Making sense of Bernadette Fox wasn’t simple for Cate Blanchett. “It wasn’t just how complex and painfully absurd her life is, but the brittle way she pits herself against the world,” the actress, 49, says. “In the end, the trickiest thing was tone. It’s one thing to listen to an unrelenting sardonic inner voice in a novel, and another thing entirely to hear it on screen.”
Devotees of Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette should hear what she’s saying. The 2012 novel, which went through over a year on the New York Times success list, presents noteworthy difficulties for a big-screen adjustment. Furthermore, Semple’s extraordinarily wry voice and her use of catty messages, telephone transcripts drive the account. A once-prestigious designer, Bernadette withdraws into a shell of her previous self after she gets hitched and has kids. And afterward, she disappears to Antarctica, abandoning her fearless 14-year-old girl, Bee (Emma Nelson), to understand the riddle of what occurred, and why.
All involved with the movie promptly connected with the book after understanding it. Blanchett, especially, strikingly relates her first involvement with it. “It was the first of Maria’s books I read and I ate it alive. I was unprepared and embarrassingly, I read it on a plane. Weeping and laughing and nearly peeing my pants in public. But I couldn’t put it down.”
Blanchett depicts the joint effort as an “intriguing test,” however dependably felt personally associated with her character. “I think so many women relate to Bernadette: She’s someone who has been eaten alive by failure and buried her creative identity in child-rearing,” she says. “Haven’t we all thought at one point, ‘Oh, s—, this mess is all too much. [Wouldn’t it] just be easiest to disappear?’”
The film launches in theaters on Aug. 16.