“We all know the story of ‘Cinderella.’ We all know the story of Hamlet. But we go and see Hamlet over and over because the best production makes us think maybe this time he will kill Claudius. Because it’s truly funny and truly tragic, people are going to feel that they’re being told the story of ‘Cinderella’ for the first time.” – Cate Blanchett (Lady Tremaine)Qu
[Quoted in Solomon, A Wish Your Heart Makes, p. 111]
“There was always one person in everybody’s mind for the stepmother: Cate Blanchett, says Shearmur. ‘We were interested in her for many of the same reasons Ken was interested in doing the movie: developing a complex psychology and a more fleshed-out understanding of who these characters were. “Both Ken and Chris wanted to know these characters in a deeper way, so they were real human beings and not simply archetypes.’
Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine
“Blanchett, who dazzled audiences as the emotionally damaged title character in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine–and won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in it–reflects, ‘No one is purely evil: everyone’s got a motivation. “The stepmother is what happens when good is perverted: it often turns wicked. I was interested in exploring what makes someone wicked.
“Through little vignettes, you get a glimpse that this is a woman who has tried to start her life again, and becomes intensely jealous of the deep affection that her new husbad has for his daughter, Cinderella. When he dies, the financial pressures, the panic, and the jealously grow: that is what makes her wicked. She’s not as beautiful and not as kind and as good as Cinderella.’ [Solomon, p. 127]
“James adds, ‘There’s a great scene where Ellas asks the stepmother, “Why do you treat me like this?’ She says, “Because you are good and young and beautiful–and I am not.” This woman has had a hard life, and doesn’t deserve what’s happened to her. She’s not just a villain, and she’s not just cruel: it’s much deeper.’
“Weitz continues the line of thought, explaining, ‘We don’t necessarily view the stepmother as a villainous figure. Cate Blanchett is a tremendously compelling actress. She makes you see the point of view of the stepmother much more than you do in other versions of the story.’
“For the stepmother’s spoiled daughters, the filmmakes decided to keep the names the Disney artists had invented: Anastasia and Drisella (spelled with an “s” as opposed to a “z” as it had been for the 1950 fillm). But they insisted that the girls, like the stepmother, had to have more depth than traditional versions of the story provided.” Solomon, A Wish Your Heart Makes, pgs. 127-28.