updated 28 Dec 2010, 10:35
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Sat, Dec 25, 2010
The Star/ANN
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Cate's Christmas
by Kee Hua Chee

As the jolly season comes round once more, Cate Blanchett is having a cosy gathering of the clan on Christmas day itself.

“Some nephews from overseas will arrive on Christmas eve so the main event will be brunch on Christmas Day. We will all gather at my home in Sydney and enjoy a big eat-in and Aussie barbecue,” says Blanchett.

“There will be around 15 of us. It will be quite simple. We will have it by the pool and there should be some swimming. Everyone will chip in and there will be some of my favourite foods in the world — eggs. Yes, free-range eggs! I love eggs and there will be many varieties, like scrambled eggs with salmon, fried eggs with mushrooms and bacon, etc. It will be casual, very private and relaxing,” she enthuses.

And what presents will Santa be bringing her family this year?

“My husband is getting an electric guitar, a specific one he has always wanted. Dashiell, eight, is getting a bicycle. Roman, five, a skateboard and Ignatius, two, a train set.”

Since her husband Andrew Upton’s present to her will be a surprise, I ask Blanchett what she got last year. There’s a stunned silence. Then she says, “Don’t tell Andrew but I can’t remember. I am not a present person. But now I tell everyone, from my kids to relatives and friends, what I DON’T want for Christmas or birthday or party, and that is bottled water!

“I stopped drinking bottled water entirely since January this year after attending a talk and learned about the waste of resources that goes into producing and eliminating plastic bottles. Vast amounts of energy are needed to transport the heavy bottles from its source to places across the world. It is outrageous.

“And also, children are getting more cavities in their teeth as they are not getting enough fluoride in the water. I tell my children and everyone else not to drink water from plastic bottles,” she says with passion.

New Year’s Eve will be a quieter affair, she reveals.

“I am in a (theatre) show and will perform on New Year’s Eve, a matinée in the afternoon, and I have two shows on New Year’s Day so New Year’s Eve will be pretty quiet this time! I won’t be working on New Year’s Eve itself but I have to be at the theatre by noon on Jan 1. Usually we would be around quite a lot of people but this time it will be just Andrew and I at home. I will tuck the kids in early and spend time with just Andrew. Quiet, peaceful and romantic.”

Since their home looks out on Sydney’s Harbour Bridge, will Blanchett and her husband be ushering in 2011 while enjoying the customary year-end fireworks?

“You know what? Fireworks used to be so rare and only for special occasions like Australia Day, Easter Monday, Anzac Day, Queen’s Birthday and big occasions. Then, these last five or six years, it suddenly became very common, and it seems like anyone who has a birthday gets a fireworks display! Or there are fireworks every weekend. They have lost their charm and just frighten the dogs which start barking (ha-ha). I am not that ecstatic over fireworks to be honest,” she explains.

What have been the highlights of 2010?

“My children going to school just down the street; walking the children to school every day — that’s a huge highlight of this year. I know it sounds pretty basic for someone like you, but I cherish this very much.

“Working with my husband on the set of Slovania, a Chekhov play which I am in, is another. The Beijing trip to promote the beauty products by SK II was extraordinary. That was my first time in Beijing. I was in Shanghai two months before but the visual arts quarter in the capital was pretty incredible.

“We were in Berlin for five weeks filming Hanna (a spy movie in which Blanchett plays a CIA agent sent to track down a teenage assassin who decides she wants to lead a normal life). I brought my whole family, and we had a great time. Berlin is a fabulous, fabulous city, and we visited as many places as we could. Berlin was a real highlight, and there is every reason for us to return,” Blanchett says.

As another year looms, Blanchett says she wants to age gracefully rather than try to look 25.

“I just want to look great for my age, which everyone knows! I am 41, which I am neither ashamed nor proud of as this is life. There is a temptation to put more make-up on as you get older, but I keep mine natural. On screen, if you have heaps on, it acts as a mask, and as an actress, it is all about taking off a mask and revealing emotion,” she explains.

Might a role in The Hobbit be a highlight of 2011?

“This is so weird. Everyone assumes I will reprise my role as Galadriel but I have not signed any contract. But, yes, I would definitely take it!” exclaims Blanchett. “I loved making Lord of the Rings, filming in New Zealand and working with director Peter Jackson. Actually Galadriel does not appear in The Hobbit so I don’t know what Jackson wants me to do but I will walk over broken glass to do it!”

What is her resolution for 2011?

“My New Year’s resolution is to simplify my life,” Blanchett says firmly. “I am going to do less, and do it more sensibly. It is a matter of learning to say no. I am in the fortunate position of being offered to do exciting things so I tend to agree but now I must show more restraint. It might upset some people but it is better to say no right up than say yes, and then be forced to say no later.”

Does she believe the world will end in 2012 as in the movie?

“I don’t plan my life based on movies,” Blanchett says sternly. “I can’t believe the world will end in 2012; I have three children!”

Any personal wish?

“Yes, I wish to have more children! Maybe five.”

On that note, Blanchett wishes all readers a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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