In her latest movie Where’d You Go, Bernadette, Cate Blanchett tries to balance being an architect with being a mother as the mysterious title character.
She upends the expectations placed upon mothers, which the Oscar winner thinks many will appreciate.
“I think that if this film had been made 10 years ago, her acerbic, rye, disdainful look at the world would have been seen as unlikable,” Blanchett, 50, told PEOPLE of her character at a special Aug. 13 screening at New York City’s Metrograph theater. “And how can you play a mother who abandons her daughter in order to find herself? A mother can’t do that, because there’s this notion of ‘the mother’ in cinema.”
“I think Bernadette completely busts that apart,” the actress continued. “I think a lot of women are going to relish seeing that.”
Directed and cowritten by Richard Linklater (Boyhood), Where’d You Go, Bernadette is based off a 2012 bestselling novel by Maria Semple. Bernadette’s daughter Bee (Emma Nelson, in her big screen debut), tries to figure out what happened to her mother when she disappears before a family trip. Billy Crudup and Kristen Wiig also star as Bernadette’s husband, Elgin, and her nemesis neighbor, Audrey.
“I played mothers before I had children, and as an actor, you play roles outside your experience,” Blanchett explained. “That’s what interests me — I’m not interested in putting my worldview onto the screen. That couldn’t be more boring, I’ll save that for my journal at home.”
Blanchett has four children with her writer-producer husband Andrew Upton: daughter Edith Vivian Patricia, 4, plus sons Ignatius Martin, 11, Roman Robert, 15, and Dashiell John, 17. In this week’s issue, PEOPLE asked her the hardest part of being a mother of four.
“Trying to apply sunscreen to a 4-year-old,” she joked. Another, she added, is “being kicked in the head by all the small feet in my bed at 3 a.m.”
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The rest of motherhood is the “easiest,” though, she said.
She also told PEOPLE in the issue that she welcomes playing an independent woman like Bernadette.
“They have always been there, they’ve just been thin on the ground and poorly resourced,” Blanchett says of strong female leads. “I’m relishing the diversity of voices currently being unleashed.”
Where’d You Go, Bernadette is in theaters Aug. 16.