Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 21st 2015 Contents B52
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, May 21, 2015
Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara
are sitting in a bright room, with the
Mediterranean all around, atop the
Palais des Festival, the hub of the
Cannes Film Festival. As the stars of
Todd Haynes 50s lesbian romance
Carol, they ve been at the very centre
of Cannes both because Carol epito-
mises the positive female focus of this
year s festival and because few films
have been more lauded here.
The megawatt attention for the pair
is ironic, in a way. In Carol, Blanchett
and Mara play women drawn irresistibly
together, but who must cloak their
surging affection for one another in
subtle, hidden gestures, keeping their
love unseen to a conservative, male-
"There s something Romeo and Juli-
et-esque about it," Blanchett says of
the film. "There s a universality to the
love story that moves it out of the niche.
It s about the perspective or the feeling
of being in love for the first time. And,
yes, it s not immaterial that there are
two women at the centre of it. But at
certain moments, it kind of is."
The long-in-development Carol is
finally out in the open after more than
a decade of attempts to adapt the 1952
novel by Patricia Highsmith (The Tal-
ented Mr Ripley, Strangers on a Train).
The book, originally published under
a pseudonym, has long been a classic
of gay literature.
By the reception at Cannes, Carol
seems sure to be in the Oscar hunt this
year after it opens December 18, par-
ticularly for its sumptuous period pro-
duction and the raved-about perform-
ances of its two stars.
Chemistry between Mara and
Blanchett is essential for the film to
work, but the production schedule
didn t allow any time for rehearsals. It
was either going to be there, or not.
"A lot of people ask me, what did
you do to get the chemistry? " says
Mara. "But chemistry, I don t think is
something you can create. You either
have it or you don t."
As a couple, they are seemingly quite
different. Blanchett, who plays a mar-
ried but separating woman with a child,
is a regal, 46-year-old Australian, a
hugely respected force of theater and
film. Mara, who plays a timid depart-
ment store clerk infatuated with
Blanchett s Carol, is a petit but tough
30-year-old who broke through in
David Fincher s The Girl With the Drag-
But Blanchett says their chemistry
came from their firm faith in the project
and a shared seriousness.
"I feel we re both quite practical and
pragmatic about the work," she says.
"We re both pretty unshockable. There
was a little, Don t worry, don t be
Mara, though, initially turned down
the film before Haynes and Blanchett
came aboard. The script, by Phyllis
Nagy, first came to Mara while she was
recovering from the attention of Dragon
"Everything I read, I was like, Oh I
can t do that. I ll be terrible in that. I
don t know how to do that. I don t
know who that is. I felt like I couldn t
play anyone," says Mara. "Now looking
back on it, I must have really hated
myself to turn it down."
For Haynes, Blanchett and Mara add
to a filmography littered with powerful
female performances---Kate Winslet in
Mildred Pierce, Julianne Moore in the
also 50s-set Far From Heaven and
Blanchett, herself, as Bob Dylan in I m
"I m very lucky to be able to have
had some great chances working with
women and on stories about women s
lives that I think are under-represented
in independent film and Hollywood,"
Haynes said in an earlier interview. "I m
proud of that mantle, if that s what I m
Carol may have taken years to finally
arrive, but at its world premiere at
Cannes, its timeliness was obvious.
"There s no point making these
things if they re just museum pieces,"
Blanchett says. "Todd is able to have
one foot in that time frame and then
be so ahead of what we feel is con-
Blanchett, Mara discuss
lesbian romance of Carol
Actress Rooney Mara, right, and actress Cate Blanchett pose for photographers
during a photo call for the film Carol, at the Cannes Film Festival on Sunday.
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