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|Around the table with Cate Blanchett, Richard Eyre and Patrick Marber • page 2 of 2|
Blanchett: Both of us were dreading it to be honest, because it's about finding the pitch of a scene like that. The stakes, and the expression of those stakes are so high, but also it's absurd, the things that they're saying to one another. I think what Patrick had written gave the scene a buoyancy which was actually, in the end, quite fun to play. But we did down a bottle of champagne after we'd finished it.
Marber: I was very conscious throughout the shoot that Cate and Judi were dreading the day they had to do this scene. It's monstrously difficult, and it's a scene also where we the audience are watching two mad women, two characters who have been driven almost mad by the events of the story. We watch the scene appalled by where they've got to with each other, but that's the whole point, that's where the story has gone. It's the purging scene. And after that when Barbara is clearing up all the rubbish that Sheba has created, it's a very, very quiet scene. And their goodbye scene is sort of a stalemate, they've come to the end of something.
Blanchett: It's an interesting journey really, a fascinating journey to play someone who's quite fey and gossamer and coy in the beginning, who then ends up being thrust out of a basement flat, screaming in her pyjamas, dressed as Siouxsie and the Banshees, going after the paparazzi. That scene had to get Sheba to the place where that would be a logical, the only place for her to go.
Marber: I realised when we were making the film something that never occurred to me when I was writing it. It's that actually Barbara doesn't really go on any kind of journey, she just sort of gets an obsession for someone, it doesn't work out and she's upset about that but she endures. It's Sheba who goes on the massive journey and Barbara who is the fixed point. But that only occurred to me when I watched the film, what the true extreme of it is.
Was Notes On A Scandal written with your leading ladies in mind, Patrick?
Judi Dench has said she has known real people like her character, Barbara - have any of you?
THANKS TO FOX AND THINKJAM • JAN.07
in Barnstaple, Devon