After the Summer of Sequels, theatergoers were finally treated to a franchise that didn’t involve masked men, green ogres or mismatched crime stoppers. Instead, “Elizabeth: The Golden Age,” revisits the era of the Virgin Queen, reuniting Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett with Bollywood director Shekhar Kapur. At the Variety screening, the duo chatted with Tudor fans about retuning to the Elizabethan realm of the Elizabeth after a decade-long pause.
“When we were making ‘Elizabeth,’ it wasn’t a surefire thing at all. We went in a bit rock n’ roll about it,” said Blanchett. “It was really edgy. The fact that it found an audience, we were all thrilled and surprised. I think it was a matter of reclaiming that spirit.”
“I tried to get Cate in a lot of films with me, but she wouldn’t say yes to anything,” joked Shekhar Kapur.
“I think I’ve had the chance to do a lot of different things since then, and in the end, apart from Shekhar’s persuasiveness, I think it was time.” said Blanchett.
This time around, Clive Owen joins the cast as Sir Walter Raleigh, with whom Blanchett Elizabeth becomes romantically entangled. It’s not exactly the way history dictates the relationship between the two figures, but Shekhar Kapur explained the need for taking creative license in an historical epic.
“History is an interpretation of what was, and it’s interpreted again and again, until a hundred years later, you are left with bare facts,” said the helmer. “The only reason to make a historical film is if the essence of what you choose of the history of that moment is relevant to contemporary times.”
“These films play loose and fast with history. If you read the history books, it’s indisputable,” said Blanchett. “But there is something incredibly modern about her. That’s why I enjoyed this script. It feels very current.”
“Once a script began to emerge that had a love triangle at the beginning of it, then I found it interesting. And also the backdrop of this film is so epic,” commented Blanchett. “But at the center of it was an internal struggle with current and domestic concerns. Individual concerns about the aging process, fertility and attractiveness. I felt she was at war with herself as much as with Spain.”
“Then of course Geoffrey (Rush) was going to do it, and Clive, and Alex Byrne was coming back to do the costumes, which I adored. It would have been perverse to say no.”