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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  July 24, 2013 12:00am-1:01am PDT

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>> rose: welcome to the program. tonight, cate blanchett, the australian actress, in a new film by woody allen called "blue jasmine." >> it's also a wonderful australian playwright who unfortunately passed away, nick enright, he -- i encountered him at drama school. he was a very, very dear and special man, he said to us -- he went around the table in our first year and said "why are you here? what do you want to -- why are you an actor?" and no one says it but he said -- we came up with selfish reasons and he said "i think acting is revealing to people what it means to be human." and it is a human thing. and that's why i maybe keep doing it. because it's -- i don't know, humanizes me. >> rose: cate blanchett for the hour. next.
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captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose.
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>> rose: cate blanchett is here, she is an academy award winning actress. in "theive a i can't tellor" she was kate hepburn. in "i'm not" she was bob dylan and in "lord of the rings" she was queen of the elves. this movie she calls a woman on the verge. it's been called "most complicated and demanding performance of her movie career." her's the trailer for blue jazz minute. >> what do you think? >> i love it! you spoil me so. >> why not? who else will i spoil? >> he met me at a party and swept me off my feet. >> i fell in love with the name jasmine. >> i have never been to san francisco. i'll be staying with my sister. >> jasmine! >> look at you! your place is -- homey. your flight was bumpy. the food was awful. you'd think first class -- >> i thought you were tapped out. >> i'm dead broke. the government took everything. >> all i can say is you look great. >> now who's lying?
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>> is there anything you want that you don't have? >> beautiful! >> when your sister had all that money she had nothing to do with you. now that she's broke all of a sudden she's moving in. >> she's not just broke. she's all shook up. >> she told me all about you. one minute you're on top of the world, the next he's a crook. >> i'm sure this is a big comedown from what you're used to. >> you'll be happy to know i lost every cent of my own money. >> your husband was a slick operator. i was there a week, i knew the guy was hitting on a girlfriend. >> i can't -- i can't. >> you choose losers because that's what you think you deserve and that's why you'll never have a better life. >> she doesn't care about you. she's a phony! can you please not fight in here? i don't think i can take it, for some reason my xanax isn't kicking in. >> anxiety, nightmares, a
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nervous breakdown, there's only traumas a person can withstand before they take to the street and start screaming. >> rose: i'm pleased to have cate blanchett back at this table. welcome. >> thank you. >> rose: good to see you. tell me about jasmine. >> jasmine. well, there's a broken flower. >> rose: (laughs) >> she's a very combustible cocktail of rage and guilt and is one of the most epiincompetent fant cysts on the part of woody allen. >> rose: an actor's delight? >> yes, confused and complicated. she's broken and delusional which is always fun to play and someone with an incredible sense of -- a romanticized sense of sell. >> rose: an east cider, married. husband turns out to be not only having affairs but a fraud and so the empire collapses and she flees to san francisco. >> yes. >> rose: with her sister but not of the same parents. >> yes. >> rose: and what does she find there?
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in her sister and new surroundings? >> i think she finds reality which she finds incredibly difficult to deal with. i mean, there's a long tradition in american drama if you think about tennessee williams, women in particular who walk that terrifying border between fantasy and reality and who. >> rose: that's what she does in san francisco? >> and in a search for a husband. >> rose: and finding fault with her sister's choice of men. >> yes. yes. which -- it's not -- it's a series of revelations. i think she had no idea from jasmine's point of view the depraved existence that her sister was living in. >> rose: i don't know whether this has relevance or not but
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because of blanch dubois who you became very familiar with. >> (laughs) yes, i'm acquainted with blanch. >> is there a kind of homage to women and understanding difficult women or women who are complicated in all those plays that somehow seeps into this character on the part of woody who wrote it? >> yes, if you look at the pantheon of female characters that he's created and the opportunities he's created to actors they're extraordinary and jasmine was an extraordinary opportunity for an actress and thank goodness he presented that opportunity to me. >> i heard him say he's looking for help. >> forget it! it's too menial. i'd go nuts. i want to go back to school. i want to get my degree and become -- you know, something
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substantial. i can't just do some mindless job. i was forced to take a job selling shoes on madison avenue. so humiliating. friends i've had at dinner parties in our apartment came in and i waited on them. do you have any idea what that's like? one minute you're hosting women and the next you're measuring their shoe size and fitting them erica bishop came into the store she saw me, i was so embarrassed. she slipped out thinking i didn't see her. i saw you, erica! >> rose: did you talk about women and talk about how women think and talk about -- >> did i talk to woody about the character? are you kidding me? >> rose: i want you to say "of course i did.
