Cate Blanchett: The Oscar Nominee On Dylan, Ledger and Indiana Jones

[IMG:L] caught up with Cate Blanchett as she collected the Modern Master Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, and the luminous Aussie actress, who was dazzling in a Herve Leger gown that glamorously showcased her pregnant frame, spoke candidly about her Oscar nominated roles as Bob Dylan and Queen Elizabeth, the baby on board and her upcoming stint trying to take down Indiana Jones.

On what she can reveal about Indy:
“It’s called Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I play a character, a Russian character called Irina Spalko and Steven Spielberg directed it. I’m a baddie. It’s so strange when it comes to that, isn’t it? I’d been saying to my agent for a couple of years that I’d love to play a baddie. ‘I’d really love to play a badie.’ Maybe my agent did actively seek it. Maybe that’s why you have an agent, but I didn’t see it coming on.”

[IMG:R]On entering Indiana Jones’ world: 
“I loved it. I grew up on those films and I had this surreal experience while Steven was setting up this shot at the beginning of the film with a lot of tanks and things in it. Then Indy walks into the frame and then I have to walk in after him–because he’s number one on the call sheet–and I thought, ‘I know the iconography of that frame backwards. I grew up on that.’ So to have that moment of stepping through into the film of my childhood, the most loved film of my childhood, was quite extraordinary. It was exactly, in the best possible way, what I expected.”

On director Steven Spielberg:
“He’s one of the most energized people that I’ve ever met in my life. He has this childlike fascination with storytelling and you get the sense that he’s still completely bewitched by actors. Like Ron Howard in a way, I found them both completely and utterly frank. They were both incredibly pragmatic, but then also really respectful of people’s processes. I don’t know how he’s able to sort of at the same time be navigating the politics of The Beijing Olympics whilst getting the first iPhone in America and directing the Indiana Jones film. He has so many balls in the air. He’s adrenaline filled.”

[IMG:R]On expecting a new arrival in the midst of her busy career:
“I had no particular desire to get somewhere. Why do you want your life to wait? Wait for what? Yeah. I like being where I am when I’m there rather than wishing I was someplace else. Making a baby is also quite fun [laughs] …When we told our little one he looked at me and said, ‘You’re kidding.’ But our oldest one is very excited … It’ll probably be a boy. I think that’s what we do.”

On Bob Dylan, whom she’s nominated for playing in I’m Not There
“I discovered him at drama school when the world was becoming a very complicated place, and you speak to a lot of people who enjoy Dylan and they can remember the moment when they first heard a song of his or whatever. I remember John Cusack saying this thing to me where he doesn’t think he could ever play a character who didn’t listen to Bob Dylan. At the time I thought that was a bit reductive, but I now completely understand what he meant because he is kind of everything.When my husband saw the film he said that he felt it was as much as it was about Bob Dylan as a creative life, a creative journey it was about you are the time in which you live. The fact that he has lived and created in so many incredible timeframes and somehow got to the heart of each of those timeframes.”

[IMG:R]On what her other Oscar nominated character, Queen Elizabeth I, and Dylan would think of one another:
“I think she’d probably want to have him in the court. She loved conversation and loved people who were free thinkers and he was definitely that. He was a poet and she was somebody  …  it’s the very fact that his lyrics are studied in high school in America–or they should be if they’re not–and she was such a lover of language, and language really flourished and thrived in the Elizabethan era. So they probably would’ve gotten on quite well, I would imagine.”

On her fellow Australian actor, the late Heath Ledger:
“I’d like to pay special tribute to Heath Ledger, who I think was an extraordinary actor and was well on the way to being a master himself. We will all miss you enormously, Heath.”