It’s no secret that most of the people who make their living in the entertainment industry are an ambitious, unsatisfied lot who often dream of expanding their skill set and becoming famous for more than just the original trade that brought them to the dance. It’s why models become DJs, athletes become rappers, and rock stars become the villain of Freejack. And it’s why creative types who have become famous in the film industry for working in front of the camera eventually always want to take a stab at stepping behind it.
Given this trend, it’s no surprise that an actress as accomplished as Cate Blanchett would be looking to try her hand at directing a film. All of the awards and accolades she gets for her performances have to be blending together at this point, after all. And stop for a minute to think about how many great directors she’s closely watched work. Directing a movie is something she can do, for sure. She’s got this. So that’s why Deadline is reporting that she’s all set to follow in the footsteps of the Robert Redfords and the George Clooneys that have come before her by directing her first feature, The Dinner.
Originally a novel by Dutch author Herman Koch, The Dinner has been adapted for the screen by The Messenger scribe Oren Moverman, and may or may not see Blanchett acting in it as well as directing. The story is described as being a psychological thriller about a pair of parents who go to great lengths to protect their child, but that’s kind of a vague synopsis that doesn’t adequately convey the scope and structure of the story, so let’s take a look at Koch’s book in order to get a better idea of what Blanchett is getting herself into.
The Amazon entry for “The Dinner” describes Koch’s book by saying, “A good unreliable narrator is one of the most satisfying characters a novelist can dream up–and Herman Koch takes us on a hell of a ride through the mind of Paul Lohman, the deliciously sinister host of ‘The Dinner.’ Paul’s 15-year-old son, Michel, has committed an unspeakable crime; his brother, on the cusp of becoming the Netherlands’ next prime minister, has a delicate wife and two teenagers who share Michel’s secret; Paul’s wife, Claire, will do anything to protect their boy. As the two couples inch through an excruciating meal at a chic restaurant–their children’s whereabouts uncertain–Paul peels back the layers of their situation, weaving to and fro through time and truth.”
It sounds like this is going to be something of an ensemble piece that will give Blanchett the chance to direct of a whole host of actors of different ages. Given all of the direction that she’s received over the course of her 20 year career, one has to imagine that she’s got a number of ideas about how best to do that. Let’s hope for the sake of the performers she signs up that she proves to be a nurturing taskmistress and not a dictator. They’re likely going to be feeling quite a bit of pressure already due to the need to live up to the standards she’s set, and if she starts going all Blue Jasmine on set, there’s no telling what they might be in for.