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>> 97% of his direction comes in this because he's -- >> rose: in the text. >> like bergman he's a brilliant dramatist. of course he's an incredible film maker. unique and special and rare but it's all in the text and he will tell you when it's not working but he doesn't necessarily point you in the right direction and i think give than this is the guy who made bananas and interiors and bananas and louis c.k. as well as sally hawkins, wonderful theater animals you think "which way is this going to fall?" i read the script and thought "this is absurd and hilarious." >> rose: comedy and drama. >> and three weeks in woody said to me "you know, this is a serious movie." i thought, geez, i wish you'd said that to me on day one. but that's what makes the films so edible, i think. >> rose: edible? >> yeah, such a strong sense of audience. >> rose: you can chew on them, digest them --
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>> yeah, they're parts to swing a cat in because he walks that line between the absurd and the painful. >> rose: between absurd and painful. see, this is what i love about you that. just comes rolling out perhaps with not having thought about it before. it is between absurd and painful. completely. >> life is a -- an incredibly difficult thing. >> rose: (laughs) really? i thought otherwise. do you find anymore a particular interesting period in his own life? he's 77 now. he's created a whole series of interesting women characters. you've played some of them. >> yeah. >> rose: do you find him at an interesting period in his own life looking back a bit? >> looking -- yes. well, having not worked with him before i mean i only know the myth i don't know the man so well. but he's voracious. he's there are the south of france doing another one. >> rose: he does one a year. >> martha graham said this amazing thing and maybe that's the part i relate to woody as
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someone who has an artistic creative life. she said this fantastic thing about that there's no -- there's never as an artist there's never any satisfaction. there's just this eternal constant rolling -- this is not a direct quote. dissatisfaction and a blessed unrestfulness that keeps you going. >> rose: so what's the search in >> the search i guess is for that are -- like being on a monkey bar. happiness. this whole cult of happiness. it's very rare. satisfaction doesn't exist and that you hope to glimpse it. you hope to be a moment which you think "that's not bad." >> rose: the reason i ask about whether he's looking back. because he's now musing aloud about that maybe if he had it to do over -- and he says anybody who doesn't think about regrets and know they made bad choices along the line, this is not in touch with themselves, do you agree with that? >> well, i'm not a big believer in regret.
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because -- >> rose: but not regret in dissatisfaction with where you are now. but saying yes, i made another choice, i might have made a bad choice. i might not sit here moaning about it but i did it. >> i think that's the awareness that time is finite. >> rose: i was surprised that he said he might have become a novelist. >> or a plumber or whatever he says. >> rose: no, not a plumber. you think that's simply what you sometimes do, just deflect the question by saying something -- >> no, but when you're asked that question you think, well, i would have liked to have done that and there's no time to do that now. but, you know he does -- he's absolutely prolific and i mean he -- you do feel on the set with him he's completely engaged and simultaneously disengaged from it and i think that's what creates a unique texture in his films. >> rose: share the conversation of woody allen when you're making the movie of which you're
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principal character. what's for dinner tonight? >> well, often he does have to rush away to a dinner date so there's time pressure. not because you want to get it right but because he has a life to lead. he's silent and i don't know how to work unless it's in dialogue with the director so i would just ask him questions and he'd answer them. >> rose: interestingly? >> yes, often cryptically. i was asking about a moment and he said oh, it's -- he always said i think it's a painful process for him to listen to his own words back, particularly in the mouths of other actors and he was talking about what he'd written and he said "it didn't look like much and it actually wasn't." >> rose: (laughs) >> so that's the way he talks about things. you know if he's moving on it's
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-- then you're on -- you know, you're on to something. >> rose: he's a man who likes women? >> i think he does. i think he really does. >> rose: well, someone like you wouldn't knee? >> i think he's fascinated by their complexity. how brittle, how bitchy, how extraverted they seem to be. but i did say to him that he seemed to have such a great empathy perhaps is too sentimental a word but an understanding of jasmine. i did say to him, i said "had you considered playing this role?" and -- because when i asked him i said "how would you play it, mr. allen?" and he said, well -- and he got quite blanch-like." >> rose: you called him mr. allen he? $and then he would just reel off a whole set of circumstances and possibilities because he was saying it through -- analyzing
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it through his own prism as a performer. so that's the way we ended up speaking about it. he said he didn't -- he did think seriously about it when i said "why didn't you play jasmine?" and he said "it would have been too comic." but he did seriously consider it. >> rose: do you think you understand men as much as he understands women? >> >> i'm not a writer. >> rose: but you're an interpreter. >> i've played a few traditionally male roles and i think the great role, great male or female roles transsend gender. i think i relate to men quite well and i have a lot of male friends so -- >> rose: and you work with your husband. >> i work with my husband which is a horrific notion for a lot of -- (laughs) they think how can you do that. >> rose: has the sydney theater company experience made you want to direct? >> i've directed theater.
