Cate Blanchett Q&A / Stateless

Cate Blanchett is not only one of the film industry’s greatest actors, but she is also one of its leading activists. She is absolutely unafraid of taking stands on important social and political issues and has been one of the leading forces in the era of MeToo and TimesUp. This year sees her appearing in two markedly different yet very relevant TV series that address fundamental issues regarding both women’s and human rights in general.

Earlier this year, she starred in the critically-acclaimed FX limited series, MRS AMERICA, in which she plays American conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly who infamously led the fight against the adoption of the Equal Rights Amendment in the 70s. Blanchett’s Schlafly is pitted against Rose Byrne’s pioneering feminist Gloria Steinem who led the charge in favour of the doomed amendment. And although Blanchett is very much playing a woman whose political leanings are diametrically opposed to her own, she nonetheless delivered an honest portrait of a very independent and empowered woman regardless of her anti-feminist ideology.

Now Blanchett is co-starring in the new six-part Netflix series, STATELESS, which recently began streaming worldwide. Once again, as is the case with Schlafly, she plays another objectively unsympathetic woman, Pat Masters, who together with her husband Gordon (Dominic West) runs an Australian religious cult. Fellow Australian Yvonne Strahovski stars as Sofie, a disillusioned cult follower who decides to quit the organisation only to be arrested and imprisoned inside one of Australia’s notorious detention centres for illegal immigrants.  “Stateless” then explores how Sophie meets up with several other detainees whose stories are equally relevant to the plight of refugees all over the world.

The series is based on the real-life case of Cornelia Rau who was unlawfully detained for 10 months under Australia’s draconian anti-immigrant laws. In addition to acting in it, Blanchett produced and co-created the series together with fellow Aussies Tony Ayres and Elise McCredie. The cast includes Jai Courtney, Asher Keddie, Fayssal Bazzi, Soraya Heidari, Phoenix Raei, and Kate Bow.

Stateless is further testimony to Cate Blanchett’s avowed sense of social justice.

“All the characters are composites,” Blanchett said via telephone from her home in Sussex. “They’re inspired by people that we met. Elise McCredie, my dear friend and another co-creative [on this project], did a tireless amount of research…”

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