A press conference for How To Train Your Dragon 2 isn’t the most obvious forum for a sexism-busting screed – but if there’s one thing Cate Blanchett is not, it’s obvious.
When asked if she ever gets sick of being asked about her family life, Blanchett took on Hollywood’s double standards, saying: “How do you balance? How do you have it all?… It’s a certainly a question that’s never asked of men.”
In the upcoming animated feature, Blanchett plays the mother of Hiccup, the movie’s hero. Unlike most kiddie-movie mothers, her character isn’t killed off early on in the piece by a hunter or a shipwreck. Instead, she left her child behind for reasons that are revealed in the movie. “The film actually deals with it really beautifully and deeply and emotionally,” she said.
“When anyone plays a mother on film, there is a whole raft of judgment in that a mother is a particular archetype or that every mother is the same,” she said.
“That’s absolute rubbish. We did discuss a lot about that particular issue because of course there is a judgment on how women parent.
Blanchett, a mother of three, took the role in How To Train Your Dragon 2 because her sons loved the first movie so much, but she says that just because she’s playing a mother in the movie doesn’t mean it’s okay to question the parenting choices women make.
“We live in a world where there’s still not equal pay for equal work and I still don’t understand in 2014 why that is the case. I’m not just talking about the industry in which we work, it’s every industry.
“The things that are being said about women, not just in African countries but in the English-speaking world, I think are absolute appalling and sometimes I think we’re back in the Middle Ages.
“I’m an actress at a film festival. I can cope with the questions, I’m a big girl. But it does surprise me that we’re still asking those questions.”
Blanchett also hit out at rudeness on the red carpet, just as she did early this year at the SAG Awards. That doesn’t mean she dislikes attending festivals like Cannes though, in fact quite the opposite: “Part of the event is dressing up and it’s fabulous.”
Here’s the press conference, in full:
Do you think it’s time we stopped asking actresses about ‘having it all’?