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if the right film came along -- i'm very impatient and i understand how to produce theater and get it up. i understand how to reduce the budget and not creatively compromise the work. but the idea of getting to first base and having to retreat from that because of finances and before you get on to set there's five years of your life gone and then you make it and you have to sit with in the post and then publicize the bugger! that's a lot of -- >> rose: to people like me. >> that's not too hard. but that is -- you have to really love that material. whereas there's an immediacy to theater and you know whether it's connecting to an audience. you can give the actors note and you can watch it evolve and grow. it's a very organic beast and there's something much more terrifying for me about directing a film because it's --
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the object is some complete and finite. >> rose: you seem to have an artist's soul. >> thank you. >> rose: well, if you weren't there you would have been a dancer -- >> i thought you were going to say a dentist. >> rose: well, you were a dentist assistant. but you would be an artist. you would be a painter or a dancer or -- >> oh, look -- >> rose: you would not think of yourself as being a nuclear scientist. >> no, look, that's beyond my ken. >> rose: or neuroscientist. >> but look at you. let's turn the tables. you went to duke university and you were premed and law then you went to journalism. >> i did. >> so no one's path is linear. but it's also having the courage to not -- you can -- and, look, it's also -- i think the landscape, the educational landscape has changed so profoundly in the last sort of
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40 years. >> rose: how so? >> the idea of having a renaissance education. i could start off in an arts degree, arts economics degree and think now i'll transfer to architecture or try that out for a moment. and maybe the american system does allow you to have a few different majors but you have to get through the door in the first place. when i studied at university it was just when they were introducing high school educational phase and of course that's gone up. there's very few people who've ever reached -- >> rose: i hear they're about ready to hit another zone in terms of online education. that's number one. number two, online we can see the most extraordinary visual things as well as go inside the greatest libraries in the world. so that gives you the capacity to absorb a new experience,
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unleash the power of different people can explain things so there's a capacity now because of the extraordinary world we live in to assimilate more things ever possible before. and that's exciting about an evolution of a mind and a life. >> that does democratize education. >> exactly what it does. >> but say for example with a medical degree. you cannot teach bedside manner online. >> rose: you can never do that. >> you cannot import compassion. you are learning to attend something and there's the group mind of if students as well as your individual mind and that's really important. >> i think bedside manner has something to do with what every great teacher has and it's somehow being able to connect individually with every student and every member of the audience
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and that has something about reaching inside of you with respect to your own humanity and being able to take that out and somehow connect. what i do is the engagement is as important as the question so that you have somebody that wants to wrestle with the question rather than simply defect in it with certain varying degrees of skill. >> absolutely. you made the right decision. >> rose: (laughs) i think so.c68íe >> look, i'm trying to cheer you up a little bit. >> rose: and damn it, you are! as you always do. so back to jasmine and just to woody for a second. why is it everybody wants to work with woody? with mr. allen? why? is it by reputation? is it a kind of word of south? >> i think it's both. i think actors have voraciously
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consumed his stories, the characters and there's a whole mythology around the way he works and who -- he's such an enigma. so well known but so unknown. but i also think a lot of -- well, i can only speak for myself but there's a terror in it. you're attracted to what you think -- >> rose: yeah, you've said that before to me. you go where you're frightened. >> and the rumor afwhundz if he doesn't like you than he'll recast. >> rose: he'll recast around you or he'll recast the film. >> it's called being fired. >> rose: so people come until to do a film with him and it doesn't work? >> it doesn't work. and because he doesn't -- you know, he's not interested in trying to put band aids on things. if it's not working he'll jettison it. he's btal about that.
