The Globe
January 17, 2001

Cate's Captivating Gift
Bob Strauss

LOS ANGELES -- All work and yet, remarkably, Cate Blanchett is still an interesting girl.

The internationally admired Australian actress, who made her reputation playing Elizabeth's anything but stuffy (or, for that matter, virgin) queen has, over the past 16 months, shaved off her hair, cavorted with hobbits, was involved in espionage with fascists and enjoyed being kidnapped by Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton.

And none of that even had anything to do with her immediate movie release, The Gift, which was like a crash course in the supernatural manifestations of everyday life.

Pretty fascinating. But for a fateful decision, Blanchett's life may have turned out a whole lot duller.

"When I was young, everyone said that I should act and I didn't really want to; I sort of wanted to be an economist," she says with a laugh. "But I failed, so this is my second choice. No, I did economics at university. I was shocking at it, I was terrible, but I passed -- I mean that I scraped through. But I do think that [acting] is one of those things that you can't run away from, really, and I love it and I'm really glad that I'm doing it."

While attending college in Melbourne, Blanchett did become her school's drama captain, and from there it was on to the National Institute of Dramatic Art. And, as she notes, "all through primary school I was a bossy child, so I was writing and directing as a seven-year-old does. So it probably was something I always wanted to do."

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