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Cate Blanchett arrived in Rome to present the Italian premiere of The House with a Clock in Its Walls on Friday. The new film from Eli Roth follows a young orphan in a magical mansion, surrounded by a friendly witch and a warlock, who accidentally releases an evil force that could end the world.
She’ll also participate in one of the Rome Film Festival’s “Close Encounter” discussions to speak about her life’s work as an actress and a humanitarian. Blanchett has been a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations high commissioner for refugees since 2016.
She spoke to press briefly in the afternoon, where The Hollywood Reporter asked her how she wants to portray Lucille Ball in the upcoming Amazon picture Lucy & Desi, which is currently being written by Aaron Sorkin.
She instantly made the classic twisted face, eyes-crossed Lucille Ball impression before responding, “I’ve long been obsessed by Lucille Ball. Who hasn’t? I mean she’s not only as an actress, as a comedian, but as a producer, as a parent, as a force of nature within Hollywood.”
“You step onto a film set in America and the male and female bathrooms on a film set are called Desi and Lucy,” she said. “Such is her influence.”
“It’s a work in progress,” said Blanchett about the film which does not yet have a director attached, “but one I am very excited about.”
As she plays a gray-haired witch in The House with a Clock in Its Walls, Blanchett was asked what she would do if she had any magical powers herself.
“I would make sure that everyone of the age 18 and up registers to vote in the American midterm elections,” she replied. “I come from a country where voting in a democracy is compulsory. And I think freedom is a responsibility that is fast becoming a massive responsibility.”
“I would encourage everyone to vote,” she continued. “I don’t know why the rest of the world can’t vote in the American elections, because it affects us all.”
Blanchett also talked about the film’s hopeful takeaway: “Alchemy is all about changing lead into gold. The idea of that being a metaphor for now is I think a really exciting one. We don’t have to remain in a place of stasis. We can actually change and transform into something else.
“I think that’s a very positive message for children,” she said. “You don’t have to remain labeled and identified by those things you are identified as in high school or university or even in the work place.”
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