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if it doesn't work, cut it. that's not working. he's not one of those directors who goes in and wants to break the moment open and help an actor get there. you're either there or you're not. and i think there's -- >> rose: i hired you because you're an actor, thank you very much. >> exactly. and that's what clowning is. you can get -- sort of protected from that sort of interface with the terror as an actor and i think that's what woody presents you with. it works or it doesn't work. >> of course not. what makes you think that? >> well, someone made a remark. >> what remark? >> they saw you having lunch with her. taking her hand (what crap! who told you that? i know who, it was that vacuous troublemaker lydia, am i right? >> were you? >> it had to be lydia because i was having a business lunch with amy -- >> did you take her hand? >> are you nuts? do you think if i was having an affair i'd be crazy enough to
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have it at the four seasons. >> i don't know. sometimes you drink at lunch. maybe you were high. it's obvious she's got a crush on you. >> honey, you're building a case. >> because if you were having an affair i would be pretty upset. >> well, i'm not so don't get that temper up, i don't like that side of you. >> rose: what are you scared of? >> oh, lots of things. spiders. >> rose: i don't mean insects. i mean about life? >> i don't know that i am -- >> rose: failure? certainly not failure. >> oh, i'm terrified of failure. but maybe it's a perverse compulsion to push myself toward it to -- and i experience it all the time. i'm constantly disappointed with what i do. >> rose: are you ever satisfied with what you do? >> well, no, i agree with martha graham, it's an internal dissatisfaction. otherwise why would you keep -- >> rose: so you die saying "i never quite got there." >> yeah. >> rose: it's okay, though. >> yeah. >> rose: because the journey is what it's all about. >> well, exactly. exactly.
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and i've been so -- as you have done, i didn't set out to get there. >> i didn't either. and i couldn't even imagine being here. you can't imagine -- wherever it is you know it's a process. you know it's a journey. but you could never imagine being where you are now. >>. no. >> rose: you didn't think of yourself when you first began to think of acting running the sydney theater company. >> it's where my husband and i got our first jobs. no, and not at all. and that's -- and it was so out of the ballpark of what we were expecting to do in the next five years that we had to say yes. >> rose: i may have gotten this wrong but i think you once said to me -- is his name upton? >> yes. >> rose: he said to you -- i think you said this to me after you hit it, after you were a star, "for go for it, kid, you've got five years." (laughter) >> yeah, he did. >> rose: (laughs) >> and enjoy it snoochlt up they've allowed you in the room,
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have at it. >> enjoy the five minutes. >> rose: (laughs) >> andrew's fantastic. he's a great leveler. but he's also living life while it's there. often i think i can -- i don't know whether he's a pessimist, i'm a mess mistic on mist but i'm always thinking this is it. it's over now so i better','z t enjoy it too much because i'll be disappointed. >> rose: how about the three boys? >> they're heaven. >> rose: heaven, is that what it is? what's heaven? >> well, i think it's the smell of a young boy. although my 11-year-old is reaching puberty so that's -- that smell ain't too heavenly, let me tell you. they're great. when we were filming "blue jasmine" they came to san francisco and they're a great leveler. i mean,er think -- >> rose: they're the ultimate leveler, aren't say in
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>> i mean, every woman's relationship to what she does for me having children has forced me to become much more economical in the way i approach my work and much more pragmatic. >> rose: meaning more efficient? meaning -- >> all the things that i thought were utterly essential and pleasant. the reading around, the researching, the mulling over i have to do in my sleep now. >> rose: because there's no time. and the time awake is dedicated to them in part because it brings you such joy. >> yeah. and, look -- >> rose: and experience. >> i think it's been great for them -- for us to run the theater company because backstage, theater people, it's a very playful place, very inviting place far child to be. >> rose: do they think about the question like mom and dad "i too want to be on stage." >> if you're a $or lawyer probably you'd be thrilled if
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your child went into -- but. >> rose: if you were captain of industry it seems better to have your son or daughter be there. >> it's expected. but you know the difficulty and the lack of terrain and the uncertainty. >> rose: someone said to me is that they basically took this tack. if your child or children wanted to go into the profession, theater, do everything that you could to dissuade them because if you are unsuccessful they're made for it. >> yes. yes. >> it was my experience, i never considered one could make a life out of it. i thought it was more a hobby but it has to be a vocation because there's a lot of
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disappointments and. >> rose: i just can't imagine you as a woman with disappointment. >> well i know i am quite -- not so much in other people -- >> rose: in yourself. what could you be disappointed about? >> what am i disappointed about? i'm disappointed in this cup of coffee right now. >> rose: i knew you were going to say something silly. you deflect the question if you don't want to deal with it. >> i'm not very deep, charlie. >> rose: (laughs) yes, you are. i know because of language. your command of language suggests to me you're that deep. >> i only speak the one. >> rose: at a time. one at a time. i understand. >> my mandarin's a bit rusty. >> but cantonese can be good. have you tried cantonese? >> is it easer. >>. >> rose: i -- it's really hard. i had a hard time with mandarin but cantonese after having -- >> rose: >> do you speak mandarin? >> rose: no, of course not >> you read it? >> rose: no, i lie about it.
