Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Russell Crowe: Cate Blanchett is A Good Kisser


Cate Blanchett is the perfect woman.

Forget the fact that she spoke perfect, fluent French last night from the stage of the Palais des Festivals for the Cannes Film Festival premiere of “Robin Hood.”

Or that she walked, in high heels, in the rain, on a soaked red carpet from the Palais, down the huge outdoor staircase, up a long sidewalk and across the street to the Majestic Hotel after the “Robin Hood” premiere covered just by a large umbrella and holding–bunched up in one arm–the train of her specially designed Alexander McQueen gown.

The black and white dress, emblazoned with an eagle, was designed for Blanchett for the March 7th Academy Awards by McQueen. It was the last dress he personally cut, her agent told me, before tragically committed sucide on February 11th.

Mon dieu!

I was walking behind her, in a group of Blanchettes, and her publicist Lisa Kasteller said, “I wish someone took this picture.” For once, there was no paparazzi. It looked like a picture out of the old Life magazine!

Forget all that. Russell Crowe told me last night, at the very late night after party for “Robin Hood.” something more important: “She’s a great kisser.”

Blanchett was also a sport. The wild, climactic war scene from “Robin Hood” took 11 days to film, with 1500 extras, on a beach in Wales last summer. Crowe says he was there the whole time, despite British press reports.

“We also stayed in trailers. I did a lot of cooking,” he told me. “Mostly steaks and chicken. Did you know my mum was a movie caterer when I was growing up?” he asked.

I did not. Neither did Benicio del Toro, who was sitting with Crowe and hanging on his every word.

“Cate would change and come hang out with us boys,” Crowe said, and smiled admiringly. He loved that about her, too. “And you can see we do have great chemistry on screen.”

They do. And a sequel to “Robin Hood” seems likely to us viewers, Crowe says it would be “incredibly expensive.”

“We have to hit a number,” he told me, “on this one and see how we do.”

“Robin Hood” is a big old fashioned movie, and one not to miss when it’s released Friday. The human scope of it is grand and all real. There’s very little CGI. The big scenes were all shot — especially one with gigantic landing barges carrying the extras to battle on that Welsh beach.

There are also a lot of bows and arrows. Some of them are obviously computer generated. But Crowe says he got into it. “My instructor asked me what I liked about it, and I said I loved the flight of the arrow, not the hitting of the target. He replied that meant I was the real thing.”

PS Also at the opening of the Cannes Film Festival last night: Universal Pictures’ Ron Meyer, plus Salma Hayek with husband Francois Pinault, Cuba Gooding Jr., Gael Garcia Bernal, Brett Ratner, Helen Mirren and Taylor Hackford, and Cate’s super agent Hylda Queally. Kristen Scott Thomas was the stunning mistress of ceremonies for the presentation that preceded the screening of “Robin Hood.” Head juror Tim Burton received a lovely special segment with clips from all his films. A French pop singer Lady GaGa wannabe performed some of the music from his movies.

She’d better look out: the real GaGa is coming to town next Tuesday. Batten down the hatches!

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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