“Cate Blanchett is going to play Donald Trump’s sister, which is the weirdest sentence I have ever said,” Ad Astra director James Gray recently said of his new movie Armageddon Time. To be fair, James Gray, it’s one of the weirdest sentences we’ve read.
Early last year, it was announced that Blanchett was joining Gray’s coming-of-age drama Armageddon Time, which draws inspiration from the filmmaker’s own childhood in Queens. Donald Trump’s sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, seems like an unlikely figure to appear in a coming-of-age drama, but it seems like that’s what’s happening in Armageddon Time.
At the Doha Film Institute’s Qumra event this week (via ScreenDaily), Gray revealed who Cate Blanchett, one of several A-listers signed on to star in his upcoming film, will be playing. And it’s none other than…Donald Trump’s sister, Maryanne Trump Barry:
“She’s only in it for three days, she’s doing me a favor. She has a really long speech to deliver, it’s a real scene-stealer. I’ve tried to recreate the real speech as best I could from memory.”
Written and directed by Gray, and produced by his Ad Astra partner RT Features with the backing of Focus Features, Armageddon Time is based on the filmmaker’s own experiences as a student at the Kew-Forest School in Queens. And you know who Kew-Forest counts as one of its alumni? Donald Trump. The scene in which Blanchett stars involves the former U.S. president’s sister as she delivers a speech to Gray and his fellow pupils. Blanchett’s relatively small role is going to be a “scene-stealer,” according to Gray.
While Blanchett is always a joy to watch onscreen, I almost wish she would stop playing characters we’re designed to hate (see: anti-feminist activist Phyllis Schlafly in Mrs. America), but they probably provide more meaty roles for the Oscar-winning actress. But what actually is a shame is that she’s in the movie so briefly, despite being the first announced cast member of the star-studded film which includes Anne Hathaway, Robert De Niro, Oscar Isaac, and Donald Sutherland.
There aren’t details yet on who Hathaway, De Niro, Isaac, or Sutherland will be playing, and it may take some time for us to learn, as Armageddon Time‘s production start date has been on hold due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The delay is making Gray antsy, who added, “I worry I have gotten stale because I haven’t worked in a while. Creatively it has not been great when you try and create in the context of never leaving your house. It’s like being under house arrest, maybe I should treat it like that because a lot of great people wrote great things from jail over the years.”
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