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>> my oldest son is learning mandarin. >> rose: truthfully? >> yes. >> rose: why? he's 11! school. >> rose: oh, school, the school they -- they select mandarin for him? >> yes, mandarin is the one they're doing in primary school. they learn it orally. >> rose: so does he have anybody to speak mandarin with when he comes home? don't you have a -- a nanny or something that speaks man lynn? >> no, that was my mandarin. (speaks chinese. "my good son." >> rose: what does that mean in man lynn? >> no, that's it.
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i just did it. the i don't know what it means. >> he seems to respond to it so it's okay. >> i think it means "my dear boy." >> rose: your what? " >> >> "my dear boy. but i might have just ordered -- >> rose: will you always live in australia? >> who knows? how can we say always? we fantasize about having a sabbatical. >> rose: from the theater or from life? >> from life! and stepping out. >> rose: john lennon said life is what you do while -- >> waiting for something else to happen. well definitely for the -- it's been a wonderful thing to reconnect with the creative community through running the sydney theater company and we don't want to sever that. it's a great place to grow up. and the distance -- i found this. the distance from the rest of the english speaking world, of course, you know, there's the pacific islands and there's new zealand but we are geographically a part of asia.
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it's -- i do not -- the relationship functional and dysfunctional between white australians and the indigenous community, it just is a really -- it produces very interesting tension in australia. >> rose: interesting. >> to live a creative life there. >> but the cultural place is always fascinating. >> yes. >> rose: in terms of how it shapes and how those tensions play out in relationships. >> and what was also wonderful about going back because we were living in england for almost a decade and is we were cultural tourist there is. we had no sense-- in a good way-- of responsibility to the creative dplunt because it wasn't where we were from. >> rose: and exactly opposite in australia. you have a sense of responsibility of the creative community because it's where you were born. you were born into that community. >> quite. and so that was a big deciding factor for us in going back.
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>> rose: when you look at what you're doing now you also did "maids" which is a story of two maids who fought -- based on a real story. the family was called papin. >> yes, the papin sisters. >> rose: and they did what? >> well, there was a murder that was championed by kamu and sartre as a moment of -- >> rose: rebellion? >> when the proletariat rose up against the oppressors these sisters in the dark finally couldn't stand it anymore and murdered their mistress and her daughter with claw hammers. pulled out their eyes. it was a brutal, brutal murder and so jenay used that as a genesis for the maids. these maids are desperate to release themselves from the
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stronghold. >> tell me how you approached that character. >> while, i was playing with isabelle who's an extraordinary actress and elizabeth -- >> rose: who's very young, isn't she? 22 or something >> i know, it's disgusting. it's disgusting. and she's talented. >> rose: she plays the mistress. >> i know. >> rose: she gets it. >> it was great to claim it back. i've and seen the play done with men. something about sartre said it was a hall of mirrors, blah blah blah. >> rose: is that the way you approach sartre? blah blah blah? >> blah blah blah. but, look, i don't have any preconceptions going is a rehearsal room. >> it's my one time ask you
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about a process. there's jasmine which you said essentially you derive from the text is what you said. >> i think i was always working from the text and andrew upton did an eversion because -- >>. >> rose: andrew upton did? >> yes spchlt. >> rose: because he's there at the theater. >> often -- it can be quite prescriptive. the version of the certain aspect was done in the '50s and it was that said of social conditionings and framework so it was great to breathe new life back in it because the play is so transgressive. >> rose: what does that word mean "transgressive"? and i'm serious. i don't know. >> well, for me what it means is there's a certain understood moral code of the way people function and certain boundaries through which people won't --
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even in chekhov there's a sense that there's a framework for which you can't -- you bounce back into the world whereas -- i mean i find when you look at jenai i feel so petty bourgeois and closeted in my existence. he said -- his greatest fantasy was to be on a train to siberia being the lover of his mistress -- of -- the rent boy, basically of his -- of the mistress's lover. so you think how do i remember that? >> rose: how do you get your mind around that? >> it's very -- it's very elliptical and it's a whole thing about the stockholm syndrome and it's loving your oppressor, the fear of -- the desire and the hatred of the oppression but the actual billfully enabling it to continue. >> rose: so how did you approach
