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Ghost Canyon

Cate Blanchett  ('Veronica Guerin') Cate Blanchett ('Veronica Guerin')
Born in Melbourne 34 years ago, Cate Blanchett achieved success on stage and screen in her native Australia before breaking out with her Oscar-nominated performance in 'Elizabeth'. Since then she's forged a diverse and impressive career, in films such as 'The Talented Mr Ripley', 'Heaven', and 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy.

Her latest outing is 'Veronica Guerin', which sees her play a real-life anti-drugs journalist, battling dealers in Dublin. Taking some time out with the beautiful Cate, we discussed the hard-hitting movie from cover-to-cover.

The film turns on the scene in which Veronica confronts her nemesis, John Gilligan, and he assaults her. How was that to film? "Doing it wasn't particularly pleasant, but when it comes to a stunt like that, it becomes incredibly technical and we talk about it in a technical way. I did actually connect with a punch one time, but I was really pleased. The effectiveness of action like that is down to how it's shot. Joel [Schumacher, the director] shot it in a very confronting way. When we did it, of course it was raining and it was shot on gravel and I was wearing a very thin suit that I couldn't put any padding under, which I only realised after we had already established the costume."

Can you understand what drove Veronica Guerin on in her pursuit of a story? "People talk about the beating, and how could a woman continue after she'd been punched in the face and after her son's been threatened. But the paper gave her the option. They said she could write the story or press charges, and she took the less public option to press charges. She took him to court, where they let him off. So what's a girl to do? On a moral, existential level, what is she saying to her son? That it's OK? The only way to really protect herself and prevent other people from suffering the same fate was to do something about it."

Does Veronica's dilemma, doggedly pursuing her professional goals while seemingly ignoring her personal responsibilities, have echoes for you? "I don't consciously think of how parenthood has changed me but I'm sure it must have. It wasn't that I was consciously thinking of my own situation, I always invest in the reality of the character but I guess it must have informed the way I played it. Like when I'm listening to those threats that Gilligan makes over the phone, I think they only did one or two takes, so I guess that must have been quite close to the surface."

Has there been any response to the way Veronica's colleagues were portrayed in the film? "I think in the wake of her death she has come to represent something, and as you come to represent something - she has taken on an iconic status within a community - the human being can be left behind. I think there probably is a bit of guilt, because when you say something bad about someone and they die, you would feel quite guilty."

Interviewed by Gary Stevenson for Exclusive Magazine

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