She’s been a star for twenty years now, but Cate Blanchett is still capable of surprising us. Not only does she only seem to go from strength to strength as a performer (we think of the greatness of her performance in “Carol” probably three times a week), but the choices that she makes or projects show a brilliant mix of experimentation and nurturing her A-list status, whether she’s playing a Marvel villain in the upcoming “Thor: Ragnarok,” teaming up with Terrence Malick for three films in a row, joining the ensemble of “Ocean’s Eight,” or playing thirteen different roles in art-movie “Manifesto.”
Rare among big movie stars, Blanchett has also remained a consistent connection to her beginnings on stage: she ran the Sydney Theatre Company with her husband Andrew Upton between 2008 and 2013, and continues to appear in their work regularly, most recently making her Broadway debut in their production of Anton Chekhov’s “The Present” at the start of this year. But now, her movie and stage worlds are combining, with Blanchett set to take up one of the most famous roles ever played by an actress.
Baz Bamigboye reports that Blanchett will play Margo Channing, the part originated by Bette Davis, in a stage adaptation of Joseph Mankiewicz’s 1950 film classic “All About Eve,” which will open in London next spring. The movie — which shares the record for most Oscar nominations, and won six including Best Picture — follows the rivalry between Channing (Davis), a huge Broadway star, and the fan-turned-rival (Anne Baxter) who sets out to usurp her.
It’s a solid gold classic, and with interest in Davis high after “Feud,” a pretty smart time to bring it to the stage (it was previously adapted into the musical “Applause” in the 1970s. Dutch director Ivo Van Hove, who’s specialized in this sort of starry revival of late — he helmed the astounding Mark Strong-toplining “A View From The Bridge,” the Ben Whishaw/Saoirse Ronan “The Crucible” last year, just opened an adaptation of Visconti’s “Obsession” starring Jude Law, and will do a stage version of “Network” starring Bryan Cranston, also in London, in the fall — is the man in charge.
Anyway, it’s a role that Blanchett was born to play, and we imagine there’ll be a fervor for tickets when it goes on sale. And, fingers crossed, a Broadway transfer could well happen. The only question is — who should play Baxter’s role?…