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from character? >> from the beginning. i mean, because there's a series of games within games within games it wasn't really until we became the maids -- of course, i play clair and she impersonate it is mistress. we didn't know what that was until the mistress came in and we were the maids so we had to start of start from the chron crete and blow it open. but it ended up being intensely physical and it's a dangerous play. it's all about -- my character ends up because of her sister's intense fantasy to be the criminal and the criminal being akin to being the saint. you know, the ultimate glory is to commit murder which is a very transgressive idea still now. >> rose: but it's a political idea. >> it's a very political idea and the only way -- because the more dominant sister is perhaps more cowardly and weak one. the only way to give her that
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fantasy in reality is to allow her to murder my character. so it's a very -- >> rose: it's fascinating to hear you talk about it because in a fundamental way that's obviously what people in terrorism have to come to grips with. that very thing. the crime is a political act. >> yes. it's -- that's what i mean by transgressive. it's almost like we need to grable with what that means or how someone can get to that place. so we can't look at it, we just label it as being -- i'm not condoning it but you have to understand these things, you have to unravel it. >> rose: and if you can't you can never -- >> and that's the great. -- >> rose: you can't kill them all. >> no. we're all indock tri nated.
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>> rose: do you have any interest in created film, theater in which you -- the whole process in terms of using what you have to write and create a theater piece that speaks to your own view of the world and -- or some passion -- >> you mean for me to actually -- >> rose: well, what jenai did. >> i'm married to a writer but i'm not a -- i'm certainly not a writer. i have a great respect for writers. >> rose: not a writer meaning you can't write if you wanted to or not a writer because you have these other things that have a higher calling for you? >> i just don't have the skill. like i can go to a drawing class for the rest of my life but i don't think i'm going to particularly improve. >> rose: have you been to a life drawing sdplasz >> yes, i have. >> rose: you tried? >> i keep saying i'm going to go
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back and do it but there's a meditation to it. but doing 45 minutes -- >> rose: and it didn't come easy so therefore you abandon it? >> i understand space by being in it. i understand what it means if you're standing down stage left, the vibrations are different if when you're standing center stage. i mean, fit my time over talking about woody allen's regrets or -- >> rose: choices. >> i would have loved to have been a dancer. that would have been my dream because it's intensely fliz cal and almost like performance art in a way but at the same time you're emotionally engaged and physically engaged but to understand space in the sense that that's over there and i'm going to render it on a two
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dimensional service but i'm going to make it three dimensional. i can't do it. believe it or not, i'm never going be a neuroscientist. >> rose: it's never too late. >> there's something about the idea of being able to rescue -- bart giamatti was an italian renaissance scholar, became president of yale, went on to become the commissioner of the national league but he famously said that, you have to stay in one job more than eight or ten years because new a job that has -- like the theater company. someone might say this about you. they might say you guys shouldn't dot that more than eight years because in eight years null a sense have a chance to experiment with all your ideas and then you new a sense respond to what you have done. the idea -- you understand? >> you never want to be in
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dialogue with yourself. >> rose: exactly. >> you always have to be reaching for something else. >> that's what i mean about command of language. it's boring. and i think creatively you end up cannibalizing yourself and you're absolutely right. for a theater company i think maximum ten years. because you've moved through and you're already -- you never want to reach the day knew month creatively. that's for the audience. that's for the next people. it's like a -- i always hate when we're talking about the arts and news sports analogy but it's like passing a baton in a relay race. you have to allow it to go on beyond where you thought it was going to be. >> rose: what is acting about? and i seem serious about that because i want to understand it. >> i think it's very -- it sounds a very wordy way to talk about acting because i think
