
In Volume 1, Uma Thurman took down 88 of Japan’s deadliest Yakuza fighters with a samurai sword and graceful, merciless venom. In her role as Elizabeth I, Blanchett infused the monarch with outstanding sauciness, strength and smarts. She fought off assassination by the French, the Spanish, her rivals and even the Pope and outsmarted everyone to rule the throne for 45 years as one of the early female heads of state. Killing Bill is something I believe she would handle perfectly.
6. Trinity, The Matrix
When we first see Trinity, she defeats six policemen singlehandedly and then goes flying through a window and leaps across to the roof of the building across the alleyway. She is a tough as nails, ass-kicking heroine with crazy hand-to-hand combat and weaponry skills. I think it would be fantastic to see Blanchett play a physically intimidating woman. She held her own against Indiana Jones and fought with thieves in Robin Hood, so I can easily imagine her donning jet black hair and shooting things up to save Morpheus.
7. Catwoman, Batman Returns
Michelle Pfeiffer oozed sex appeal and sadism in Tim Burton’s dark and brooding sequel to his original Batman film. She exuded strange qualities that placed her outside of the mainstream and she was driven by festering resentments. Playing a woman filled with personal inadequacy, burdened by pain and punished for her choices is familiar territory for Blanchett who experienced this and more in her role as an adulterous wife having an affair with one of her students in Notes on a Scandal. Sure she’s not bitten by alleycats and she doesn’t fashion a fetishist cat suit out of leather, but she has one very powerful “she’s losing it” scene that demonstrates her remarkable ability to play a woman who’s become unhinged.
8. Alex Forrest, Fatal Attraction
Having commanded the big screen in roles as a strong single mother, a famed male singer-songwriter, a beloved screen siren and a frontier medicine woman, there’s little doubt that Blanchett would once again command the screen as an obsessed, unstable mistress hell bent on revenge.
9. Evelyn Mulwray, Chinatown
Faye Dunaway was luminous in her role as the woman in the private eye plot who comes to the private eye for help, but withholds the full circumstances of her trouble from him. Dunaway was pale, neurotic and beautiful, two of out three qualities that Blanchett also possesses. Feigning neurosis shouldn’t be hard for Blanchett considering her acting resume.
10. Annie Hall, Annie Hall
Diane Keaton delivered the performance of her career in Annie Hall. It is rumoured that Cate Blanchett may appear in not one but two upcoming Woody Allen films and it’s about time those two paired up. In the right Allen film with the right Allen script – think intellectual wit, smart cultural references and great dialogue – Blanchett would be magical. I can close my eyes and easily imagine her as the young, pretty, smart and scatterbrained Annie Hall.
What films would you cast Cate Blanchett in? Let us know in the comments section.