Female-led films no longer described as ‘hip stuff’

Cate Blanchett says women playing lead roles in movies have “stopped talking like it’s fashionable” but that the issue still needs to be kept “unfortunately politicised”.

The actress said “great progress” has been made in the industry, but there are other gender equality issues that “need to be addressed.”

She is one of the most celebrated Australian actresses ever, having won two Academy Awards, three BAFTAs, three Golden Globes and dozens of other accolades around the world.

Blanchett is one of the most celebrated Australian actors ever, having won two Academy Awards, three Baftas and three Golden Globes, among many others (BBC/Amanda Benson/PA)

Among her many roles, Blanchett has twice played Elizabeth I, a version of Bob Dylan, the leader of the elves Galadriel in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings series, and most recently, an internationally acclaimed composer and conductor in Tar, written and directed by Todd Field.

She won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2005 for her portrayal of Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator and Best Actress in 2014 for her part in Blue Jasmine.

During his acceptance speech for the latter he said that films with female leads should not be considered “niche”.

Appearing on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, Blanchett was asked by host Lauren Laverne if the industry had changed since then.

“At the time I said it, stories about films with women at their core were still being referred to as ‘women’s films,’ as if a female experience couldn’t be a human experience,” she said.

“And often there was an extraordinary life that was made into a film with a woman at the center, but the story around them didn’t hold the weight of the life.

“And I think that has really changed.

“Obviously, there are a lot more female writers, female producers – I still think the male/female ratio of crew members on set needs to be addressed.”

Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio world premiere – BFI London Film Festival 2022

During the BBC interview Blanchett talked about her family and career, as well as sharing memories of her childhood in Melbourne (PA)

He continued: “I think it’s stopped being talked about as a trendy thing, which is a big step forward.

“But it is felt particularly in the American film industry, that it is necessary to keep this unfortunately politicized.”

During the interview Blanchett discussed her family and career as well as sharing memories of her childhood in Melbourne and her father’s sudden death.

The full interview with Cate Blanchett on Desert Island Discs will air on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Sounds at 11am on Sunday.

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