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these days -- and maybe it's just the transition or the expansion of the way we can see films or the moving image. it's in a state of flux at the moment. anyone can do it and you know you can cut anything together, which is true. the famous jimmy stewart story hitchcock saying to him in "north by northwest." he said "just look up there." and he said "what am i looking senate" and he said "look up there quickly." and hi saw somebody falling off the silo. and sometimes the directors say to do that action and you do it. i think if someone else was looking up there it wouldn't have the same power but we can't tell whether people can do things or not do them. >> rose: but we can't tell anymore whether they can do anythings or -- >> i think we're beginning to -- you can't bemoan the fact it's
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happening. i think we're moving increasingly away from the actual concrete act of making something. we don't know whether someone has actually created that or virtually recreated that. if it's virtually created can't anyone do that? is the artist actually -- you can't see the hand prints on it anymore. so to talk about the craft of acting somehow seems wordy or old-fashioned but for me in answer to your question i think acting has to be -- and this is why the theaters it's such a great place to be and when it's great it's great for an audience and when it's awful it's awful because it's live and because it's human and they're the two things it these claim if it survives. it's a generous act. and this is where woody is amazing. he innately understands his audience.
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he does it for people to see. he wants to entertain them and make them laugh and that's what you do on stage. i think you can get quarantined or very separated from -- in various different forms of a moving image from the people that you're making it for and a lot of times i think people end up doing it for themselves and which, of course, there's a selfish component. i wouldn't do it if i didn't get pleasure out of it. but it has to be generous and if it's not working on stage the audience -- you can feel it. you can -- they may not make a noise but the energy retreats and so you have to change what you're doing. it's a dynamic relationship. >> rose: it's almost like breathing. if you're connecting they're breathing with you. there's a sense that it's where you are. it's almost you can laugh before the words get out of your mouth or they can feel the emotion as
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you feel it. >> i agree. and you can feel the intake of breath. it's a very dynamic relationship you have with the audience. it's something you don't want to label. it's transference of energy and that's why not interested there locking yourself in a way in a room and it's not theater as a lobtory although development and development away from an audience a vital part of reaching the stage where you can actually perform the thing for people. but no i rell their audience connection so maybe that's why i do it. and it's also -- the wonderful australian play wright who passed away, nick enright, i encountered him at drama school, it was a very, very dear and special man me went around the table in our first year and said why are you here and what do you
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want -- why are you an actor? and no one said it -- we all came up with selfish reasons and he said "i think acting is revealing to people what it means to be human. and it is a human thing and that's why i maybe keep doing it because it's -- it humanizes me. >> can i ask you something? >> sure. >> you ever think you could see yourself married to me? >> married? >> i have it planned. obviously you can say no if it sounds terrible, all right? but you come with me next month and we live there for a few years and i can teach you how to waltz and you can have all the chocolate cake and the wine you want and then we come back and i get serious about my political dreams. then we adopt kids and we live in the house that -- it would be
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fantastic. the what do you think? look, the down side for you is that you have to stand next to me and smile at photo-ops when i throw my hat in the ring. >> you're saying you love me? >> i didn't cause you to become ill over the prospect of being my wife. >> some of the things which are 180 degrees away from acting, it is that they're -- it is biological. it has to do with, you know, neuroscience. it has to do with neurons and it these do with pathways and a whole range of things. $it would be interesting to do a study on someone while they're performing. >> rose: exactly right! >> because speaking of martha graham again, she talks about the -- keeping the channel open. a there's no point in judging -- there's no point in judging what it is that you're doing.
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you have to do it. as aban actor -- this is why so many of us go potty -- >> rose: potty? >> loo loo. as you get older you have to -- in order to keep performing you have to keep those synapses over. that's where the imagination is born. >> and the interesting thing. if you could do this it would be wonderful and you could, there's certain ways to do this i would assume. it would be telling in terms of opening up. that's part of what they can do with diseased brains now is understand the differences and see what kind of physical manifestation. >> i should give my body to science! >> you should do what your body does exactly now. while i have you here i want to do this. theater and film.
