Funny to think that even after winning an Oscar, Cate Blanchett might still suffer from nerves, but that’s what the actress confessed at the prospect of playing the iconic role of Blanche DuBois in “A Streetcar Named Desire” for notoriously tough New York audiences.
“We are bringing an American classic back to American audiences, so of course that’s nerve-wracking,” Blanchett said at a dinner hosted by Roberta Armani in her honor on Monday. “It’s also pretty exciting. [The audiences] are very astute, and particularly out of BAM [where the play opens Friday].”
This story first appeared in the November 25, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
So while others might be gobbling up turkey over Thanksgiving, Blanchett and the rest of the Sydney Theatre Company, which she helms with husband Andrew Upton, will be hard at work with director Liv Ullmann. (The play previously ran in Sydney and in Washington.)
The dinner at the supersleek Armani Ristorante at the brand’s Fifth Avenue flagship was a welcome change for the theater company, whose official patron is Giorgio Armani. Fellow Aussie Rose Byrne came to pay homage, along with Martin Scorsese, Matt Dillon and singer Ryan Leslie.
“Cate Blanchett can do no wrong,” gushed actress Emma Roberts.
“This is a different experience than the hotel we are staying at in Chelsea,” Blanchett pointed out. “Although we are in an Armani concept store, so I’m sure that there isn’t a carb in sight,” she said. She was sort of right — although there were bread baskets, the nouvelle cuisine-style portions of sole and vegetable Napoleon left more than a few hungry. (Ben Stiller demonstrated good timing, arriving just in time for the chocolate cake dessert.)
But food obviously wasn’t the point: “I count this relationship as a great privilege of my life,” said Blanchett of collaborating with Armani and his niece. “This run of ‘Streetcar’ would not be possible without them.”