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you had trepidation about going into film because unlike theater where you began, did you get over there that? did you figure out a way to do that in your mind that made it -- >> you have to think like a child. i think having children actually -- i remember being on set, i made a film years years ago called "oscar and lucinda" and rife fiennes was in it and he was about to play ivanov and he was reading russian novels in between takes and i thought how can he do that? i have to be so focused on what it is that i'm doing. it's all out of sequence. but somehow you have to have the ability in film to switch on absolutely and switch off absolutely. >> so you have to be aware of the native of the work if it's a film but you always keep in context where you're supposed to be at that moment that
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narrative? >> that's where -- say for example working on something like "blue jasmine" because the script was so impeccably structured even though there's not a lot of on set dialogue with woody about it. i had to do pre-planning because obviously she's on a cocktail of xanax and alcohol and you had to know when she was on it and off it and strangely a lot of that comes in costume and wardrobe fittings because you have to work out -- it sounds very shallow. where you're wearing what wear and that anchors me. >> that's akin to the idea some people -- olivier said until he put on the costume he didn't really know the character. >> because often in the hair and makeup test, the camera test no one's looking at you, they're looking at the way the light plays on your face. and it's just that thing of having to make the space, whether it's whether you're
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doing the blocking rehearsal or in your wardrobe fitting just to rehearse, to play. >> rose: the more you know, the easier it gets or the more you know the more difficult it gets? >> i think the more you know the more difficult it gets and i think once you've arrived at a certain place or a perceived to have arrived at a certain place you have to -- it's harder and harder. >> rose: because you're playing against yourself? >> when you walk through the door, if you walk through the door playing queen elizabeth then that's the way people expect you to keep walking. and so it's harder for you to say "i'm not interesting in doing that, i want to do that." and to keep sort of pushing yourself into places that may not necessarily be well received or necessarily even work. >> rose: do most directors in terms of whether it's film or theater -- let's take film. when youdom the role, do they have in their mind a sense of what they want it to be or do
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they say i want you to surprise me and show me what it is? >> certainly in the theater it's -- before i was in rehearsal and i thought you were told where to stand and what to do. >> rose: and what moves in the actor's head. >> and i always screw up right royally on the first day to make sense of it. suck muck up because it's those apparent mistakes or month which is seem deeply inflept a door is open and you think that's an unexpected try go through that. but woody has a clear sense of what he doesn't want and i think he does love -- like being surprised. he gives the actors a lot of agency. >> rose: mike nichols said that. what a great actor does is what a good architect does. you say to the architect "i want the house like this this and this." a great architect will surprise
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you with what he or she will deliver after you have told them a sense of what you feel about the place you live. >> you say "i want six bedrooms" but they can be configured in any way. >> rose: so you just made "monument men" with george clooney who wrote and directed with grant. >> and they're such a great team. they're such a great team. there's such an elan to the way they work. it's so easy and simple and unneurotic and the story of that is -- it's ripper of a tale. >> robert ed sell is the author. he saw that i mentioned it and in a totally unknown capacity. and john goodman, who's in the film said to me -- i was in monument and i said great, george and robert ed sell wrote a book and robert wrote me a
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book and said it's a remarkable story of this group of people who went out in the search of the art that had been stolen by the nazis in italy? >> all over europe. basically they pilfered all the major jewish collections. >> rose: in vienna. >> hitler was a frustrated artist. >> rose: and gehring was even worse. >> well, gehring wasn't an artist at all. goring. they were serviceable, they were find but he wanted to build the largest art -- fine art museum in his hometown. in fact, he wanted to level it and completely redesign it. there's a psychology there that -- there's a grudge. so they were amassing this in the annex off the louvre and a woman called rose van at was unbeknownst to the -- to garing who was using it like a shopping more for his personal
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collection. gehring. the catholics of art, not dejenrette art but good german art, it was a -- it was a sanctioned past time and you could go and raid a jewish household and take what you want so she was cataloging them and the monument men mad to come in and get that. >> this is an ongoing story. because there's still lawsuits about all of this. and on a -- in a totally different way, too, it's the sense of -- we're now seeing stories -- there's a story in the "new york times" today in a very nice and in an interesting way where someone with resources is going out and buying up the world's great art, a remarkable story. thank you for coming. a pleasure to see you.
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cate blanchett for the hour. thank you. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh
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